Vol 22 No 1
Long road to the Indigenous referendum
The proposed referendum follows the 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations and provides an opportunity for this Labor era to be remembered whenever the Indigenous story is told. Passing a referendum is exceptionally difficult and there is no fool-proof recipe for success.
Detention centre project spruiks art and humanity
Detention centre project spruiks art and humanity
In his Australia Day address, neurosurgeon Charlie Teo denounced racism and called for more compassionate treatment of refugees. In that spirit, Sydney artist Safdar Ahmed runs free classes in detention centres. He is inspired by the emphasis on social justice in Islam.
Beyond Australia's adolescent identity crisis
While Australia's early history is marked by violence, the Fraser Government's decision to accept nearly 60,000 Vietnamese refugees, the Mabo decision, and Paul Keating's Redfern speech provide positive narrative touchstones that can help lead Australia to maturity.
Social networking drives inclusion revolution
Due to the prevalence of online opinion and information sharing, access and participation — the pillars of social inclusion — are becoming central to citizens' values. Governments need to be alert, as citizens will increasingly desire a more active role in their system of government.
THE MEDDLING PRIEST
Morris affair contains lessons for Church hierarchy
Just because there is no legal remedy to the denial of natural justice to former bishop Bill Morris, that is no reason for the senior hierarchy not to reflect acutely on their treatment of him. Respectful dialogue with Toowoomba's church leaders would be a good start.
Unchecked pokies pay out
Receiving a past
From the glistening trees the chorus of what was said became me, before I registered the sacrifice. Now from the yes, a small face looks up mute. My eyes are still selfish and my ears hunt a magpie's repertoire. She spills it on the blue page.
Praise for Wilkie's rage against the machines
Catholics in Australia have tended to be more tolerant of alcohol and gambling than 'wowser' Protestants. But too many Catholics turn a blind eye to how today's poker machine technology and operating environment is designed to nurture dangerous (but profitable) addiction.
Time to change our racist constitution
Those who have been aware of racism in the Constitution and prepared to tolerate it, have effectively blessed the attitude that it's acceptable to regard Indigenous Australians as second class citizens in theory as long as we treat them as equals in practice.
Myths and truths of Australian bigotry
Too often I've opened my front door and found myself tempted by some sales pitch. So today I'd answered warily, spoke through the screen door and tried to keep the encounter brief. 'I'm sorry, but we're not interested.' The salesman knew better: 'It's because of the colour of my skin,' he replied.
Bill Morris and natural justice
The reports by a retired judge and a canon lawyer into the dismissal of Bishop Morris make disturbing reading. Given that the obligation of natural justice carries moral as well as legal weight, Morris was entitled to expect his right to it would be respected by the Vatican.
Once upon a time in multicultural Australia
Embracing an individualistic Australia that transcends ethnic heritage would leave us with a culture that is young, thin and commercialised. If we wish to promote unity and equality, the best thing we can do is learn our own forgotten stories of ethnic heritage.
The hell of hoarding
Inside an old case of art supplies I'd lugged in and out of three houses but rarely opened, I found a plastic bag with something like a dead rat in it. It was not an animal however but a full head of my own hair from the time I shaved my head. There is internal logic to hoarding, but it has its perils.
Beyond Catholic corporate spin
The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain last year prompted an interesting experiment. The Church asked for lay volunteers to deal with media enquiries. At first glance this could be construed as an exercise in corporate spin with a focus on persuasion and not on truth.
Religious icons tweaked by Renaissance masters
The Renaissance embodied a revolution not only in form, but in content. Bellini's Madonna and Child is enlivened by a zesty piece of human theatre: the baby Jesus, anxious to be on his way, raises one leg in a gesture of defiance, a perfect half-scowl etched onto his tiny features.
Parenting habits of Mormons and Catholics
In Mormon families, the first kid has to be a bishop or scout leader, and the second through fifth are trained fpr football. In the Catholic system, a family produces a priest or nun, a cop, a teacher, and a solider, after which the rest of the kids can be whatever they want, even Lutherans in some cases.
Adelaide land crime shows why we need a treaty
In the mid-19th century my great-grandfather made a fortune as a quarryman and selling timber in South Australia. Of course with possession comes dispossession. Recent consideration of the state's founding documents suggest land acquired in establishing South Australia was acquired illegally.
Changing her tune
Before the fall
The chant of the unseens — ripple in a magpie's throat — as the sigh of a city's prayer cushions — forgiveness has the weight of faith and cloud. And then rain, symphonic on tin, washing walls of doubt.
Squeamish over Scottish independence
The prospect of a referendum on Scottish independence from the UK evokes one of the more interesting tensions in modern international law, between the right to self-determination on the one hand and the territorial integrity of states on the other.
Thatcher's blame game
It is arguable that, because she was one of the architects of the free market financial system that lacked protection for ordinary citizens, Margaret Thatcher shares responsibility for the widespread public harm caused by the GFC and the eurozone crisis.
Somedays it looks like the most extravagant love letter to the humanist project, other days like the biggest ragbag of unsorted intellectual capital. The sheer scale of information is truly amazing. But as a reference, the time has come for Wikipedia to up its game.