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Identity on the line in the fallout over Anzac free speech

2 Comments
27 April 2017 | Rohan Salmond

Yassmin Abdel-MagiedEven though the post was quickly withdrawn and an apology issued, the backlash has lasted more than four days. It was enough to warrant a front page story on The Daily Telegraph, a call for Abdel-Magied's dismissal by the deputy prime minister and public repudiations by half a dozen government front benchers and other politicians, including Pauline Hanson. It's ironic that the very commentators who constantly rail against political correctness are apoplectic about a woman being politically incorrect.


Changi war remembrance asks how we keep peace today

27 April 2017 | Francine Crimmins

Two Malarias and a Cholera by Ray ParkinThe air-conditioned bus offers a sanctuary from the tropical temperatures outside. It's hard to believe these are the same temperatures experienced by inmates over 70 years ago on this site. It is not often that we consider peace as something we must constantly work for. Often it is portrayed as something which can be achieved and then passed down to us. Changi reminds us we shouldn't become complacent in our memory of war because it might cause us to lose sight of how we keep peace today.


Why we will never give up flying

11 Comments
26 April 2017 | Greg Foyster

Aeroplane flies out of a coal power station chimney. Cartoon by Greg FoysterI haven't flown for six years. I didn't feel a pressing need to travel, but most of all I didn't want to make such an enormous contribution to climate change. A return flight from Melbourne to London pumps about 1.8 tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, wiping out other efforts to reduce emissions at home. But now here I am on a Jetstar flight to Sydney for a climate change conference. As the plane takes off, I squirm with a sense of hypocrisy: I've broken my vow for the same reason I made it.


The counter-cultural, rehumanising work of volunteers

4 Comments
26 April 2017 | Fatima Measham

Vinnies volunteersA significant portion of the work that goes on in our economy is voluntary. It features in many contexts, such as social welfare, mentoring, animal welfare, landcare, local sport, and arts and literary activities. It can be hard to make a case for volunteering at a time when labour exploitation is rife. Students, migrants and Indigenous people, who need to establish work experience, are particularly vulnerable when it comes to unpaid work. This does not mean that volunteer work can never be meaningful.


Youth justice system needs reform not repression

7 Comments
25 April 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Hand print on wallWe need only to imagine ourselves as a child subject to the practices described in these accounts, to find them scarifying. The recurring images of children lying in the foetal position, in solitary confinement, hooded or surrounded by guards say it all. When we set them against the results of research into the biological and psychological development of children, detention, prolonged lockdowns, isolation and a culture of punishment are destructive and counterproductive.


Bad sports and politics

4 Comments
25 April 2017 | John Warhurst

John CoatesRecent adverse coverage of sporting organisations has revealed once again what looks like widespread organisational dysfunction. Sport is such a major part of Australian life that we should all be interested in what goes on within the multi-million dollar organisations that run it, whether it be the big football codes, cricket, tennis or the Olympic sports. The stakes are huge and the issues, including self-interest, interstate rivalries and personality conflicts are eerily familiar in public life more generally.


East Timorese heroes of Australian wars

15 Comments
23 April 2017 | Susan Connelly

Australian commando in East TimorFearful of the southward thrust of the Japanese, the Australian government entered East Timor against the wishes of its Portuguese colonisers. The move was not to protect the Timorese, but to thwart possible attacks on Australia. A band of intrepid Australian soldiers, never numbering more than 700, successfully held off thousands of Japanese in Timor, but only because they had the support of the local people. Between 40,000 and 60,000 Timorese died as a result of Japanese reprisals.


Easter illuminates Anzac Day rhetoric

3 Comments
23 April 2017 | Michael McVeigh

Jim Caviezel as Witt in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red LineThe transition from Easter to Anzac Day in Australia can be a strange one, particularly when the two celebrations come in the space of two weeks as they do this year. At Easter, we move from the terrible desolation of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. It's the foundation story for the Christian faith, and speaks of the arrival of new life and hope for the world. Anzac Day forces Christians to confront a different reality - that this new hope has yet to be fully realised.


Citizenship changes make a new enemy of the migrant

13 Comments
23 April 2017 | Catherine Marshall

Migrant familyAustralia has long had a successful migration program, and the country's economic success is proof of this. So when Turnbull calls a press conference to impart the news that 'membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia', he is making a redundant point. The vast majority of migrants and new citizens already do this.


The language of exploitation in the online labour market

3 Comments
23 April 2017 | Daniel Nicholson

Deliveroo bicycle delivery personWhen you are in the business of exploiting people, language matters. A recently leaked document from Deliveroo is geared to emphasising that the people who deliver food for Deliveroo are and should remain independent contractors, not employees. In 2016, a Unions NSW report into the employment practices of gig-economy company AirTasker categorised the online labour market as 'unregulated Taylorism within a Dickensian marketplace where workers compete for bite-sized fragments of labour'.


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