Andrew Hamilton | 02 October 2014
IS - the Islamic State - is getting a bad press. Deservedly so, for its brutality and totalitarian instincts. In the headlines, references to 'evil' and 'pure evil' have been dominant. This characterisation is unhelpful for a number of reasons. We must be careful not to empty the word 'evil' of any meaning.
Kerry Murphy | 01 October 2014
Last week, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison proposed migration law changes that he said would speed up processing of the backlog of refugee claims, and allow asylum seekers to 'get on with their lives'. In fact they do nothing of the sort. The new temporary protection visa (TPV) denies family sponsorship, travel to visit family, and more.
John Warhurst | 30 September 2014
The difference between the approach by the British and Australian governments is striking. In Britain, Prime Minister Cameron, despite having a large majority, made the parliamentary debate in Westminster central, while in Australia Prime Minister Abbott spoke only of 'updating' the Parliament on his return from New York. There should be greater involvement by Parliament in Australia for reasons both of substance and symbolism.
Tony Smith | 29 September 2014
Unfortunately, when people pin their hopes for a just and fair society to a corporation, they can be sadly disappointed. A spate of deaths around the country suggests that many corporations have plenty of power to influence governments to produce policies and legislation convenient for their operations, but fail to take responsibility for their bad outcomes, which include deaths in workplaces.
Zac Alstin | 26 September 2014
The message of a recent VicHealth survey is that changing attitudes to gender equality will have the biggest impact on attitudes to violence against women. But what about those of us who already have positive attitudes to gender equality? We can go beyond a superficial and reactive focus on key outcomes and cultivate a deeper appreciation of a person's individual worth.
Andrew Hamilton | 25 September 2014
The justified insistence that Muslims should not constantly be called to account for the vicious behaviour of Islamic State is a reminder of the attitude towards Catholics in an earlier generation. They combined suspicion of anything Irish in the aftermath of the 1915 Uprising and more traditional judgments of Catholics on the basis of their beliefs and practices.
Valerie Wangnet | 24 September 2014
In Ancient Greece, Hippocrates used the term 'hysteria' to account for emotional instability and mental illness in women. This is a diagnosis that survived up until the first sparks of the women's suffrage movement in mid–19th century. In the case of food animals, we are told that they cannot think, suffer or feel pain.
Evan Ellis | 24 September 2014
From 1 January 2015, China will ban the import of coal with high ash or sulphur content and impose a three per cent tariff on all coal imports. In the muddle of politics and policy, we have a concrete example of worsening environmental conditions forcing policy makers to act. Australia's economy propped up by coal exports, but it's also time to think beyond the specific implications of China’s proposed restrictions.
William Gourlay | 23 September 2014
Turkey and Iran, the two major regional powers against whose borders ISIS jostles, have, each for their own reasons, declined to participate militarily in President Obama's action against ISIS. The likelihood or benefits of working in concert with Iran can be debated long and hard, but in the meantime the Kurds clearly emerge as the immediate go-to allies. Positioning them as such, and arming them, will change the dynamics of the region.
Kerry Murphy | 23 September 2014
We have adopted the dictum that our enemy's enemy is our friend. But the situation changes so rapidly on the ground, and working out who our 'allies' are is a very difficult and high risk activity. We are not even clear on the Rumsfeldian known unknowns, let alone the unknown unknowns.
Irfan Yusuf | 22 September 2014
Today the Kalimah Shahada is being used on flags of groups whose mission is to kill Sunni and Shia Muslims. Imagine how it must feel to be a Sunni Kurd or a Shia Iraqi or an Alawi Syrian . Imagine how it must feel to be an ordinary Shia or Alawi or Sunni Australian walking around in a Sydney shopping centre and being treated by one's neighbours as an ISIS fighter.