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The enemy in my kitchen

09 October 2014 | Brian Matthews

Pizza OvenI have always prided myself on my capacity to do some heavy labouring in my spare time, but a serious back injury put a stop to most of that. Michael doesn't mind though. I point at the pizza oven and its need for removal. 'Well, mate,' he says, 'it's dressed in black and it's totally masked and unidentifiable. It wouldn't be allowed into Parliament would it?'

Best of 2013: Transformed by a boring Brussels Mass

06 January 2014 | Benedict Coleridge

Yawn covered by fistThe coughing is getting worse; it sounds like the pew behind me is hosting a cardiac arrest. English theologian James Alison described mass as 'a long term education in becoming unexcited', a state that allows us to dwell 'in a quiet place' that 'increases our attention, our presence'. In Brussels, becoming 'unexcited' seems important.

School sport's level playing field under threat

29 September 2013 | Michael Mullins

Five of Sydney's prestigious GPS schools have boycotted competition with another member of their association, The Scots College, because it is accused of undermining the spirit of competition in school sport by offering inducements to lure students with sports star potential. This undermines what the GPS code of ethics calls 'the spirit of the amateur' that promotes character, resilience and teamwork ahead of winning.

Pope Francis' field hospital

22 September 2013 | Michael Mullins

Pope Francis says in his recent interview that the wounded won't come to God if their pastors throw the rule book at them. Likewise the federal government will do nothing to increase employment participation if it chooses to demonise people through its punitive Work for the Dole Scheme. It's cruel and pointless to condemn people for not being able to walk up stairs while refusing to build a ramp.

Julie Bishop's opportunity to press PNG on death penalty

15 September 2013 | Michael Mullins

PNG flag

PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill has resolved to see the death penalty handed to the murderers of two porters killed during last Tuesday's attack on a group of Australian and New Zealand trekkers. Australia's incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop needs to remind PNG that Australia opposes the death penalty, and that it will curry no favour with Australia by executing criminals who harmed Australians. 

The moral point of difference between Labor and the Coalition

08 September 2013 | Michael Mullins

There was cause for celebration on Saturday night for both the Coalition and Labor. The Coalition was able to claim a decisive victory in the Federal Election, and Labor defied expectations and remains viable. But not so for vulnerable people overseas who will lose their Australian foreign aid lifeline so that the Coalition can fund its election promises.

Parent education is better than child protection

01 September 2013 | Michael Mullins

There are 60,000 children in the community whose lives are so dangerous at home that they need monitoring by government child protection services that are habitually stretched to their limits. But there would be less need for such services if governments put money into education programs that teach people how to be better parents.

A Martin Luther King dream for Australia

25 August 2013 | Michael Mullins

Martin Luther King’s 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech is remembered for its vision for a future in which his children would ‘not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character’. If King arrived by boat seeking asylum in Australia today, he would hope that his children would be judged not by how they got here but by the content of their character. 

Labor's performance enhancing drug

28 July 2013 | Michael Mullins

Australian cycling great Stuart O'Grady says using drugs was the only way he could be competitive at the 1998 Tour de France. Graham Richardson — famed for his 'whatever it takes' approach to politics — says Labor's PNG solution is cruel but 'politically brilliant' and has given the party a competitive edge. In years to come, Labor party elders will realise the cost of this competitiveness.

A legal tax rort is still a rort

21 July 2013 | Michael Mullins

The salary packaging and car manufacturing industries resented not being consulted about changes to fringe benefits tax rules. But as treasurer Chris Bowen said when he shrugged off the criticism: 'This is a matter of the integrity of the tax system.' A tax system that makes compromises with sectional interests is by definition corrupt and turning its back on the common good that it has been set up to serve.

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