There were no greetings, no handshakes and no introductions.
Instead, we were welcomed into her home like we were old friends over for a dinner party. Catherine Deveny opened her front door and ushered us inside to the kitchen, announcing she was going to continue packing the dishwasher while we were free to make ourselves comfortable. As we stepped over the threshold, her beloved Jack Russell cross, Archie, came bounding down the hallway urging us to give him a pat.
Catherine Deveny is always in the spotlight for her controversial views. But in an interview with La Trobe University journalism students, she revealed a softer side to her public persona, writes Jordan Witte.
Nobody personifies the word ‘provocative’ better than Catherine Deveny.
The Melbourne-born-and-bred social commentator exudes confidence as she ignores a proffered chair, instead choosing the non-conventional option of perching upon a table.
She fields questions from an unusually attentive throng of La Trobe University students – her former university, at which she studied Cinema Studies – with assumed ease, her body language indicating her comfort with and level of control over the situation.
In the words of Catherine Deveny
What has been the most painful lesson for you to learn in life – and how has it changed you?
The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour and knowing when to walk away. There have been five people in my life that for some reason I have felt compelled to fix, heal and make happy. I painfully came to the realization I was enabling their unhappiness by feeling their happiness was my job. The preoccupation with other people’s happiness caused me deep unhappiness. I eventually found out they were manipulative users (and in some cases I suspect suffer NPD/BPD) and they were just never going to get past their biological unhappiness and keep blaming others for it.
Two La Trobe alumni, Dr David Corlett and Catherine Deveny will appear in the SBS TV series return of Go Back to Where You Came From later this month.
Asylum seeker expert, Dr David Corlett returns as program host and social commentator Catherine Deveny is one of the six prominent Australians chosen to experience refugee life, alongside Peter Reith, Angry Anderson and others.
Go Back To Where You Came From is a ground-breaking, award-winning SBS documentary series which debuted last year, giving Australians a taste of life as a refugee, in an effort to challenge assumptions and opinions and deepen their understanding of the divisive issue.