Vol 24 No 10

26 May 2014


 

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Veteran muckraker wrestles with God

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 05 June 2014
    2 Comments

    When journalist and activist Barbara Ehrenreich was a young woman she came face to face 'with something vast, terrifying and unknowable'. We mustn't take for granted the courage this admission took coming from such a committed atheist. While noting science can 'dismiss anomalous 'mystical' experiences', she wrestles her discontent into submission by boldly declaring that it 'is not unscientific to search for what may not be there'.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The Pope, the President and our pro-coal PM

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 05 June 2014
    13 Comments

    During Abbott's forthcoming visit to Obama he will find a president not only willing to take strong action in relation to climate change, but doing so with the public support of the US Catholic bishops. This is not a situation he will find comfortable given that in the Australian context he has always previously been able to count on the support of Cardinal Pell to muddy the waters on climate change.

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  • RELIGION

    Vatican perspective on Australia's refugee brutality

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 June 2014
    3 Comments

    Very few Vatican documents on world events are exciting. But some can be helpful when local response to these events is febrile and anxious. The Vatican guidelines on ministry to forcibly displaced persons provide a helpful mirror to reflect the public Australian response to asylum seekers. It offers a long view of Catholic reflection on refugees and a broad perspective on the human reality of having to seek protection.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It's time Parliament had a say on 'disgraceful' PNG solution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 June 2014
    29 Comments

    Australia's cruel arrangement for asylum seekers arriving without a visa cannot be scrutinised by our courts and has never been approved by our Parliament. In the name of democracy, in the name of Australian self-respect, and in the name of human rights protection and the rule of law, it is time this arrangement was presented to our Parliament for its approval by our elected representatives or for immediate ditching. It's a disgrace.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    White messiah rides Rwanda's cycle of hope

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 04 June 2014
    1 Comment

    In 2002 US Cycling Hall of Famer Jock Boyer was convicted of lewd behaviour with a minor and served time in prison. Today he is the coach of Team Rwanda, a team for Rwandan cyclists, associated with aid organisation Project Rwanda. In Rising From Ashes, the traumatic experiences of his team members, all of whom were living witnesses to the 1994 genocide and lost family members to it, are footnotes to Boyer's redemption story.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's siege mentality viewed from Greece

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 June 2014
    17 Comments

    Here in Greece we are still digesting the results of last week's Euro elections. Worry about immigration has contributed to the continuing rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, which polled 9 per cent, and has won seats in the European Parliament for the first time. And what of Australia? Frankly, I'm baffled, so baffled that visiting Antipodeans take me to task. 'The Australia you grew up in has gone forever.' So it would seem.

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  • CARTOON

    Shorten's target practice

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 03 June 2014
    2 Comments

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

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    'Forgotten' Tiananmen's shadow on modern China

    • Evan Ellis
    • 03 June 2014
    8 Comments

    Twenty-five years ago the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square. One eyewitness kept a tally of the dead that reached 2600 before hospitals went mum due to pressure from above. If China is to overcome the challenges it will face in the decades ahead, it must draw upon the great reserve of strength, the spirit of solidarity that was on display among the protesters that spring. Instead there remains a concerted effort to forget.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Regime change is fashionable this year

    • Les Wicks
    • 02 June 2014

    There are efficiencies in the fictions of right. The glee, that honest toil of looting other lives. Each tumble clears the view, just a bit. Years are nothing, what's rebuilt doesn't work — just as effortlessly as the dirty little system before that so many died to defend. But don't worry, time is a grader. Alongside the quacking of historians all mistakes will be buried under new initiatives.

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  • EDUCATION

    Uni fee changes will erase egalitarianism

    • Paul Rodan
    • 02 June 2014
    13 Comments

    An unregulated fee regime will result in an increase in course costs and will mean substantially larger debts for students after their periods of study. The prestigious Group of Eight institutions can be expected to exploit their reputational positions to charge top dollar. How does a 17-year-old decide whether selecting the degree from the prestige university over the same course at a newer institution justifies an extra decade of debt?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis and the power of tears

    • Michael Mullins
    • 01 June 2014
    4 Comments

    The Pope says we have 'forgotten how to weep'. The most potent moments in current affairs television occur when a person is shown to cry, yet we're taught to believe that 'breaking down' means that we're not in command of the argument. Julie Bishop could not have been unmoved if the jostling Sydney University students had instead wept over the lost educational opportunity in the Federal Budget.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Underdog PUP could bite Abbott

    • John Warhurst
    • 01 June 2014
    2 Comments

    The Budget will be the first test. The negotiations will set the scene for the remainder of this parliamentary term. Palmer, an enigma, has already survived longer than many of his critics thought he would. In fact he has grown in confidence and reputation rather than falling in a heap. What the Greens have to guard against are some of the traps that the Democrats fell into. They look pretty disciplined at the moment but that can't be guaranteed.

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  • RELIGION

    Unheard stories of the sex abuse crisis

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 June 2014
    11 Comments

    In Unheard Story, Fr Padraig McCarthy rightly highlights shortcomings in legal-political-media processes like the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation. The future wellbeing of children demands that the spotlight be shone on all equally. But there is no getting away from the fact that in Ireland and Australia, the reported instances of child sexual abuse has been greater in the Catholic Church than in other churches.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Refugee family suffers Cambodian curse

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 29 May 2014
    4 Comments

    It had been a long journey for the family gathered in the Cambodian office of Jesuit Refugee Service, but their search for a safe environment amidst people who would treat them kindly was not yet over. Genuine refugees set their compass for Australia expecting to find the democratic, resourceful and accountable country of which they have heard. The Coalition's reprehensible 'Cambodia solution' shows just how wrong they are.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Who fathered the Family Tax Benefit?

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 29 May 2014
    2 Comments

    There may be debate about whether the current Family Tax Benefit, Part B is adequate recognition of the economic and social value of domestic child care. But there is no doubt that the $5.75 per week proposed in the recent Budget would drive low paid families deeper into poverty. The side issue of whether Howard or Keating was the father of the threatened payments could impact on post-Budget strategies and positions in the Senate.

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  • RELIGION

    Who cares if Abbott and Hockey are Catholic?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 May 2014
    31 Comments

    Talk about politicians' faith is a trivial indulgence that diverts attention from more important questions. To conclude that a politician is influenced by their faith or is unfaithful to it may give satisfaction to the person who makes the judgment, but it does nothing for those affected by unfair policies. Nor is this kind of judgment one that Christians may make if they wish to be consistent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Grinding the face of the poor

    • John Falzon
    • 28 May 2014
    67 Comments

    The Budget was one of most vicious attacks on ordinary people that we have seen in recent Australian history. We are not in the throes of a fiscal crisis but if we embark on this treacherous path we will be staring down the barrel of a social crisis. But we have a secret weapon. It is called solidarity. Even though we name it openly and proudly, it remains a secret weapon because those who do not practise it can never understand it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sex and alienation in Scotland

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 28 May 2014
    2 Comments

    The succubus of medieval legend is a female demonic being, sexual intercourse with whom can result in sickness or death. This resonates uneasily with the attitudes of contemporary 'men's rights' movements who view women as social and sexual aggressors. The greatest irony confronting the 'succubus' of Under the Skin is that the femaleness that she had wielded as a weapon proves also to be what marks her out as a victim.

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  • CARTOON

    Hockey's hard sell

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 27 May 2014
    1 Comment

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

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  • EDUCATION

    Shorten should handle Gonski gift with care

    • Dean Ashenden
    • 27 May 2014
    1 Comment

    The Government doesn't want it. Shorten does. He can go to the next election with uncontested ownership of one of the most widely supported proposals of recent times. The problem with Gonski's plan, however, is that he wasn't allowed or able to propose solutions anywhere near as big as the problems his review uncovered. This presents Shorten with a tricky dilemma.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greek neighbour's grace and lemons

    • Nick Gadd
    • 27 May 2014
    5 Comments

    He has two hobbies: playing the bouzouki, and reporting cars for parking infringements. We don't see much of him, but sometimes we hear plunka-plunka-plunk from the other side of the fence. On a night of storms, our gum tree splits and falls, and, at 3am, orange-suited SES men and women climb onto our roof with chainsaws. Our neighbour emerges in a dressing gown, waving his arms. 'Don't damage my lemon tree!'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    God of the cracks

    • P. S. Cottier
    • 26 May 2014
    2 Comments

    mona lisa with monobrow, smiling past watchers as she spots the gay god, the god who goes down, sweet curser of figtrees, just to perplex theologists.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government blasé on Australian drone deaths

    • Justin Glyn
    • 26 May 2014
    13 Comments

    While recent weeks have been taken up with thinking about the Budget's disproportionate impact on poorer Australians, another, more spectacular, area of government disregard for the lives and rights of its citizens has gone relatively unremarked. It goes to the heart of democracy, revealing not only the distance between Western governments and their citizens, but also the acceptance of that gulf as a fact of modern political life.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Letting Australian industry die promotes workplace slavery elsewhere

    • Michael Mullins
    • 25 May 2014
    9 Comments

    The Australian Government needs to be less cavalier and reticent to subsidise local manufacturers, who are obliged to be transparent about their work practices and bear the costs of this. When our politicians praise workplace efficiency in other countries, they are promoting manufacturing processes that often exploit workers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Planning for a good death

    • Michele Gierck
    • 25 May 2014
    9 Comments

    The ambulance has brought my 88-year-old mother to the Accident and Emergency ward at the local public hospital. In answering the doctor's question about resuscitation, I'm so thankful that my mother's wishes have been made clear, and documented by her general practitioner, by means of an Advance Health Directive.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Thai coup more of the same

    • Michael Kelly
    • 25 May 2014
    3 Comments

    The cycle of election, opposition protest, social and political instability that provokes a royal approved military intervention underlies how immature democracy is in Thailand. Unfortunately, in the medium term — the next five years — it will be 'same, same' unless there is a circuit breaker. That may come with the next trigger to instability which has to be set off sooner rather than later: the death of a very frail royal person.

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