Vol 23 No 9

06 May 2013


 

  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis the smiling revolutionary

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 17 May 2013
    17 Comments

    It is difficult to get into the mind of a person who might have been pope eight years earlier. Would the intervening years have been filled with 'what ifs'? Would he have watched Benedict and wondered how he might have led differently? Whether they knew it or not the cardinals initiated a quiet revolution in electing this man. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Labor goes from Robin Hood to the Sheriff of Nottingham

    • John Falzon
    • 17 May 2013
    9 Comments

    You don't build someone up by putting them down. You don't help someone into employment by pushing them into poverty. By keeping the unemployment benefit low, successive governments have deliberately humiliated people rather than improving their chances.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Making an example of asylum seeker children

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 May 2013
    19 Comments

    Many of the increased number of boat arrivals are families with children, driven to travel together because of the long delay in processing. To save children from dying at sea we drive more children to risk dying at sea, then inflict more indignities on them when they arrive. It is not a policy to be proud of. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Cheap shots at religious fish out of water

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 16 May 2013
    11 Comments

    While Anthony the Maronite is dismissive of his Buddhist hosts' beliefs, Freeman the Buddhist finds meaning in the symbols and rituals of Catholicism. The overly simplistic intention seems to be to set open and inclusive Eastern religion alongside narrow-minded, arrogant Western Christianity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gutsy budget built around icons

    • Lin Hatfield Dodds
    • 16 May 2013
    5 Comments

    The 2013 Federal Budget is framed around a national disability insurance scheme, education reform, and welfare to work focused welfare spending. The jewel in the crown has to be DisabilityCare, which will make a significant difference in the daily lives of nearly half a million Australians.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pablo Neruda's prophecy in poetry

    • Philip Harvey
    • 15 May 2013
    7 Comments

    On the eve of the violent overthrow of the elected government of Chile 40 years ago, Pablo Neruda wrote a cycle of cantos that came to be called The Book of Questions. Twelve days after the coups the poet was dead. It is hard to miss the military and political connotations of some of Neruda's 'questions'.

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  • CARTOON

    Labor: not aiding, abetting

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 15 May 2013

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Flawed beauty in back-to-the-wall Budget

    • Paul O'Callaghan
    • 15 May 2013
    13 Comments

    The Treasurer has emphasised his belief that Labor's values and priorities are reflected in this Budget. He is keen to help the battler. Yet there is a sharp dissonance between the Government's promotion of a 'fair go' through big reforms and its evident disinterest in so many citizens whose financial struggles are profound.

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  • RELIGION

    Time to draw the line between Australia and Timor Leste

    • Frank Brennan
    • 14 May 2013
    27 Comments

    Australian governments of both political persuasions have reassured the Australian public that they are decent and special when it comes to dealing with the Timorese over disagreements in the Timor Sea. Time for such special pleading is over. For the good of ongoing relations between these two unequal neighbours, it is time for Australia to commit to negotiating final maritime boundaries.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Cronies of the nudge and wink

    • Grant Fraser
    • 14 May 2013
    3 Comments

    When ibis move, they do so in rosters of fastidious steps, each bird as polite as a grandad who is looking for the salt ... Stooped in twos or threes like patient skittles, they whisper quiet inventories of silvered figments and storied frogs.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Getting a grip on our asylum seeker whingeing

    • Caz Coleman
    • 13 May 2013
    20 Comments

    It has been embarrassing to sit in on meetings of the UNHCR recently and be asked by other countries' delegates why Australia is so worried about its relatively small number of asylum arrivals. We need to take a broader perspective on this issue and, rather than complain, learn how to better manage arrivals. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sex abuse justice cannot be fast-tracked

    • Michael Mullins
    • 13 May 2013
    42 Comments

    Victims of church sexual abuse have suffered a setback with NSW Government moves to impose a ten year statute of limitations. For many victims, it takes much longer than ten years before they are ready to tell their story. If they are forced to speak before they are ready, they may speak half-truths or not speak at all. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The best and worst of local government

    • Moira Rayner
    • 10 May 2013
    5 Comments

    At its best local government lifts the vision of its people from NIMBY-ism and road maintenance to a sense of community and attachment. But Australians are now so disengaged from politicians state and federal that the timing of Gillard's announcement of a referendum on local government could do more harm than good.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not poor just broke

    • Ellena Savage
    • 10 May 2013
    6 Comments

    A few years ago, when my shifts had been cut at the store and I was waiting on a few freelance cheques, I found myself down to $3 for the entire week. I don't like borrowing money, so I spent it all on a 3kg bag of potatoes and got creative. The thing to remember though is that I had $3 and a functional kitchen.

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  • RELIGION

    Aged care and the business of gift

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 May 2013
    9 Comments

    In our care of the aged, not only their health and security are at stake but also their self-respect and dignity. It is impossible not to sympathise with the argument that the high skills this requires from carers should be better remunerated. But in the business of business and remuneration, love is the skill that dares not speak its name.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mixed messages about exploiting girls

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 08 May 2013

    Melinda Tankard Reist says 'in a culture that rewards exhibitionism, your achievements count for nothing unless you're willing to get naked'. The characters in Spring Breakers are the end product of a culture that has commodified young women completely. But is it helpful to objectify women to make a point about objectifying women? 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The imperfect mother

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 08 May 2013
    5 Comments

    My mother came to stay for a week after my eldest was born. She cooked, cleaned, showed me how to manage the basic baby-care routines. I felt utterly desolated when the time came for her to leave. 'Do not worry. You are perfectly capable of looking after this baby,' she said. I didn't believe her. 

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  • CARTOON

    Big business versus NDIS moochers

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 08 May 2013
    2 Comments

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Good policy comes second to voter trust

    • Ray Cassin
    • 08 May 2013
    13 Comments

    Gillard's adroit manoeuvring of Abbott into supporting the NDIS will do little to help her come September. People typically vote for whoever they trust to govern, and the public's lack of trust in Labor derives not from policy or the legislative record but from the circumstances in which she became prime minister in the first place.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Black hole budget will penalise the poor

    • Brian Toohey
    • 07 May 2013
    9 Comments

    Labor is struggling with a $12 billion write down in anticipated revenue for 2012-13 after Treasury bungled the forecasts. It could cut back on government assistance to those who can fend for themselves. But it has chosen to penalise the poor, with those on the parenting payment being switched to the lower Newstart. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sex separated from religious song

    • Various
    • 07 May 2013

    They're hooked, no longer hear the church's gong, the stories or the insights that beget it, Real need for intimacy drives them on, a bare heartbeat from chaste religious song.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Lame duck' governments and democracy

    • John Warhurst
    • 06 May 2013
    15 Comments

    The Coalition's characterisation of the Gillard Government as a lame duck is a tactic to slow down decision-making over the next four months. A government has every right not just to keep the wheels turning but to continue to try to implement its program even if it is just trying to improve its chances of re-election.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mary MacKillop's advice for today's politicians

    • Michael Mullins
    • 06 May 2013
    13 Comments

    'Never see a need without doing something about it' is the principle that guided Australia's first saint Mary MacKillop. This is also what drives successful politicians, and the NDIS is a good but rare example of this. Unfortunately few political leaders are able to see a real need and successfully legislate to do something about it.

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