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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hardline on soft drink

    • Isabella Fels
    • 01 May 2017
    8 Comments

    In my late 20s when I became seriously unwell and diagnosed with schizophrenia, Coca-Cola was like an ever flowing fountain of happiness for me. How I loved sipping it. I would even quickly down it with my meds. I could feel life getting better and speeding up. Having Coke was magic. But lately, with all the publicity surrounding the dangers of drinking fizzy, sugary soft drinks, I am trying to cut down. It is not easy trying to fight an almost lifelong addiction.

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  • EDUCATION

    Reading, writing, and stifling homeschool regulations

    • Kate Moriarty
    • 30 April 2017
    16 Comments

    I decided to homeschool for one year, to give my daughter a chance to recover and to build her confidence. I never expected to fall in love with the lifestyle. Twelve months later, I gave in to my younger son's entreaties and began homeschooling him as well - just for one more year. In Victoria, the registration process is simple and straightforward. It is not surprising, then, that Victoria has the highest number of registered homeschoolers. But this may soon change.

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  • MEDIA

    Identity on the line in the fallout over Anzac free speech

    • Rohan Salmond
    • 27 April 2017
    35 Comments

    Even though the post was quickly withdrawn and an apology issued, the backlash has lasted more than four days. It was enough to warrant a front page story on The Daily Telegraph, a call for Abdel-Magied's dismissal by the deputy prime minister and public repudiations by half a dozen government front benchers and other politicians, including Pauline Hanson. It's ironic that the very commentators who constantly rail against political correctness are apoplectic about a woman being politically incorrect.

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  • RELIGION

    Remembering John Clarke at Easter

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 April 2017

    Following the passing of the Australian comedian and social commentator, John Clarke, his co-presenter Bryan Dawe talked about being on a tram in Melbourne with people nodding compassionately and knowingly at him. Bryan recalled that an old man had once commented to John, 'You know what you two do? It's a secret between you and the audience.' These are not the sorts of things we expect to hear when someone is still alive. Once they are dead, those who love and admire them recall all sorts of details about their life, finding new meaning and new depth even in the everyday things.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Easter is the right time to find homes for children

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 April 2017
    5 Comments

    Sometimes events coincide happily. At other times the coincidence rings strangely. This year Youth Homelessness Matters Day is celebrated the day before Easter Sunday: desolation confronts happiness, penury plenty, and deprivation plenitude. When events clash most sharply, they may also illuminate one another most brightly. The Easter stories invite deep reflection on home and on homelessness, on finding a home and being made to feel at home.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    No easy judgement in Syrian chemicals attack

    • Justin Glyn
    • 06 April 2017
    13 Comments

    The pictures coming out of Khan Sheikhoun are horrific. Children foaming at the mouth, some with terrible head wounds. No wonder the reaction of the world has been outrage. 'Assad must go' has been revived as a catchphrase in the West. We are right to be appalled. Yet several features about the reported sarin attack in Syria's Idlib Governorate should give pause in the current rush to judgment. Firstly, while you wouldn't know it from much of the media, the facts themselves are contested.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious literacy routs Islamophobia

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 06 April 2017
    24 Comments

    A person with religious literacy has an understanding and appreciation of the teachings of religions in the world, is knowledgeable about the various applications and manifestations of those teachings, and understands how religious faith forms, informs and enriches contemporary human society. In a world where Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise, endangering and taking the lives of so many innocent people of faith, it is difficult to overstate the importance of religious literacy.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Racism and renewables in the developing world

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2017
    1 Comment

    A 2015 cartoon by Bill Leak depicts an Indian family squatting, smashing solar panels to pieces. A woman chews on a shattered piece of glass, and a man attempts to smear mango chutney onto glistening shards. The initial reaction centred around the racist depictions of Indians. But it also represents a broader and worrisome attitude towards global energy politics, that assumes idiocy in developing countries, combined with a push to burden them with the dangerous wares of a dying industry.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious belief in a tempest tossed church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 March 2017
    29 Comments

    The Tempest Tossed Church will invite some Catholics to ask how they should visualise and plan for the future of the church. The Catholic challenge will be to shape pockets in which religiously literate and radical communities are formed around the symbols of faith. Its contribution to a more humane society will be made by joining other small groups in keeping alive the sense of 'something more' and by passing on the craft of finding the words, symbols and silences that catch it.

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  • MEDIA

    Gambling on the fat dollar

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 22 March 2017
    3 Comments

    Elite athletes wear Nike. Celebrities wear Nike. Beautiful people. People who take their sports seriously. Well, that's what decades of advertising around the little swooshy tick and 'Just Do It' trademark told us. Fat girls don't deserve to wear Nike because they are supposed to feel ashamed of their ample girths. They should exercise, of course, but in sackcloth and ashes, with downcast faces, signalling they understand their moral depravity. Some people, it seems, still feel that's the way it should be.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Prayer at the scarred tree

    • Martin Flanagan and David Ad├Ęs
    • 19 March 2017
    6 Comments

    This hunger that gnaws endlessly in my guts will be the death of me, but is the life of me, because in braving yourself to the emptiness something is born, something happens. Watch and observe, tell the story well, make it an expression of your sanity, which is otherwise at risk from waves generated by the outside world and past regrets.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    All minorities are not equal in the fight for justice

    • Moreblessing Maturure
    • 06 March 2017
    5 Comments

    In the current climate, minorities and oppressed communities are branded as 'divisive' when attention is drawn to the void which exists between those with power and those without. This allegation stands firmly on the understanding that our 'unified strength' against a common enemy will bring about the change we so passionately fight for. But often the assumption is that all parties are to unify with the majority, that those of lesser power should fight for equality in a way that those in power see fit.

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