Vol 24 No 4

03 March 2014


 

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Homeless wonder on Victoria's plains

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 14 March 2014
    2 Comments

    Moira, her kids Zara and Rory, her partner Shane and his brother Midge are the kind of people you wouldn't think to look twice at. Living on welfare and on the constant lookout for abandoned houses to either live in or raid, they're known colloquially as 'trants' (short for itinerants). These otherwise overlooked and forgotten people might be parochial, but they're never parodied. They might be uneducated, but they have a voice.

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  • RELIGION

    Church abuse crisis and the law

    • Carmel Ross
    • 14 March 2014
    23 Comments

    Reports from the Royal Commission this week have focused on the efforts of John Ellis to have his experience of sexual abuse as a teenage boy, perpetrated by a Catholic priest, acknowledged and adequately addressed by the Church. The finding by the High Court that Australian law as it stands does not allow an individual to sue the Catholic Church is an untenable situation if our nation believes justice for individuals is important.

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  • RELIGION

    Winds of theological change at the Vatican

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 13 March 2014
    10 Comments

    No one can deny the impact Francis has had. The question remains whether the differences between him and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI are a matter of style or substance. Francis has downplayed the prospects of major doctrinal changes, yet the rehabilitation of liberation theology and the bringing in from the cold of outspoken 'extreme centrist' theologian Cardinal Walter Kasper do reveal a fundamental shift.

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  • RELIGION

    The celebrity Pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 March 2014
    5 Comments

    The appearance at the end of Francis' first year of Berlusconi's new magazine, Il Mio Papa, is testimony that the Pope is now mythical, a celebrity, and that the myth can be manipulated, marketed and monetised. It is difficult to give an accounting for celebrities, but merely popping their balloon also misses what in them attracts popular attention. So it is with evaluating what is distinctive about Francis and what he has contributed to the Church.

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  • RELIGION

    Chords of community in a country church protest song

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 March 2014
    9 Comments

    The conflict began with falling church attendances and a decision by the Koroit parish priest to rationalise resources. Although Regina Lane describes in detail the battles to save St Brigid's, her book is far more than a protest song against the power of the Catholic Church. The larger stories embodied at St Brigid's, the immigrant groups who formed the first congregation and their relationship to the first Australians, have continuing importance.

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  • RELIGION

    Radical Pope's gender flaws

    • Megan Graham
    • 13 March 2014
    47 Comments

    The broad support Francis receives from progressives, despite his unwillingness to even consider female ordination, demonstrates how marginalised women's issues really are in our society. He may have changed the game in terms of the Church's engagement with the poor, but this does not diminish the significance of his oppressive and outdated views on gender roles.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dumb dealings in Nazi art war

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 13 March 2014
    1 Comment

    'If you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it's as if they never existed,' implores art scholar Frank Stokes. He subsequently leads a team of academics and artisans into World War II Germany on a mission to rescue important works of art from the Nazis. Great art possesses the power to move and inspire, and to document and critique a culture. But is the deadly mission worth the risk to life?

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  • RELIGION

    Jury still out on Francis the game-changer

    • Paul Collins
    • 13 March 2014
    12 Comments

    The greatest danger is that we expect too much from Francis. He brings a new perspective that has little to do with the preoccupations of the developed world. But we shouldn't kid ourselves that he is a closet progressive. The other danger is that he could turn out to be all show and no substance. His 'Gang of Eight' has not even begun to address the diabolically difficult problems embedded in reforming the curial structures of the Vatican.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Unwinding the Coalition's economic pantomime

    • David James
    • 12 March 2014
    10 Comments

    Economics is full of circular arguments. The Government is on the one hand arguing — most notably with the SPC Ardmona case, the exit of the car manufacturers and Qantas — that it will not get involved in supporting Australia's industry base. But then it argues that its policies will boost Australia's industry base. Lower unemployment will inevitably follow. For the first time ever it is apparently possible to have it both ways.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    When the black lady sang

    • Maureen O'Brien
    • 12 March 2014
    4 Comments

    Soprano Deborah Cheetham was in her 30s when she was reunited with her birth mother. It was the beginning of her understanding of herself as a Yorta Yorta woman and member of the Stolen Generations. At the time she was in the throes of composing her opera, Pecan Summer, based on the 1939 protests by Aboriginals from the Cummeragunja Mission. She soon learned that the story was closer to her than she had realised.

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  • CARTOON

    Morrison's freedom of sweep

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 12 March 2014

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What Minister Morrison is giving up for Lent

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 11 March 2014
    19 Comments

    When I was young, I remember being encouraged to give up lollies or chocolate for Lent. On the eve of the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday last week, the Immigration Minister announced he would be effectively giving up granting protection visas for refugees for the duration of Lent, and beyond, until 1 July.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Performance review

    • N. N. Trakakis
    • 11 March 2014
    2 Comments

    After being shown in by the girly secretary into his spacious office, you were invited to sit in a corner chair, from where you stared at his polished black shoes, and his new brown cardigan.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Empowered shock jocks must also be accountable

    • Michael Mullins
    • 10 March 2014
    9 Comments

    The Federal Government plans to change the Racial Discrimination Act to give preference to free speech over protecting individuals and groups from vilification. It is not surprising that there is strong media support for the changes, as they will give investigative reporters and shock jocks alike the legislative freedom they need to do their job. But the Government must include robust legislation to penalise those who get their facts wrong.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Fence-sitters key to asylum seeker success

    • Fatima Measham
    • 10 March 2014
    19 Comments

    After more than a decade of refugee advocacy, campaigns still cater to small 'l' liberals and progressives. They are of course critical to consolidating support for asylum seekers and sustaining political pressure. Yet the debate has become so polarised that it would seem as if the left has a monopoly on compassion. This is a serious campaign problem because it alienates those who might otherwise be allies.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abbott-whacking Greens senator's emotional politics

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 07 March 2014
    7 Comments

    Greens Senator Scott Ludlam this week excoriated Tony Abbott, homing in on Abbott's politics of fear. Whatever you think of the speech, its implication was that politics includes a struggle over the cultivation, control and directing of public emotions. While our instinct is to think of our politics in terms of discussion and consensus, the public sphere also includes forms of expression beyond speech, such as ritual, recognition and mourning.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Gifts of blood follow Kunming horror

    • Evan Ellis
    • 07 March 2014
    4 Comments

    My tutor in Kunming was deeply shaken by the mass stabbings last weekend that left 29 civilians dead. When Chinese authorities put out a request for blood donors in the city, giving blood was all she wanted to do. The city's blood banks have struggled to accommodate the throng of willing donors, the upturned arms of ordinary citizens replacing some of the blood spilt by the long knives. This strikes me as profoundly Eucharistic.

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  • RELIGION

    Encouragement for bleeding hearts

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 March 2014
    36 Comments

    To call someone a bleeding heart is an insult, not a description. It has no meaning but does have connotations. Those who call advocates for asylum seekers bleeding hearts usually dismiss ethical arguments. Although they may accept in the case of personal relationships that it would be wrong to inflict pain on people in order to deter others, they usually claim without supporting argument that governments are not bound by this ethical principle.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Transcendent ordeal of an outback pilgrim

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 06 March 2014
    3 Comments

    Robyn Davidson's trek in 1978, 2700km overland from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with only four camels and a dog for company, is the stuff of legend. Her physical ordeal takes her also to the jagged ends of her emotional and mental being, as she is pestered by tourists, for whom 'the camel lady' is already a living legend, and by paparazzi, who assail her at her most frayed. There is no missing the spiritual dimensions of her journey.

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  • CARTOON

    Where's Bill Shorten?

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 05 March 2014
    3 Comments

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    West wasting breath huffing and puffing over Crimea

    • Tony Kevin
    • 05 March 2014
    18 Comments

    Tony Abbott's 'We warn the Czar' statements were ludicrously over-the-top, though clearly he was responding to a Washington appeal to friendly allies to say something. I hope Australia will not continue to overplay its hand in the Security Council. There is no point in gratuitously offending Moscow on an issue that is outside our strategic area of interest and raises no human rights concerns whatsoever.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Traipsing Derry after the Troubles

    • Tony Thompson
    • 05 March 2014
    5 Comments

    The museum traces the civil rights protests right up to the game-changing Bloody Sunday killings of 1972. As I looked at the photographs of the terrible day, a man who worked at the museum stood beside me and asked if I recognised the building. I looked again to realise it was the museum itself. 'That's my brother,' he said, pointing to the badly injured young man in the photo. The young man had died ten feet from where we were standing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    In the half-light of insider politics

    • John Warhurst
    • 04 March 2014
    3 Comments

    The general lessons from the conflict of interest that claimed Alastair Furnival, chief of staff to Assistant Health Minister Senator Fiona Nash, are about the often-hidden world of political insiders. The numbers of Coalition aligned lobbyists has grown greatly, and include many former senior Howard Government ministers. But Labor supporters should not feel smug. There are plenty of examples on that side of politics, too.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Luckier man's lessons in grace

    • Brian Doyle
    • 04 March 2014
    9 Comments

    So let us review: a man sent me a deft wedding gift even though I was the man who was marrying the girl his son had loved for years ... The dad was sad when the young couple broke up. But he was delighted that she was married to someone she loved, he told me years later, and of course he sent me a present, out of affection for her and respect for me ... So it was that yet again I learned about grace, and about being an actual man ...

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ugly nationalism in support for Qantas bailout

    • Michael Mullins
    • 03 March 2014
    10 Comments

    In the face of the Federal Government's resolve to be unemotional in its attitude to financial assistance for Qantas, we have Bill Shorten warning us against 'waving goodbye to an Australian icon'. Underlying mention of Qantas as an 'Australian icon' could be the sentiment associated with the 1990s resurgence of nationalism and its racist undertones associated with Pauline Hanson.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    How to cope with climate change grief

    • Lyn Bender
    • 03 March 2014
    24 Comments

    I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and have spent years in therapy coming to terms with the murder of my relatives and the destruction my parents' world. I now find myself confronting a future potential holocaust of gigantic proportions. Al Gore has warned us of the danger of moving from denial to despair, while omitting hopeful or determined action. Our only hope is to face the reality.

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