Barry Gittins | 01 April 2015
Former Australian Salvation Army world leader General Eva Burrows, who died on 20 March, tried in vain to engage the former British PM in making the preferential option for the poor. ‘Margaret Thatcher was a disappointment,’ the General said. ‘I felt she didn’t have a deep, true feeling for the poor. I invited her to come out on the soup run indirectly and said it wouldn’t be a media event, we’d go incognito, but the answer was no.’
Marlene Marburg | 31 March 2015
i am small and lowly at the feet of my Christ. my hair is sharp like needles on his skin. my tears wash the dirt stuck to his wounds.
Mathew Drogemuller | 31 March 2015
The WA premier plans to increase mandatory prison sentences for burglars. Mandatory sentencing regimes fail to take into account the underlying causes of the crimes they seek to punish. They remove a judge’s discretion to avoid a sentence of imprisonment, and fail to address the reality that such crimes reflect social problems that ensue from racial discrimination and colonial dispossession.
Kate Howarth | 30 March 2015
I was sent to St Margaret's Home for Unwed Girls, and when I didn’t buckle to pressure to surrender my son for adoption, I was tossed onto the street. I went from rock bottom to rise to the top of my field, only to have everything pulled from underneath me. I managed to get back up again and realise my childhood dream of one day becoming a writer, lending a voice to tens of thousands of young women who lost their children in what is now known as 'forced adoption'.
Michael Mullins | 30 March 2015
Netflix and the Daily Mail are not concerned about whether people in a local area get safer roads or a new cancer treatment centre. Nor, it seems, are Fairfax and Newscorp. There was a time when nearly all media outlets were independent of each other, and locally owned by proprietors who cared as much about the welfare of their regions and cities as they did their own bottom line.
Brian Matthews | 27 March 2015
During the West Indies 1960-61 tour of Australia, Frank Worrell and his predominantly black team transfixed Australians from coast to coast and, without any missionary intent, struck a resounding blow at the White Australia Policy, which was still in place. This jubilant, exciting story prompts questions about today's masses, who enthusiastically support harsh, and arguably racist, treatment of asylum seekers.
Brian Toohey | 27 March 2015
Although the age pension will cost about $49 billion in 2017-18, it is means tested. In contrast, superannuation concessions are heavily biased in favour of high income earners. Both sides of politics pander to the wealthy and the cosseted finance sector, which want certainty that nothing will stand in the way of their super bonanza.
Andrew Hamilton | 26 March 2015
Daniel Mannix, who was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63, knew how to control an audience and shift the perception of events. He argued fiercely against conscription in the 1917 Referendum, and railed against the exploitation of struggling workers. On finishing his new biography, I imagined a meeting between him and Pope Francis, both masters of public symbols with a disdain for church clericalism and sanctimonious speech.
Tim Kroenert | 26 March 2015
At the height of the Troubles in Belfast, a young British soldier becomes separated from his unit and spends a night lost in one of the city's most dangerous locales. The city is fractured along numerous lines: it's not merely Catholic versus Protestant; the radicalised youths of the Provisional IRA are at odds with their established forebears. Rarely have the Troubles been so grippingly portrayed.
Fatima Measham | 25 March 2015
Mandatory data retention was a bad idea when it was originally floated during a Gillard Government inquiry. It is a worse idea now, and is set to become law for political reasons, not because it has been properly scrutinised. There are important questions that we should be asking, and we should not let ourselves be put off from doing this if we don’t know the difference between data and metadata (there is none).
Peter Kirkwood | 25 March 2015
A hallmark of Francis' papacy has been his calls for 'a Church which is poor and for the poor'. He has given new currency to the sometimes controversial concept 'preferential option for the poor', which has strong associations with Liberation Theology. Sydney theologian Rohan Curnow recently completed his PhD thesis and a book on the history and application of the 'preferential option'.