Vol 25 No 23

22 November 2015


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Excluding abortion protestors is a matter of dignity

    • Fatima Measham
    • 03 December 2015
    51 Comments

    Last Friday, Victoria passed an amendment to establish a protest-free zone around abortion clinics. I find it impossible to reconcile with the idea that personhood in utero depends on whether a baby is wanted or unwanted, but I also believe bodily autonomy is integral to the dignity of women. There is such a long history of women being deprived of agency across political, economic, social, sexual and cultural dimensions, that being able to make a choice carries its own compelling morality.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No alarms and no opinions

    • Ellena Savage
    • 03 December 2015
    7 Comments

    In November I did not change my profile picture to a European flag. I did not post a link to a fresh journalistic insight into a gang of men with machetes who are desperate to feel relevant in the empty ravine of history. I felt mild joy for Myanmar, but if I am honest, I don't know enough about Myanmar. I felt indignant that no-one changed their profile pictures to the Mali flag after 170 people were taken hostage there. Then my indignation dissolved when I realised I didn't know what the Mali flag looked like.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Human faces from Indonesia's killing fields

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 02 December 2015
    2 Comments

    Adi was born after the 1965 atrocities, but his older brother Ramli was killed during them. He watches filmed interviews in which the perpetrators laughingly detail Ramli's murder, before going to confront and question them. These encounters are emblematic of a new generation of Indonesian seeking enlightenment from a former generation who find it less painful, or simply more beneficial, to forget. But Adi doesn't seek to humiliate or denigrate. He seeks the seeds of reconciliation in shared humanity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nanny State's arthritic grip contains common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 December 2015
    15 Comments

    A cyclist since my youth, I was intensely annoyed when campaigners first tried to enforce cycle helmets. I loved the wind rushing through my hair, and believed my safety could be left to my responsibility. Others might have wondered if I overestimated my sense of responsibility. It was hardly compatible with the practice of never applying the brakes when going down hills on country roads, or with the view that traffic rules applied only to cars. Later, I came to see that individual freedom must be considered in its context of human relationships.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hipster heroes of gentrification

    • Charlotte Howell
    • 01 December 2015
    1 Comment

    I was born into a working class family in Leyton, East London. But in the late 1980s, gentrification in the area forced us to relocate to the poor working class town of Harlow, Essex. In a twist of fate, these days I can't even afford to live there. This time it is not due to gentrification brought about by 'hipster' entrepreneurs, but because powerful construction companies have replaced the historical architecture with new developments and housing estates. I know who I'd rather pick a fight against.

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  • CARTOON

    All I want for Christmas is a legally binding, universal agreement on climate

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 01 December 2015
    2 Comments

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Naming and renaming uni's racist monuments

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 01 December 2015
    7 Comments

    For many years, historian Gary Foley has drawn attention to the racist past inscribed throughout the infrastructure of Melbourne University. Now, some staff and students are campaigning to rename facilities linked to particularly egregious individuals, such as the Richard Berry building, named after a leading eugenicist who stole the corpses of Indigenous people for research designed to prove the racial superiority of whites. While some accuse the campaigners of politically correct censorship, in fact the past has already been censored, and the campaigners are dragging it back into the light.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull-Abbott rivalry reveals Liberals' ideological chasm

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 November 2015
    9 Comments

    Historically, it was Labor that was dogged by splits and ideologues, while the Liberals were perceived as practical. But the ideological chasm between Abbott and Turnbull suggests the Liberals are now a broader church than Labor. The party's ideological and factional conflict will continue unabated as the government contemplates the two big public debates of its next term: a referendum on constitutional recognition of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and a plebiscite on same sex marriage.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not racist but

    • Barry Gittins
    • 30 November 2015
    5 Comments

    I'm not homophobic, but if you question my relished prejudice, satirise my hissy fits, you're not playing fair. I'm not racist, but don't you call out my revulsion, or reveal cultural discrimination (not here over there). I'm not sexist but your flaunting of sexual freedom, power, makes me long for lost hour ... If you peer quite closely you will notice I am mostly not a loving breathing person (that's rare).

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The changing face of racism

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 29 November 2015
    10 Comments

    It is naive to equate racism with individual acts of bigotry. The current anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment for instance goes deeper than sporadic attacks against individuals. Australian jobseekers with Middle-Eastern sounding surnames must submit up to 64 per cent more resumes than someone with an Anglo name in order to secure an interview. People may not actively engage in racist displays against Arabs, but that doesn't mean they are willing to spend time in close proximity to them.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Say no to increasing force against detainees

    • Pamela Curr
    • 29 November 2015
    31 Comments

    One of the most disturbing aspects of Border Force takeover of detention camps has been the increased use of force against people seeking asylum. Women have been especially targeted, with physical pat-downs before they come and go to medical or counselling appointments triggering panic attacks in some as it has brought flashbacks of sexual abuse and rape attacks in Nauru. Next week in the Senate, the Government is seeking even more powers to use against women, children and men in detention.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Working mum contemplates balance amid chaos

    • Jen Vuk
    • 26 November 2015
    1 Comment

    The tweet I sent that afternoon pretty much summed things up: 'Running late for work-life balance seminar. Why? Life, of course.' The irony was not lost on me. While officially I work part-time, I also freelance as a writer, volunteer regularly at my kids' primary school, have increasingly frail elderly parents who I feel terribly responsible for, and try to keep fit and maintain some semblance of a social life. On the day of the seminar on work-life balance, I'd managed to fill my schedule to breaking point.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Unions may be the answer for exploited garment workers

    • Beth Doherty
    • 26 November 2015
    4 Comments

    This week marked three years since the Tazreen Fashions factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh, left over 100 garment workers dead. Six months later, Rana Plaza in Dhaka collapsed, and 1134 people were killed. Labels for top brands such as H&M and Benetton were found in the rubble. While steps have been taken by some companies to promote ethical supply chains, it may be that the only way for a more just treatment of garment workers is the proper organisation of the workers themselves.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Arts need inspiration, not more disruption

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 25 November 2015
    2 Comments

    One of the few industries lacking a national advocacy platform, the arts, was stunned when a political move was made to undermine the key policy and investment body. The Australia Council is still reeling, and arts leaders from around the country are scrambling to save their organisations and support their colleagues following the Council's drastic cancellation of entire funding rounds. At stake here is the nature of Australian culture and the public experience of it, both now and into the future.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Untangling the murky Turkey plane incident

    • Justin Glyn
    • 25 November 2015
    6 Comments

    The downing of a Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber by Turkey reminds us of the risks which attend military intervention. There are, however, a number of additional complicating factors which promise to make the Syrian war even more dangerous and bloody for all sides. The situation could escalate dangerously. If this kind of event is not to become much more common, potentially leading to a much wider war, genuine peace talks with a lot more honesty on each side need to be a priority.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What led to the trashing of Christmas Island

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 November 2015
    6 Comments

    Questions remain regarding the recent death and disturbance on Christmas Island, posed by the responses by New Zealand and Australian government ministers to the unrest. New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne compared the Christmas Island regime to Guantanamo Bay. Australian Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton emphasised the $10 million damage to property. Both responses were partial. At a deeper level the riot was the predictable outcome of a brutal government policy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Malcolm Turnbull's confidence trick

    • Tim Robertson
    • 24 November 2015
    17 Comments

    The vitriol with which much of the liberal mainstream media responded to Tony Abbott's Margaret Thatcher memorial speech last month confirmed what many rightwingers have been claiming: that Abbott's problem was not his policies, but his inability to sell them. As communicators, he and Turnbull are poles apart. To date, the most striking achievement of the Malcolm Turnbull confidence trick is that he's rewarded for his apparent progressivism, even when he speaks explicitly against it.

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  • EUREKA STREET TV

    Grandmother activist's turbo charged climate passion

    • Peter Kirkwood
    • 24 November 2015

    'The people who were most impacted were people in developing countries who I've cared about my whole life. And then I started having grandchildren too, so that passion to do something about climate change was turbo charged. The thought of little kids being swept out to sea because of a typhoon, or killed in a cyclone - they haunt me.' Thea Ormerod, President of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, was arrested last year while protesting the Maules Creek mine site in NSW.

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  • CARTOON

    A bigot by any other name

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 24 November 2015
    2 Comments

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

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  • RELIGION

    Cardinal Pell, his lawyers and the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 November 2015
    46 Comments

    Last week the Herald Sun reported: 'Victims of child sexual abuse look set to be grilled by lawyers for Pell in a bid to quash explosive allegations he was complicit in a widespread cover-up.' As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommences its case study on the Catholic Church in Ballarat, it's only fair Pell have his lawyers cross examine these victims. His reputation is on the line and the commission has spared no effort in scrutinising his past actions.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Worn by remembering, mastered by great age

    • Grant Fraser, Ignatius Kim and Margaret Quigley
    • 23 November 2015
    5 Comments

    Not seven steps from the familiar geography of her room her bewilderment sagged on her walking frame as she shied away from the stern arm that was guiding her ... We composed ourselves upon the couch long enough for her to plead 'But I don't know who you are' as she trembled beneath the insult of my peering eyes and frowned away; and I felt a stranger's smile curdling on my face.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government haste lays waste to consultation

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 23 November 2015
    7 Comments

    In October last year, in my former role as regulatory manager of iiNet, I responded to a confidential industry consultation paper on the proposed data retention scheme. The Attorney-General's Department provided no response to that 22 page paper beyond an acknowledgment of receipt. It's frustrating to feel like a government is simply going through the motions of 'consultation'. This isn't an isolated case. There's too often a lack of meaningful consultation before bills are introduced into Parliament.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Adjustable ethics at the wheel of a self-driving car

    • Patrick McCabe
    • 22 November 2015
    1 Comment

    The safety features of self-driving cars could save many lives. But driving also involves making decisions, including ethical ones. Imagine you're in your self-driving car, travelling at speed on a highway. Suddenly an oncoming road train swerves into your lane and thunders head-on towards you. You may just be able to swerve, but unfortunately five men are standing on the side of the road, and you will surely hit them. Should the self-driving car kill five people, or stay the course and kill you?

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  • MEDIA

    Australian film industry boys club needs redressing

    • Rochelle Siemienowicz
    • 22 November 2015
    10 Comments

    The success of the Australian comedy The Dressmaker is thrilling to those watching the local film industry. There's more to cheer in the fact the film is proudly female in both story and production. We're not as bad as Hollywood, but even in Australia, there are not enough films for women, about women and by women. Since the 1970s male directors have been responsible for more than 85 per cent of the feature films made. Why does it matter? Because women are more likely to tell stories about women.

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