Ali Winters | 17 March 2014
Insurer AAMI's 'Rhonda and Ketut' Balinese love story, teased out over four commercials and three years, has come to its soapy end. Whether you loved it or cringed, its camp, cocktail soaked tentacles have penetrated the Australian mainstream. But the knowledge Australians have for our closest Asian neighbour is poor. According to a DFAT report released last year, 30 per cent of respondents didn't know Bali was part of Indonesia.
Carmel Ross | 14 March 2014
Reports from the Royal Commission this week have focused on the efforts of John Ellis to have his experience of sexual abuse as a teenage boy, perpetrated by a Catholic priest, acknowledged and adequately addressed by the Church. The finding by the High Court that Australian law as it stands does not allow an individual to sue the Catholic Church is an untenable situation if our nation believes justice for individuals is important.
Paul Collins | 13 March 2014
The greatest danger is that we expect too much from Francis. He brings a new perspective that has little to do with the preoccupations of the developed world. But we shouldn't kid ourselves that he is a closet progressive. The other danger is that he could turn out to be all show and no substance. His 'Gang of Eight' has not even begun to address the diabolically difficult problems embedded in reforming the curial structures of the Vatican.
Andrew Hamilton | 13 March 2014
The conflict began with falling church attendances and a decision by the Koroit parish priest to rationalise resources. Although Regina Lane describes in detail the battles to save St Brigid's, her book is far more than a protest song against the power of the Catholic Church. The larger stories embodied at St Brigid's, the immigrant groups who formed the first congregation and their relationship to the first Australians, have continuing importance.
Megan Graham | 13 March 2014
The broad support Francis receives from progressives, despite his unwillingness to even consider female ordination, demonstrates how marginalised women's issues really are in our society. He may have changed the game in terms of the Church's engagement with the poor, but this does not diminish the significance of his oppressive and outdated views on gender roles.
David James | 12 March 2014
Economics is full of circular arguments. The Government is on the one hand arguing — most notably with the SPC Ardmona case, the exit of the car manufacturers and Qantas — that it will not get involved in supporting Australia's industry base. But then it argues that its policies will boost Australia's industry base. Lower unemployment will inevitably follow. For the first time ever it is apparently possible to have it both ways.
Maureen O'Brien | 12 March 2014
Soprano Deborah Cheetham was in her 30s when she was reunited with her birth mother. It was the beginning of her understanding of herself as a Yorta Yorta woman and member of the Stolen Generations. At the time she was in the throes of composing her opera, Pecan Summer, based on the 1939 protests by Aboriginals from the Cummeragunja Mission. She soon learned that the story was closer to her than she had realised.
Kerry Murphy | 11 March 2014
When I was young, I remember being encouraged to give up lollies or chocolate for Lent. On the eve of the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday last week, the Immigration Minister announced he would be effectively giving up granting protection visas for refugees for the duration of Lent, and beyond, until 1 July.
N.N. Trakakis | 11 March 2014
After being shown in by the girly secretary into his spacious office, you were invited to sit in a corner chair, from where you stared at his polished black shoes, and his new brown cardigan.
Michael Mullins | 10 March 2014
The Federal Government plans to change the Racial Discrimination Act to give preference to free speech over protecting individuals and groups from vilification. It is not surprising that there is strong media support for the changes, as they will give investigative reporters and shock jocks alike the legislative freedom they need to do their job. But the Government must include robust legislation to penalise those who get their facts wrong.
Fatima Measham | 10 March 2014
After more than a decade of refugee advocacy, campaigns still cater to small 'l' liberals and progressives. They are of course critical to consolidating support for asylum seekers and sustaining political pressure. Yet the debate has become so polarised that it would seem as if the left has a monopoly on compassion. This is a serious campaign problem because it alienates those who might otherwise be allies.