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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    St Patrick's Ballarat

    • Tony London
    • 12 February 2017
    6 Comments

    The chimneys of various shapes and sizes on the priest's houses next door, have not spumed since the winter, and in and around St Patrick's things like that might seem symbolic. Will fires ever be lit there again - lest the people speak - the ribbons spliced up and down the wrought iron railings, rattle in the brisk autumn breeze, telling stories of love, suffering and endless disharmony, broken trust, send messages to those in the passing traffic  ... better the devil you don't know ...

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  • RELIGION

    Sister Barbara and the books that changed everything

    • Julie Davies
    • 06 February 2017
    20 Comments

    Sister Barbara taught me in my fifth and sixth years. She had a large multi-grade class, yet she found time to realise I wasn't 'a bit slow' but was actually half-blind, partially deaf and bored witless. She ensured I was placed close to the front where I could hear, and arranged my first eye examination. Sister Barbara also sent away for high school English books just for me and that year this supposedly 'slow' child came first in class. These acts changed the course of my life.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Appeals to caring and fairness alone can't bridge climate divide

    • Greg Foyster
    • 01 February 2017
    10 Comments

    If climate change were a short-term problem, polarisation wouldn't be so crippling. One side could push a solution through parliament, and by the time the other side took power it might be a non-issue. But climate change is an extraordinarily long-term problem that requires massive investment in new infrastructure and consistent policy settings over decades. It needs a supermajority of support so years of work isn't undone with each change of government. That means getting conservatives on board.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama built the foundations for Trump's Muslim ban

    • Justin Glyn
    • 01 February 2017
    9 Comments

    The right wingers who support stripping people of their visas, and separating families in the process, have a point when they say that the US government is not beginning a new persecution, but merely continuing and deepening the persecutions of their predecessors. While previous administrations were more subtle in their actions than Trump's, it is undoubtedly true that the nationals now picked for sanction were those who were already targeted for visa penalties in the Obama years.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Watching the 'mixed bag' Senate cross bench at work

    • John Warhurst
    • 04 December 2016
    4 Comments

    To say the Senate cross bench is a mixed bag is an understatement. All that is really lacking is an extreme left senator unrestrained by Labor/Green discipline. Amid all the controversy I've grown comfortable with their place in the Senate and appreciative of their collective presence in an otherwise party dominated chamber. They each have their flaws, but they make a generally positive contribution to public discussion and to ultimate legislative outcomes. We are better off for their presence.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Ethical reflections on seeking sustainable development for India

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2016

    'No matter what the economic, political and legal problems confronted by modern day India, our response can be improved by an application of the key principles and norms developed in the international law of trade and human rights, helping to enunciate the realm of law, regulation and political accountability, enhancing public scrutiny providing the right environment for doing business.' Frank Brennan presents the 25th JRD Tata Oration, Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, India, 26 November 2016.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Leaders out of step with their faiths' climate teaching

    • Thea Ormerod
    • 16 November 2016
    9 Comments

    The evangelical Christian vote no doubt assisted the climate-denying Trump to his election victory, yet it is remarkable how out-of-step it is with the general view of faith communities globally. This view was made abundantly clear the day after Trump's victory on 10 November, with the release of an Interfaith Statement in Marrakech, Morocco, and it should stand as a challenge to those in public life who continue to block climate action.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    US goes rogue on climate

    • Greg Foyster
    • 16 November 2016
    5 Comments

    Here we go again. Just a few days after the historic Paris Agreement on climate change entered force, another Republican climate denier has snatched the White House. Donald Trump isn't just a closet sceptic, paying lip-service to climate change while doing nothing about it. He's an out-and-proud conspiracy theorist. All signs point to the US returning to its role as international climate saboteur, and for much the same reasons: Republican paranoia over the economic rise of China.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Empathy for Russia after Trump's ascent

    • Justin Glyn
    • 14 November 2016
    6 Comments

    If a failure of empathy marks our understanding of internal politics, its effects are magnified, with even worse results, in the international arena. A classic example is Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the west has failed to take Russian interests seriously. I endorse neither the present Russian government nor its point of view. However, knowing that the other side has a point of view and what it is is vital in avoiding miscalculations. You don't get a second chance with nuclear weapons.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Greens could learn a thing or two from larrikin Nationals

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 October 2016
    13 Comments

    The Nationals are the under-rated story within the Turnbull government. From the moment the party negotiated its binding agreement with Malcolm Turnbull, it has stood strong and determined. After about 30 years the Greens are still finding their way and learning their trade. They remain the outsiders looking in, whereas the Nationals are the ultimate insiders. Perhaps the Greens try too hard to be responsible, and would benefit from a dose of some of the larrikinism which the Nationals offer.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Spin counts more than facts in SA wind farm dispute

    • Greg Foyster
    • 20 October 2016
    10 Comments

    On 28 September an extreme storm lashed South Australia and the entire state lost power. How could this have happened? It's a question that has occupied the country for the last three weeks as politicians and commentators have peddled their unqualified opinions in an escalating culture war about the role of renewable energy. No one really knew what had happened until Wednesday this week, when the AEMO released its updated report. Even now, there are more questions than answers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A cassowary in Tinbuctoo

    • Chris Wallace-Crabbe
    • 16 October 2016
    1 Comment

    When I was a kid, I certainly knew, that a cassowary in Tinbuctoo, was able to eat a missionary, cassock, bands and hymn-book, too. Because it rhymed, it had to be true. But what on earth were those bands doing? Nothing musical, I'll be bound, And a cassock, what sort of jigger was that?

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