Vol 26 No 6

28 March 2016


 

  • EDUCATION

    My heroic, dyslexic son

    • Tony Thompson
    • 08 April 2016
    21 Comments

    The school has been supportive, but in this data driven age even the finest teachers are compelled to teach to the vile Naplan tests. Dyslexic kids are put through unbelievable stress with these tests. If deaf kids were compelled to do listening examinations, there would be an outcry. I'm not sure if there's a difference. I'm also not sure if the ever narrowing scope of education can still accommodate students like my son, despite all the talk about diversity and differentiated learning.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Bob Ellis and the other nuclear royal commission

    • Michele Madigan
    • 08 April 2016
    16 Comments

    The passing of Bob Ellis recalls his faithful accompanying of the 1984-1985 royal commission into the British nuclear tests conducted in South Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. His article on the Wallatina hearings described what he named as the commission's 'worst story of all': Edie Milpudie's telling of herself and her family camping, in May 1957, on the Marcoo bomb crater. Re-reading the Ellis article, tears stung my eyes. It's so good when truth is recognised and held up for our freedom.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Icelandic farmers like rams to the slaughter

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 07 April 2016

    When a remote valley in the north of Iceland is struck by an outbreak of scrapie - a fatal, degenerative disease that affects sheep - Gummi, Kiddi and their farmer neighbours must face the prospect of conducting a mass slaughter. This is very much a communal crisis, and a consideration of the socioeconomic hardships of traditional Icelandic sheep farmers in modern times. But it's also a teasing-out on the personal level of Gummi and Kiddi's emotional and practical responses to this turn of events.

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  • RELIGION

    Companies' bastardry about more than bad apples

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 April 2016
    19 Comments

    How do good people sink to this? The answer lies in the mutation of economic ideology from the crude buccaneering spirit of doing whatever it takes to get rich into a more urbane form. People see themselves as competing, not only for their own economic benefit, but for that of the company. This means greed can mask itself as altruism in serving a larger good. And as in the case of churches, identification with the company provides reason for protecting the company's reputation at all costs.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Invincible Nikitas learns to lose

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 06 April 2016
    7 Comments

    My grandson Nikitas is ten. When his name was chosen I was haunted by memories of Russian leader Khruschev and his long-ago shoe-banging performance at the United Nations. My son and daughter-in-law patiently explained that their son was to be called after Nikitaras, a hero of the Greek War of Independence. Thankfully, young Nikitas does not divide the world into friends and enemies, at least not so far. But he is very competitive; perhaps his name, which means invincible, influences his outlook.

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  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 06 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • CARTOON

    Boom or bust

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 06 April 2016
    1 Comment

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bob Ellis the gifted troublemaker

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    Ellis' work is a prime example of the notion advanced by the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: that committed literature, and the act of writing, are political and ethical acts. Even in a film script, one can ponder social political change. Always of the left, but never formally the structured party man of faction and following, the dishevelled, sometimes wild Ellis proved contrarian even to Labor stalwarts. There were never pious reflections, or unqualified praises.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and resurrection on Christmas Rock

    • Deanne Davies
    • 05 April 2016
    1 Comment

    The breeze spills, engulfing gorges, ruffling trees. The leaves whisper ancestral stories, signalling from hill to hill creation mysteries. The track wends past abandoned tennis courts, their turf is crushed, compacted anthills that salmon gums reclaim. The creek is waterless but when seeded with rain froglets bleat like lambs. Once trees flaming orange were common ... the granite, grey with age, once barren, yet when Earth trembled, it crevassed and soil collected, water funnelled, plants sowed.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Life beyond Brussels and Paris terror

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 04 April 2016
    2 Comments

    When suicide bombers struck Brussels, I was travelling far from home, in southern Italy. The news evoked in me a sense of vulnerability, for within days I would board a series of flights from Reggio Calabria to Rome to Abu Dhabi and then Sydney. For a moment, it seemed the terrorists had achieved what they set out to do: spread fear and distrust far beyond the site of their attacks, across countries and continents and oceans so that eventually the whole world would be infected.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and peach pies

    • Brian Doyle
    • 04 April 2016
    5 Comments

    His mum was the kind who baked more than one pie at a time and gave the extra pies away easily and casually. All I knew about her was the pies, because my friend brought in pies for birthdays and teachers' anniversaries and raffles and such at school. My friend said she was too cheerful, a remark I didn't understand. He said she was a different person after his dad died, but who wouldn't be after your spouse died at the kitchen table and got coffee all over the business section of the newspaper?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    System must work for victims, not against them

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 April 2016

    For victims and survivors, the royal commission report into family violence comes as catharsis. For activists and advocates, it is vindication. Perpetrators thrive on impunity. Impunity is built on uncertainty of punishment, cultures of silence, victim-blaming and perceived collusion with figures of authority. Dismantling this is central to violence prevention and ensuring the safety of women and children in the home. The royal commission addresses this goal across 227 recommendations.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sherpa Spring challenges Western privilege on Everest

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 31 March 2016

    If Peedom was expecting to find signs of a growing sense of self-agency behind the docile facade of the legendary 'Smiling Sherpa', she couldn't have predicted a rawer or more tragic scenario against which it would play out. Predictably the turn of events does not sit will with the Western climbers and tour operators, who feel that the outlay of time and money, not to mention the 'bucket-list' imperative to conquer the peak, entitle them to proceed. Polite facades peel away to reveal ugly attitudes.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The value of protest lies in ritual not results

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 31 March 2016
    5 Comments

    The Palm Sunday Refugee Marches have come and gone; the travails of people who seek asylum continue. In a recent article that reflects her rich experience, Moira Rayner was right to say that marches are not effective in changing policy. Where they are, as in the Vietnam War marches in Australia or in Manila under Marcos, the fortress was already crumbling. Yet even when they are not effective, marches are not a waste of energy. Their value lies not in their effectiveness but in their ritual.

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  • CARTOON

    Leaders of the opposition

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 30 March 2016

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The bleeding obvious about homelessness

    • John Falzon
    • 30 March 2016
    11 Comments

    The Prime Minister wants us to be clever. Well how about we make sure everybody's got a place to call home? The problem of homelessness and the shortage of social and affordable housing is so huge that we need a massive solution and a massive financial commitment if we want to lay claim to being civilised and fair, let alone smart and innovative. This is why, among things such as reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax, we need a $10 billion social and affordable housing fund.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Jailing fine defaulters punishes poverty

    • Kate Galloway
    • 30 March 2016
    6 Comments

    Around half of Indigenous prisoners in Roebourne Regional Prison are there on driving offences. Many Indigenous Australians do not have birth certificates and therefore cannot get a drivers licence. Yet those who live in remote areas often have no means of transport other than by car. When they are caught driving unlicensed, they receive a fine, and since many are unable to pay, they are consequently are jailed. And as we all know, jail is a particularly risky place for Indigenous Australians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Family violence needs whole community response

    • Julie Edwards
    • 30 March 2016
    1 Comment

    The royal commission recommends a 'blitz' on rehousing family violence victims stuck in crisis and transitional housing, as well as individualised funding packages to open up access to private rentals for people fleeing violent relationships. Important though it is, it is not enough simply to support the victims of family violence. We also need to prevent family violence from occurring. This requires a strategy for preventing family violence that involves the whole community.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    History of disability discrimination is present in Australia

    • Justin Glyn
    • 29 March 2016
    9 Comments

    People with disabilities have lived on society's margins since biblical times. In 1939, extending eugenics and sterilisation campaigns developed in the US in the early 20th century, Hitler authorised the vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens ('the destruction of lives unworthy of life'). Unfortunately, not only has discrimination not been eradicated but those of us with disabilities, much like indigenous people, the poor, refugees and others with limited voice in society, continue to be seen as soft touches.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's uncertain road to glory

    • John Warhurst
    • 24 March 2016
    4 Comments

    Media reaction to Malcolm Turnbull's decision to recall Parliament on 18 April was remarkably glowing. The move was acclaimed as a masterstroke and his decisiveness applauded. However the path Turnbull has laid out and the roadblocks that still remain is actually more complex. His plan may be too clever by half, and reflects a misreading of the nature of modern Liberal factional politics. His internal conservative party opponents are cultural warriors, not old-style economic advocates.

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