Vol 25 No 20

12 October 2015


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Kids need care not cruelty to avoid radicalisation

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    A particular issue in Australia is the age of criminal responsibility, which varies in different states between ten and 12. Research into brain development suggests that people cannot fully take responsibility for their actions until they are 15 years old. Responsible policy must respect the human development of the child and ensure that the response to their wrongdoing takes into account their age and does not place them in processes they can neither understand nor properly participate in.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Building gender equality from the playground up

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 23 October 2015
    15 Comments

    Sissies are on their way out on British playgrounds. Guidelines produced by the Institute of Physics for the Department of Education recommend that teachers strongly discourage sexist language at school. While internet forums are replete with admonitions from members of the public furious at the erosion of so-called free speech, the guidelines are a welcome tool in the long and exhausting fight for female equality, and Australia would do well to consider adopting such procedures too.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Soft sympathy and hard redemption for scarred chef

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 22 October 2015
    2 Comments

    Brilliant but volatile chef Adam humiliates and physically assaults a female colleague, Helene, over the heinous crime of mis-cooking a piece of fish. The encounter ends with Helene telling Adam to keep his hands off her and storming out. Yet clearly her justified indignation has its limits: in the very next scene she is shown madly rehearsing cooking the dish whose mangling sparked the incident. The glossing over of this abuse reinforces the notion that creative genius somehow excuses arsehole behaviour.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Goodbye to not-so-great Uncle Joe

    • Moira Rayner
    • 22 October 2015
    17 Comments

    So many chances, so many slips. After building a reputation as a good guy politician on Sunrise with his 'good mate' Kevin Rudd, he blew it by rescuing Rudd from drowning in a flooded river on their well-publicised Kokoda Trail expedition in 2006. Kevin 07 went on to prove he could win an election but not run a government. In memory of the kindly smiling television entertainer Hockey once was, let us hope his diplomatic success will turn on his need to be liked, not his native political acuity.

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  • CARTOON

    Peter Dutton's monkey business

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 21 October 2015
    2 Comments

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australians dogged by Pavlovian politics

    • Justin Glyn
    • 21 October 2015
    11 Comments

    While running a Royal Commission into domestic violence and a $30 million campaign against it, ringing the bell marked 'asylum seekers are queue jumpers' has allowed successive governments to abuse alleged rape victims with barely a word of protest from the public. Insofar as any feelings of empathy for asylum seekers exist, we tell ourselves brutality is inflicted 'to stop deaths at sea'. So successful has this Pavlovian policy been that Australian refugee policy is now the toast of German neo-Nazis.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pity abandoned on the banks of the Parramatta

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 21 October 2015
    6 Comments

    A young man introduces himself: Ashley. He has sandy blond hair, a lithe body and an ease and grace with the kids. The lessons are free, but my daughter doesn't wait to for this explanation; she's already picked up a unicycle. 'You need a helmet first,' Ashley explains, and I tap my daughter's arm and sign, 'Helmet'. 'Does she read lips?' he asks. 'If you could just look at her when you're talking,' I say. 'Okay,' he says with the slightest trepidation. 'She's d-d-deaf and I have a stutter.'

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Rehabilitating Mexico's Hollywood image

    • Garry Westmore
    • 20 October 2015
    3 Comments

    Hollywood need not deny the violence cartels have perpetrated upon one another, members of the public, police and military. But to almost exclusively engage with Mexico in terms of this violence provides a badly limited perspective on that country. Hollywood does something similar when it goes to Africa and tells only stories of warlords and child soldiers. To do so brings nothing to the conversation, but merely exploits tragic situations for the benefit of laughs and action.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Persian poetry pastiche

    • Paul Smith
    • 20 October 2015
    4 Comments

    Where is one who through friendship will be faithful to me ... who with a reprobate such as me will act kindly, mercifully? / Real friendship is so difficult to find because it means of the other thinking more than oneself, loving the other, sincerely. / True friendship means equality, listening, putting oneself in the other's shoes and seeing out of those eyes ... differently! / Friendship that matters is not one-sided, lacking in interest: a lasting friendship is one of selflessness, a thing of beauty!

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Justice for Aboriginals grows out of recognition

    • Frank Brennan
    • 19 October 2015
    7 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Rising from the ashes of bad media business

    • David James
    • 19 October 2015
    7 Comments

    For those who believe, as G. K. Chesterton quipped, that the popular press is 'a conspiracy of a very few millionaires', the decline of mainstream media may not seem such a great loss. But the thinning of journalistic ranks is not good for democracy. In the world of business, old habits usually do not die at all — it is rather the businesses themselves that experience terminal decline. What journalism that does emerge from the ashes of the existing mainstream media businesses will be very different.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Aboriginal footballers' MCG dreaming

    • Brian Matthews
    • 16 October 2015
    3 Comments

    In the recent AFL Grand Final, the performance of Aboriginal footballer Cyril Rioli seemed to be not much short of magic. Well, perhaps the spirit world did make a contribution. In 1844, a great throng of clans was camped on the site of what became the MCG. Perhaps, 170 years later, Aboriginal footballers, running down the race for the first time and steeling themselves for the noise, the space, the tension, find instead a great sense of intimacy as their feet hit the grass of the oval.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Dark days ahead for Kurds in Turkey

    • Paul White
    • 16 October 2015
    1 Comment

    Last Saturday's bomb blasts in the Turkish capital Ankara, which left 128 dead and some 246 wounded, occurred in the wake of the ruling AK Party's recent electoral defeat and its decision to call a fresh election. Since losing the election, President Erdo─čan has effectively dumped a peace deal with the Kurdish nationalist PKK and restarted Ankara's war against the Kurdish people. Dark dies lie ahead for ordinary Turks and Kurds in Turkey until the grip of ultranationalism is broken.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The man who gave the Twin Towers their soul

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 15 October 2015
    1 Comment

    In 1974 eccentric French acrobat Philippe Petit walked a tightrope between the recently completed Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He and his team of accomplices, aware of the illegality of what they were doing and the complex physical challenges of rigging a cable between 400-metre-tall skyscrapers (let along walking on it), spent months scheming in secret. On the day, any number of unforeseen circumstances could derail the intricate plot. The Walk recreates the feat in vertiginous detail.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The church must be a poor church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 October 2015
    23 Comments

    The image of the body of Aylan Kurdi cradled in the arms of a Turkish soldier jarred with our sense that poverty is simply the deprivation of material goods — there is no greater poverty than death, and no greater deprivation than that of a child stripped of life. Francis speaks powerfully of the need to address poverty. He insists that the church must move out of its comfortable centre to the margins where the poor live. To address poverty we must know people who live in poverty as our brothers and sisters.

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  • RELIGION

    No room for culture warriors in Canberra or the Vatican

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 15 October 2015
    11 Comments

    Many in the Church would echo Tony Abbott's feelings on the dangers a theological environment 'at war with itself' presents to its moral authority. Similarly, there are many conservative politicians and members of the press who look at the current political commentary — marked by discussion rather than authority — and wonder what a government can accomplish in such an environment. Not surprisingly, Cardinal George Pell — described by Abbott as a 'fine human being and a great churchman' — is among those pushing back against the dialogue at the current Synod on the Family.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Participation and inclusion key for neglected carers

    • Moira Byrne
    • 14 October 2015
    3 Comments

    Mental health disorders among caregivers occur at a rate of up to two times that of the general population, and relationship breakdown for parents of children with special needs is reported to be around 80 per cent. Since becoming a parent of someone with a disability and changing careers, I've been fortunate to have employers who have permitted part-time work, which has been a crucial aspect of my wellbeing. This has not always been the case, nor is it the case for all caregivers all the time.

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  • CARTOON

    Abbott's three-word legacy: Foot In Mouth

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 14 October 2015
    8 Comments

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dangers of using schools to address extremism

    • Andrew Zammit
    • 14 October 2015
    8 Comments

    In September Sydney's Daily Telegraph ran the headline 'Schoolyard Terror Blitz', reporting that 'schoolteachers will be given access to radicalisation information awareness kits explaining how to identify students at risk and what they should do to intervene as concerns grow about the rise of teen terrorists'. As the government prepares to address the involvement of schoolchildren in violent extremism, a controversial program in the UK shows a dangerous path that Australia must avoid.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Learning how to die with chimera Montaigne

    • Patti Miller
    • 14 October 2015
    13 Comments

    I have always felt guilty about an inability to commit to any belief system. So when Montaigne said 'Only fools have made up their mind', I felt an enormous sense of relief. He knew that those who are certain are the ones to shut down newspapers, lop off heads, blow up planes, burn books. There is a thread throughout his essays, too, of him finding sex undignified and therefore unfitting for grown men and women. It is one of his many contradictions and confronts me with my own contradictory attitude.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    If only gender-based violence really was unAustralian

    • Tim Robertson
    • 13 October 2015
    11 Comments

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared that violence against women needs to be seen as 'unAustralian'. But sexual violence against women was part of the colonial experience for the Indigenous population, and continues to be a symptom of the punitive measures enacted against asylum seekers that we have a moral and legal obligation to protect. Violence against women is very much 'Australian', and will be until the institutional violence that has defined our past is owned and redressed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Melbourne medicos bring detained children into the light

    • Justin Glyn
    • 13 October 2015
    9 Comments

    Health care professionals at the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital have begun to do what could not be achieved by reports from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Australia's Human Rights Commission. The doctors and staff are refusing to release children they treat back to the detention which caused their problems in the first place. By this brave act has begun the slow task of pouring daylight (always the best antiseptic) into this gaping wound in Australian society.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Windows to grace on the school bus

    • Brian Doyle
    • 13 October 2015
    6 Comments

    I am present in the kitchen window at 7.39 exactly if at all possible, to be given the gift of a kid licking his window, or a kid waving at me, or one little kid inarguably and thoroughly picking his nose. You wouldn't think that a boy picking his nose would be a glorious and poignant and thrilling and joyous sight, something that seemed truly and deeply holy, but it sure was, to me. All children are my children and yours and the bus bounces down the street every morning and we are not dead and all is grace.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's fatal attraction to America

    • Tony Kevin
    • 12 October 2015
    6 Comments

    'Other countries in response to one mass shooting have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings,' said Barack Obama earlier this month. 'Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia — countries like ours.' Thankfully, America is not like Australia. Though many Australians feel a natural envy for our confident, successful cousin, many disturbing developments — Tea Party style politics, anti-immigrant nativism, know-nothing anti-science — have roots traceable to the US.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    My brush with Qantas elitism

    • Beth Doherty
    • 12 October 2015
    22 Comments

    Some weeks ago I was barred from entering the Qantas Club due to my attire. When I gleefully posted my outrage on Facebook I got my fair share of sympathy, though the post didn't quite go viral. It was vindicated this week, however, when singer Kate Ceberano met a similar fate. Qantas might see itself as a tolerant and inclusive airline, demonstrative of our great liberal democracy. In fact it risks becoming one very elitist, sexist boys club, where only a privileged few measure up.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rehabilitating Abbott

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 October 2015
    18 Comments

    Australia has a long line of prime ministers whose standing has been propped up over time. Edmund Barton was a racist; Alfred Deakin spoke against 'undesirable coloured aliens'. The passage of time tends to extract the essential parts of a prime minister's stint, which is how complex figures like Whitlam, Fraser, Keating and Howard end up being rehabilitated in collective memory. It's hard to tell whether there is enough complexity in Abbott and his time as prime minister to enable such restoration.

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