Evan Smith | 27 October 2016
While the White Australia Policy attempted to prevent non-white workers from living and working in Australia, people from across the globe continued to do both, although often at the margins of white Australian society. The Australian Labor Party and the trade unions were complicit in maintaining this racial divide. In Australia today, a new wave of migrants is working in convenience stores, driving taxis or cleaning buildings. They are part of the Australian working class, but are often not considered such.
Neve Mahoney | 27 October 2016
The 'men's rights' documentary The Red Pill has been pulled from Melbourne's Palace Kino cinema, sparking debate over censorship and what constitutes partisan reporting. The men's rights movement holds that 'feminism has gone too far', to the point that men are discriminated against. Since the internet and the third wave of feminism, the majority of MRA groups seem to be little more than a veil for misogynists to legitimise their sexism. It's a shame, because there are some MRA groups who raise real issues.
Fatima Measham | 27 October 2016
Unless you have lived elsewhere, where taxes and rates rarely manifest as a tangible and permanent benefit, it is easy to take councils for granted. I grew up in a town where potholes are forever, healthcare is ad hoc and libraries are private. The things that I see my local council do as a matter of routine are wild luxuries in other places around the world. Such competencies arguably measure the health of a democracy - it means that most of the money has not been lost to corruption and fraud.
Tim Kroenert | 26 October 2016
Perhaps it is the high egocentricity of Woody Allen's films that makes it difficult to separate the man from his work. More so even than Roman Polanski, the allegations of sexual abuse that have been levelled at Allen in life lend an unsavoury flavour to his art. Even revisiting Annie Hall these days, Allen's classic and endlessly innovative 1977 romantic comedy is tainted retrospectively by a sneaking sense of sexism, if not outright misogyny. The same is true of Café Society.
Justin Glyn | 25 October 2016
This is a tale of two cities. Both are occupied by militants holding to an extremist reading of Islam which gives no space to other faiths or opposing voices. In both cases, the defenders are using civilians as human shields and preventing them from leaving in the breaks granted by the besieging forces. Both are under attack by the internationally recognised governments of the countries in which they are situated. In both cases, civilians are suffering. Yet the narratives in the west are wildly different.
Moira Rayner | 25 October 2016
This damnable pursuit of Gillian Triggs must stop at once. Triggs is an outstanding independent statutory office holder, one of the many appointed by governments over decades to remind them of Australia's international human rights obligations and to oversee the functions of laws to mitigate social wrongs such as age, race, disability and sex discrimination in public arenas. But no government likes watchdogs on the moral and legal limits on its power.
Andrew Hamilton | 25 October 2016
When surveying one's world it is always dangerous to forget the past. Australian historian John Molony's recent book about Italian priest and politician Luigi Sturzo is an accounting, showing how easily democracy, freedom and respect for human rights can be surrendered both by politicians and by the Catholic Church. It invites reflection on our situation today. The Italy in which Mussolini came to power and in which Sturzo operated has haunting similarities to today's world.
Sonia Nair | 24 October 2016
Social theorist Pierre Bourdieu posited the disturbing finding that academic underperformance in lower-class students could be traced back to their lack of cultural capital, defined as 'familiarity with the dominant culture in a society, and especially the ability to understand and use 'educated' language''. According to Bourdieu, the mainstream education system assumes a certain level of cultural capital and as a result, educators speak in a manner that is only understood by a privileged few.
Brian Doyle | 24 October 2016
This is what I saw at a funeral, on a bright brilliant crystal spring day which the late lamented would most surely have called a great day for golf: His grandson, age smallish, dandling the deceased's favourite club on the lawn outside the church, as all the mourners stood around chatting. The boy whirled it like a baton, and balanced it on a finger, and finally leaned insouciantly on the club, exactly as his grandfather had so very many times before. It seemed very much to be a prayer, somehow.
Gillian Bouras | 21 October 2016
Before I turned five, I was in the serried Monday morning ranks of children who had to swear, among other vows, to honour the flag. Years later I watched, shocked, as a Greek friend burst into tears at the sight of the emblematic blue and white stripes at a soccer match: big, strapping Panayiotis sobbed helplessly for quite some minutes. Today the American elections are almost upon us, and Old Glory has naturally been very much in evidence throughout this most gruelling and worrying of campaigns.
Greg Foyster | 21 October 2016
On 28 September an extreme storm lashed South Australia and the entire state lost power. How could this have happened? It's a question that has occupied the country for the last three weeks as politicians and commentators have peddled their unqualified opinions in an escalating culture war about the role of renewable energy. No one really knew what had happened until Wednesday this week, when the AEMO released its updated report. Even now, there are more questions than answers.