Vol 24 No 21

27 October 2014


Medibank Private is not the government's to sell

02 November 2014 | Michael Mullins

Medibank Private Share Offer AdThere has been a rush to purchase shares in Medibank Private since the Federal Government's sale offer opened last Tuesday. Past sales of government owned corporations such as Telstra have produced windfall profits for cashed up Australians able to invest. But what about the rights of the policy holders who were told they were members with ownership of equity in the company?


Constitutionally Australia is a religious country

02 November 2014 | Kevin Donnelly

Constitution of Australia Unlike France, Australia's Constitution specifically accepts the place of religion in the broader society, with its reference to Almighty God in the Preamble. Its only stipulation is that governments should not privilege one religion over another, or unfairly discriminate. Moreover, our legal system and institutions might be secular in nature, but they draw heavily on Christian ethics and morality.


Who wants to be a capitalist?

30 October 2014 | Moira Rayner

Young couple search for affordable housingAffordable housing ought to be a hot election issue. Sadly it’s not a government priority, with ordinary people being taught to be entitled to look to capital growth in bricks and mortar as the best path to financial security. That is producing a housing price bubble and public housing is being squeezed. As a result, an increasing number of Australians can’t afford to put a roof over their head.

Looking for depth in the selfie

30 October 2014 | Ellena Savage

Young woman taking selfieI take a lot of selfies. Some of them are silly, coquettish, dramatic. Others are just my face looking into my computer, sitting where I work, dressed in work clothes. They mean more or less nothing. They’re just an inane collection of data on my laptop, or too easy self-portraits. Nothing means nothing, but it says something about the culture. 


Kabul love story

1 Comment
29 October 2014 | Tim Kroenert

decorated eyeOrphan Abdul loves Fatemeh, but her father is demanding a prohibitive dowry for her hand. The financial wrangling between Abdul's guardian Mahboba and Fatemah's father Nik, and all this implies about the ways in which young women's futures can be sold and traded as part of an archaic cultural norm, seems crass and is more than a little disturbing to witness.


Weighing ANU's coal play

29 October 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Coal fired power plantWhen the ANU sold its shares in coal companies recently, it received a mixed response. Critics said investment decisions should be made solely on financial grounds. But investing is done by human beings, who should be guided by their effects of their investment on other human beings, not simply by the profit it brings them. 


The best of times, the worst of times

28 October 2014 | Fiona Katauskas

Fiona Katauskas' cartoon The Best of Times, the Worst of Times shows a day in the life of a political cartoonist who is ultimately depressed by the awful government and useless ALP

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


Sex and gay children in Catholic families

28 October 2014 | Peter Kirkwood

Australian couple Ron and Mavis Pirola’s speech at the Vatican Synod on the Family made them unlikely international media celebrities. They spoke frankly about their sex life and the importance of sex in marriage, and they made a plea for a welcoming attitude towards homosexuals in the Church.


Overplaying the Immigration Minister's trump card

28 October 2014 | Kerry Murphy

AcesFormer Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans once expressed concern about how much personal power was vested in his position when making decisions about particular cases. The current Minister, on the other hand, is trying to increase the number of such powers, and is much more likely to use the ministerial trump card to avoid judicial scrutiny. In a parliamentary system that relies on the checks and balances between the Parliament, Executive and Judiciary, one arm of government should not be able to overrule another.


An ode to thunder

27 October 2014 | Rory Harris

Lightningyou rattled the night around kitchen tables, water glasses filled with new wine healing history, roses on your cheeks & thunder in your heart


Nation building by force in Ukraine and the Middle East

27 October 2014 | Justin Glyn

Refugees fleeing KobaniSyria and Ukraine are just the latest in the roll of civil wars where ossified Cold War rivalries exacerbate conflicts and prevent the forging of a just peace which is in all parties’ interests. Current insurgencies grew out of disenfranchisement. But the relevant powers have declined to involve United Nations to act as independent broker, knowing that each party has the support of a permanent member of the Security Council, whose veto will hamstring any proposed action by the others.


Buddhism's challenge to Christian churches

26 October 2014 | Jenny Stewart

Christianity is a warm, people-centred faith. Buddhism is cool and cerebral. Christianity offers narrative and prophecy of human failing and human glory. The Buddhist sutras are impenetrable discourses on the absolute. Yet Christianity in Australia seems to be fading.

Pope warns punishment is not a way to peace

26 October 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisPope Francis warns perceptively that the urge to create peace by punishment leads to the search for more targets. The best way to peace and security is not to wage war on people but to be curious about them – what leads them to criminal acts, and how we can intervene to help them make good connections with society.