Susie Garrard | 29 August 2016
As tickets go on sale for this year's round of music festivals - Falls, Defqon, Bluefest, Lost Paradise, to name a few - organisers still have no means to counteract unsafe drug use. Recent years have seen an increase in drug related injuries and fatalities at festivals. The debate as to how to counteract this worrying trend is ongoing, and tricky to navigate due its subjective nature. Yet when zero tolerance policies clearly haven't worked, it's time to turn to harm minimisation measures.
Peter Hosking | 29 August 2016
Young people flirt and explore sexuality but this should always involve trust, respect and consent. Right relationships rely on trust, and the more sensitive something is then the greater the responsibility we have to protect people's dignity. It is concerning that some young men presume to exercise power so callously. In objectifying others and treating sex as a commodity, they betray the fundamental aspects of good relationships. Young women are not sexual commodities and young men are not entitled to request and circulate these kinds of intimate images.
Greg Foyster | 26 August 2016
On 7 July, South Australia experienced a cold snap. As residents turned on their heaters, the still and cloudy conditions meant wind and solar power couldn't contribute much to meeting electricity demand. The last coal plant had closed a few months before, pushed out of the market by renewable energy. As if on cue, the spot electricity price spiked. Instead of a lesson about the danger of too much wind power, it's about the danger of too much market power in the hands of a few big players.
Andrew Hamilton | 25 August 2016
Almost all public conversation quickly turns to transgressors. Olympic competitors growled about proven and suspect drug users. Many wanted people found to have used drugs shamed and shunned. This insistence that transgressors should definitively lose their good name and the right to participate is not confined to sport. If inflexibility and exclusion become the rule in dealing with aberrant speech or behaviour we find unacceptable, they will impose heavy burdens on individuals and society.
Tim Kroenert | 25 August 2016
War Dogs is the latest in a string of films from the past few years that are custom made for our cynical times; deeply ironic black comedies and dramas featuring antiheroes who profit to the point of excess off the misery of others. Where those films dealt with the finance industry and gained relevance from the backdrop of the Global Financial Crisis, this one shifts focus to the grimier world of arms dealing, in the context of Bush era conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jim McDermott | 24 August 2016
Maybe standing there we weren't afraid about the fight that was happening across the street, but the fraying at the edges that it represents, the insecurity that the gospel both of Trump and against Trump seems to be creating in our society. It echoes the insecurity we hear in the Brexit vote, and the treatment of both ethnic British citizens and immigrants that followed. Likewise, the resurrection of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party. None of it sounds good and where is it all going?
Madeleine Hamilton | 24 August 2016
The response from police and others in authority to recent cases involving the abuse or exploitation of adolescent female sexuality is depressingly reminiscent of attitudes held more than 50 years ago. While it was no defence to argue that the girl had consented, if it could be proven she had had consensual intercourse with other men previously, the offender could be acquitted. Consequently, in carnal knowledge trials, girls were frequently accused of having rich histories of sexual activity.
Geoff Page | 23 August 2016
What's he doing in my dream, that cardinal from Ballarat? He's in some sort of seventies presbytery or hardwood hall, shirt-sleeved but with collar on and playing ping-pong like a pro, fully-focused, yet relaxed. Forehand, backhand, lob or smash, nothing is beyond his reach. The other player is unseen but plainly worthy of attack. There's just the click of celluloid foreshadowing the rise to Rome. No ball hit that's not hit back.
Moira Rayner | 23 August 2016
I had been in WA for exactly a year when the local newspaper reported that a white guy had led about 200 people off Wave Rock station. Coming out of the comfortable myth that my home country of New Zealand was not racist, I was amazed to learn that Australia's Indigenous people were obliged to work without industrial protections. In 1966 it was the British Vesteys Group that had been exploiting Aboriginal people: today it is the State in the guise of 'community development', aka work for the dole.
Gillian Bouras | 22 August 2016
When we were all younger, I wrote about my three sons. In the words of Sir Thomas More, their characteristics strangely tugged at my heart, and like More, I fed them cake, ripe apples and fancy pears. Among other things. But eventually there was a mild rebellion about the writing, in the course of which my eldest threatened to send me a bill. Now I write about my grandchildren, three boys and a girl, who are too young as yet to be so commercially minded.
Michael McVeigh | 22 August 2016
Australia appears likely to fall well short of its pre-games medal target. This has led to criticism of the government's funding strategy, which has seen money poured into elite sports where Australia has traditionally been most successful or where medals seemed most likely. This approach inevitably leads people to calculate whether Australia has received 'value for money' for its investments. But it doesn't have much to do with what people actually get out of watching or being part of the Olympics.