Vol 19 No 2

02 February 2009


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Politics stymie bushfire response

    • Paul Collins
    • 13 February 2009
    12 Comments

    Though the fires are still burning, the blaming has already begun, with environmentalists and academics pitted against rural people and firefighters. We have entered a new era of fires and will need to take a long, ecologically sensitive look at what has happend.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    When Leonard Cohen prays

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 13 February 2009
    13 Comments

    The world of pop music is dominated by prettiness and skin-deep perfection. In that context, Cohen's greatness is not instantly discernable. Lately a Buddhist, he has spent his latter years in study of religion — 'But cheerfulness keeps breaking through.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bushfire TV

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 12 February 2009
    3 Comments

    Kevin Rudd controversially told Channel Nine's Today show that the Victorian firebugs had committed 'mass murder'. Grief and anger compete during such times, and for armchair critics it is often all too easy to take the moral high ground.

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  • RELIGION

    Putting the flame to blame

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 February 2009
    12 Comments

    A compulsive fire lighter sets fire to a few leaves. The fire grows and ends up causing many deaths. While it is momentarily satisfying to find someone on whom to fix blame for the fires, it is unhelpful to be fixated in blame.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    When nature is the enemy

    • Brian Matthews
    • 11 February 2009
    7 Comments

    Fires and floods, murderous cyclones, unprecedented storms — none of them confined to their time honoured places and seasons. Nature is no longer our familiar element and our inspiration. It's running amok.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No ark in a firestorm

    • Moira Rayner
    • 11 February 2009
    3 Comments

    What can I do, I think, that first Sunday, other than being a nuisance at an emergency centre, or a gawker? I fall into something practical, fostering survivors' dogs and cats, and caring for bewildered companion animals who survived but whose owners didn't.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Asylum for an exile at home

    • Kevin Gillam and Ben Hession
    • 10 February 2009

    your community is at call and liberty ... stands o'er an alien harbour ... the land of promise wherein thou art a stranger

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  • EDUCATION

    Who cares about students

    • Fatima Measham
    • 10 February 2009
    8 Comments

    Many of the things that impact upon a teacher's efficacy are beyond their control - the quality of a child's homelife, the politicisation of the curriculum. One thing they can control is much they care, though this may bring new teachers little comfort in the months ahead.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pell's common interest with unions

    • Michael Mullins
    • 09 February 2009
    3 Comments

    Cardinal George Pell told the Australian Workers' Union National Conference last week why quick action to avoid mass unemployment in the looming recession is crucial to protect the wellbeing of many Australians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humanity endures in bushfire tragedy

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 February 2009
    9 Comments

    During the financial turmoil this summer, images of fire have abounded. The economy is 'going into meltdown'. Shareholdings 'turn to ashes'. This weekend's bushfires make us ask instinctively what really matters.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    On Calvin, soaps and international Scrabble

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 February 2009

    'Toxic feedback' is an occupational hazard for columnists. You learn to ignore the aspiration of some readers to see you fed to sharks or eviscerated in public, but the pedants are harder to cop.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Between the Department of Immigration and a hard place

    • Caz Coleman
    • 06 February 2009
    1 Comment

    Justice for Sanara's family has become a point of debate. For some it demands removing them to their homeland. For others, that they be allowed to make a home in Australia. Sanara, three, just wants food in her belly and a house that is safe.

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  • RELIGION

    Hindu's message for religious unity

    • Constant Mews
    • 05 February 2009

    Obama's inaugural address evoked another great speech. In Chicago in 1893 Swami Vivekananda called for an end to 'sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism'. Vivekananda's vision was never realised.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to escape the hell of suburbia

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 05 February 2009
    6 Comments

    Never mind purgatory: suburbia is hell, barbed with tedious career obligations, awash with too-bright light that leaves the skin looking transluscent, and populated with overly-cheerful, deluded demons. I was raised in the 'burbs, and still live there.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    After the Gaza slaughter

    • James Dorsey
    • 04 February 2009
    2 Comments

    Memories of the Gaza war are likely to focus on the human rights aspects of Israel's military conduct. Demographics could constitute a greater threat to Israel than rockets or terrorism, and may be the wrench that breaks the cycle of death and destruction. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    On not beating cancer

    • Brian Doyle
    • 04 February 2009
    13 Comments

    A nun once said cancer is a dance partner you don't like, but with whom you have to dance, and either you die or the cancer fades into the darkness at the other end of the ballroom. The words we use about cancers and wars matter more than we know.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Poems about Gaza

    • Anne Benjamin and Deborah Ruiz Wall
    • 03 February 2009
    1 Comment

    phosphorus .. above empty streets .. politicians promise .. vengeance will bring peace

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  • RELIGION

    My friend Justice Kirby

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 February 2009
    9 Comments

    Prior to convening his own farewell ceremony yesterday, Kirby published his last dissenting judgment, stating Aborigines should have their day in court over the Intervention. Though respecting tradition, Kirby has long thrived on conflict and change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dissident bishops and the case for church unity

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 February 2009
    19 Comments

    Pope Benedict's decision to lift the excommunication of four dissident Bishops has caused controversy. The decision raises wider questions about the unity of the Catholic Church, which bear on a current conflict within the Church in Brisbane.

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  • EDUCATION

    Taking maths out of the equation

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 02 February 2009
    11 Comments

    These are earnest kids, wanting to succeed. Society has told them that to succeed they must be able to draw a parabola, find the vertex, state the axis of symmetry. This city has two million adults — how many ever heard of an axis of symmetry?

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