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21 April 2015 |
As next week's 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon approaches, the Australian Government has found its own egregious way to commemorate the anniversary. On Friday, the West Australian reported that HMAS Choules was standing off the Vietnamese coast, in an operation to hand back to Vietnam a group of almost 50 asylum seekers. So soon after Malcolm Fraser's passing.
19 April 2015 |
Since John Howard promoted the memory of 25 April 2015 in the years after 9/11, it has become entrenched in the public imagination as the definitive Australian moment. I look upon it from a distance, in awe, and as the deification of the white male soldier continues apace, with a deeper sense of alienation. As a non-white Australian who migrated to this country from the Philippines, I did try to make it relevant for myself for a while.
09 April 2015 |
Myanmar is metamorphosing like a vast time-lapse image, sloughing off its old skin and replacing it with a glittering new facade. But decades of military rule cannot be dismissed so easily, and there is much for the traveller to consider. In the first place, is it ethical to visit at all? Travellers have long taken their cue from Myanmar's beloved democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
07 April 2015 |
Despite often treating sports people uncritically as celebrities, Australians are ambivalent about their place in public life. Former Howard government minister Peter Reith launched an unfair personal attack on former champion Canberra Raiders rugby league forward Senator Glenn Lazarus after he defected from the Palmer United Party. The general lesson from the example of Lazarus - who is actually quietly capable - is that he is as well suited as the parliamentarians who have been lawyers, blacksmiths, builders, business and army people.
26 March 2015 |
Although the age pension will cost about $49 billion in 2017-18, it is means tested. In contrast, superannuation concessions are heavily biased in favour of high income earners. Both sides of politics pander to the wealthy and the cosseted finance sector, which want certainty that nothing will stand in the way of their super bonanza.
24 March 2015 |
Mandatory data retention was a bad idea when it was originally floated during a Gillard Government inquiry. It is a worse idea now, and is set to become law for political reasons, not because it has been properly scrutinised. There are important questions that we should be asking, and we should not let ourselves be put off from doing this if we don’t know the difference between data and metadata (there is none).
12 March 2015 |
The PM's cavalier use of the term 'lifestyle choice' is totally inappropriate when referring to the people who will be affected by the proposed closures of remote Aboriginal communities. Undeniably it is expensive to sustain remote living, and effective schooling and health services are unfeasible. But we must avoid arbitrary decision-making, and implicit disparagement of people in remote communities.
10 March 2015 |
Annabel Crabb chaired it all really well, but the next day I realised that not only our Foreign Minister, but not one panelist, got one question about their extraordinary achievements. Bishop was managing partner of a big law firm. She has unique experiences and must have views on the world’s problems and their impact on Australia. But nobody asked.
05 March 2015 |
Studies confirm that sexualised images of slim young women used in advertising and popular culture lead to body dissatisfaction, psychological impairment and eating disorders. A new initiative from the non-profit LeanIn.org is fighting this entrenched culture through a partnership with Getty Images. It has created a photo library depicting females in many sizes, cultures and styles of appearance, but all strong and determined and in-charge.
05 March 2015 |
The 2015 Intergenerational Report is reminiscent of a comment by that great 20th century philosopher and baseball player Yogi Berra: 'It’s tough to make predictions – especially about the future.' Many economic commentators have pointed out, rightly enough, that Treasury cannot even get its one year predictions right. Nevertheless, it is worth looking at how the 40 year forecasts are constructed to see the kind of thinking involved.
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