Vol 24 No 23

24 November 2014


Killing Religion an own goal for ABC managers

30 November 2014 | Michael Mullins

ABC RN logoABC presenter Quentin Dempster has referred to a 'nincompoop' in senior ABC management who was heard to comment on the need to get rid of the 'strangle-hold of specialisation'. Radio National is the home of specialisation at the ABC, and religion has been one of its signature specialisations, because of the public broadcaster's 'cultural diversity' charter obligation. Management is executing the emasculation of the ABC that Rupert Murdoch expects from the Abbott Government as a reward for his role in its 2013 election victory.

Don't forget it's 'World' AIDS Day

1 Comment
30 November 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

World AIDS Day LogoWorld AIDS Day encourages us also to think of Africa, the continent most afflicted by AIDS. Cultural and economic factors are also significant, including the need for men to live far away from home in order to find work, and women driven to sex work. It is an issue of fairness, making us ask people in wealthier nations owe to those in poorer nations.

Why Phil Hughes' death resonates

30 November 2014 | Kerry Murphy

Phil Hughes battingYoung people are dying every day around the world, in tragic circumstances. Yes somehow the sudden and unexpected death of a young cricketer has the headlines. Maybe it was because he just did what he loved and did not make a fuss about being dropped from the test team, but he went back to working hard and making his way back into selection.

Long-grassers seen as blight on Darwin's iconic foreshore

27 November 2014 | Mike Bowden

Darwin EsplanadeDarwin has a group of homeless people who live rough in the vicinity of the beautiful and iconic Esplanade, close to the city centre. The Vinnies SOS van has been servicing their needs for many years, but the decision has been taken to move it several kilometres away, out of the sight of the residents and tourists. This contrasts with Pope Francis' installation of showers for the homeless on the edge of the tourist mecca of St Peter's Square.

Harper Review's new world of public service for profit

27 November 2014 | Julie Edwards

Competition Policy Review website screenshotProfessor Ian Harper's Competition Policy Review could lead to radical change in the public services in which our governments invest over $184 billion (or 12.1 per cent of GDP) each year. Time-honoured public service values that include citizenship, fairness, justice, representation and participation, are threatened when services are seen as products that can be broken up and sold on the market. 


Shock of the new bourgeois reality

27 November 2014 | Ellena Savage

San Francisco bourgeois houseThe need for artists to exist inside an economy regulated by middle class tastes and preferences restricts the possibilities for their work. But when our present is rocked by the incredible injustices we are watching unravel in Ferguson, artists are called upon to drop their aspirations for class mobility that is tethered to the material, and instead draw light on the immaterial, Emerson's 'secret'. 


Dark descent to ethics-free journalism

26 November 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Jake Gyllenhaal on blood stained stairs with cameraThe 'intervention dilemma' is a perennial consideration for journalists and those who pay them and ought to be dictated by robust personal and institutional ethics. Louis Bloom is an example of what happens when ethics are stripped away and replaced with the bottom line. He raises himself from petty thief to the rank of nightcrawler — a cameraman who specialises in shooting the aftermath of accidents and crimes, and selling the footage to news networks.


Disruption of government business as a good

26 November 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Obama at UQPresident Obama stole the G20 show with his mesmerising Queensland University address, after having dominated APEC with Xi Jinping and their climate change agreement. Such unrelated events challenge the belief that agendas can be centrally controlled, and that good governance is constituted by discipline and sole ownership of the agenda. More recently, the Senate has managed to call the shots and give priority to human good over ideology.


Clivey had a little Lambie

25 November 2014 | Fiona Katauskas

Fiona Katauskas' cartoon Clivey had a little Lambie depicts Clive Palmer leading Jacqui Lambie to parliament only to have things go awry

View this week's political cartoon from Eureka Street's award winning cartoonist.


How Pope Francis took the world by surprise

25 November 2014 | Peter Kirkwood

Pope Francis is one of the most prominent international leaders at present. In our Skype conversation, US born Vatican watcher Robert Mickens shares his frank views on the relatively brief but highly significant, surprising and unsettling pontificate of Pope Francis, who has declared that almost anything is open for discussion.


Sleazy private lives should not affect our judgment of professionals

25 November 2014 | Paul Begley

Spurr caricatureIt's easy to be swayed in our assessment of people's professional competency by whether we find their private opinions and behaviour to our liking. Individuals like Sydney University Professor of English Barry Spurr and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper have had their reputations as professionals trashed even though their performance in their job has been rated highly. 

Jacqui Lambie and wildcard senators are not rogues

24 November 2014 | Tony Kevin

Jacquie Lambie tells the Senate she is quitting PUPJacqui Lambie has resigned from the Palmer United Party, apologising to the nation for weeks of acrimonious sniping and instability in parliament. We can understand the hostility of the major parties, and even the Greens, to independent and PUP senators who took office mid-year. But it is not in their self-interest to try to exploit differences and to weaken and destabilise the newbie senators.


Suitcase crammed with affluence

24 November 2014 | Jena Woodhouse

Young woman with suitcaseWhat they thought could not be read in faces pinched with need. They plodded on, a ragged band of hungry, thirsty refugees, hoping for a crust of bread ... Perhaps tomorrow, there'd be grapes and oranges awaiting them; farmers who would pay in kind for harvesting.


The things you can't get for free

23 November 2014 | Michael Mullins

Free Lunch signThanks to Senators Jacqui Lambie and Ricky Muir, we can once again trust our financial advisers. There are some things that are worth paying for. If somebody else pays for something, it's likely that we will get what they want, not what we need.

Unauthorised maritime arrivals don't have names

23 November 2014 | Kerry Murphy

Asylum seeker silhouetteI recently received a letter for Ali in which he was referred to only by his boat number and the term 'illegal maritime arrival (IMA)'. He was worn down by the long process of winning his case and being accepted as a refugee. His self-esteem was destroyed by a long period in immigration detention. His identity is now also gone.