Catherine Marshall | 24 April 2017
Australia has long had a successful migration program, and the country's economic success is proof of this. So when Turnbull calls a press conference to impart the news that 'membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia', he is making a redundant point. The vast majority of migrants and new citizens already do this.
Daniel Nicholson | 24 April 2017
When you are in the business of exploiting people, language matters. A recently leaked document from Deliveroo is geared to emphasising that the people who deliver food for Deliveroo are and should remain independent contractors, not employees. In 2016, a Unions NSW report into the employment practices of gig-economy company AirTasker categorised the online labour market as 'unregulated Taylorism within a Dickensian marketplace where workers compete for bite-sized fragments of labour'.
Jena Woodhouse and Ian C. Smith | 24 April 2017
Now, the forces of annihilation once again cohere, as if this were a valve in history's cardiac arrhythmia that faltered and unleashed a haemorrhage of horror, trauma, fear. The damask roses bloom unharvested in devastated fields. Their perfume cannot mask the stench that permeates the air, the atmosphere of dread, of mute despair. But when the juggernaut of war is redeployed elsewhere, the fragrant fields will come into their own, if there are hands to care.
Susan Connelly | 24 April 2017
Fearful of the southward thrust of the Japanese, the Australian government entered East Timor against the wishes of its Portuguese colonisers. The move was not to protect the Timorese, but to thwart possible attacks on Australia. A band of intrepid Australian soldiers, never numbering more than 700, successfully held off thousands of Japanese in Timor, but only because they had the support of the local people. Between 40,000 and 60,000 Timorese died as a result of Japanese reprisals.
Michael McVeigh | 24 April 2017
The transition from Easter to Anzac Day in Australia can be a strange one, particularly when the two celebrations come in the space of two weeks as they do this year. At Easter, we move from the terrible desolation of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. It's the foundation story for the Christian faith, and speaks of the arrival of new life and hope for the world. Anzac Day forces Christians to confront a different reality - that this new hope has yet to be fully realised.
Gillian Bouras | 21 April 2017
Every Anzac Day there seem to be arguments about the legitimacy of what has been called the One Day of the Year. In the past I have taken my turn at rebutting views that express the belief that such days are part of a wholly reprehensible glorification of war. I've had a great deal of time to think about the matter, and also have a personal involvement: my grandfather and father were in the Australian Army, and both saw active service, about which periods they hardly ever spoke.
Andrew Hamilton | 21 April 2017
At Anzac Day it is common to set the deaths of soldiers into the context of a larger cause; as shaping a template of national identity. This year we celebrate it in a sea of citizen deaths from terrorism and military actions. Such killings are also often set within a broader context such as democracy, national security, or the Western way of life. Deeper reflection suggests that to attribute meaning and value to people through their relationship to a cause does not enhance but diminishes their humanity.
Kate Mani | 21 April 2017
Ypres' human collateral damage and displacement of those forced to flee is investigated at Ypres' In Flanders Fields Museum. The museum handbook parallels Belgian's WWI refugee exodus with the plight of refugees today fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Africa. It's one way In Flanders Fields Museum is adopting a forward-looking approach to commemoration, pulling World War I's messages and themes out of 1918 and propelling them into the 21st century.
Catherine Marshall | 20 April 2017
Cherry blossom season in Japan is anticipated all winter long but when it arrives it is nothing more than a tease. It is a kind of new year, a starting over, a washing clean of the slate and beginning afresh. But these blossoms hold in their being the promise of death. 'With cherry blossoms, we start things over,' translates my guide, from a haiku. 'And we find beauty not only in the cherry blossoms but also in how they flutter to the ground.' It's from that fluttering that we derive the most valuable of lessons.