Search Results: asylum seekers

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The boat people from paradise lost

    • Lyn Bender
    • 22 April 2016
    7 Comments

    Ursula Rakova told how the sea that had been the friend of her people, was turning against them. It had crashed through and divided her island in two. Coconut palms were collapsing at the new shoreline. Food gardens were lost, as the soil was increasingly rendered infertile by salty tides that washed over them. The land that had been handed from grandmother to daughter, would bequeath no legacy to the granddaughters. The homeland of generations was disappearing before their eyes.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sniff the rot in Australia's wobbly democracy

    • Justin Glyn
    • 19 April 2016
    9 Comments

    Last week, a member of Parliament, Jenny Leong, allegedly faced racist and sexist abuse by police from at least four separate commands. This abuse was linked to her opposition (in accordance with her party's stated policy) to the use of drug sniffer dogs without a search warrant. Whether or not one agrees with Green party policy in this regard, the treatment of Leong ought to rankle. Such ill-treatment at the hands of the executive is, unfortunately, not an isolated phenomenon.

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  • RELIGION

    Crossing boundaries with the wire-cutter Pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 April 2016
    15 Comments

    Lesbos is famous for crossing boundaries. It was the home of the poet Sappho and the tender, delicate lyrics dedicated to the woman who was her lover. More recently it has been the home of refugees who have crossed from the murderous conflict in Asia. Pope Francis is also as famous for crossing boundaries as we Australians are for patrolling them. He is reinventing the papacy as a one-man barbed-wire-cutting team. So it is not surprising he decided at short notice to cross into Lesbos.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Francis in Lesbos confronts the unforgivable sin

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 18 April 2016
    10 Comments

    Pope Francis recently visited the island of Lesbos, another scene of immigrants' dire suffering, and surprised the world by taking 12 refugees back to Rome with him. Bernie Sanders asserted that the Pope, in his gesture of hope, is surely the greatest demonstration against a surrender to despair. I am still partly persuaded by Graham Greene's view of despair as being the unforgivable sin, but I'm also giving some thought to the distressing matter of indifference.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    New radicalisation on display at fundraiser protest

    • Lyn Bender
    • 12 April 2016
    27 Comments

    The chants were thunderous and sustained, as the suited and elegantly coiffed guests began to arrive for the Liberal Party fundraiser at Docklands. Initially there did not seem to be a significant police presence, as if the need for security was not considered high. As the chanting rose to a crescendo, chaos ensued. The mounted police arrived; but there seemed no plan of crowd control. It was a small protest but it was locked into a contained area with only one entrance. Then the wounded started to emerge.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't fall for Humpty Dumpty politics

    • Justin Glyn
    • 10 April 2016
    10 Comments

    We got a lesson in the art of language from the Minister of Immigration, Peter Dutton, whose redefinition of the word 'detention' was reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty's remark in Alice Through the Looking Glass: 'When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' We are social creatures who make real decisions based on the representations of others. Once we know we cannot expect the truth from each other, especially those who govern, society can no longer function.

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  • RELIGION

    Life beyond Pope Francis

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 April 2016
    19 Comments

    As Francis begins his fourth year in office, questions are raised as to whether the changes he has brought to the church will last beyond his time in office. Some argue that because he has made no significant changes in governance, his changes will not survive him. His successors and the Curia will be free to restore former expressions of church life. This argument highlights the need to embody vision in institutional structures. But good structures alone do not ensure the continuation of vision.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The value of protest lies in ritual not results

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 March 2016
    5 Comments

    The Palm Sunday Refugee Marches have come and gone; the travails of people who seek asylum continue. In a recent article that reflects her rich experience, Moira Rayner was right to say that marches are not effective in changing policy. Where they are, as in the Vietnam War marches in Australia or in Manila under Marcos, the fortress was already crumbling. Yet even when they are not effective, marches are not a waste of energy. Their value lies not in their effectiveness but in their ritual.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The bleeding obvious about homelessness

    • John Falzon
    • 29 March 2016
    11 Comments

    The Prime Minister wants us to be clever. Well how about we make sure everybody's got a place to call home? The problem of homelessness and the shortage of social and affordable housing is so huge that we need a massive solution and a massive financial commitment if we want to lay claim to being civilised and fair, let alone smart and innovative. This is why, among things such as reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax, we need a $10 billion social and affordable housing fund.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious thought in sacred secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 March 2016
    6 Comments

    I offer no public judgment of Pell, and unlike many other commentators I'll await the findings of the royal commission. I have however been outspoken about his right to a fair hearing and natural justice, not because I am a priest but because I am a human rights lawyer who cares about the universal application of the rule of law. It is when a representative of institutional religion like Pell taps into the generic religious sensibility or moral consciousness that the real work of Australian religious thought is done.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Vacuous politics breeds vacuous politicians

    • Justin Glyn
    • 14 March 2016
    6 Comments

    The standard explanation for the rise of 'outsider' figures like Donald Drumpf in the US and Clive Palmer in Australia is that there is disillusion in democratic countries with 'politics as usual'. Neal Gabler has blamed the media for turning politics into celebrity theatre. While he has pinpointed the symptom, I suggest that he has it exactly the wrong way around. It is because politics has already been hollowed out to be a slanging match of personalities rather than ideas that vacuous celebrities can flourish.

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  • RELIGION

    Liberation theology in modern Australia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 February 2016
    23 Comments

    Liberation theology was once caricatured as Marxism with a Christian tinge, or the Bible plus Kalashnikov. In fact, thinkers identified with the movement were involved in a serious theological exploration. In public conversation in Australia the theological questions ut it raised are of marginal significance. But secular variants abound in which society is analysed in terms of the discrimination suffered by various minority groups at the hands of the majority or of those with power.

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