Gillian Bouras | 21 October 2016
Before I turned five, I was in the serried Monday morning ranks of children who had to swear, among other vows, to honour the flag. Years later I watched, shocked, as a Greek friend burst into tears at the sight of the emblematic blue and white stripes at a soccer match: big, strapping Panayiotis sobbed helplessly for quite some minutes. Today the American elections are almost upon us, and Old Glory has naturally been very much in evidence throughout this most gruelling and worrying of campaigns.
Greg Foyster | 21 October 2016
On 28 September an extreme storm lashed South Australia and the entire state lost power. How could this have happened? It's a question that has occupied the country for the last three weeks as politicians and commentators have peddled their unqualified opinions in an escalating culture war about the role of renewable energy. No one really knew what had happened until Wednesday this week, when the AEMO released its updated report. Even now, there are more questions than answers.
Megan Graham | 20 October 2016
While once it was honourable to put your work first, it's now seen as a fool's errand. Not to say staff should discount their employer's interests, but put them in their proper place - important, yes, but not more important than health, for example, or family. Unions have built memberships on these kinds of ideas for decades. But the current movement is not so much about grouping together as it is about individuating: 'My particular needs are important, too.'
Tim Kroenert | 19 October 2016
Our first glimpse of Jesse, a 16-year-old model recently arrived in LA, is of her sprawled on a sofa, scantily clad and smeared with fake blood. Later, during her first professional shoot, she is ordered to strip naked, and to endure being smeared with gold paint by the photographer's own hand. Another model boasts about the routine cosmetic surgery she undergoes to maintain the object that is her body. In the eyes of the industry, Jesse as an 'object' is already perfect.
Samuel Dariol | 19 October 2016
A policy that deliberately inflicts harm on one group of people to deter others from coming to Australia is ethically obnoxious. It is now time to bring the people detained offshore to Australia. The Australian Catholic bishops have promised the resources of Catholic organisations to help educate the children, care for the health and meet other needs of the people who are detained. When a significant sector of the community is ready to help care for vulnerable people, it is proper to allow them to do so.
Andrew Hamilton | 19 October 2016
Promos suggest you can choose your identity. Join a tour to Kurdistan and you can become an adventurer. Buy an Aussie flag, sing loudly about boundless plains, and you can become a dinky di Aussie. Identity, however, is more subtle. It is formed by relationships, to the human race, to body, to place of birth, to language, to the significant adults of childhood, to possessions, to education and work, to hobbies, religions and political parties and to all the people met through these relationships.
Binoy Kampmark | 18 October 2016
The late Professor Desmond Ball of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre came as close as any on being a public intellectual on nuclear strategy. While some of his counterparts in the US felt that using nuclear weapons was feasible and sound, Ball issued his pieces with mighty caveats. 'Controlling escalation', Ball ventured, 'requires both adversaries to exercise restraint, and current US policy is to offer a ... mixture of self-interest and coercion.'
Shira Sebban | 18 October 2016
Finally he is having his day in court. After 13 months languishing in limbo in immigration detention, he has been given the opportunity to be heard. Hopefully, it won't be long now before his case is determined and his torment resolved. Or so I thought. But in today's Australia, asylum seekers are not treated the same way as you or me. I meet him not as originally planned in the courtroom itself, but in the bowels of the building where he has been confined for the second day in a row to a tiny cell.
Julie Edwards | 17 October 2016
One of the most misused passages of Christian scripture tells us we shall always have the poor with us. It is often repeated by those who are not poor in order to dismiss any project that involves public expenditure or private generosity to people who are poor. When we do not focus on the good or bad conscience of the observer but on the lives of the people who are poor, we can see that the statement is not a justification for a modern society that allows people to live in poverty. It is an indictment.
Chris Wallace-Crabbe | 17 October 2016
When I was a kid, I certainly knew, that a cassowary in Tinbuctoo, was able to eat a missionary, cassock, bands and hymn-book, too. Because it rhymed, it had to be true. But what on earth were those bands doing? Nothing musical, I'll be bound, And a cassock, what sort of jigger was that?
Frank Brennan | 16 October 2016
When the dust settles next year, maybe LGBTI advocates will see the wisdom in trying to convince the Labor party to reinstitute a free conscience vote on its side if only to force the Coalition to do the same. That way the parliament a few years down the track might be able to do what the LGBTI advocates want them to do now. If it were my call, I would have opted for the plebiscite in February with prompt parliamentary legislation to follow. But it's not my call.