2015 In review

10 January 2016


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Maintaining youthful rage

    • Ellena Savage
    • 14 January 2016
    1 Comment

    A friend recently died at 25. She was heavily involved in our political and literary communities, and I saw in her the very best of rage and rawness in politics. But I also saw how possessing such a sense of obligation to raw, honest, and emotionally-engaged political exploration, is exhausting. Of course it is. Popular wisdom has it that as you age, you get more 'realistic' about political matters. But that's not it.

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: Images that empower women

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 14 January 2016
    1 Comment

    Studies confirm that sexualised images of slim young women used in advertising and popular culture lead to body dissatisfaction, psychological impairment and eating disorders. A new initiative from the non-profit LeanIn.org is fighting this entrenched culture through a partnership with Getty Images. It has created a photo library depicting females in many sizes, cultures and styles of appearance, but all strong and determined and in-charge.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Justice in recognition for Aboriginals

    • Frank Brennan
    • 14 January 2016
    9 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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    2015 in review: Contemplating war in France

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 13 January 2016
    3 Comments

    As I marched for Remembrance Day in our small village in France, I wondered, 'How long will these villages keep these ceremonies? When will someone decide these wars are too long ago or too far away?' Two days later, Paris was attacked. The news came like war does: sudden and violent. Then came declarations of a state of emergency and the closing of borders. My eldest daughter was over the border in Switzerland without a passport. War starts in increments, in the small ordinary worries of families.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: A political death

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 January 2016
    9 Comments

    It is hard to comment on Tony Abbott's demise without being splattered by the schoolyard mud. But we should begin by sparing a thought for the man himself in this time of humiliation. He has given his life to the Liberal Party, and to be disowned as leader by it is surely devastating. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    2015 in review: Burning Scientology

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 13 January 2016

    If you're going to apply a blowtorch to an institution as wealthy and litigious as the Church of Scientology, you might best be advised to first apply a magnifying glass. Alex Gibney details the dark side of the movement: its dubious tax-exempt status; allegations of psychological and physical abuse of current members and harassment of former members. But he is equally interested in unpacking the nature of belief in Scientology: what draws people to it, and also what drives them away.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: 'Unhappy' Abbott years end

    • Tony Kevin
    • 12 January 2016
    5 Comments

    Now is an exciting moment for Australia, after all the low points of the past two years. We can look forward to a real return to greater civil discourse and intellectual integrity in politics. It will be good if the parties can set aside the negative energy that was brought to the Parliament and return to an informed contest of ideas, for there is much to debate.

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: Q&A fails smart women

    • Moira Rayner
    • 12 January 2016
    5 Comments

    Annabel Crabb chaired it all really well, but the next day I realised that not only our Foreign Minister, but not one panelist, got one question about their extraordinary achievements. Bishop was managing partner of a big law firm. She has unique experiences and must have views on the world's problems and their impact on Australia. But nobody asked.

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: Australia's film industry boys club

    • Rochelle Siemienowicz
    • 12 January 2016

    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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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Islamophobia belongs on the fringes

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 January 2016
    6 Comments

    A series of protests against a mosque in Bendigo and the launch of an Islamophobic party in Perth may be cause for concern, but only if political leaders fail to invalidate fringe views. Under Tony Abbott, the conflation of Islam and extremism became mainstream. Corrections regarding racial vilification and incitement are most properly determined in the court, so it is not Muslims or lefties who are oppressing these views but the laws that operate in the secular democracy they purport to defend.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Funding our own surveillance

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 11 January 2016

    Back in March Malcolm Turnbull told ABC radio: 'The only thing the data retention law is requiring is that types of metadata which are currently retained will be retained ... for at least two years.' In fact the laws, which come into effect next week, include an obligation on service providers to 'create' data that falls within the data set to be retained, if they don't already collect it. This isn't nitpicking. The more data that is created, the more the scheme will cost, and the greater the risk of privacy breach.

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: The roots of troll culture

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 11 January 2016

    The common perception of internet trolls is that they are outsiders descending on a particular platform in order to wreck it. But there is a close relationship between trolls and the culture in which they operate. If you're a publisher seeking virality, you need to foster the strong emotions in which social media trades. Getting people to love your content is great, but outrage, incredulity and even hatred also work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Abbott's culture war

    • Sabine Wolff
    • 10 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Just when the ringing of the words 'I stopped the boats' had finally subsided and you were getting used to the idea of business agility and economic innovation as the key battlegrounds, who should pop back up but former Prime Minister and Culture Warrior in Chief, Tony Abbott. Abbott's Margaret Thatcher memorial speech — in which the words 'a hint of Thatcher about my government' were used with apparently no irony whatsoever — was a stunning example of revisionism, hubris, and confused ideology.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Using schools to address extremism

    • Andrew Zammit
    • 10 January 2016
    2 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Melbourne medicos' refugee heroism

    • Justin Glyn
    • 10 January 2016
    4 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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