Search Results: press freedom

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  • RELIGION

    Free speech and the plebiscite on same sex marriage

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015
    39 Comments

    Chris Puplick, a former senator and former president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, is one of a rising chorus expressing strong objections to the Australian Catholic bishops daring to evangelise and speak publicly about their views on same sex marriage. I too would be very upset if my bishops were saying, as Puplick claimed in an opinion piece in The Australian, that homosexuals are 'seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids'. But they're not.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human rights are more than an inconvenient truth

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 December 2015
    11 Comments

    Although they can be inconvenient, human rights matter. It is important for nations to recognise them and for citizens to defend them. The survivors of the Second World War who had seen the gross violations of human rights under both Nazi and Communist regimes clearly saw this. These states regarded human rights as a privilege that they could give and take away as they chose. History spells out in the alphabet of gas chambers and gulags what that attitude meant for their subjects.

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  • RELIGION

    'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 December 2015
    1 Comment

    'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.

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  • RELIGION

    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nanny State's arthritic grip contains common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 December 2015
    15 Comments

    A cyclist since my youth, I was intensely annoyed when campaigners first tried to enforce cycle helmets. I loved the wind rushing through my hair, and believed my safety could be left to my responsibility. Others might have wondered if I overestimated my sense of responsibility. It was hardly compatible with the practice of never applying the brakes when going down hills on country roads, or with the view that traffic rules applied only to cars. Later, I came to see that individual freedom must be considered in its context of human relationships.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not racist but

    • Barry Gittins
    • 30 November 2015
    5 Comments

    I'm not homophobic, but if you question my relished prejudice, satirise my hissy fits, you're not playing fair. I'm not racist, but don't you call out my revulsion, or reveal cultural discrimination (not here over there). I'm not sexist but your flaunting of sexual freedom, power, makes me long for lost hour ... If you peer quite closely you will notice I am mostly not a loving breathing person (that's rare).

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Countering ISIS by going off-script

    • Fatima Measham
    • 19 November 2015
    12 Comments

    It is tempting to view the aftermath of terrorist attacks such as those in Paris as a well-rehearsed script. There are condemnation of the killings, sympathy for the families of victims, resolve to seek and punish perpetrators, expressions of solidarity across nations. Also, assaults targeting Muslims on the street and in policy. This time a few things have gone off-script. 'Hugs and hashtags' won't stop ISIS, but there is strength in refusing to cede control over our language and behaviour to terrorists.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    On blaming Muslims for Paris

    • Justin Glyn
    • 18 November 2015
    12 Comments

    It is possible to find 'texts of terror' in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Scriptures. They need to be responsibly understood and explored with a close understanding of their context. We did not demand all Catholics stand up and denounce every IRA attack, nor that all Christians apologise for Anders Breivik. Similarly, why should we expect all members of a religion with over a billion adherents with multiple ancient variants to actively disown every horror claimed to have been committed in its name?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    What separates us from IS

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 November 2015
    19 Comments

    The mass murder of unarmed civilians in Paris last weekend was appalling. Whether considered as an act of war or of terror, it was indefensible. The themes of war against terrorism and victory have dominated commentary on the killings. In light of the fact that the war against terror was the seedbed in which IS grew, they demand serious reflection. We should ask precisely what our enemy is attacking, what therefore must be defended, and what will be the signs of victory or defeat.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Called or shunned by Vietnam war conscription

    • B. N. Oakman
    • 09 November 2015
    7 Comments

    I'd never met a Vietnamese, couldn't figure what we had against them. But we were raised in shadow of returned men, the shimmer of lapelled bronze, a presumption we in our turn would go when ordered ... Most of us dodged gap years of sweat and khaki, missing madness, maiming, napalm, agent orange, learning how to kill and to piss ourselves out of fear. Instead we were granted head starts with women, front marks in the greasy pole dash, a less congested clamber to unremarkable lives.

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