Vol 23 No 3

11 February 2013


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Shariah-compliant swimming in Geert Wilders' world

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 21 February 2013
    27 Comments

    Suddenly some young lads started swimming across us. One even swam under me, and joined his friends at the other end of the pool. They were giggling and speaking to each other in Dari. In a few weeks, these kids will join other Hazara Australians for a massive 'new year's' festival. Should Wilders and his friends be afraid?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Freewheeling fantasies of European citizenship

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 21 February 2013
    1 Comment

    Does citizenship need to be built upon close cultural, linguistic and historical ties, as in a national community? Or can a broader conception of citizenship be formed? In Brussels I spot a mural of a mosque on a garage door, surrounded by people from North Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, speaking French, Flemish, English and Arabic.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Love and euthanasia

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 20 February 2013
    4 Comments

    There are moments that highlight the misery of Anne's condition, the slights rendered against her dignity. She awakens in a puddle of brown urine; labours excruciatingly over every syllable she speaks, but is misunderstood; howls in pain as she is showered. Her husband can do little but tend dutifully to her needs. Is it enough?

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  • RELIGION

    Risks of betting on the papal election

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 20 February 2013
    22 Comments

    Betting on the papal election is a mug punter's game, not because of the intervention of the Holy Spirit, but because there is little relevant form. If you lock people up to discuss at length who is the best candidate, and ensure there is no stable talk, the market is uninformed. So bolters can emerge and run away with the race.

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  • CARTOON

    Labor in vain

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 19 February 2013

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The lost art of posting a letter

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 19 February 2013
    10 Comments

    She was about to post some letters in the box near her house when a car drew up: a man leaned out and asked if he could watch, as he'd never seen anyone post a letter before. 'How many?' he asked. When she said, 'Six,' he drove away, shaking his head.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Spend mentality' won't help the new Burma

    • Duncan MacLaren
    • 19 February 2013
    5 Comments

    'Development is the new name for peace,' said Pope Paul VI in 1967. Well, not in Burma, where wars and religious disputes have caused the death or displacement of 190,000 people. Such horror stories don't concern the Western and Chinese business people who sweep in, salivating, to 'develop' Burma.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Clarifying the anti-discrimination muddle

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 February 2013
    34 Comments

    There has been some very confused debate about the Government's proposed consolidation of anti-discrimination laws. David Marr claimed leaders of 'conservative faiths' were free to 'kick poofters, lesbians, single mothers, people in de facto relationships'. He needs to take a cold shower while we clarify these issues. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Vegemite interrogation on the Prague night train

    • Anne M. Carson
    • 18 February 2013

    Cash-strapped, post midnight. Transport police rifle our rucksacks, suspicious of backpackers. One prises open my Kodak canister, sniffs, says 'ach!', fires Czech questions at me. 'Vegemite fur frustuck,' I say, trying to convince Vegemite is not hash resin. I smile the smile of someone who doesn't know how bad it can get.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Radical Benedict

    • Michael Mullins
    • 17 February 2013
    34 Comments

    Benedict's resignation makes him look like a radical in the tradition of Christian radicalism. He wrote that after examining his conscience, he concluded that he should resign because he was no longer adequate to exercise the Petrine ministry. This logic has implications for other conventions and rules such as priestly celibacy. 

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  • RELIGION

    A pope for hard seasons

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 17 February 2013
    27 Comments

    One of the major challenges facing the new pope will be to find creative and compassionate ways of addressing the issue of clergy sexual abuse. A proper response will require a change in heart and mind, to see the world through the eyes of the suffering and humiliated. Can we expect anything less from the next pope?

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  • EDUCATION

    Public schools' charity case

    • Dean Ashenden
    • 14 February 2013
    7 Comments

    A survey released this week found that the lion's share of philanthrpopic giving goes to independent non-government schools. Gonski devoted an entire chapter to the question of how private cash can be got to where need is greatest. The Government should act on his recommendation, but not before beefing it up.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    To kiss or kill a feral cat

    • Ellena Savage
    • 14 February 2013
    15 Comments

    Whenever I spot that lithe mottled feral cat lurking behind our pumpkins, I have to fight bipolar urges. The kitty-lover in me wants to lure it in with milk and sardines, then trap it into a co-dependent relationship. My other urge is the environmentally responsible one: to take it to the vet and have it put down.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ugly face of a self-help monster

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 13 February 2013
    3 Comments

    Health and beauty executive Amy suffers a breakdown at her company's corporate offices. Flash forward, and she has just returned from a stint at a new-age treatment clinic. Enlightened parodies the self-centred philosophies of the cult of self-help and reveals how they can turn a person like Amy into a monster.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reconciliation in Australia and East Timor

    • Mark Green
    • 13 February 2013
    4 Comments

    I was in Dili on Apology Day 2008, and wept as I listened on the radio to the Apology offered by Kevin Rudd. The previous year, I had arrived in Dili to take up a post with an aid and development program, and was accosted by a very angry young man. 'What are you doing here? Have you come to make us like your Aboriginal people?'

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  • RELIGION

    Ratzinger and Rowan Williams side by side

    • Andrew McGowan
    • 13 February 2013
    21 Comments

    Now that Williams has returned to academic life and Ratzinger has resigned, it is tempting to commit both their reigns to the category of failure, and debate mostly the nobility or otherwise of their inability to bend lurching structures or less gifted minds to their own wills. This would not, however, be the whole picture in either case.

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  • RELIGION

    Resignation of a teacher-Pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 February 2013
    25 Comments

    When Joseph Ratzinger was elected many Catholics were surprised, some alarmed. They identified him with the stern disciplinary actions and doctrinal intransigence of the Congregation for the Defence of the Faith, and assumed he'd bring the same narrow focus to his leadership of the Church. The reality has been different. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Thoughts on the Apology from a Stolen Generations child

    • Melissa Brickell
    • 12 February 2013
    14 Comments

    When Kevin Rudd delivered the Apology five years ago today, the Stolen Generations and their supporters wept. But we should not dwell on the Apology while there is much to be done. The denial of natural justice through compensation for genocide is a selfish decision with moral implications.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What it is to be a woman in India

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 12 February 2013
    2 Comments

    Have the men in India been staring at you?' Audrey asks. Before I can respond she says: 'They've been staring at me, and I'm 84!' The trial of five men for the rape-murder of a young Delhi woman may prompt India to analyse the links between entrenched anti-female practices and the way women are valued today. 

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  • CARTOON

    Bad sports

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 12 February 2013

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Learning to sail both ways

    • Graham Kershaw
    • 11 February 2013
    1 Comment

    Don't you seek a centre, an object of devotion? Don't you seek a primal source of light? In the evening, on verandahs, in the dark, in the rain ... Don't you go inside quickly and drink yourself blind? 

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Does mining cost more than it's worth?

    • Justin Glyn
    • 11 February 2013
    15 Comments

    While mining is a source of great wealth for Australia, its socio-ecological benefits are mixed. Yet the sheer power of the industry means a balanced conversation on these issues is yet to start. Both major parties are beholden to the industry and fear the advertising power its money can buy. Two examples demonstrate the problem.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Asylum seekers stiffed by election year spin

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 10 February 2013
    16 Comments

    The ad hoc nature of arrangements for asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG reveal that priorities are being determined by election dates rather than respect for human dignity and international human rights laws. The latest Coalition idea to interdict boats from Sri Lanka outside our territorial waters and send them back is particularly ill-considered.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Philanthropy should be a condition of tax relief

    • Michael Mullins
    • 10 February 2013
    6 Comments

    Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd justifies superannuation tax concessions for the wealthy: 'We go to work, we get paid. The money is ours.' In the USA, philanthropy is common among self-made men. There is no such tradition here, where taxes are needed to fund welfare and other projects for the common good.

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