Vol 26 No 8

24 April 2016


AUSTRALIA

Legislating for human dignity without being misty-eyed

4 Comments
01 May 2016 | Kate Galloway

Peter Dutton on Sky NewsI have often wondered at the likely success of entreaties to compassion for asylum seekers. This is not because I do not personally feel compassion for these people. And it is not because I do not believe that it is morally correct to show compassion, including through government policy. Rather my response is partly a factor of my training as a lawyer. Through my legal eyes, I can see little hope for appeals to politicians to show compassion. My conditioned response instead is to appeal to law.


MEDIA

Channel 7 needs to get with AFL's non-violence program

01 May 2016 | Garry Westmore

Alex Rance hit on Jack WattsArguably, as a society, Australia's tolerance for violence is waning, and both the AFL and the NRL have been proactive in diminishing the prevalence of deliberate and reckless violence that might endanger players' safety. Unfortunately, despite the AFL's desire to stamp out the more dangerous incidents, many televised football commentators are hindering the cause by making excuses for players, playing down the severity of their actions, and failing to condemn them.


INTERNATIONAL

Face to face with the dark side of paradise

2 Comments
28 April 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Samoa cyclone skyIt can be a dangerous thing, travelling to paradise. Those turquoise lagoons and white beaches and lush hills often conceal a more sinister side, a Mr Hyde to the brochures' bright-and-shiny Dr Jekyll. So it was on Samoa this week, when Cyclone Amos skirted by. We were told it was headed for Samoa's main island, Upolu, where we were staying. Still, we felt calm, for there wasn't a breath of wind in the sky. Later, at the height of it, I stood up in the dark, opened the curtains and looked outside.


Paying for stopping the boats

6 Comments
28 April 2016 | Kerry Murphy

xxxxxThis week we learnt that the human rights protection for asylum seekers in our former colony Papua New Guinea are more protected by the PNG constitution than they would be in Australia. The PNG government has quickly moved not to change the law and constitution, but to make arrangements to close the centre and ask Australia to take back the asylum seekers. Already PNG lawyers are talking about claims for compensation for the unlawful detention, and rightly so.


Cheque book solution on asylum is unconstitutional

27 Comments
27 April 2016 | Frank Brennan

Placard reads Close Australian Concentration CampsA bench of five justices of the Supreme Court of Justice, the highest court in Papua New Guinea, has unanimously ruled that the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island is unconstitutional. Yet again, Australia has been complicit in its Pacific neighbours (PNG and Nauru) prostituting their Constitutions and undermining the rule of law in exchange for a fistful of dollars, with hapless asylum seekers, most of whom are ultimately proved to be refugees, being left to languish.


ECONOMICS

Negative gearing is the end of the Australian Dream

8 Comments
27 April 2016 | Kate Galloway

Greg Foyster cartoon shows cross-stich house and motto Tax Break Sweet Tax BreakHistorically, having a largely home-owning population has ensured both the social benefit of housing, and an economic benefit through enforced saving with long-term growth. In contrast, the negative gearing push splits the cultural and economic meaning of home ownership, because it focuses on investment. Negative gearing promotes property ownership but not home ownership. Thus the social benefits of home ownership that we have come to expect give way to bare economic indicators.


MEDIA

No moral mystery to 60 minutes child snatch disaster

9 Comments
26 April 2016 | Ray Cassin

Tara Brown on 60 MinutesThere have been attempts by some in the media to mount a moral justification of 60 Minutes' actions. At least they were trying to do the right thing, by helping a mother who would not have been denied custody in Australia But that opens another slimy can of worms. Do we think 60 Minutes would fund a child abduction in Australia, rather than a Muslim country with religious courts, however much the parent they were purporting to help might seem to have been denied custody unfairly?


CARTOON

Little 'bull

1 Comment
26 April 2016 | Fiona Katauskas

Malcolm Turnbull shrinks as he becomes less impressive and trustworthy. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


CREATIVE

Domestic violence is more than an attitude problem

3 Comments
26 April 2016 | Kristin Natalier

Still from anti DV adThe federal government's new ad aims to 'stop violence from the start'. It sends a strong message that violence is never acceptable. But it firmly positions domestic violence as a problem of individual attitudes of perpetrators, not the social and economic vulnerability of victims. Envisaging an end of domestic violence achieved through 'starting conversations about respect with boys and girls' sidesteps the need for the material resources necessary to stop violence when it happens.


No wonder the warrior-dead still weep

1 Comment
26 April 2016 | Peter Gebhardt

Military hat and poppiesThe children are in the park today, running, skipping and laughing. They slide down the cannon, polishing the past with freshly-pressed pants, a mother's delight. 'Always tell the truth,' the mother says, 'If you lie, you'll burn.' ... The day is closing, patient and gentle in its suffering, but the great lies will not lie down. Lies breed lies like flies on dead sheep and the masquerade of maggots makes its creep.


RELIGION

Anzac Day and just war scepticism go together

24 Comments
24 April 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Australian Soliders marchThe classical arguments originated at a time when casualties were suffered mostly by soldiers. In modern warfare, civilians overwhelmingly suffer. Just war theory is used as spin to give specious justification to military campaigns in whose devising ethical considerations played no part. Wars that governments wage are just; those waged by their enemies are unjust. By joining in such debate churches are co-opted into playing an intellectual game designed to make legitimate killing and destruction.


ENVIRONMENT

The boat people from paradise lost

7 Comments
22 April 2016 | Lyn Bender

Lyn Bender and Ursula RakovaUrsula Rakova told how the sea that had been the friend of her people, was turning against them. It had crashed through and divided her island in two. Coconut palms were collapsing at the new shoreline. Food gardens were lost, as the soil was increasingly rendered infertile by salty tides that washed over them. The land that had been handed from grandmother to daughter, would bequeath no legacy to the granddaughters. The homeland of generations was disappearing before their eyes.