Vol 24 No 3

16 February 2014


 

  • INTERNATIONAL

    China’s asylum hypocrisy

    • Nik Tan
    • 27 February 2014
    1 Comment

    This week China criticised Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. The criticism, raised at a bilateral human rights dialogue, is good politics: China is using Australia's cruel and inhumane asylum policy as diplomatic leverage. Nevertheless, it is astounding hypocrisy from a country that returns refugees to danger, including to North Korea, a state infamous for its widespread violations of human rights.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The dawning of the Age of Unpleasantness

    • Brian Matthews
    • 27 February 2014
    7 Comments

    Joe Hockey's idea of an age of entitlement is shallow and facile. Announcing the end of an 'age' is just another way of obscuring the truth that you haven't the faintest idea what the hell is going on, or that you suspect what's going on but not how to influence, redirect or stop it. So you fall back on this persuasive notion of a great shift in the times. The next 'age' for those whose entitlement is disappearing will be marked by unpleasantness.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Time for Labor to disown PNG solution

    • Tony Kevin
    • 27 February 2014
    22 Comments

    Over the past week of Parliament, we have seen the strange and distressing spectacle of Labor timidly criticising the Government's handling of the events on Manus Island. If it were brave enough, Labor could use these events as a trigger for policy change. To call for the Manus centre to close, and for detention and processing centres in Australia to reopen, would be the moral policy for Labor at this point.

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  • RELIGION

    Robber bands in Parliament

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 February 2014
    14 Comments

    Augustine wrote of the Roman Empire, 'Without justice, states are robber bands.' His mordant comment aimed to strip away the self-congratulatory rhetoric of empire from the reality of a Rome concerned purely with asking how to achieve desired goals uncontrolled by respect for human dignity. If we appreciate how robber bands work we can better understand what states do, including Australia.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Senior citizen's road trip to dignity

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 26 February 2014
    2 Comments

    Woody surely has dementia, which would explain his certainty that a sweepstakes flyer stating that he has won $1 million is authentic. While one son would prefer to put Woody in a home, the other, David, agrees to honour his wish to cross state lines to claim his fictitious winnings. Woody is aware of his own dwindling physical and mental agency, and understands that the small gifts of dignity afforded to him by David are not small at all.

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  • CARTOON

    Advance Australia unfair

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 25 February 2014
    1 Comment

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

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  • RELIGION

    Coming out of Cardinal Pell's shadow

    • Chris McGillion
    • 25 February 2014
    75 Comments

    George Pell's promotion to Rome is proof of the powerful friends he has made. As for enemies, it is not hard to compile a list of those who will be glad to see him go. It would include most liberal Catholics, many priests, and a good many of his fellow bishops. One group who are likely to regret Pell's departure are the journalists and commentators for whom he has loomed large as a figure of ridicule if not outright contempt.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Certified at 35

    • Isabella Fels
    • 25 February 2014
    19 Comments

    I felt less than five, little more than three. They dragged me kicking and screaming, raging into the psychiatric ward. I felt like an accident waiting to happen, a bomb about to explode. I shrank the more I talked to my shrink. I could no longer pretend I was fine. I could no longer shine. How I wished I could shrug off my illness. But it held me tight.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    On becoming a housewife for the first time

    • Lisa Brockwell
    • 24 February 2014
    13 Comments

    I find myself on tuckshop duty with my dearest friend; we didn't see this coming at university. I learn more than any woman like me needs to know about slashing paddocks. I visit the vet at least once a week. I picture my husband dying in a car crash; this dark bubble rises out of the mud of me much too frequently. Shouting at my five year old, I can't believe it is up to me to keep this baby alive when I am all naked flailing heart.

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  • RELIGION

    Discussing a good death with Philip Nitschke

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 February 2014
    25 Comments

    I was able to mix with other writers bemoaning Australia's refugee policy including the obfuscation about the death of an asylum seeker on Manus Island and Julie Bishop's latest diplomatic initiative asking Hun Sen to accept refugees from Australia for permanent resettlement in Cambodia. I came away wondering how passionate refugee advocates could be so sanguine about doctor administered death even for children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    $6 co-payment not what the doctor ordered

    • Michael Mullins
    • 23 February 2014
    22 Comments

    Health minister Peter Dutton has refused to dismiss the possibility that a $6 ‘co-payment’ for GP visits could be announced in the May Federal Budget. This would be no more than a quick and easy temporary fix that would penalise ordinary Australians. It would simply defer the government's need to tackle the vested interests that are arguably the major cause of the inefficiencies that have made our health care system prohibitively expensive.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Rise of the right in Japan

    • Walter Hamilton
    • 23 February 2014
    4 Comments

    Tony Abbott has described Japan as Australia's 'best friend in Asia'. When he journeys to Japan in April and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe reciprocates in July, the two leaders will move to cement a new 'normal' in the relationship between their nations, including closer defence cooperation. As a correspondent in Japan in the '80s and '90s, I believed Japan's extreme right to be noisy but irrelevant. I'm now coming around to a different view.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Morrison's law of intended consequences

    • Tony Kevin
    • 20 February 2014
    36 Comments

    Manus is not subject to Australian law and public accountability safeguards, or only very imperfectly. Cover-up of atrocity is a lot easier in Manus than it would be in an Australian detention centre. And this of course is what was intended. Manus is part of the asylum-seeker deterrent system. The fear of death at sea, and the fear of death by security force brutalisation at Manus, are intended to deter asylum-seeker voyages. To stop the boats.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Thoughts from a sanctimonious expatriate

    • Ellena Savage
    • 20 February 2014
    9 Comments

    There is a difference between immigration and expatriatism. The term 'expat' seems only to refer to the affluent, particularly those with Caucasian ancestry. The expat has no obligation to learn the language and customs of the place they live, and always has a home they can return to. Since taking a job in publishing in South East Asia, I am the kind of person who gets to be thought of as an expat. It feels weird.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    We created the Manus Island danger

    • Moira Rayner
    • 19 February 2014
    38 Comments

    We created this risk, intending it to 'deter' boat people and people smugglers. As a consequence, we've created racial conflict in PNG and the collapse of the rule of law in Nauru. Now, it is surely a duty to re-evaluate a policy that leads to mental illness, destruction of property, hope, imagination and civil society, and death. I think we have a duty to refugees, because we are descended from refugees and may be refugees ourselves, one day.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    AIDS outlaw battles Big Pharma

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 19 February 2014
    3 Comments

    Homophobic Texan electrician Ron learns he has AIDS and may have only 30 days to live. Desperate for a cure, he heads to Mexico, where a disgraced doctor treats him with unapproved pharmaceutical drugs. Ron begins to smuggle the drugs into the US, to distribute to other AIDS sufferers, including Rayon, a trans woman who becomes Ron's friend, business partner, and ally against the Big Pharma interests that try to shut him down.

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  • RELIGION

    Social justice with a smile

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 February 2014
    7 Comments

    Social justice has to do with what we owe to others. No one likes to think of their debts. And when the debts are universalised so that they are owed by us as members of society, we do not want to know about them. No wonder it is more effective to appeal to our individual generosity than to our shared duty, and for religious leaders to be less comfortable speaking about justice than about love.

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  • CARTOON

    Morrison's Victory

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 18 February 2014
    5 Comments

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Toxic politics endure as Morrison gets nosy with the Navy

    • Ray Cassin
    • 18 February 2014
    22 Comments

    Scott Morrison is the first Immigration Minister to inspect ADF facilities. There has always been cooperation between the Defence Force and other government agencies, but Operation Sovereign Borders has radically changed the playing field. Indonesia's politicians might relish the irony of seeing in Australia an increasing interpenetration of military and civilian hierarchies — something that Australians used to see as a fault in Indonesia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mistaken for Jewish in cold, grand Moscow

    • Howard Willis
    • 18 February 2014
    6 Comments

    On the occasions I got into detailed discussions with strangers in Moscow, a pattern emerged. Saying I was Australian prompted a polite request for clarification: 'But your ancestry?' The reply that I was fifth-generation Australian was treated as an evasion, or met with the assumption that my ancestors were 'bandits'. Generally, Muscovites took a second look at me and the box they ticked was 'Jew'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The theological lemming

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 17 February 2014
    1 Comment

    He only has faith in waves. They are the what in what he doesn't know. What he knows has left him on the edge of a cliff and whispered, Push yourself. Waves waver then crash. Their uncertain certainty gives him faith that he's only wavering.

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  • RELIGION

    Thinking Christians spurn hammy creationism

    • Chris Middleton
    • 17 February 2014
    33 Comments

    Australian-born creationist Ken Ham argues that every human is descended from Adam and Eve, that God created man and all land animals on the same day 6000 years ago, and that there were dinosaurs on Noah's Ark. The relationship between faith and reason goes to the credibility of being a Christian in the modern world. A minority view within Christianity should not be allowed to frame a false dichotomy between religion and science.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    New Zealand rocks but the poor are rolled

    • Cecily McNeill
    • 16 February 2014
    4 Comments

    With the Australian economy in disarray, the Abbott Government is showing keen interest in New Zealand's projected unusually high growth. But NZ's status as a rock star economy is in question from commentators who say it has never recovered from major policy shifts 30 years ago. In particular its sexy image on the global business stage does not translate to a better life for those on low incomes, particularly women and children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Closing the Gap won’t work without human reconciliation

    • Michael Mullins
    • 16 February 2014
    14 Comments

    The Prime Minister's Closing the Gap speech to Federal Parliament last Wednesday was a finely crafted piece of work that failed to hit the spot. It seems that 'Closing the Gap' is the Government's Indigenous policy. Yet it can be seen as a justification for getting out the big stick to achieve short term gains that will look good on the Government's own political report card. 

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