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  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) sits next to Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton as they lose a vote during divisions for the Medevac Bill in the House of Representatives in February 2019. (Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)
    australia

    Medevac is about health not migration outcomes

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 23 October 2019

    The Medevac law was needed because there was no sensible process to arrange for urgent medical treatment for the people we are punishing as a deterrent. The system is working according to the medical practitioners involved in it. It would be a tragedy if the Medevac laws were repealed, just to prove how tough and immovable we are.

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  • Ben Steel in promotional image from The Show Must Go On.
    australia

    Small steps toward better mental health

    • Bree Alexander
    • 23 October 2019

    There is still a long way to go before Australian society is free of mental health stigmas and adequate services are funded and accessible. This is especially important for Australians who are at the intersections of multiple oppressions. But there has been progress, as a number of recent initiatives illustrate.

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  • Rachel King riding La Chica Bella wins race 3 the NSW Racehorse Owners Association Trophy during Sydney Racing at Royal Randwick Racecourse on 3 August 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
    australia

    Horse slaughter and the ethics of animal welfare

    • Moira Rayner
    • 21 October 2019
    11 Comments

    When the ABC published footage of cruel treatment of healthy former racehorses in a Qld abattoir, everyone said they were appalled. This revelation has again brought into the public eye the dirty secret about the business of horse breeding and trading, gambling and associated industries. They are vast, and they are important.

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  • Liberal backbencher Gladys Liu during a division in the House of Representatives on 16 September 2019. (Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

    Hypocrisy and hysteria over Chinese influence

    • Tim Robertson
    • 16 October 2019
    6 Comments

    Chinese interference in Australian politics is an issue of genuine concern. But why is the hysteria exclusive to China? Like the outrage surrounding the awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature to Mo Yan, accused of working within the bounds of China's censorship program, why don't we hold our own government to the same level of scrutiny?

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  • Turkish armoured vehicles escort members of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, a militant group active in parts of northwest Syria, as they enter Syria on 10 October 2019. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)

    Trump joins the game of Kurdish betrayal

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 14 October 2019
    3 Comments

    While expecting an indefinite US presence in Syria was unrealistic as part of bargaining for a homeland, the Kurdish forces are right in feeling the sting of yet another historical abandonment. They have been more than useful fighters, a point that is also held against them. The question now is how bloody this next chapter will prove for them.

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  • Climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a press conference organised by Belgian Youth for Climate with other activists on 21 February 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

    While Thunberg creates hope, Trump stymies it

    • Jim McDermott
    • 01 October 2019
    10 Comments

    When Nancy Pelosi announced the House of Representatives would open impeachment proceedings, it seemed that finally the Trump Administration would be forced to reckon with its repeated disregard for the rule of law. Except, as Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson says in a hilarious sketch, 'Ain't nothin' gonna happen.'

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  • In this Chris Johnston cartoon, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg juggles balls labelled 'banks' and 'surplus' while ignoring larger balls labelled 'Newstart' and 'jobs'.

    Jobs key to reviving flailing economy

    • Joe Zabar
    • 18 October 2019
    3 Comments

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's attack on banks for failing to pass on the full rate cut to consumers is a political distraction. There are two clear signals coming out of the latest cut. First, monetary policy is not enough to spark a revival of the economy. Second, it's now all about jobs. Frydenberg and his officials would be wise to heed these signals.

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  • Sign marking the northernmost point of the Australian mainland (Credit: Catherine Marshall)

    Borders blur at Australia's northern tip

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 October 2019
    9 Comments

    It's the final outpost, symbolically, demarcating Australia from its closest neighbour, PNG. The islands beyond it are a link to the cultures and geologies that lie to the north, giant stepping stones that guide Australia's Torres Straight Islanders home. For white Australians, they're the barrier marking the country's fiercely-held border.

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  • Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations

    Sympathy for the poor or bunyip aristocracy

    • Daniel Sleiman
    • 17 October 2019
    9 Comments

    Adam Smith wrote 'no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable'. Poverty and inequality lead to non-participation in work and inhibit social mobility, which negatively affects economic growth. The concentration of economic power is bad for democracy.

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  • Fr Justin Glyn SJ (Credit: Tim Kroenert)

    The gifts of being a priest with a disability

    • Justin Glyn
    • 17 October 2019
    10 Comments

    In some ways to be a priest with a disability is to be at a strange advantage. We tend to think about priesthood as a gift and a calling — and so it is. It is not, however, about merit, of saying 'I am better than you / uniquely gifted'. Instead, it is a call to enter the hurts and joys of other people's lives from a position of weakness, not strength.

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  • Child in red gumboots standing in a puddle. (Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty)

    Child safety reforms still progressing slowly

    • John Warhurst
    • 14 October 2019
    7 Comments

    The royal commission concluded that child safety, in all its organisational ramifications, raised questions of culture and governance for the church. If the Plenary Council 2020 doesn't take such issues seriously then it will be one indicator that the momentum around last year's official national apology has slowed.

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  • Image of a homeless man's shoes in Darwin, Australia. (Credit: David Lee / Getty)

    Woe to those who punish the poor

    • Barry Gittins
    • 11 October 2019
    16 Comments

    If our PM's theological name dropping rings true, his life is guided by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. That unemployed Jewish tradie turned rabble rouser made this apocalyptic observation: 'Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.' Yet it remains a vote winner, this business of punishing poor people for being poor.

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  • While two people focus on holding back a deluge of plastic bags, a small child lifts a single one to reveal green shoots beneath. Illustration by Chris Johnston

    Small impactful climate action for the rest of us

    • Katherine Richardson
    • 11 October 2019
    9 Comments

    Ruling out an individual's efforts simply because they aren't perfect seems to be a fantastic way of discouraging people from joining what is an incredibly important movement. But climate action doesn't have to be about perfectionism — it's about doing the best you can, and sometimes even small changes can make a big difference.

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  • A woman is arrested by police during the Extinction Rebellion protest in Sydney on 7 October 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

    No time to be polite about climate

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 08 October 2019
    19 Comments

    No-one should be fooled: the politicians and commentators who condemn civil disobedience are the same politicians and commentators who attack the UN for passing resolutions on carbon; who tell scientists to get back to the lab when they speak out on politics; who do everything they can to keep climate out of the parliament.

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  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert

    Existential lessons from road kill

    • Cristy Clark
    • 26 September 2019
    6 Comments

    In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert explains that we have placed animals in a lethal double bind: they have to move due to the effects of climate change and habitat destruction, but their pathways are blocked by roads or occupied by humans. Some might ask why this mass extinction should matter to us, but we ignore it at our peril.

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  • Address Unknown by Katherine Kressmann Taylor

    Nazi fable's modern resonance

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 22 October 2019
    3 Comments

    A major part of Martin's so-called patriotism is anti-Semitism, and Martin soon uses the well-worn trope in which the prejudiced person makes an exception of an individual. After declaring that the Jewish race is 'a sore spot', Martin tells Max he has loved him not because of his race but in spite of it.

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  • Rows of identical office cubicles. (Credit: VasilyevD / Getty)

    A day in the lie

    • Damian Balassone
    • 21 October 2019
    3 Comments

    This is yer suit and yer tie. This is yer glimpse of the sky. This is yer walk in the rain. This is yer dash for the train. This is yer train to the city. This is yer town without pity.

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  • Paul Kelly performs in 2015. (Credit: Stefan Postles / Stringer / Getty)

    Paul Kelly and the lighthouse in the sky

    • Julie Perrin
    • 14 October 2019
    7 Comments

    The musicians stepped forward, heads close around one microphone. The words of the 23rd Psalm were familiar and re-cast all at once. They met us in hope and in despair in 'the middle of the air'. There was a space of yearning there; the space where artists, songwriters and psalmists send us. That is the place we can be met.

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