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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.

The white male gaze that drives child sex tourism

26 July 2015 | Fatima Measham

The Monthly 'Fallen Angels' photoFebruary's arrest of Australian man Peter Scully in the Philippines has focused concern on the sexual exploitation of Filipino women and children by foreigners. As long as they feel disempowered, when their sense of worth is measured by implicit trust and hope in white saviours and the dollar, they will continue to be preyed upon.

Cold War blinkers threaten MH17 truth

19 July 2015 | Tony Kevin

MH17 wreckageA Russian investigative committee continues to claim that MH17 was most likely to have been downed by an air-to-air missile that was not Russian-made. For their part, Western commentators became increasingly impatient and scornful of Russian ‘conspiracy theories’ on who downed MH17. Whether the identity of who actually shot down MH17 becomes known in the fullness of time could depend upon the extent to which our political leaders can resist using MH17 to prosecute their Cold War enmities.

Intimidated ABC embraces self-censorship

06 July 2015 | Fatima Measham

Former Philippines President Ferdinand MarcosNine days after the Zacky Mallah Q&A episode, the ABC Board said it had censured the program's executive producer. It could have been a failure of the producer's editorial judgment, but there is a worrying sense that it was really a matter of the ABC appeasing the Government. There is a chilling echo of the Philippine media under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The media came to anticipate direct interventions from Malacañang Palace; eventually, none had to be made.

The normalisation of lying in Australian politics

05 July 2015 | John Warhurst

Bill Shorten 'on air'The terms 'lie' and 'liar' have become so completely devalued that there are now far worse sins in modern politics. That is why it's hard to get excited about Opposition Leader Bill Shorten choosing to lie on air to Neil Mitchell about his involvement in discussions with Kevin Rudd to unseat Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.

Feminism colluding with religion to manage men's sexual desire

02 July 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Hanna YusufBritish student Hanna Yusuf declared her hijab to be not an instrument of oppression but rather a feminist statement: 'In a world where a woman’s value is often reduced to her sexual allure, what could be more empowering than rejecting that notion?' But reducing a woman to her sexual allure is precisely what the hijab does.

The IMF has failed Greece

30 June 2015 | David James

Christine LagardeInternational Monetary Fund prescriptions have a long history of failing, and countries that ignore them are often the ones that do surprisingly well. Few have been asked to be more servile than the Greeks. When the IMF came in with what is amusingly referred to as its austerity 'plan', the Greek economy was expected to grow at over 2 per cent. After the 'plan' had taken effect, the country’s economy had shrunk by a quarter.

Whistleblowing and other new crimes

25 June 2015 | Fatima Measham

Whistleblower graphicMinisterial discretion over citizenship can't replace court processes. Such executive overreach, which contradicts democratic principle, has already found expression in law. From July 1st, workers involved in immigration detention, including doctors and teachers, are subject to two years imprisonment for speaking publicly about what they witness. In other words, whistleblowing has been penalised.

Roman holiday's graffiti highlight

1 Comment
04 June 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Rome street artYou can never see a city again for the very first time, and so instead I observe my son as the Rome he's heard about comes alive before his own eyes. His greatest fascination is not its stand-alone antiquities, but the graffiti that blooms all around them. To me, these are displays of vandalism; to him they are cultural constructs as important to modern subversives as gladiatorial contests were to the Romans.

Australia lags as Shorten leads on same sex marriage

31 May 2015 | John Warhurst

Same sex couple being marriedWhatever one's position on the introduction of same sex marriage, it's clear that Australia now lags well behind the Western world, including many comparable countries such as the UK and New Zealand. This contrasts with 120 years ago around the time of Federation, when Australia was a leader on issues such as votes for women, other democratic reforms such as the secret ballot, and a living wage. Our country is now a laggard.

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