Justin Glyn | 08 February 2016
Churches across Australia have made headlines by offering sanctuary to those who stand to be returned to Nauru following the High Court ruling, including 37 babies and a raped five-year-old whose attacker still resides there. In doing so, they have been rediscovering an old concept and reminding the government what refugee law was for in the first place. As in the Dark Ages, where the organs of the state are unable or unwilling to protect the vulnerable, it is the churches who are speaking out.
Kerry Murphy | 05 February 2016
The practice of governments using the Parliament to change the law in order to win court cases is unfair, as only one party to a court case has the power to do this. The M68 case decided on Wednesday, which challenged the detention and transfer to Nauru of asylum seekers, was effectively won by the government because they changed the law retrospectively to make sure they would win. No retrospective fix will be possible for people who fled persecution only to face a punitive and hostile policy.
Fatima Measham | 05 February 2016
The Bernie Sanders phenomenon in the US, like Corbyn in the UK and Podemos in Spain, demonstrates the rhetorical potency of renewal; of politics not as usual. It is the sort of thing that resonates with disaffected young people. While it is not entirely sensible to extrapolate developments in the US to Australia, it is worth speculating on the impact of our own changing demographics. Are the major parties equipped to take advantage of these shifts? Are they appealing to a new Australia that is already here?
Frank Brennan | 04 February 2016
Following Wednesday's High Court decision, the moral depravity of Australian funded offshore detention of asylum seekers, including children, is to continue. There is no joy to be found in our High Court applying a Constitution even more bereft of human rights protections than that of Nauru. It's time for our politicians to address the political and moral question: what purpose is actually served by sending this mum and her baby back to Nauru, when the boats have already stopped and will stay stop?
Andrew Hamilton | 03 February 2016
Of the United Nations Days and Weeks, World Interfaith Harmony Week is one of the most recent and perhaps the most modestly celebrated. It may also be the most needed. But the conversation cannot be confined to the churches and to those with religious faith. Its claim needs to extend beyond religious faiths to secular views of the world. The obstacle to such conversation is the religious settlement in Australia and Western nations, which can be described as negative tolerance.
John Warhurst | 02 February 2016
It is understandable that Turnbull sees no benefit in a second heroic failure caused by moving too soon. But political leaders who wait for overwhelming popular support are self-serving, because top-down support is needed for success. While January brought unprecedented approval from political leaders and the support of the Australian of the Year, the Australian Republican Movement must continue to be energetic and ambitious, and meet Turnbull's challenge to become still larger and more popular.
Justin Glyn | 01 February 2016
Australia woke on 26 January to the news that David Morrison had been named Australian of the Year. One of the most striking features he displays is empathy. It is a quality in vanishingly short supply in public discourse, yet is fundamental. Unless we can put the individual on a broader canvass, our world view is incomplete. I am important, but unless you are recognised as being just as important as I, then you are just a plaything for me. My rights are bounded by your rights, your value as a person.
Celeste Liddle | 01 February 2016
On the day of the Invasion Day rally in Melbourne, I was abused for wearing a pro-Aboriginal rights t-shirt. I wasn't shocked. Indeed, I even expected it. It is not the first time I have been abused as an Indigenous activist on Australia Day. What did shock me were the media reports on the rally. When I read that the densely packed, energetic, noisy crowd consisted of only 150 people, I was surprised, to say the least. I and other seasoned protesters estimated the crowd at around 3-5000.
Mike Bowden | 29 January 2016
The Northern Territory News and the ABC reported this month that the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company had been unsuccessful in its tender for continuing tenancy services to the Town Camps of Alice Springs. Despite being a product of the Intervention, CAAHC had developed a powerful model of community housing and had the support of the Central Land Council and the wider Aboriginal community. It appears that these are not attributes the NT government admires.
Richard Leonard | 28 January 2016
This is one of the angriest films you will ever see. In the Bible we hear about righteous anger, where God or humanity realises something is so wrong and sinful that 'holy anger' is the first and right response. At its best in the scriptures this anger leads to justice, making things right. Spotlight is an occasion for holy, righteous anger and every adult Catholic should see it.
Jim McDermott | 28 January 2016
Not long ago a priest visiting from abroad told me that the story of Spotlight doesn't really apply to his country. 'We don't have that problem here.' It's a comment you get somewhat regularly from some parts of the world. Would that it could only be true. Without a much greater willingness on the part of the institutional Church to let itself be broken and changed by what we have learned since January of 2002, it's more likely a sign of disasters still to come.