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Ecuador's example for Australia's neglected arts

1 Comment
24 September 2015 | Catherine Marshall

La Capillla del HombreOn a terrace just below the house is the beloved, late Ecuadorian artist Guayasamin's masterpiece, La Capillla del Hombre. A collection of his imposing artworks fills the space, works that ask the unanswerable question: why is man equally capable of such cruelty, and such compassion? It is a question that all good art should pose — a point that Australia's newly appointed Minister for the Arts would do well to remember.

Moral injury and the recalibration of priorities

17 September 2015 | Fatima Measham

Charlie Hebdo Aylan Kurdi cartoonFrench satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has stirred controversy over cartoons depicting Aylan Kurdi. Superficially it appears this is about the bounds of propriety, but the hard truth is that body of a three-year old refugee cannot be a holy relic that is untouchable. What is the point of being miserable over things we cannot control?

Moving on after two unhappy years

15 September 2015 | Tony Kevin

The Australian headline 'Turnbull's Triumph'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.

A political death

15 September 2015 | Andrew Hamilton

Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop from pm.gov.auIt 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. 

Chinese economy a work in progress

1 Comment
13 September 2015 | David James

China stock market decline graphicThe recent ructions in the Chinese stock market set off great consternation in global financial markets, but for the most part this was a display of ignorance. One of the reasons China’s influence on global markets has been so beneficial, since at least 2007, is that its economy and financial markets are so different.

A moment of compassion and solidarity that nurtures hope

10 September 2015 | Andrew Hamilton

A fortnight ago political conversation about asylum seekers had to do with turning back the boats, the links between terrorism and religious identity, exporting our Stop the Boats policy to Europe, the seductive dangers of compassion, and attempts to wedge other parties on the basis of their softness. Now it appears we have moved on, and for that Mr Abbott deserves our ungrudging gratitude, whatever side of politics we stand on.

Untangling Abbott from Santamaria

31 August 2015 | John Warhurst

Abbott and his so-called mentors, by Chris JohnstonThere is always an appetite for anything linking Tony Abbott and Bob Santamaria. The journalist in Abbott has encouraged observers to play up the links, even though it has never been entirely clear  what he is saying. He has explained that he was impressed as a young man by Santamaria’s courage as an 'advocate for unfashionable truths’, but he also pays his public dues to a number of prominent figures including John Howard, Cardinal George Pell, John Hewson, Bronwyn Bishop and even Pope Benedict XVI.

Don't fence me in

27 August 2015 | Catherine Marshall

White picket fenceAs immigrants settling in Australia, the relative lack of fences and security measures was a sign that we'd chosen a safe and respectful country. This erasing of margins implied at once both mutual trust and an innate respect for the invisible boundaries that demarcated people's personal space. But 13 year later, I'm noticing the emergence of fortified residences boasting shiny black fences and firmly shut gates.

'Vigilante' applies to the government more than environmentalists

23 August 2015 | Fatima Measham

Adani mineThe epithets used against environment groups have been extraordinary after a judge of the Federal Court set aside Environment Minister Greg Hunt's approval of the Adani thermal coal mine. Perhaps legislation has always been an instrument for ideological agendas, but the compulsion and ease with which the Coalition has taken to the law to restrict scrutiny doesn't bode well for us. 

Rich retirees may need the aged pension

30 July 2015 | David James

Chris Johnston artworkThere has been great pressure on both of the major political parties to stop giving so-called rich retirees partial pension income. The conventional view has become that retired millionaires should not be feeding off the public teat. But in terms of income, many of those 'rich retirees' would actually be better off on the pension.

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