Michael Mullins | 30 March 2015
Netflix and the Daily Mail are not concerned about whether people in a local area get safer roads or a new cancer treatment centre. Nor, it seems, are Fairfax and Newscorp. There was a time when nearly all media outlets were independent of each other, and locally owned by proprietors who cared as much about the welfare of their regions and cities as they did their own bottom line.
Brian Matthews | 27 March 2015
During the West Indies 1960-61 tour of Australia, Frank Worrell and his predominantly black team transfixed Australians from coast to coast and, without any missionary intent, struck a resounding blow at the White Australia Policy, which was still in place. This jubilant, exciting story prompts questions about today's masses, who enthusiastically support harsh, and arguably racist, treatment of asylum seekers.
Brian Toohey | 27 March 2015
Although the age pension will cost about $49 billion in 2017-18, it is means tested. In contrast, superannuation concessions are heavily biased in favour of high income earners. Both sides of politics pander to the wealthy and the cosseted finance sector, which want certainty that nothing will stand in the way of their super bonanza.
Andrew Hamilton | 26 March 2015
Daniel Mannix, who was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63, knew how to control an audience and shift the perception of events. He argued fiercely against conscription in the 1917 Referendum, and railed against the exploitation of struggling workers. On finishing his new biography, I imagined a meeting between him and Pope Francis, both masters of public symbols with a disdain for church clericalism and sanctimonious speech.
Tim Kroenert | 26 March 2015
At the height of the Troubles in Belfast, a young British soldier becomes separated from his unit and spends a night lost in one of the city's most dangerous locales. The city is fractured along numerous lines: it's not merely Catholic versus Protestant; the radicalised youths of the Provisional IRA are at odds with their established forebears. Rarely have the Troubles been so grippingly portrayed.
Fatima Measham | 25 March 2015
Mandatory data retention was a bad idea when it was originally floated during a Gillard Government inquiry. It is a worse idea now, and is set to become law for political reasons, not because it has been properly scrutinised. There are important questions that we should be asking, and we should not let ourselves be put off from doing this if we don’t know the difference between data and metadata (there is none).
Peter Kirkwood | 25 March 2015
A hallmark of Francis' papacy has been his calls for 'a Church which is poor and for the poor'. He has given new currency to the sometimes controversial concept 'preferential option for the poor', which has strong associations with Liberation Theology. Sydney theologian Rohan Curnow recently completed his PhD thesis and a book on the history and application of the 'preferential option'.
Justin Glyn | 24 March 2015
The emotional parades welcoming troops home from the end of 'Operation Slipper' in Afghanistan leave us contemplating the horrific effects of war on veterans and their families. It is absolutely right, indeed imperative, that we grieve with them and count the costs. In doing so, however, we should beware the danger of selective empathy.
Diane Fahey | 24 March 2015
'If I'm deported back to Sri Lanka, torture is certain because I'm a Tamil.' On the day I hear of Leo's death I pass a tall maple, its star-like leaves, blood-red and flame-red, irradiated. The Australian government refused the visas applied for by Leo's family so that they might attend his funeral. As three Tamil men at a microphone sing a long hymn in Tamil the Basilica fills with an undertow of sound.