Vol 21 No 11

05 June 2011


AUSTRALIA

Australia's mining menace

14 Comments
16 June 2011 | Steven Littlewood

Handful of coalTo view the mining sector as central to the welfare of the economy is a furphy. The mining industry is not supporting other sectors of the economy, it's holding them back. Even in the states where mining dominates, the positive effects of the industry boom on the wider economy are questionable.


EUREKA STREET TV

Buddhist nun's social activism

4 Comments
16 June 2011 | Peter Kirkwood


Buddhist nun's social activism

16 June 2011 | Peter Kirkwood

Robina CourtinA December 2000 article in The Age said Robina Courtin has 'been a black belt in karate, one of many daughters in a large Catholic family, a supporter of the Black Panthers, a radical lesbian separatist feminist and a lot else besides'. As a little girl she wanted to become a Catholic priest. Instead she became a Buddhist nun.


REVIEWS

Students in sex work

4 Comments
15 June 2011 | Tim Kroenert

Emily Browning, Sleeping BeautyIn May a German study revealed that one in three students in Berlin would consider sex work as a means of paying for their education. We've seen similar phenomena in Australia. In Sleeping Beauty, Lucy is a university student who finds herself drawn into working a bizarre niche in the sex industry.


RELIGION

Pope's theory on clergy sex abuse

33 Comments
15 June 2011 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope BenedictBenedict uses large theoretical constructs to reflect on the condition of Western societies and the Church. This can simplify complex realities and provide a focus for reflection and conversation. But the weaknesses of this approach are revealed when he blames bad moral theory for sexual abuse by the clergy.


CREATIVE

Greek crisis viewed from the corner store

4 Comments
14 June 2011 | Gillian Bouras

Greek corner storePanayiotis runs the mini-market he inherited from his father. I have known father and son for 30 years. 'How do you see things at this stage of the krisi?' I ask him, for I'm always asking people what they think of Greece's financial crisis. 'What crisis?' he grins. 'Greece has got a crisis; Greeks haven't.'


CARTOON

Cycling and recycling Nauru

1 Comment
14 June 2011 | Fiona Katauskas

'Cycling and recycling Nauru', by Fiona Katauskas


AUSTRALIA

Reclaiming Labor's lost soul

18 Comments
14 June 2011 | Fatima Measham

Labor, Southern Cross

Voters who'd otherwise position themselves between the conservative Liberals and radical Greens are stranded. They are looking for leaders who would rather lose big on matters of principle than win by a margin on compromised policy. History has shown Labor to be the natural home for such leaders.


CREATIVE

Beethoven's vision of God

2 Comments
13 June 2011 | Thomas Shapcott

BeethovenHe was deaf as a lamppost in the end, so that he never heard a note of it. We listen still, and we hear the sound of what it was like to be alone. We are surrounded. After all these years we have to believe that god was important.


AUSTRALIA

Admiring the homeless

8 Comments
13 June 2011 | John Falzon

CEO SleepoutFar from being demonised, people living rough on the streets should be respected and admired for their tenacity and inventiveness. This week a group of business and community leaders will seek to learn from the people who live in the guts of our greatest social problem.


CREATIVE

Plagued by mice and climate change deniers

7 Comments
09 June 2011 | Brian Matthews

Mouse plagueConsidering the severity of South Australia's mice infestation and earlier plagues of locusts, you can be forgiven for feeling positively biblical. Many Australians, some in 'high places', need climate change to demonstrate its presence with such murderous, repeated efficiency.


MEDIA

Blogs and monsters

2 Comments
09 June 2011 | Fatima Measham

In declaring internet access a human right, the UN's special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression insisted that the internet must be maintained at all times 'including during times of political unrest'. He could have said 'especially'.


REVIEWS

No sympathy for abusive clergy

15 Comments
08 June 2011 | Tim Kroenert

Hugo Weaving and Emily Watson, Oranges and SunshineThe Christian Brothers have made efforts to atone for cases of child abuse that occurred in their institutions. That Oranges and Sunshine condemns them universally is due less to malice than to the fact that the filmmaker's sympathies sit squarely with the victims.


AUSTRALIA

Exporting kids and cows

25 Comments
08 June 2011 | Moira Rayner

Cow, Live Export, Indonesia, Four CornersOn Tuesday the Government 'suspended' transport of Australian live cattle to Indonesia. This is not a ban, but a hiatus. Public outrage over the export of live cattle is hypocritical given the lack of outrage regarding the inhumane treatment of asylum-seeking children.


CREATIVE

My refugee friend

9 Comments
07 June 2011 | Kerry Murphy

TucTuc was an officer in the South Vietnamese army. After the war ended in 1975 he was interned by the North Vietnamese for many years, locked up in a hole in the ground. I asked him how he survived. He smiled and pointed to his picture of the Madonna.


AUSTRALIA

Losing the fight for fair wages

5 Comments
07 June 2011 | Brian Lawrence

Fair Work AustraliaThe 2011 wage review occurred 120 years after the release of the papal document Rerum Novarum, which had a significant impact on the development of Australian minimum wage-setting. The minimum wage provisions of the current Fair Work Act cannot be regarded as a success.


CARTOON

Malaysia Express

1 Comment
07 June 2011 | Fiona Katauskas

'Malaysia Express', by Fiona Katauskas


RELIGION

Islam in denial over burqas

16 Comments
06 June 2011 | Muhammad Izhar ul Haq

French burqa ban, Pakistan protestEverything Western nations do is analysed by the Muslim world in the light of 'conspiracy theories'. Fanatics present the French burqa ban as a reflection of anti Islamic sentiment. In fact millions of Muslim women in France and elsewhere do not cover their faces.


CREATIVE

New English biblical translation

1 Comment
06 June 2011 | Paul Dignam and Jonathan Hadwen

Beauty HoardJesus said 'G'day mate, why don'tcher try a cast off the point there, I had a few bites just now, reckon you'll catch a feed, at least. I'll get the billy on ...'


AUSTRALIA

NSW and Victoria's 'tough on crime' confusion

7 Comments
05 June 2011 | Michael Mullins

While Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark pushes for tougher treatment of young offenders, his NSW counterpart Greg Smith is looking to Victoria's current 'enlightened' model, which favours early intervention over punishment.


How not to treat asylum seeker kids

9 Comments
05 June 2011 | Kerry Murphy

Woomera, 2001. It's late, and we've been working for days. I give the detainees' children highlighters to draw with; unknown to me, one of them draws on the office wall. The next day an officer from the camp accosts me. 'This is damaging government property. Someone will have to pay for it.'


Why we swear

6 Comments
05 June 2011 | Philip Harvey

Swear word censoredFining people for swearing is silly. We can no more control what people say than we can hold the wind, or even a very large fart. Victoria's swear-fine laws are likely to be used either as threat or reality on those who can least afford the fine and cannot fight back.