Author: Zac Alstin

  • AUSTRALIA

    Making a difference in the age of high-speed politics

    • Zac Alstin
    • 17 February 2015
    11 Comments

    The ancient Chinese text the Zhuangzi tells of a kingdom where the people rose up and killed their ruler three times in succession. Australia has seen two of its rulers 'killed' in succession since 2010, with a third now perilously close to extinction. Are we approaching a point where the highest expression of political wisdom would be not to run for leadership at all?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Martin Place terror belies quiet progress in relations between cultures

    • Zac Alstin
    • 16 December 2014
    25 Comments

    The siege at the Lindt chocolate shop in Sydney's Martin Place is frightening for all Australians. It also obscures the progress of relations between Muslims and other Australians, as such events have such an unfortunate polarising 'us and them' effect.

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  • RELIGION

    Tonti-Filippini's intellectual quest undaunted by physical pain

    • Zac Alstin
    • 13 November 2014
    7 Comments

    Utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer paid tribute to his friend and intellectual nemesis Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, who died last Friday after suffering pain and discomfort for much of his life. The majority of Tonti-Filippini’s influence on bioethics in Australia took place out of the public spotlight, including has work as chair of a govenment committee on the care of people in an unresponsive or minimally responsive state.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The unfolding logic of euthanasia

    • Zac Alstin
    • 06 October 2014
    33 Comments

    A Belgian court recently granted permission for a psychiatrically ill prisoner to be euthanised. Having worked in bioethics, I find it hard to avoid a morbid fascination with the gradual unfurling of euthanasia in nations where it has had a chance to become firmly established. While members of the public are usually shocked to hear of each new milestone, from an ethical perspective there are no real surprises.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Thinking beyond gender equality etiquette

    • Zac Alstin
    • 26 September 2014
    8 Comments

    The message of a recent VicHealth survey is that changing attitudes to gender equality will have the biggest impact on attitudes to violence against women. But what about those of us who already have positive attitudes to gender equality? We can go beyond a superficial and reactive focus on key outcomes and cultivate a deeper appreciation of a person's individual worth.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pro-choice paradigm lacks compassion on Zoe's Law

    • Zac Alstin
    • 17 September 2013
    66 Comments

    'Zoe's Law' was named in honour of the unborn child killed when her mother was hit by an allegedly drug-affected driver. We have the curious idea that 'pro-choice' is synonymous with compassion, respect, inclusivity and empowerment, yet opponents of Zoe's Law are philosophically unable to support a compassionate response to Zoe's mother, warning instead that 'We cannot accept a foetus being considered as a 'child' in NSW law.'

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  • RELIGION

    Why Christians are obsessed with sex

    • Zac Alstin
    • 25 October 2012
    71 Comments

    The Hon. Michael Kirby recently said those in the churches expecting gay people to be celibate should start thinking about 'real moral questions'. If some Christians are obsessed with sex, it is because many human beings are. The ethical 'supply' exists to meet the demand, and when it comes to sexual ethics, the demand is not being met by secular society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Worshipping Princes Romney and Obama

    • Zac Alstin
    • 17 October 2012
    30 Comments

    Whatever happened to American Christians concerns over Mitt Romney's Mormon faith? Like unease about Romney's conservatism and pro-life record, theological issues have been brushed aside in anticipation of November's US presidential election. Can a religious believer rightfully put their trust in either Romney or Obama?

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  • MEDIA

    Puncturing Australia's cult of the mind

    • Zac Alstin
    • 17 September 2012
    25 Comments

    Half a million Australians have an intellectual disability and 600,000 are projected to have dementia by 2030. Yet our lives increasingly depend upon advanced cognitive activity, seen in the proliferation of online social networking, banking and shopping. Can the fullness of life really be encompassed by our immersion in the life of the mind?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sympathy for the dodgy salesmen of Australian politics

    • Zac Alstin
    • 12 June 2012
    34 Comments

    Duplicity in politics is not new. Every utterance is tainted by the subtext of scoring points. If it is painful for us to listen, how much worse must it be for the politicians? It is dispiriting to constantly undermine one's own integrity, and the 'dodgy salesman' is no one's ideal of human flourishing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cold showers for unprincipled Labor

    • Zac Alstin
    • 06 March 2012
    15 Comments

    Labor must have anticipated the negative response to its axing of the solar hot water rebate scheme, yet it went ahead. Does this suggest determination, arrogance or desperation? One thing's for sure, the decision contributed to the impression this government has lost its way.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Once upon a time in multicultural Australia

    • Zac Alstin
    • 20 January 2012
    17 Comments

    Embracing an individualistic Australia that transcends ethnic heritage would leave us with a culture that is young, thin and commercialised. If we wish to promote unity and equality, the best thing we can do is learn our own forgotten stories of ethnic heritage.

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