Vol 19 No 13

06 July 2009


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    East Timor advances despite Australian aid failures

    • Richard Curtain
    • 17 July 2009
    3 Comments

    Life in Dili has improved greatly over the past 18 months. The government has directed large amounts of money into the economy, much of it into the hands of the poor. By contrast, Australia's substantial contribution often appears passive and reactive.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Life of a non-conformist priest

    • Jonathan Hill
    • 17 July 2009
    6 Comments

    Kennedy is not portrayed as a saint. Imperfections such as his unpredictable temper, his occasional liking for a drink and his initial insensitivity to Aboriginal Australians reveal that he, like us, was a man of flesh and blood.

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  • RELIGION

    The meddling priest and the Redfern prophet

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 July 2009
    9 Comments

    Last week, Pope Benedict gave Kevin Rudd a copy of his new encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Rudd gave the Pope a copy of the National Apology. I wonder what the radical Redfern priest Ted Kennedy would have made of this exchange of literary gifts.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Who hates Harry Potter

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 16 July 2009
    4 Comments

    The rule seems to be that one's attitude to Harry Potter should be either obsession, derision, or total lack of interest. If that's true, I'm in a minority: I am an equivocal fan. A few of the books are great. At least one is bloody awful. The movies are similarly hit-and-miss.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    League tables short-change students

    • Fatima Measham
    • 15 July 2009
    12 Comments

    Studies correlate teacher morale with student achievement, so ranking schools according to student performance may be counterproductive if it hurts teacher morale. Finland has the best education system in the world without resorting to league tables.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Irreconcilable dissonance and other reasons for divorce

    • Brian Doyle
    • 15 July 2009
    8 Comments

    Marriages are houses and unless you keep cleaning, repainting and using duct tape with deft punctilio, everything sags and mould wins. The first divorce I saw up close, like the first car crash you see up close, is imprinted on the inside of my eyelids.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bush block rehab

    • John Kinsella
    • 14 July 2009
    1 Comment

    I planted that sapling in ash-soil, with acoustics of the lost tree resounding .. in the now wet and malleable earth, hidden rocks emerge easily and lay claim to surface.

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  • RELIGION

    Who deserves charity

    • Susie Byers
    • 14 July 2009
    10 Comments

    The Pope's social encyclical comes at a time when Australian churches increasingly have to provide charity to those who have been failed by the state. For charity to constitute true giving, social organisations must also be prepared to commit politically.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Homeless people are not toilets

    • Frank Bowden
    • 13 July 2009
    9 Comments

    What we call people can determine the way we treat them. At one hospital in the 1980s, the rank odour of urine, tobacco and grime that characterised some homeless patients led to them being referred to as 'dunnies'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    National pride begets blind arrogance

    • Michael Mullins
    • 13 July 2009
    10 Comments

    Assumptions that detained businessman Stern Hu could not be guilty because he is Australian show how national pride can cloud perceptions. Something similar was at play in calls for Kevin Rudd to lobby the Pope for the canonisation of Mary MacKillop.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The roots of Obama's Afghanistan strategy

    • Ben Coleridge
    • 10 July 2009
    4 Comments

    The current strategy is underpinned by a consensus on counter-insurgency that has gained ground since 2007. Marine Brigadier General Nicholson advocates drinking tea and eating goat with the locals, over and above firing bullets.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Michael McGirr's waking life

    • Morag Fraser
    • 10 July 2009
    4 Comments

    McGirr seems more the magpie than the dormouse. Even when he's curling up under his desk for a post lunch kip you figure he's just giving his brain a few horizontal minutes to organise and file the prodigious miscellany that might otherwise leak out.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A soft voice for China's wild west

    • Paul Rule
    • 09 July 2009
    3 Comments

    It is hard to imagine any solution to the discontent in Xinjiang without a general change in the political culture of China. That seems a distant prospect indeed. For Australia's part, a soft and friendly voice may do more than condemnation or contention.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How Rafters had its pro-choice cake and ate it too

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 09 July 2009
    5 Comments

    When Julie learned she was pregnant, Dave advocated termination. Julie could see his logic, but was also overcome by powerful mothering urges. The writers of Packed to the Rafters are adept at unpacking every skerrick of emotional baggage.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Indigenous health: 'Things that work'

    • Myrna Tonkinson
    • 08 July 2009
    2 Comments

    The focus on the sensational when discussing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health tends to obscure some positives. Many families are dealing with problems of abuse and neglect with remarkable success.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Malcolm Turnbull and the parable of the pelicans

    • Brian Matthews
    • 08 July 2009
    3 Comments

    Years ago, a trout fisherman with 'irresistible' bait was outsmarted by a flock of pelicans. Like a punter with unshakeable conviction, Malcolm Turnbull also learned the hard way that there's no such thing as a dead certainty.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Treeless Eden, oasis of wealth

    • Peter Matheson
    • 07 July 2009

    I spot the odd ornamental shrub .. And even the occasional bird .. Though only sparrows, it seems .. Beloved of the Lord .. Survive this sterile affluence.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Malaysia's threat to Rudd's Asia Pacific Community

    • Greg Lopez
    • 07 July 2009

    Kevin Rudd's visit to Malaysia this week reminds us of stormy bilateral relations under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. With Mahthir's son now serving as an important deputy minister, some now fear a return of 'Mahathirism'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Russia's Soviet nostalgia trip

    • Colin Long
    • 07 July 2009
    15 Comments

    It is strange to see so many symbols of the Soviet past alive and well in Russia. It is too simplistic to say this reflects nostalgia for Soviet times. Much of it is personal nostalgia. The intertwining of private and public memory is complex.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Back to the future for Indigenous youth

    • Brian McCoy
    • 06 July 2009
    4 Comments

    Young people ideally move into adulthood with pride and a sense of generational history. Identity is not just about becoming an individual, but knowing, valuing and embodying one's ancestral past. But moving forwards while looking backwards can be risky.

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