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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dollars trump humanity in NSW public land purge

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 18 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The Brutalist building - so ugly when I first saw it, now a familiar milestone on the journey into the city - has been condemned to an undignified death; soon it will be demolished, a luxury apartment building erected in its stead. The long-term residents have packed their meagre belongings and gone (though not without a fight). Such is the pattern of progress in New South Wales, under a government that has no compunction in selling public land to the person whose wallet is the fattest.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humanity meets bureaucracy on asylum seeker Fast Track

    • Shira Sebban
    • 15 August 2016
    14 Comments

    Sobs rack his body. Under the Fast Track Assessment process being used to clear the backlog of protection claims, the nondescript official sitting opposite him, or one of his colleagues, will most likely be the one to decide his fate. 'Should you be found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, the government may share your biographical details with the authorities of your country of origin,' the official intones. 'If you give them information about me I will be killed,' comes the chilling reply.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Environmentalists' potential allies on the populist right

    • Greg Foyster
    • 03 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The neoliberal right is losing political power to the populist right, which isn't filled with the same ideological zeal for free-market capitalism. Suddenly debates can expand beyond the narrow confines of economic growth. Moral and social arguments won't be relegated to the intellectual fringes anymore. Mainstream parties of the left and right, both of which bought into the neoliberal agenda, will have to break their bipartisan dismissal of discontent with the side effects of globalisation.

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  • RELIGION

    Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 July 2016
    79 Comments

    Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law - not as academic notions for lawyers but as the secure bulwarks of a society in which everyone's rights and interests are protected.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The changing face of the law across generations

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 July 2016
    7 Comments

    Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the amendment to the Constitution which took out the adverse references to Aborigines. Following our recent election, we are assured at least six, and possibly seven, members of our national parliament who proudly claim an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage. They are represented in all parties and none. How good it would be if our elected Aboriginal politicians could come together across party lines and propose an amendment to the Constitution which recognises them.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Worn and wasted by election day shambles

    • Ellena Savage
    • 08 July 2016
    3 Comments

    The OIC makes a dramatic speech about the integrity of live ballot papers, that there will be no repeat of the Western Australian kerfuffle, that we have our booklets that contain all the answers (and many typos, too). He seems nice. Maybe a little skittish. Not someone I'd imagine would be hired to run an office or manage a kitchen or even wait tables, but he must know what he's doing. This speech is the last demonstration of authority I witness on this day.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Happy hour reverie

    • Dougal Hurley
    • 28 June 2016
    1 Comment

    Amber brethren unified over glazed tables, cracked leather chairs groaning under the burden of another weary apprentice. Here's to the blackened crust on a Parma special and to being pricked by an unofficial entry tithe ... Douse me in the balm of mellifluous chatter. Let me move amorously down through this molten journey until I am left suckling at the dregs in my comfortably reduced environ, tending towards something that approaches what some might call contentedness.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    No sex please, we're praying

    • Rodney Wetherell
    • 07 June 2016
    2 Comments

    In prayer, our minds are sex-free, let us hope; our thoughts of God do not include the body, his or ours, svelte or chunky, erotic perfume should be undetectable, ditto the sense of orgiastic writhing sent down to us from digital porn heaven. Should your inner eye pick out an angel, beautiful, and fixing eyes on you, or Jesus wearing little but a wisp of cloth across a gym-toned body streaked with blood, contact your counsellor, ring that number - you've wandered to the opposition site.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's little sepia book of dead political tricks

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 06 June 2016
    26 Comments

    Living within the United Nations community I've witnessed Australia fall from a well-respected international citizen, to becoming the spoilt, sneaky brat of international relations. Even the most blasé glance at the geo political currents moving through the planet reveal complexities this election pretends don't exist. Australians fighting about jobs and growth in the corner comes across as deeply deluded isolationism. The Great Barrier Reef is dying. The world is watching. Hello Australia? Anybody home?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Setting subeditors' slights to rights

    • Brian Matthews
    • 25 May 2016
    6 Comments

    Under election campaign pressure, some names have been misprinted. Mr Malcolm Ternble of Naracoorte wishes to point out that he has not made any public statements on negative gearing and is unsure what negative gearing means. The error was made by a Gen Y subeditor and should have read 'Prime Minister Malcolm Ternbull'. The Foreign Minister was cited as Ms Julia Bishop. The correct nomenclature is Ms Julia Bronwyn. Ms Bronwyn was inaccurately described as a part-time helicopter pilot.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Miracle of the Andalusia schoolhouse wasp

    • Dan Graham
    • 20 May 2016
    12 Comments

    I attempted to continue with the class but it was impossible for the children to ignore the wasp. I elected to evacuate. We had our lesson on the playground. One of the kids went home and told their mother about the wasp and that instead of class, we'd had an extra long lunch. The mother failed to appreciate the dilemma I'd faced, called my boss and asked her how I could be trusted with 20 children when I couldn't even handle a single wasp. Next week, same class, the wasp returned.

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  • RELIGION

    Women deacons the solution to priestly power problem

    • Phyllis Zagano
    • 11 May 2016
    21 Comments

    Pope Francis may be interested in better situating women within Church governance and ministry, and there is sufficient theological evidence to readmit women to the order of deacon. Even so, significant curial roadblocks keep him from moving in the obvious direction. Women deacons could take up significant posts, at the Vatican and around the world, but in 2008 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decreed ordination of women a crime worthy of automatic excommunication.

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