Legally Student: Alix Piatek


Law and journalism often make good company, but few can imagine the path of one particular law student who has embodied every facet of that delicate balance between the two disciplines. Alix Piatek is in her final year of a law/journalism degree, and has worked as a barrister’s assistant, a political fact-checker, a writer for legal publication Justinian and now a producer on SBS’s talk show Insight. She talks to Rachel Worsley about how she straddles the divide.


Music: Prelude No.15 by Frederic Chopin.

Inner West Light Rail extension ignores cyclists and commuters with disabilities


It’s been debated, put on hold, built and now finally opened to the public. The Dulwich Hill light rail extension from Lilyfield was finally open today, with the first tram service running at 6am. It’s been hailed as a victory for public transport after years of wrangling over building this tram line.


The Liberal O’Farrell Government is happily taking all the credit for completing this public transport project that will benefit inner west commuters for years to come.


But not everyone is happy about the way the project has been planned and executed. Inner west commuters may be the real beneficiaries, but what about cyclists and commuters with disabilities or mobility restrictions who have been left out of the equation?

Rachel Worsley rode the tram this morning and brings you this report.


Picture credit: Rachel Worsley

Outer Space Open for Business (Print Version)


Rachel Worsley


Outer space enthusiasts have set up a new space entrepreneurship group in Sydney, saying it’s time Australia blaze the way for the new commercial industry of the future.


The group, Orbit Oz, was founded early this year and is the brainchild of UTS computer science lecturer and entrepreneur Brian Lim.


According to him, the idea that it’s impossible to commercialise space is a myth.


“People keep forgetting that the weather report relies on satellite data, and certain medical practices also use techniques that were developed by the space industry. So the group is about bridging the gap of what’s the public perception of space, which is quite difficult and hard to go there, versus what it actually is, which is quite approachable,” said Mr Lim.


Orbit Oz’s first meeting was held in late February and attracted over 60 participants, including  entrepreneurs, space engineers and those interested in space.


Dr Jason Held is an entrepreneur who founded aerospace engineering company Saber Astronautics. His company was the first to create a commercially successful space consumer product, Vostok Space Beer, that could be drunk in zero gravity conditions.


He says the commercial success is proof the space industry can connect with potential consumers.


“Having a beer is something most people in Australia can connect with, and having people buy it allows us to access a revenue stream to develop further products,” said Dr Held.


Tim Parsons, a digital media consultant and former aerospace engineer, was inspired to re-enter the space industry with the creation of Orbit Oz.


However, he says that Australia needs to work on marketing its space technologies.


“High tech is not packaged very well, it’s not well branded, we don’t tell a very good story. So even though we have great academic rigour, and our universities produce highly trained people, we suck at selling high tech.”


“We also have to get better at pitching high tech Australian businesses to investors around the world, and demonstrate we can do it better, smarter and cheaper than everyone else,” said Mr Parsons.


UTS physics major Kiri Simon attended Orbit Oz out of a lifelong interest in space. She says commercialising space represents an exciting opportunity in human history.


“It gives a look at the future where humanity can expand together, we don’t have to destroy the environment to do it…to me, that’s immensely positive,” she said.


Mr Lim said Orbit Oz will alternate between networking and guest speakers on a bi-monthly schedule throughout the year.

John Mateer on ‘Unbelievers, or The Moor’

Poetry has the power to take us to imaginary places, but often those rooted in the geography and history of past civilisations. And that’s what South-African born Australian poet John Mateer aims to achieve in his latest collection of poetry called Unbelievers, or The Moor. This collection aims to trace the influential but invisible histories of the Moorish state Al-Andalus, where the present day Spain and Portugal lie.

But there’s no mistaking the politics of apartheid, or the war on terror that has torn apart the Islamic and Western worlds. Nor can you mistake the startling similarities between Mateer’s adopted home of Western Australia and his ancestors’ hometown of Cape Town, South Africa. By drawing together these histories in parallel, Mateer succeeds in asking us: just how do the histories of civilisations survive the information age?

Here, in conversation with Rachel Worsley, he begins a reading of one of his poems from the collection.

Legally Student: Ada Lee

Tonight on Legally Student, we bring you someone who didn’t fall in love with law because of To Kill A Mockingbird, or Atticus Finch. That person is Ada Lee, a third year law and media student at the University of Sydney. Instead she aspires to be a globetrotting lawyer, immersed in the field of human rights law around the world. She chats to reporter Rachel Worsley about what inspired her to study her law degree.

Broadcast on 20 March 2014 for Radio Atticus.

Outer Space Open for Business

Fancy a space beer with a meat pie? Or lounging in a hotel in outer space? There’s a bunch of people in Sydney waiting for that to happen.

Orbit Oz is a new group set up in Sydney to jumpstart the space industry in Australia. Packed with engineers, entrepreneurs and those who just love space, these future business builders are hoping to inspire a new generation of industry focused on using technology in outer space.

Rachel Worsley reports.

Broadcast March 5th 2014 on Razors Edge.