Vol 24 No 5

16 March 2014


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Rhyme and ruin in Tony Abbott's court

    • Brian Matthews
    • 27 March 2014
    11 Comments

    Thomas Wyatt, poet and prominent figure in the court of Henry VIII, found life there not only perilous but repugnant and dreamed of escape. There is much that Wyatt would recognise in the court of Tony Abbott: the obsessive secrecy, the suspicion of foreigners, the cruelty, the ecclesiastical connections, the dames and knights, the aggressive Anglophilia. At least he wouldn't have had to encode his unease in poetry.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cardinal Pell at the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 March 2014
    82 Comments

    As an institution, the Catholic Church has been dragged kicking and screaming. Cardinal Pell has been put through the wringer, though admittedly nowhere near to the same extent as was John Ellis when the Church decided to unleash the legal attack dogs on him in litigation which was euphemistically described as vigorous and strenuous.

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  • RELIGION

    South African lessons about racial discrimination

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 March 2014
    7 Comments

    The South African experience suggests racial discrimination begins with the appropriation of wealth and power by one racial group and its consequent suppression of other groups in order to extend its wealth and power. If we are to address racial prejudice and discrimination we need to examine the way in which wealth and power are distributed and protected in society. In Australia, they are being concentrated increasingly in fewer hands.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    You don't have to be a communist to stand up for the poor

    • John Falzon
    • 26 March 2014
    16 Comments

    I reject the dystopian vision of an Australia where people experiencing poverty are made to endure expenditure cuts while the people who have the least need for assistance enjoy overly generous tax concessions. From time to time someone comes out of the woodwork and accuses me of being a communist but that's the least of my worries. What worries me is the myth that people living in poverty are to blame for their own situation. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Quiet rage against Saudi sexist cycle

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 26 March 2014

    Wadjda is innately political. It is the first feature shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first to be made by a female Saudi director, and concerns itself with the pressures women experience in this rigidly patriarchal society. But it is primarily a film not about politics but about humanity. Its characters find self-empowerment and connection not in rabble-rousing but in small acts of rebellion against oppressive social norms.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Colouring the fading customs of a Greek Lent

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 25 March 2014
    6 Comments

    The 'Lenten Lady' has no mouth, because Lent is not a time for eating. Her hands are demurely crossed on her breast, for it is a time for prayer and self-examination. And she has seven feet: every Saturday, with one week elapsed, housewives would cut one foot off, with the last cut off on Holy Saturday. This custom is very old, and supposedly Greece-wide, but neither I, my Peloponnesian children nor my Cretan daughter-in-law knew of it.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Financial advisers can be more than bookies

    • David James
    • 25 March 2014
    6 Comments

    Removing the requirement that financial advisers act in the best interest of their clients will reveal financial advisers for what they really are: salespeople for the banks' wealth management platforms. Tony Abbott argues that the changes will remove 'red tape' and declaimed: 'We're creating the biggest bonfire of regulations in our country's history.' This is a duplicitous use of language that misunderstands how the finance sector works.

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  • CARTOON

    Give me your tired, your poor, your muddled thinking

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 25 March 2014
    6 Comments

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

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Social injustice in international sport

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 24 March 2014
    6 Comments

    The Olympics and World Cup were once seen as a triumph of corporate and athletic enterprise, but today we count the cost. Previous events left countries with decaying venues and huge bills. Government funds line the pockets of corporations but do little for local industry. The Olympics have caused the evictions of more than two million people over the past two decades. It's time to re-think what these events are actually trying to achieve.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Metaphysical selfie

    • Philip Salom
    • 24 March 2014
    1 Comment

    Post-God voices of you complained: there were so many of you there were none. And, pre-God, there was less than one of you. That's a hard call. That's a stern said. Back off in the beginning colloids of an all-or-nothing exploded you. How scary are you? The Dough-maker's hand was poised, unseen in the shadows. Then in tactile, alarmingly, quarkily, scrolling and shaping you. A life-hand a touch. Retreating into the dark.

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  • MEDIA

    Turnbull's bone for the News Corp behemoth

    • Ray Cassin
    • 23 March 2014
    17 Comments

    Malcolm Turnbull is unusual among Australian politicians in having a keen regard for the role of journalism in a democracy. That makes his blithe disregard of the prospect of handing Rupert Murdoch even greater influence over Australian politics all the more puzzling. It is unsurprising that some observers see the foreshadowed change to media ownership laws as a pay-off for News Corp's support of the Coalition in the 2013 election.

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  • MEDIA

    Too soon for MH370 punchlines

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 23 March 2014
    5 Comments

    There is little doubt that it is too soon and the story too tragic to be the butt of jokes. But the fact that such responses exist speaks to the ways in which this story has permeated the public imagination in unhealthy ways. The engagement is frequently marked by genuine concern, but also contains a deeply voyeuristic fascination that is divorced from the humanity of these events. People love a mystery, and an unhappy ending even more.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Murky law in Crimea land grab

    • Justin Glyn
    • 20 March 2014
    6 Comments

    While pro-Russian and pro-Western media have been spinning the Crimea crisis as either a heroic exercise in righting a past wrong or a land grab by a new Hitler, the legal position is far from straightforward, and there is more than enough hypocrisy to go around. The Crimean issue is perhaps best analysed not through the prism of international law but rather that of age-old great power politics.

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  • MEDIA

    Free speech! Well, sort of

    • Ellena Savage
    • 20 March 2014
    13 Comments

    Andrew Bolt's response to Q&A's airing of accusations of racism was surprising. While no human is immune to emotional distress, it seems excessive for a man whose career has taken him to the edge of defamation laws to publicly wither under his opponents' attacks. This matter brings to light the discord between Australian conservatives' rhetoric about liberty and free speech, and the reality their policies and opinions impose.

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  • RELIGION

    Faiths fight forced marriage

    • Ashleigh Green
    • 20 March 2014
    7 Comments

    This week's inauguration of Twiggy Forrest's Global Freedom Network — a large-scale interfaith initiative to end slavery — publicly recognises the importance of interfaith collaboration as a means of understanding and addressing social issues. Its launch comes not long after an Australian-first interfaith forum about the issue of forced marriage. It included Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Jews, and discovered that forced marriage is not a Muslim issue.

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  • RELIGION

    Asylum seeker ethics is simple

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 March 2014
    28 Comments

    Asked whether they think the government's treatment of asylum seekers is right, some people will withhold judgment, arguing that the question is ethically complex; asylum seeker policy must take into account many issues, and an ethical judgment must await consideration of all these factors. This position is mistaken. The ethical questions are quite simple. The complexities and confusions arise only after we have answered them.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sex, lies and political theory

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 19 March 2014
    3 Comments

    A new film follows the experiences in 1961 of German-American Jew and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who coined the phrase 'the banality of evil' in relation to Nazi 'desk-murderer' Adolf Eichmann. The cerebral nature of Hannah Arendt provides a counterpoint to another current film about a strong, flawed woman: Gloria is remarkable for the way it unabashedly honours the emotional and sexual lives of its older characters.

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  • RELIGION

    Trials of a recalcitrant priest

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 18 March 2014
    18 Comments

    Irish priest Fr Tony Flannery wrote that he did not believe 'the priesthood, as we currently have it in the church, originated with Jesus'; that some time after Jesus 'a select and privileged group who had abrogated power and authority to themselves' claimed that priesthood had been instituted at the Last Supper. He was duly silenced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His supporters now hope that Pope Francis will reinstate him.

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  • CARTOON

    Marching on regardless

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 18 March 2014
    2 Comments

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

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Religious rebels rattle Big Coal's cage

    • Thea Ormerod
    • 18 March 2014
    14 Comments

    The arrest last week of three identifiably religious people drew attention again to Whitehaven's new coal mine site at Maules Creek, in northern NSW. Why did these people of faith feel it was time to put their bodies on the line? Simply put, when the law is fully harnessed to keep in place a system that many consider to be immoral, the most ethical action is peaceful, non-violent disobedience.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tony hates lefty shirkers

    • Colleen Keating, Sarah George and Barry Gittins
    • 17 March 2014
    6 Comments

    The PM's poker face flickers like a faulty switch, he comes across as dense or kitsch when he obfuscates and dickers ... Get your righteous on, dear Tony; and feed all the forsaken to your economic Kraken conjured by your faith a'phony, knowing that your right to rule is your equal right to maim, and the discourse runs the same: the worker is a tool.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's asylum seeker holocaust

    • Lyn Bender
    • 17 March 2014
    37 Comments

    The BBC's John Humphrys admonished Julie Bishop over the Coalition Government's off-shore processing centres, which he said 'have been described as 'breeding grounds for rape, riots, malaria and mental illness, that bear the look of concentration camps'. Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be the oldest survivor of the Holocaust, died recently in London. Her story contains salient lessons for Australia's border protection regime.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Bali fear beyond Rhonda and Ketut

    • Ali Winters
    • 16 March 2014
    14 Comments

    Insurer AAMI's 'Rhonda and Ketut' Balinese love story, teased out over four commercials and three years, has come to its soapy end. Whether you loved it or cringed, its camp, cocktail soaked tentacles have penetrated the Australian mainstream. But the knowledge Australians have for our closest Asian neighbour is poor. According to a DFAT report released last year, 30 per cent of respondents didn't know Bali was part of Indonesia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bullying artists and the art of conversation

    • Michael Mullins
    • 16 March 2014
    6 Comments

    Arts minister George Brandis has accused artists of 'bullying' corporate heavyweight Transfield. The artists' recent ultimatum to the board of the Sydney Biennale threatens to kill the event and possibly the entire model of arts sponsorship in Australia. Both sides of the dispute have lost sight of the opportunity that networking between artists and sponsors offers for civilised conversation that leads to a better world for all.

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