Duncan MacLaren | 18 December 2013
After six years in Australia, I am returning home to Scotland to work for the next year's referendum, which will ask if Scotland should become an independent country. It is essentially a contest between the present insular, Little Englander nightmare and a place in the world as a sovereign state. That's worth leaving Australia for!
Barry Breen | 18 December 2013
Santa walks into a bar and the barman says: Sorry, we're claused. If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, then punning must have a reputation almost as undesirable. A joke that can be greeted only with a groan can hardly be a real joke now, can it? But punning has a rich history. It graces the pages of the greatest of writers. And when it comes to puns, subeditors responsible for article headings believe themselves to be a race apart.
John Falzon | 17 December 2013
Recently Pope Francis blasted the so-called trickle-down economic theories in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Some will scorn his message as naive at best and dangerous at worst, while others will regard it as an urgent enkindling of hope in the face of degradation and despair. The Christmas story hints that another kind of world is possible.
Neil Ormerod | 17 December 2013
Pope Francis' vision for the church of the poor is now joined to a stinging critique of our globalised economy which promotes a 'new tyranny' of unfettered capitalism and an attack on the 'idolatry of money'. While such language has not been uncommon, buried in the riches of Catholic social teaching, this pope has made it up front and centre stage of his message.
Michael Sharkey | 17 December 2013
The bird that has no feathers mocks my language. Runs and flaps its wings at me but cannot fly. Throws land-things at me. We laugh like water, make corroboree in sky.
Frank Brennan | 16 December 2013
Until now, there was some doubt whether the Parliament's constitutional power to make laws with respect to marriage would be broad enough to include laws with respect to same sex marriage. The High Court has put this matter beyond doubt with all six sitting judges affirming that 'marriage' for the purposes of defining the constitutional power of the Parliament could not be confined to marriage in the traditional Christian sense.
Michael Mullins | 16 December 2013
Pope Francis says: 'Work means dignity, work means taking food home, work means loving!' Some commentators criticise the government for taking an active role in maintaining employment through subsidising unprofitable industries. They miss the point that it's the government's job to promote the wellbeing of the people, and having a job is so fundamental to living in modern society.
Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk | 13 December 2013
Deveny has made a career out of bungee jumping between the chasms of good taste, good writing and good sense. She's never been content to accept societal hypocrisy, and that's an occasional strength in her novel The Happiness Show. It becomes increasingly hard though to separate the author from her lead character, Lizzie. Thanks to an overly generous sprinkling of sex scenes, this quickly goes from disconcerting to downright awkward.
Fatima Measham | 13 December 2013
I woke up to the news on a Saturday morning. One year ago tomorrow, a man walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire. In the aftermath, gun lobbyists seethed with high indignation that President Barack Obama was politicising a tragedy. It goes to show that the ones who complain about the politicisation of tragedy tend to be the ones who do not want to do anything about it.
Ray Cassin | 13 December 2013
The immediate responsibility for this looming economic disaster rests with the Abbott Government, and not merely because of its use of a bullying speech in Parliament by the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, to goad Holden into announcing a decision that its masters in Detroit had probably already taken. In the longer term, this should be seen as a bipartisan disaster. What happened this week was the culmination of a process that began under Hawke.
Andrew Hamilton | 12 December 2013
The Declaration of Human Rights exists as a standard by which we can judge our national life and priorities. By these criteria Australian public life displays grounds for concern. In the case of asylum seekers, prisoners and bikies, governments spend more effort on seeking to evade the claims of human rights than to uphold them. In the 'nonsense on stilts' stakes the unfettered appeal to national interest walks far taller than advocacy of human rights.