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Despite census results we dismiss religion at our peril

29 June 2017 | Christine Burke

Crowd aerial viewThe origins of hospitals, schools and social services can be traced back to the efforts of people of faith. Much poetry, art, drama and literature grapples with the deeper meaning of life in dialogue with a larger vision found through the everyday challenges of our lives. This religious urge can re-emerge as nationalism, racism, greed, or narcissism, and these have no inherent counter force to question their authenticity. The truths at the base of great religions reorient us towards love, peace and justice.


Tolkien's inspiration for climate advocates

2 Comments
28 June 2017 | Tim Beshara

Scene from Lord of the Rings movieTo Tolkien, 'the long defeat' described the idea that so often in the world you find yourself fighting for a cause where there is very little chance of success, but you fight for it anyway because it is the right thing to do and because you can't imagine doing anything else. He paired this with the concept of eucatastrophe, a sudden and unexpected change of fortune for the better. Despondent climate activists do well to remember that the latter doesn't come without the former.


A sensitive view of high school gay romance

28 June 2017 | Tim Kroenert

Some films seem custom made for the high school English curriculum. First Girl I Loved should be essential viewing and a conversation starter for teenagers and their parents, for its sensitive and authentic exploration of the lived experiences of young people coming to terms with their sexuality in a high school context.


Grenfell Tower laying inequalities bare

1 Comment
27 June 2017 | Saman Shad

Grenfell TowerThe Lancaster West Estate, which contains Grenfell Tower, is among the top ten per cent of the most deprived areas in England, but is located within the wealthiest local authority. As a former resident of the area the disaster has validated what I knew all along: that events such as these bring out both the best and the worst in people, and that this little corner of West London is a microcosm for greater society and an increasingly unequal world where the poor suffer while the rich increasingly prosper.


The wedding party

6 Comments
26 June 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Liberal Party is divided during a same sex wedding. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas


This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


ChatterSquare Extra: How science intersects with politics, religion and the humanities

3 Comments
26 June 2017 | Podcast

Chattersquare logoIs science political? Does it actually have something in common with religion? And how do the humanities enhance scientific endeavour? We tackle these questions with @realscientists co-founder, science communicator and nanotech researcher Upulie Divisekera.


Family matters: Strengthening respectful relationships

5 Comments
25 June 2017 | Frank Brennan

Here in Ballarat, you know better than most other Catholics that respectful relationships in the church community have been rent asunder by the depredations of child sex offenders whose exploits went unchecked by those ordained to exercise tradition, authority, teaching and discipline. We will strengthen respectful relationships only with a voluntary commitment to truth, justice and healing — and not one forced by a royal commission or public odour. 


Live by love and not by fear

4 Comments
25 June 2017 | Frank Brennan

These cardinals have a few strong concerns. They think the pope should be setting down clear universal rules that apply to everyone in every situation. Having spent a life time as a pastor in Buenos Aires, Francis knows life is much more complex and messy than that. These four cardinals pine for the papacy of John Paul II. John Paul was a great leader and a great pope for his time. Francis is also a great leader and a great pope for his time, for our time. John Paul and Francis are very different. But then again, the times are very different.


RIP David Passi, last surviving Mabo plaintiff

2 Comments
25 June 2017 | Frank Brennan

David Passi on Thursday IslandAnglican priest, traditional landowner and land rights campaigner David Passi has died. He was the last surviving plaintiff in the historic Mabo decision. A year after the Mabo decision I travelled to the Torres Strait and met James Rice and Passi, the two successful litigants in the case. Returning by boat to the mainland from the island of Mer in the Murray Islands, the waters of the Torres Strait were exceedingly calm.


Health gap widens as wage growth falls

6 Comments
25 June 2017 | Amy Coopes

Cardiovascular diseaseUniversal health care is an ostensibly bipartisan prerogative, but what it actually means and how it's achieved is a somewhat moveable feast. Spending, we are told, is unsustainable as the population ages and we move toward ever-more personalised and technologically-advanced treatment paradigms. The objective of this rhetoric is to rationalise the privatisation of our health system by stealth. The latest wages figures are something of an inconvenient truth in this 'unsustainable spending' fiction.


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