Search Results: Chris Johnston

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Laughing in the face of climate change despair

    • Fatima Measham
    • 29 May 2016
    12 Comments

    People understand that some of the solutions for the problems faced by current and coming generations are likely rooted in decisions made now. Future-proofing is not merely anticipation, but intervention on a scale that goes beyond households. It involves design and culture. It demands an international rather than insular outlook. Perhaps this is why gallows humour has seeped into my conversations about the future. I no longer expect our leaders to do something worthwhile about it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Conversations with homeless protesters

    • Tim Robertson
    • 22 May 2016
    8 Comments

    I asked John, a tall, articulate man with long hair and well-maintained hipster beard, if he'd had a chance to read the most recently published Herald Sun think-piece arguing that what they are doing is not a demand for help, but a political protest. He smiled wryly, expelled a couple of bursts of laughter and said that that may be their most accurate reporting of the unfolding situation to-date: 'This has always been a political protest ... that's always been our intention.'

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis' social activism has long roots

    • Bruce Duncan
    • 15 May 2016
    38 Comments

    Pope Francis is determined to highlight the opposition of Christian social thinking to the tenets of neoliberalism or market fundamentalism, an ideology which assumes that free markets of themselves will produce the best outcome, and which pushes aside considerations of social or distributive justice. It is unlikely Francis would be waving the flag of social justice so boldly on the world stage had Pope Leo XIII not written his famous social manifesto, Rerum Novarum, 125 years ago.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Questions for sub happy Australia

    • Justin Glyn
    • 08 May 2016
    15 Comments

    If Australia knows who its enemies are, presumably these putative enemies have a fairly good idea who they are as well. How are they likely to respond to a purchase of submarines? By initiating military countermeasures? By exacting trade sanctions? By diplomatic reprisals? These questions are vital, not just for military planners but also for anyone who is likely to be affected by Australian foreign policy as well as those who want to know more generally how their tax dollars are to be spent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Election budget fiddling

    • John Warhurst
    • 05 May 2016
    12 Comments

    It was a political budget in a special sense, given the forthcoming election. Yet it turned out to be neither an election-winning nor election-losing budget. It was more continuity than change. In that sense it probably was the best the government could hope for given the nation's economic and financial circumstances. However it falls far short of the sort of budget that might have been expected from a prime minister like Malcolm Turnbull whose image is one off a 'big picture man'.

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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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  • MEDIA

    Channel 7 needs to get with AFL's non-violence program

    • Garry Westmore
    • 01 May 2016
    4 Comments

    Arguably, as a society, Australia's tolerance for violence is waning, and both the AFL and the NRL have been proactive in diminishing the prevalence of deliberate and reckless violence that might endanger players' safety. Unfortunately, despite the AFL's desire to stamp out the more dangerous incidents, many televised football commentators are hindering the cause by making excuses for players, playing down the severity of their actions, and failing to condemn them.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Serfs sucked dry in the kingdom of banks

    • David James
    • 17 April 2016
    11 Comments

    Three finance-related events are currently gaining great attention in the media. One is the so-called Panama Papers. Another is the proposal to have a royal commission into the banks. And a third is the furore over the unaffordability of homes and the debate over negative gearing. On the surface they would seem to be quite separate issues. But all three issues demonstrate yet again that banks are, if not the most malign organisations on the planet, then certainly among the most dangerous.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Patrick Dodson's Senate mandate

    • Frank Brennan
    • 14 April 2016
    21 Comments

    The royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, which signed off on its final reports 25 years ago this Friday, definitely improved the systems for supervision of persons in detention, reducing the risk of deaths in custody. It also led to better coronial procedures. But it failed to reverse Indigenous imprisonment rates and it did little to counter the underlying causes of Indigenous imprisonment. Back then, Patrick Dodson saw police as the main problem. Now, he thinks it's the legislators.

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  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's uncertain road to glory

    • John Warhurst
    • 23 March 2016
    4 Comments

    Media reaction to Malcolm Turnbull's decision to recall Parliament on 18 April was remarkably glowing. The move was acclaimed as a masterstroke and his decisiveness applauded. However the path Turnbull has laid out and the roadblocks that still remain is actually more complex. His plan may be too clever by half, and reflects a misreading of the nature of modern Liberal factional politics. His internal conservative party opponents are cultural warriors, not old-style economic advocates.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A new year, a new Bill?

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 17 March 2016
    9 Comments

    While Turnbull may be ahead as preferred prime minister, the Coalition has yet to demonstrate the principle of fairness that is deeply held and widely felt across the electorate. Labor's narrative needs to be not only that it is the party best equipped to deal with the challenges we face, but is the only party that can ensure any changes will be just and equitable. A plan for the future that is both convincing and seen as fair may end up being the difference between being in government and opposition.

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