Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A cautious response to mass killings and police violence

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 July 2016
    5 Comments

    When confronted by violent killings we should be appalled, identify sympathetically with the victims and with those affected indirectly by these tragedies, and also take a respectful interest in the complex lives of the perpetrators and the relationships that contributed to the shootings. The pause before making larger judgments respects the complexity of motivation and of social interactions involved in the killings, and offers a base for reflecting on how we may lessen the possibility of them happening in future.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What matters after the election is decided

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 July 2016
    17 Comments

    After a plodding election race the stewards have called for a photo. But it looks more likely that Turnbull will be able to form a government. If so, he will need to address the interlocking challenges that we face in order to leave our children a world of possibility. The hope will be muted because both major parties promised little or nothing to address them. But we can take heart that there is certain to be an independently minded senate that can consequently strike down bad policies, and keep asking what kind of an Australia we want.

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  • RELIGION

    Theology of elections

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 June 2016
    8 Comments

    During the campaign neither of the major parties addressed seriously the major challenges facing Australia: climate change, inequality and the forced movement of peoples. That makes it inevitable that following this election, sovereignty, mandates and other weighty words will continue to dominate public conversation. They usually function as political knives to cut through the messiness of our democratic order. But they also carry a theological weight that may illuminate our present condition.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Leave Europe arguments betray cultural amnesia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 June 2016
    19 Comments

    Some commentators in the Australian media have welcomed the prospect of Britain's leaving the EU. The founders of the union would recognise these commentators' hoped-for changes. They are precisely the conditions that contributed to the wars that they so feared: the xenophobia, disregard for human rights, chauvinism, military adventures entered by individual nations and competitive economic policies that alienated citizens and so bred authoritarian and ideologically inspired leaders.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elder abuse thrives on silence

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 June 2016
    12 Comments

    We all know elderly people who are healthy, active, and blessed with loving families. But the image represents only part of the reality of old age. Many elderly people are ill, have lost their partners, live alone with little connection to their families, suffer from incipient dementia, and are dependent on others for the daily business of living. If they appear at all in the media, it is usually in bad news stories. They are seen as people different from us. A significant minority of older people, too, suffer from abuse.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What lies beneath election campaign ethical silences

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 June 2016
    10 Comments

    Election times are full of sound and fury, much of it broadcast on a loop. But they are also marked by silences. These silences indicate concealed perils in society. Asylum seekers and young Indigenous people are spoken about, often noisily, but always as the object of policy, not as people whose lives have been blighted by policy. The human beings who suffer are shrouded in silence. This silence is an ethical silence that covers people whom we want to keep out of mind.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Engaging portraits of the men who would be PM

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 June 2016
    8 Comments

    David Marr describes Shorten at work in the claustrophobic world of the Labor factions and the unions where great haters abound. Annabel Crabb has a lighter touch, describing the career of Turnbull, with all its energy, intellectual and tactical brilliance, and victories with obvious enjoyment and in sunlit prose. The accounts raise two questions: Do the qualities of leaders matter much? And what insight do the leaders' stories provide into the likely achievements of the government they would lead?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Banking royal commission is popular, not populist

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 May 2016
    7 Comments

    The evidence of misbehaviour by banks has become public at a time when the underlying ideology has also been criticised. The inherent unlikelihood that an economy based on individual greed will benefit the whole of society is now patent. It is seen as much more likely that unregulated competition for material gain will lead to the concentration of wealth in the hands of the wealthy and powerful. Evidence now suggests that inequality hinders the economic growth it was presumed to nurture.

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  • RELIGION

    Catholic bishops deliver election year ethical wedge

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 May 2016
    13 Comments

    The bishops speak less trenchantly than Pope Francis, who criticises sharply the assumptions and practices of neoliberal economics. But in the context of this election, they add their voice to that of those who are concerned about economic assumptions that enrich the few and exempt corporations and business from social responsibility. Their statement will encourage those who see the now notorious behaviour of banks, finance business and corporations as symptomatic of a vicious economic ideology.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What kind of society does this budget enable?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 May 2016
    5 Comments

    It is important constantly to move from the budget to consider the plan it enables. If the budget is for the whole nation, it should look to the good of all, with each person and business having a responsibility for the good of others, particularly the most vulnerable. When budgets are constructed in such a way that the cost of their balancing is gross inequality and the exclusion of vulnerable people from participation in society, they should be rejected. They do not serve but betray the economy.

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  • RELIGION

    The divisive life of a pacifist priest

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 May 2016
    18 Comments

    By many United States Jesuits including military chaplains, Dan Berrigan was seen as a divisive figure. I also found his actions challenging. I was still to move from my concentration on the goals of military action to focus on what happens to people who make war and have it made on them. Berrigan and others helped me to see the dishonesty in the conduct of the Vietnam war, the cost to Vietnamese civilians and to soldiers on both sides, and the corruption of ethical sensitivity in both societies.

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  • RELIGION

    Anzac Day and just war scepticism go together

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 April 2016
    26 Comments

    The classical arguments originated at a time when casualties were suffered mostly by soldiers. In modern warfare, civilians overwhelmingly suffer. Just war theory is used as spin to give specious justification to military campaigns in whose devising ethical considerations played no part. Wars that governments wage are just; those waged by their enemies are unjust. By joining in such debate churches are co-opted into playing an intellectual game designed to make legitimate killing and destruction.

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