AUSTRALIA


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The power of persuasion in confronting fascism

23 February 2017 | Daniel Nicholson

Reclaim Australia protestorsIn the footage of one violence protest, I was shocked to see a handful of my homeless clients, draped in Australian flags, engaged in street battles with anti-racists. These young men had experienced alienation, exploitation and poverty - all the things the Left is supposed to fight against. Long, uncomfortable conversations don't make for good social media content, yet if Australia is to stare down the threat of a rising alt-right it won't be done by yelling at right wing fringe groups across a police barricade.


Netanyahu visit drives the Palestine wedge deeper

7 Comments
21 February 2017 | Andra Jackson

Benjamin NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia this week is having precisely the opposite impact to what he no doubt intended. Instead of shoring up support for Israel's flagrant disregard for United Nations resolutions condemning its continual annexation of Palestinian land, it is driving a deep wedge into what was previously unflagging bipartisan Australian political party support for Israel. Australia's connection with Palestine actually predates the creation of the state of Israel.


Trump's 1984 is Turnbull's Animal Farm

12 Comments
19 February 2017 | Brian Matthews

Pigs from Animal FarmIn these duplicitous times it's not surprising to find Nineteen Eighty-Four cited. In Airstrip One, WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH - a Nineteen Eighty-Four equivalent of a Tweet with plenty of character space left to add insults. And all facts are alternative, as in the news, 'Oceania is at War with Eurasia', which becomes before your very eyes, 'Oceania has never been at war with Eurasia.' For events closer to home, Orwell's Animal Farm is disturbingly apposite.


Making space for diversity in the cultural square

1 Comment
19 February 2017 | Tseen Khoo

JLF Melbourne logoRecognising the necessity of initiatives and events in which you would not participate but that others find exciting and worthwhile is partly about social generosity. It's also about acknowledging that the public culture that surrounds you is not - and should not - only reflect you and your priorities. Ideally, it would involve knowing about, and potentially advocating for, the presence of groups and voices that are currently absent or misrepresented.


Catholic voices against runaway capitalism

19 Comments
19 February 2017 | Michael Walker

Finance Catholique by Antoine Cuny de la VerryèreThe presidency of Donald Trump should bring a renewed focus on the dangers of unbridled capitalism. The Catholic Church has a rich trove of teachings on the subject that have been missing in action for the past 30 years. Now is the time for a well-articulated Christian message addressing such issues as widening wealth inequality fuelled by stagnant wage growth, the privatisation of public services, the financialisation of the economy (which fuels both of those trends), and tax justice.


Hansonism is normal and everything is not fine

10 Comments
16 February 2017 | Tim Robertson

Pauline HansonThis is not the beginning of the normalisation of Hanson and One Nation: it's the end. In a piece for The Monthly, Dominic Kelly highlighted how large swaths of the rightwing commentariat have embraced the 'more mature', 'disciplined' and 'principled' Hanson 2.0. Despite this rhetoric, for the Right, appeasing One Nation has always been a balancing act. They're guided by one question: How much racism is permissible before it has to be condemned?


We all benefit from having migrant workers

9 Comments
15 February 2017 | Fatima Measham

Migrant workersThere's not enough jobs because foreigners are stealing them. Wages aren't going up because foreigners drag them down. Graduates aren't finding positions because skilled worker visas are being given out too easily. Such answers are potent in pockets of Australian society that would rather blame outsiders than demand their government create new jobs, lift the minimum wage, improve work conditions and training, and mediate skills transfers from industries that are contracting, such as mining.


Aboriginal custody inquiry means little without action

7 Comments
13 February 2017 | Kate Galloway

Dark skinned hands grip barsThe Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Indigenous incarceration in Australia recognises and validates widely held concerns. On the other hand, it also represents the abject failure of successive governments around the country to pay heed to what we do know about the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, including the failure to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.


Uprooting toxic inequality

19 Comments
13 February 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Bottle of poisonIn itself inequality is not harmful. It is part of the diversity proper in any human society. But the inequality that is now in question is toxic because it is extreme when measured by any scale, and because it is programmed to increase. It is self-perpetuating and self-intensifying. The increase of wealth of the few entails the marginalisation and impoverishment of others. Inequality is the enduring root and not the transient blossom of the plant of social division.


Close the gap between public and private mental health care

8 Comments
09 February 2017 | Naomi Fryers

Anxious looking womanIn my mid-20s, I sectioned under the Mental Health Act into the public inpatient system. The experience is so etched in my mind that it wasn't until recently, half a decade on, that I finally managed to shake the residual anxiety. A single admission to the public mental health system saw me crippled by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. By contrast, I've never had an inpatient admission to a private psychiatric hospital where I haven't been discharged in comparative good health.


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