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PTSD the price of keeping the peace

11 September 2017 | Kate Mani

Dr Rosalind HearderThis Thursday will mark 70 years of Australian peacekeeping with a commemorative service and dedication of a new peacekeeping memorial. Dr Rosalind Hearder believes stereotypical perceptions of war and peace can leave Australians with a misguided understanding of peacekeeping. 'It's not the same experience as combat. But that doesn't mean it is easier. The long-term effects can still be damaging.'

Marriage equality postal vote further erodes democracy

31 August 2017 | Hayley Conway

Australia Post boxThe intended postal plebiscite is profoundly undemocratic. It will be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the hope that it will be considered a 'gathering of statistics', not an electoral matter requiring oversight by the Australian Electoral Commission and an appropriation of funds by the parliament. The federal government is circumventing the will of the parliament. This is part of a broader trend to attack, undermine, defund, and erode the democratic institutions we rely on.

Anti-communism in the Liberal Party from Menzies to Turnbull

31 August 2017 | Evan Smith

Cartoon by Chris JohnstonEarlier this year, Turnbull made a speech in London where he called for the Liberal Party to return to its ideological base as laid out by Sir Robert Menzies. Turnbull suggested that the Liberal Party under Menzies was the socially conservative party that many on the LNP's right wish it to be, but it seems that what the Liberals have taken from the Menzies era is a revival of anti-communist rhetoric.

Lawyers the last line of defence for dumped refugees

30 August 2017 | Kate Galloway

Peter Dutton in shadowIt is true that lawyers, in doing their work, have interrupted the government's agenda of attempting to deny the humanity of asylum seekers. However, it goes to the heart of our system of governance that power is exercised within lawful boundaries. It is therefore ironic that the Minister, whose own powers are circumscribed by the Australian Constitution, and who is looking for an easy workaround, should criticise lawyers for being 'tricky'.

Inside the 'glass closet' of a gay Catholic teacher

29 August 2017 | Alex Ryan

Man covering face with transparent handsBeing both gay and Catholic leads to a somewhat fraught existence. On one hand, we have our Catholic peers who, frequently, have trouble empathising with what it means to be 'intrinsically disordered'. On the other, we have our queer friends who are, understandably, sceptical of our allegiance to an organisation that has a deep history of discrimination towards people like us. This existence is further complicated for those of us who choose to partake in ministry that sees us employed by the Church.

A credibly Christian church would respect gay employees

29 August 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Rainbow flagA threat reportedly made, and later denied, by some church leaders was to dismiss from employment in Catholic organisations people who contract same-sex marriages. The argument is that Catholic organisations must uphold the teaching of the church, and that upholding church teaching implies living in a way consistent with it. Whatever the abstract merits of this argument and its applicability to dismissal in limit cases, its general use belongs to a past age.

Compulsory drug testing is no silver bullet

28 August 2017 | Frank Brennan

iceIn an age of 'budget repair' when both sides of politics are trying to contain the welfare budget, the search for savings and silver bullets is relentless. If Ministers Porter and Tudge are really seeking 'a way of assisting people to get off drugs and back into work', they should convince their cabinet colleagues of the need to increase the Newstart and Youth Allowance so that it might provide a real start for assisting people to survive with dignity while preparing for and getting back into work.

Countering Graham Richardson's Balgo claims

27 August 2017 | Brian McCoy

BalgoIn a column for the Australian, Graham Richardson wrote that during a visit to the remote community of Balgo, 'The real shock was that the women could not leave the children at home with the men because sexual assault was so common.' Community members find it very difficult to discuss publicly issues of shame involving others with whom they closely live. It takes time to build up trust and rarely will this ever occur within community meetings, much less in the presence of people they don't know.

Too many words about same sex marriage

23 August 2017 | Neve Mahoney

xxxxxLots of words have already been said and typed about the subject of same sex marriage. Too many, frankly. But it seems that the marriage equality debate will not go away nor be resolved easily, though LGBTI advocates have said that the homophobic anti-same sex marriage campaign will be damaging to the mental health of LGBTI people. Of course, the very idea that civil rights should be put to a public vote is demoralising.

The beloved countries are still crying

22 August 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

xxxxxSeventy years ago Alan Paton wrote Cry the Beloved Country. His novel opened many Australians’ eyes to the wounded South Africa that lay behind its colonial surface. His elegiac conclusion was prescient of the two generations that followed.

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