Vol 21 No 23

21 November 2011


AUSTRALIA

Conscience matters in gay marriage vote

43 Comments
01 December 2011 | John Warhurst

Penny WongAny parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage will highlight the human experiences of MPs, who will reflect, often painfully, on questions of sexuality within their family and among friends. Should same-sex marriage ultimately win out, such stories will play a crucial role.


EUREKA STREET TV

From prisoner to religious poet

1 Comment
01 December 2011 | Peter Kirkwood


From prisoner to religious poet

01 December 2011 | Peter Kirkwood

Prison barsRobert Adamson discovered a love for reading and writing poetry while serving time in prison as a young adult. His 2011 Blake Poetry Prize winning poem reflects on the experience of discovering divinity by contemplating emptiness and darkness. 


ARTS AND CULTURE

Voyeur God comes to sordid Sydney

9 Comments
30 November 2011 | Tim Kroenert

XShay has escaped from her abusive stepfather into a life of prostitution. Holly has accumulated wealth as a high-class call girl. Their work is more dangerous than either had imagined. For them, if there is a God, he simply watches, rather than watching over.


INTERNATIONAL

Moral madness of Melbourne abortion horror

29 Comments
30 November 2011 | Lyn Bender

ChooseLast week's medical error at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital threw into sharp relief Australians' 'split personality' in celebrating conception but turning a blind eye to the rights of the unborn. I am not writing from lofty heights. I had an abortion at age 30. 


ARTS AND CULTURE

Tribute to the non-defeatist graffitists

14 Comments
29 November 2011 | Philip Harvey

Keith Haring mural MelbourneI harbour a quiet pleasure at seeing dull square buildings of grey concrete slabs scintillatingly covered with outlandish swirls of colour. We know why they do it: to resist boredom, to challenge conformity, to strike out at a world that is not listening, to leave a mark when all other avenues are closed.


AUSTRALIA

Jobs lost to the office evolution

7 Comments
29 November 2011 | Paul O'Callaghan

Fingers on a typewriterIf you walked into a public service office in the early 1980s, you'd see typing pools, mailrooms and whole floors full of people doing routine clerical work. People with disabilities were disproportionately employed in low level positions. Today, most of those positions have gone.


CARTOON

Murray Darling downer

29 November 2011 | Fiona Katauskas

'Murray Darling downer', by Fiona Katauskas


ENVIRONMENT

Truth drowned in river system's fight for life

19 Comments
29 November 2011 | Charles Rue

Murray-DarlingA Riverina farmer told ABC Radio that the environment will always survive, but once communities die, they're gone. The truth is that without protecting the ecological health of the rivers, dependent communities will not survive.


RELIGION

The Pope in Alice: 25 years on

19 Comments
28 November 2011 | Frank Brennan

Pope John Paul II in Alice SpringsProtocol dictated that he could not wear Aboriginal colours. But local custom won out when he donned a black, red and yellow stole given to him on the track. His speech put strong challenges to the Church, but offered too optimistic a reading of the prospects of Aboriginal Australians taking their rightful place in it.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Christmas Island crabs

28 November 2011 | Various

Moon madChristmas for crabs; their island blooms with a rare largesse of flesh mashed to pulp on rocks — such 'palatable human refuse'.


AUSTRALIA

Gillard's Speaker dirty trick could backfire

30 Comments
27 November 2011 | Michael Mullins

New House Speaker Peter Slipper will have no authority if parliamentarians do not grant it to him. Opposition MPs do not respect him because of his history of disloyalty and questionable behaviour. If Slipper fails to command authority, it is arguable that Tony Abbott should be granted his wish of an early poll.


MEDIA

Germaine Greer and gay exploitation

25 Comments
27 November 2011 | Matthew Holloway

ManIt is commonly thought that men represent both the main producers and consumers of pornography. Germaine Greer points out that men are also its victims. In the case of gay porn, just because there is no woman involved doesn't mean that it is not exploitative.


AUSTRALIA

Family violence and The Slap

20 Comments
24 November 2011 | Moira Rayner

White Ribbon DayAs anyone who has read or watched The Slap would know, violence is intimately connected with power, ego, frustration and sex. The most sympathetic characters are prepared to take on an adult world of subtlety and complication, on honest terms. So let it be with violence in our homes.


Death by a thousand yuppies

2 Comments
24 November 2011 | Ellena Savage

Pubs with boutique beer are creeping their way north. Day-old bread at the café where the yummy mummies drink lattes is $4. Gentrification. The cycle of life. I want to save my heartland from this fate, but I should first register my own complicity. 


RELIGION

Two faces of the Catholic Church

44 Comments
23 November 2011 | Andrew Hamilton

Monsignor John Murphy, the recently deceased former Director of Catholic Immigration, always responded to problems as people in need.  After the suspension of ordinary process following the retirement of Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby, Catholics there may feel themselves seen as problems rather than as people.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Aboriginal community ditched by church and state

8 Comments
23 November 2011 | Tim Kroenert

Daniel Connors, Toomelah

The remote community of Toomelah was a state-run Aboriginal mission with a strong church presence. A raft of social problems have emerged in place of the traditional culture that was usurped by these influences. Cultural extinction is perhaps the biggest issue facing such communities.


Songs and stories of Sri Lanka's war

5 Comments
22 November 2011 | Martin Mulligan

Nallur Temple in central JaffnaAfter a meal cooked in the distinctive Jaffna way, the multi-talented Professor treated us to a repertoire of his own songs about his mother, victims of the 2004 tsunami, and those who had suffered during the war. Songs and stories of lived experience, translated into all the languages of Sri Lanka, might achieve more than the government's Reconciliation Commission.


AUSTRALIA

Time to fix leaky nuclear treaty

5 Comments
22 November 2011 | Justin Glyn

Nuclear symbolGiven the leakiness of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, it is scarcely surprising that Australia is not concerned about the possibility of breaching it in selling uranium to India. If the world is serious about developing real safeguards against nuclear proliferation, the treaty needs to be replaced, not ignored.


CARTOON

Yours, mines and ours

1 Comment
22 November 2011 | Fiona Katauskas

'Yours, mines and ours', by Fiona Katauskas


RELIGION

Labor's Intervention on steroids

16 Comments
21 November 2011 | Frank Brennan

SteroidsThe National Apology began a process of relationship-building with Aboriginal Australians. This process has come to an end, with ministerial calls for racially targeted docking of welfare payments for parents whose children are not attending school on remote communities.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Religion's homophobic scratch and sniff

9 Comments
21 November 2011 | Barry Gittins

Goat scapeVile denunciations and allegations waft across the vast expanse of space and time. Flatulent Dutch ovens of bigotry aloft fly, as adult, equal love's tagged 'sin', not raft to finding solace, as surely as the Made seeks the Maker's consoling deeps.


AUSTRALIA

Sending a message to Gillard about the new cold war

16 Comments
20 November 2011 | Michael Mullins

If large numbers of Australians are worried about the threat to Australia's sovereignty posed by a few thousand asylum seekers arriving by boat each year, surely they would have wanted to be consulted on the use of Australia's territory in a potentially game changing US posturing exercise against China.


Celtic tiger down but not done

2 Comments
20 November 2011 | Edmond Grace

EU flagAnyone trying to describe the mess in Europe needs to be clear about where they stand in it. The mess in Greece has a different feel from the mess in Ireland, or the mess in France or Germany. The prevailing mood in Ireland could be described as hope, which is not to be confused with optimism.