Vol 23 No 20

07 October 2013


 

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Creation stories from inferno Australia

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 17 October 2013
    1 Comment

    The Garden is populated by the larger-than-strife figures who follow their lust of life and self. Kaos the crocodile, who becomes the first man, and Hades the platypus, the first thief. Orpheus the lyrebird, the first actor, and the first healer, possum Prometheus. The giant red kangaroo, Knuckles, the first ruler. This is storytelling that exults in pain and primordial uncertainty, passion and purpose.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why miners will backflip on tax

    • John Menadue
    • 17 October 2013
    1 Comment

    Some miners must be wondering whether they took the right course in opposing the Rudd Government's Resources Super Profits Tax, in which taxes would be levied on the profitability of the enterprise rather than royalties. Higher state mining royalties, lower commodity prices and higher costs will put the squeeze on the mining companies. It will be quite delicious to see them then urging a tax based on profits/losses rather than royalties.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Father Bob, dissident prophet

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 16 October 2013
    20 Comments

    Father Bob is cast in a similar mould to Peter Kennedy and Bill Morris, those other earthy Australian clerics who according to the popular narrative were suppressed by the hierarchy for flouting outdated practices. This is an appealing narrative for a secular public that has become disillusioned with institutional religion, especially due to the sexual abuse crisis and inequitable practices regarding marriage and the role of women within the hierarchy.

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  • RELIGION

    Ways of knowing people in poverty

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 October 2013
    2 Comments

    The proper starting point for reflecting on poverty must be the lives of people who are poor. Like other human beings, people who live in poverty are defined by their relationships with family, friends, to home, to food and shelter, neighbourhood, to school, to work, to play and to society. Their poverty limits their opportunity to build these relationships.

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  • CARTOON

    Shorten's difficult Labor

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 15 October 2013
    1 Comment

    View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    My accidental apathy

    • Megan Graham
    • 15 October 2013
    10 Comments

    Christian activist and author Shane Claiborne wrote that the real tragedy of poverty is not that we do not care about the poor, but that we do not know the poor. As my memories of particular brushes with people living in poverty fade, feelings of empathy begin to lose their potency; a natural attrition when their reality, so distant from my own, is so lost among the 'First World Problems' of my inner city life.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Politicians' Catholic background

    • Ray Cassin
    • 15 October 2013
    31 Comments

    It may be that the press gallery sees no significance in Shorten’s 'Catholic background' because he supports same-sex marriage and perhaps also some other things that bishops don’t like. Is the gallery’s view that his 'background' somehow didn’t 'take'? The truth is that these days even being a practising Catholic, rather than the nebulous 'of Catholic background', conveys nothing about the course a politician will choose on issues of conscience.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Notes against a closed-fist mind

    • Peter Bakowski
    • 14 October 2013
    2 Comments

    Time is lost more often than it's found. Be wary of having too many intentions. Make the rut you're in as uncomfortable as possible. Don't dwell in dark places unless it's to gain empathy for those who dwell in dark places. No one is born with a conscience. If pigs could fly, there'd be less bacon.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's asylum seeker vergogna

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 14 October 2013
    14 Comments

    Italians are not necessarily more ethical than Australians, but the attitude of their government and local officials to asylum seekers who arrive by boat is in stark contrast with our own. The Pope called it vergogna — shameful, or a disgrace — that so many asylum seekers trying to get to Italy by boat have drowned. Australia's vergogna lies in its official attitudes of punishment and demonisation.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Prioritising homelessness

    • Cec Shevels
    • 14 October 2013
    7 Comments

    In the 2006 Census, the number of homeless exceeded 100,000 for the first time. Kevin Rudd described this as a national disgrace and promised to cut the number in half by 2020. His Labor Government did make some progress — there was a fall in the number of rough sleepers and there was a welcome reduction in homelessness among Aboriginal people. Yet by 2011, the homeless numbers had risen again.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Canada shames Australia on CHOGM boycott

    • Michael Mullins
    • 13 October 2013
    16 Comments

    Tony Abbott has explained Canada's decision to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting over human rights concerns by saying that 'different countries have different national priorities'. In other words, securing Sri Lanka's cooperation in 'stopping the boats' is more important to Australia than putting an end to human rights abuse in Sri Lanka.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    So much for Labor values

    • Brian Toohey
    • 13 October 2013
    9 Comments

    Amid all the post-election talk about Labor values, no one within the party has explained how the appalling behaviour exposed by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption could have occurred if senior figures took any notice of these supposedly cherished values. It is not credible that most NSW state and federal Labor MPs, and key officials, had no inkling of Obeid's behaviour while a backbencher or minister.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Coalition and the mandate myth

    • Max Atkinson
    • 10 October 2013
    12 Comments

    Since the election there has been much discussion of the idea that, because democracy means respecting the will of the people, elected members have a duty to support the government's 'mandate'. Accordingly, they need not inform themselves and act on their own judgment because the people have spoken. Edmund Burke, the father of conservative political philosophy, would argue that this betrays, rather than serves, constituents.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    University turning point

    • Brian Matthews
    • 10 October 2013
    4 Comments

    My first year at university was a time of exquisite confusion and crippling diffidence. The only way I could see to climb the mountain of difficulties my studies seemed to present was to work harder. After one late-night stint in the library, over a cup of the 'caf's' execrable coffee, my friend gave me a book. 'Don't read it on the tram going home,' he said, 'you might embarrass yourself.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Relationships key to mental illness treatment

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 October 2013
    9 Comments

    Although medical and psychological discoveries and better regulation have improved the treatment of mental illness in Australia, the need still outweighs the resources available. People with mental illnesses need others to help them build and develop relationships if they are to thrive. But the same trends that help the better treatment of people also tell against the crucial building of relationships.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The boy scout guide to mental illness

    • Michael Lockwood
    • 09 October 2013
    12 Comments

    In the 1970s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the mental health 'bible', listed homosexuality as a mental illness. Many disagreed, and so in the stroke of an editorial pen hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, were cured. The DSM is a socially constructed manual, put together by those with a vested interest in mental health.

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  • RELIGION

    Laughing at Islam

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 09 October 2013
    4 Comments

    Tax consultant turned satirist and comic Nazeem Hussain's SBS series Legally Brown does more than just poke fun. Perhaps the most effective and most difficult ways to tackle prejudice and fear is to laugh at it. Chris Kenny's objections in The Australian that Hussain's appearance on Q&A was 'highly disturbing and dangerous' and 'an apologia for terrorism' show that Hussain and his fans continue to have plenty to laugh about.

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  • MARGARET DOOLEY AWARD

    The ethics of giving service

    • Alice Johnson
    • 08 October 2013
    3 Comments

    In a contemporary society where the focus lies amid a whirlpool of egocentricity, self-gain and self-improvement, one must question where the true motive for giving service lies. While the 'ethic of duty' is the ethic of the social gospel movements, Kant believed religion was only valuable because it caused one to lead a good moral life. Thus it is possible to argue that the habit of giving true service lies in the 'ethic of love'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Remote Australia's renal refugees

    • John Adams
    • 08 October 2013
    11 Comments

    Kiwirrkurra is 700km of bad roads west of Alice Springs. Renal failure forces many Indigenous community elders from important roles such as presiding over ceremonies and passing down knowledge to future generations. Many choose not to make the long journey into town for dialysis, seeing life away from country and family to be a fate worse than death.

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  • CARTOON

    The wedding party

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 08 October 2013
    4 Comments

    View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The forgotten Nationals

    • John Warhurst
    • 07 October 2013

    After a successful federal election the Nationals are nestled in a comfortable governing relationship as the junior partner of the Liberals. They can laugh at all those critics who for so long have predicted their demise. But they are out of sight. They could make an important contribution to the diversity of the Australian party system, but although the surface picture looks rosy it is at the cost of greatly diminished independence.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Warm fuzzy flipside to a fidgety control freak

    • Brian Doyle
    • 07 October 2013
    5 Comments

    We did not see eye to eye, yet no one cared more about the work we did. He was subject to fits of temper, and you never met a gentler man. He held grudges, and was the soul of mercy. He was the worst manager I ever saw and the best employee. He had been a quiet drunk and when he realised he'd damage his new children he stopped and never took another sip. Lots of people knew him and no one knew him well.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Tolerating corruption will destroy Australia's brand

    • Michael Mullins
    • 06 October 2013
    6 Comments

    Australia tied with Denmark, Finland and Japan for the title of the world's least bribe-ridden country in 2013. Our cultural resistance to corruption has long been a major contributor to Australia's reputation as a good global citizen, not to mention economic prosperity. Pope Francis said last week that we all have our own idea of good and evil, and each of us fighting against evil as we conceive it makes the world a better place. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Invisible Icarus and asylum seekers

    • Maureen O'Brien
    • 06 October 2013
    13 Comments

    With his back to the sea, the ploughman negotiates the wooden plough drawn by his horse. If he heard Icarus falling from the heavens it didn't interrupt his routine. The crew of a ship close enough to rescue the drowning boy instead takes advantage of a favourable breeze and sails away. The shepherd daydreams, the angler continues fishing. To all intents and purposes Icarus is invisible to those in his immediate vicinity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Getting serious about asylum seeker ethics

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 October 2013
    16 Comments

    In his recent article my Jesuit colleague Frank Brennan asked whether there is any ethical discussion to be had about stopping the boats. He proposed seven points that would give greater ethical coherence to the Government's 'shock and awe response'. The corollary of this position is that pressing for legal and practical changes to policy will not redeem the policy but will be a necessary and worthwhile exercise in harm minimisation.

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