Vol 25 No 24

06 December 2015


 

  • MEDIA

    My mother's last Christmas

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 December 2015
    4 Comments

    On her last Christmas, my mother produced a Christmas dinner for 14 people on an ancient anthracite stove in the kitchen of the farmhouse I'd recently moved to. Nothing could distract her from the preparation of this Christmas lunch on a stove that was built last century - except for the pain that had been growing for some months just beneath her ribs. As she stirred the stock and pressed cloves into the ham I saw a wave of discomfort wash over her. It was uncharacteristic and unnerving.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Vulnerable countries leave mark on Paris agreement

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 December 2015
    5 Comments

    It has been an exercise in managing optimism and reality in the week after the Paris Agreement on climate change. One thing that can be certain is that COP21 is pivotal in terms of the model it offers for solutions to global problems. The Paris summit departed from a top-down approach, enabling the 43-member Climate Vulnerable Forum, led by current country-chair the Philippines, to work persuasively. 'We were more united,' says Tony La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government in Manila.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cuts leave two-parent families in the cold

    • Marcelle Mogg
    • 16 December 2015
    9 Comments

    Children in two-parent families don't deserve government support. That's the message the government sent last month when they passed legislation to cut family payments for two-parent families, while other families still get cash payments. One of the problems with recent policies is they increasingly see families as part of the market rather than fundamental building blocks of our communities that need to be supported. Families and communities are in fact undermined by the market.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ten films that got us thinking in 2015

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 16 December 2015
    2 Comments

    From the drama-filled mind of a pre-teen girl to the homes of former Indonesian death-squad members; from a day in the life of a transgender sex-worker to a grim and sublime new rendition of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays; from one actor's immense ego to another's fading relevance to an allegedly doomed writer's captivating self-effacement, Eureka Street's resident film buff Tim Kroenert revisits the characters and themes of some of the best and most conversation-worthy films of 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gospel stories of the security state

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 December 2015
    19 Comments

    The pastel coloured domesticity of the images of Jesus' birth does not do justice to its context. Herod's sending out first his spies to find where the Messiah was to be born, and then his soldiers to eradicate the threat the child posed to national security, may not appear on Christmas cards, but they frame the story of Jesus' birth. The disjunction between the tenderness of the Christmas stories and the brutality of their public context is mirrored in the conflict between the humane values of the Gospel and the harsh instrumental values of the public world in any age.

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  • CARTOON

    Santa's naughty list: Australian edition

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 15 December 2015
    1 Comment

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

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ai Weiwei is the cultural hero that China needs

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 15 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Ai Weiwei might be more Dada than Dao and a hirsute satirist of Beijing's rulers, but he is no mere trending hashtag. Since his birth in 1957, his life history has moulded him, and given him the courage to speak up for a reformed China. And while he might appear the court jester that a simplistic West wants, he is in fact a clever and pragmatic political operator in his own world pursuing a rights agenda in a systematic, constructive and humorous way, often through artistic production.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Aboriginal Australians' year of action

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 15 December 2015
    5 Comments

    At the end of 2014, the scene for Indigenous politics in 2015 was set. While it is rare to see a year where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people don't take to the streets to challenge government policies, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett's announcement in November 2014 of the proposed closure of remote communities led to a large scale movement. It was one of several events that mobilised Indigenous communities during 2015. Next year is shaping up to be just as action packed.

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  • ECONOMICS

    New world order of gas and finance

    • David James
    • 14 December 2015
    3 Comments

    In the early 1990s, America, Europe and Japan accounted for about 90 per cent of world GDP. Now, they account for less than half. The BRICs and other developing nations have grown steadily (in China's case spectacularly) while Europe has stagnated and America has sputtered at best. Recent developments in the geopolitics of fossil fuels and in finance confirm the perception that the rise of China and the developing world spells the end of US global hegemony. Against this backdrop, the narrative of the West has grown increasingly incoherent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Which refugees would Jesus resettle?

    • Aloysious Mowe
    • 14 December 2015
    25 Comments

    The UNHCR guidelines for resettlement are there for a reason: those who need resettlement, when this option is available, are the most vulnerable and weak in a refugee population: children and teenagers, women at risk, people with urgent medical needs, the elderly, victims of torture and trauma, split families. None of these should be subject to a religious test. As several Muslim commentators have said in the Australian media, you do not ask a drowning person her religion before rescuing her.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The flight into Egypt

    • Grant Fraser, Anne Ramsay and Rory Harris
    • 14 December 2015
    1 Comment

    Behind them that beast of prey, that Herod, was still glaring doom from his trees of thorn, eyes bulging like a fox. And so, by night, Joseph squired their secret way, prayed the morning kind, prayed empty the brigand-haunted roads. Each day they made another cold remove, with the infant swaddled close, and their way marked by quiet nurseries of straw. Joseph kept close his thoughts, measured each horizon, always with the rumour of dark hoofbeats thrumming in his mind.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Are corrupt bankers terrorists?

    • Justin Glyn
    • 13 December 2015
    4 Comments

    There is a new proposal from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that those convicted of terrorism offences are to be remanded in jail even after they finish serving their sentences. Given that the pressing of terrorism charges has already proven to be a highly subjective practice, there is good reason to fear that any new powers to detain people beyond the expiration of their sentences for terrorism offences will, like the offences themselves, be applied in a politically selective manner.

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  • RELIGION

    Corrupt churches need women leaders

    • Moira Rayner
    • 13 December 2015
    48 Comments

    There is a culture of brotherhood in the upper echelons of the Church. There is also a natural urge to homosocial reproduction in its instrumentalities. If I have learned anything from my work with companies and organisations on cultural change, it is that these comfortable cultures need to be broken up, because they are readily corrupted. The best way to change a culture is to start giving women positions of real influence and respect. They are outsiders, and outsiders see what insiders cannot.

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  • RELIGION

    Free speech and the plebiscite on same sex marriage

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015
    39 Comments

    Chris Puplick, a former senator and former president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, is one of a rising chorus expressing strong objections to the Australian Catholic bishops daring to evangelise and speak publicly about their views on same sex marriage. I too would be very upset if my bishops were saying, as Puplick claimed in an opinion piece in The Australian, that homosexuals are 'seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids'. But they're not.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Fears and fictions in SA's nuclear waste tussle

    • Michele Madigan
    • 10 December 2015
    13 Comments

    The state of Nevada continues to show its resolve by its longterm refusal to host a national nuclear waste dump. Such is their success that President Barack Obama has continued to back their opposition. It would certainly be beyond their comprehension that any community, any government, would volunteer to take other countries' nuclear waste, which remains radioactive for thousands of years. Yet in Australia, this is what nuclear proponents, the SA premier, and now the prime minister are backing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dawn of Australian domestic violence

    • Brian Matthews
    • 10 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Interviewed before the screening of Hitting Home, her program on domestic violence, Sarah Ferguson pointed out that the statistics had scarcely altered in a couple of decades. How far back into our history does this dismal phenomenon reach? 'We could quickly fill the largest building in Sydney with women and children who now, for the sake of food and shelter, but more for the sake of what is called their "good name", are bearing blows, insults, servitude and degradation,' wrote Louisa Lawson in 1889.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Pope Francis' hope for our poor earth

    • Paul Fyfe
    • 10 December 2015
    2 Comments

    Twenty years ago I was hopeful that countries would take strong and sensible action to address climate change, just as we had in 1987 when we faced the major depletion of the ozone layer. The following years slowly erased this hope. The Church did not do enough to stem disappointment, or to affirm that 'stewardship' alone was not going to provide sufficient grounds for the needed changes. By 2010 I was resigned to devastation. But Pope Francis has provided me with a ray of hope.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Partial portrait of a doomed artist as a young man

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 09 December 2015

    The End of the Tour is most compelling as a consideration of the relationship between journalist and subject, which is a strange kind of beast, glorified in the sprawling feature profiles of Rolling Stone and its ilk. At its best the relationship is marked by intimacy generated through dialogue, but at its worst or it is mutually exploitative. Scenes from this year's Amy Schumer press junket revealed how bad things can go when an interviewer thinks they are going to befriend their celebrity interviewee.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fragile earth will not be saved by Sunday

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 09 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Located in Paris in the aftermath of the attacks, COP21 spookily mirrors how climate change politics occurs within complex and pre-existing power structures that determine its effectiveness. Social and environmental wars merge with increasing intensity: from Syria to the Arctic, from Indonesia to Paris. Climate change complexity matches the complexity of terrorism. Causal chains of social conflict are as complicated as carbon movements that result in environmental distress.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human rights are more than an inconvenient truth

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 December 2015
    11 Comments

    Although they can be inconvenient, human rights matter. It is important for nations to recognise them and for citizens to defend them. The survivors of the Second World War who had seen the gross violations of human rights under both Nazi and Communist regimes clearly saw this. These states regarded human rights as a privilege that they could give and take away as they chose. History spells out in the alphabet of gas chambers and gulags what that attitude meant for their subjects.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What will children dream if not of bears?

    • Brian Doyle
    • 08 December 2015
    2 Comments

    If a three-year-old likes bears, you are into bears for the foreseeable future. Bears have been around since before there were pencils, my young friend said, which is inarguably true, and not something I had ever considered before. When we talk about what is lost in a world in which wilderness is lost, we never talk about the loss of the life we imagine. When there are no bears in the world, then no children will dream of bears, and draw bears, and sleep with bears, and that will be a terrible shame.

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  • CARTOON

    When the Turnbull honeymoon is over

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 08 December 2015
    1 Comment

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

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Just War or just butchery in expanding Syria conflict

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 07 December 2015
    15 Comments

    The 'Just War' doctrine has made a reappearance, in the form of an endorsement from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The occasion was the debate in the British House of Commons to expand the air conflict against ISIL into Syria, in what is already a horrendously crowded airspace. The endorsement was filled with doubts, however, and rightly so. For all the surmising that has taken place, it is very difficult to see how one might bring the various enemies to the prosperity of peace.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The long haul

    • Lisa Brockwell
    • 07 December 2015
    3 Comments

    There is another life where we end up together. We wake in the same bed, startled but not sorry; the timber frame is warm, hand-caulked with the day-to-day dedication of the long haul. The air between us no longer electric, all now sanded smooth. But whose dog jumps on the end of that bed: yours or mine? I don't plan to think about my husband or your wife; let's leave my son right out of it. Fantasy, no more dangerous than eating gelato and dreaming of Mark Ruffalo.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Close encounters in immigration 'prison'

    • Lisa Stewart
    • 06 December 2015
    14 Comments

    The first thing I see is a familiar tableau: Mother and Child, seated, the sweep of the lines of the mother's body sculpting a circle of security and warmth around the gentle wrigglings of her baby. Except that this is no Christian Madonna, but a young Muslim woman in her early 30s, quiet, gentle and shy. Seated on her lap is her little child who has my heart the minute I lock eyes with her. Dancing around her is a skinny, black-haired seven-year-old girl with the same smile, and far too much energy for the space permitted her.

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  • RELIGION

    A third way in the marriage equality debate

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 06 December 2015
    45 Comments

    At the moment, the conversation on marriage equality vs traditional marriage is being driven by extremists on both sides, people who see the struggle as a polarised conflict with the goal of overwhelming victory. But most of us would find that victory unattractive no matter which side is triumphant. Instead, we can choose not to press the button, and to work together to allow both same-sex couples and practising Christians to live their beliefs faithfully, to the fullest of their flourishing.

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