Vol 21 No 18
Palestine takes a stab at statehood
It has been said that giving certain countries independence was like giving a razor to a child. As Palestine makes its bid for full membership of the UN, it may do well to remember that any successful strategy should focus not on statehood but on rights.
Muslim artists' vision of multifaith Australia
Muslim artists' vision of multifaith Australia
Since its inception 60 years ago the Blake Prize for religious art has courted controversy. Several recent entries have been denounced in the media as blasphemous or sacrilegious. This year's exhibition presents a striking portrayal of contemporary multifaith Australia.
Simple answers to economic blues
The weak August retail sales have disturbed market watchers. The more ideologically inclined have blamed lefties who look down on shopping and consuming. Throughout history simplicity, thrift and voluntary poverty have been valued highly by many philosophies and religions.
The mystical art of rudeness
The interviewer snaps at one archaeologist, who is attempting, with little success, a demonstration of Palaeolithic spear-throwing. At other times he is astute and discerning, drawing experts out on both the academic and mystical significance of one of the world's most significant archaeological sites.
My father's good death
The day my father died I was at the beach. Strangely, that morning one friend and I had been discussing death. My phone had been switched off, but as I walked away at the end of an almost perfect day, I turned the little time-bomb on again. It exploded almost immediately.
Media Inquiry won't go far enough
In arriving at its negotiated position with the Greens, the Government has shied away from any explicit examination of media concentration, arguably the main reason behind the widespread calls to examine the structure of the Australian media in the first place.
Gillard's dire straits
Chance meeting with an inventor
Hans shows me an invention which magnifies letters for his failing eyes, so that still he may read, so that still the winds may turn the bronze art coins of his perception. Cobweb-like sculptures dream upon some shelves, poetry is the wing of his bird-like speech.
Former terrorist pres a hard sell for Irish voters
When it comes to leopards changing spots or terrorists turning into statesmen, former IRA chief-of-staff Martin McGuinnes is up there with Mandela and Mugabe. His entry into Ireland's presidential race on the weekend is significant, as the rest of the field is desolately dull.
Rudd resurrection no miracle cure for Labor
If Rudd was re-installed as leader, Howard's Lazarus impersonation and Menzies' return to office in 1949 would have been outdone by the most remarkable twist ever in Australian politics. Only insiders know whether it might happen. Only voters know whether it might work.
Managing our mining windfall
While we have have East Timorese students coming here to learn about how to look after their oil sector, Australia should be sending people to East Timor to look at their outstanding example of how to safely and wisely preserve oil revenue for future generations.
Vigilante Xenophon's name shame
Sexual offenders among clergy and church workers have often used their privileged status to act as though they were above the law. By using parliamentary privilege to name an alleged perpetrator, Senator Nick Xenophon has acted in a way that is, ironically, all too similar.
Sex discrimination by the book
Women are prevalent among book buyers, editors and writers, yet largely absent from major literary pages and prizes. The Stella Prize, Australia's proposed new women's-only literary prize, is best viewed not as 'affirmative action' but as social mobility with a feminist face.
Why Gillard is the PM we deserve
I'm not worried about Gillard's abysmal rating in polls. I'm not convinced anyone but journalists and backbiters have any real desire to roll her. There is no obvious alternative to Gillard as Labor leader, but there is an obvious need for a party which stands for something.
Exposing UN sex and violence
UN peacekeeper Kathryn Bolkovac uncovers evidence that some of her colleagues have been involved with sex slavery and human trafficking. Her interactions with one victim reinforce her determination to achieve justice, while highlighting the limits of her ability to do so.
MARGARET DOOLEY AWARD
One American physicist claims each breath we take contains molecules of air that were also breathed by Archimedes, Aristotle, and even Jesus Christ. Through physics, religion, the human body, and mythology, there is a thread that weaves us into a continuous rich tapestry.
Carbon tax saves Gillard (for now)
Though Gillard's leadership has started to come under pressure, no one in Labor will want to overthrow her until the carbon pricing laws package is securely in place. This means no challenge before the first half of 2012. Only then, if opinion polls keep trending down, may Gillard be vulnerable.
Labor's sinking feeling
In a spin over Malaysia solution reboot
Yesterday the Government announced it will change the Migration Act to enable the Malaysia solution to go ahead. This latest action reinforces rhetoric about queues and people smugglers that obscures the real effects and motivations of current asylum seeker policy.
Favourite body parts
Thank you feet, for putting one after another along shorelines and long paths ... Sorry for all the concrete, landmines and shoes. To hands, many thanks, for touching many things ... I hope you enjoyed the feel of another's occasional flesh.
Liberated Libya's fatal flaws
The disparate strands of Libya's revolution have been held together by a single unifying thread: a visceral desire to oust Gaddafi. Extremely effective as a rallying cry for rebellion, this anti-Gaddafi sentiment is deeply flawed as the unifying narrative for a new nation.
Australia's refugee bastardry is biblical
The stories of Jesus' trial highlight the triumph of expediency over legality and morality. The Malaysia solution and the scramble to restore it contains detailed similarities. The people of the time are now remembered principally for their participation in an act of bastardry.