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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Laughing in the face of climate change despair

    • Fatima Measham
    • 30 May 2016
    12 Comments

    People understand that some of the solutions for the problems faced by current and coming generations are likely rooted in decisions made now. Future-proofing is not merely anticipation, but intervention on a scale that goes beyond households. It involves design and culture. It demands an international rather than insular outlook. Perhaps this is why gallows humour has seeped into my conversations about the future. I no longer expect our leaders to do something worthwhile about it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Rumours of thylacines and distant barbarians

    • Shane McCauley
    • 24 May 2016

    Here in this weather-beleaguered outpost there are so many rumours - thylacines, panthers, wagyls even that in the distant east are barbarians ... But separating deserts might as well be galaxies, and we are self-contained, and even like those theoretical others have our contentments - blue sky, blue sea, and even now the sun's great wintery eye. Hidden as we are however we hold our heads high, perhaps would not be ashamed one day to be discovered ...

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Conversations with homeless protesters

    • Tim Robertson
    • 23 May 2016
    8 Comments

    I asked John, a tall, articulate man with long hair and well-maintained hipster beard, if he'd had a chance to read the most recently published Herald Sun think-piece arguing that what they are doing is not a demand for help, but a political protest. He smiled wryly, expelled a couple of bursts of laughter and said that that may be their most accurate reporting of the unfolding situation to-date: 'This has always been a political protest ... that's always been our intention.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Swept into the milky past

    • Pat Walsh
    • 17 May 2016
    2 Comments

    The sound of my old yard broom, worn bristles rasping the brick path, wet with last night's rain, picks at a faint memory that grows louder with each stroke, and carries me back across borders of seasons, lives and landscapes, to a time of rubbing gumboots sucking through the quickmud, hands hugging mugs of steaming tea, the uphill heartbeat of the engine, the baby bleating of hungry calves, voices cussing and coughing, and the scrape of yard brooms pushing back the tide of muck ...

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Inequality in Australia is dental as anything

    • Barry Gittins
    • 13 May 2016
    5 Comments

    British research presented at the 2013 International Association of Dental Research posited 'a link between missing teeth and a patient's quality of life' and cited other research on observers' 'perception of men and women with straight and crooked teeth'. Furthermore, research by the Salvation Army in Australia records that 66 per cent of the Salvos' welfare clients could not afford dental treatment and two in five could not afford a yearly dental check-up for their children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Strong women as self-agents in remote communities

    • Jasmeet Sahi
    • 06 May 2016
    1 Comment

    Doreen, a women's leader from the community in Kalumburu, said, 'it is our dream for us women to get up and make the community stronger'. Such determination ought to be facilitated. What this means is making avenues where Indigenous culture and cultural life are at the centre of the conversation to effect change. Instead of adopting a 'helping' attitude, there needs to be a shift towards facilitating self-agency as an economically rational approach when it comes to Indigenous Australians.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Changed by faith in a miraculous child

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 06 May 2016

    Despite its epic scope it is also deeply intimate and, dare I say, spiritual. Roy regards his son with a mixture of stern, protective love, and helpless wonder. They are joined in their quest by Roy's childhood friend Lucas, a state trooper converted to Alton's cause after literally seeing the light in his eyes. Also by Alton's mother, Sarah, who of all the cohort has the most direct experience of the 'sense of awe' that ultimately unfolds from the 'mystery' of Alton's story.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Five reasons the LNP's carbon scare campaign is doomed

    • Greg Foyster
    • 03 May 2016
    6 Comments

    It was as if Australian politics had regressed four years overnight. No sooner had Labor released its new climate change plan than the Coalition was resuscitating Tony Abbott's 'carbon tax' line. The Coalition's attempt to revive the defining debate of the 2013 federal election won't work. As other commentators have noted, Labor's plan has been carefully crafted to avoid the carbon tax sledge. More importantly, external factors have changed to make a scare campaign less potent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Homeless Persons Union holds state to account

    • Ellena Savage
    • 15 April 2016
    2 Comments

    When we talk about the 'housing crisis' we are often referring to the plight of young working people and migrants struggling to tap into a property market that has been made a prestige market. This has been incentivised by tax breaks for investors, and is symptomatic of the culture of hoarding family wealth for the purpose of passing down class privilege. The Bendigo Street occupation reminds us that the 'housing crisis' is one and the same as the homelessness crisis; not a crisis of scarcity, but of policy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The tyranny of the clock

    • Darby Hudson
    • 13 April 2016
    3 Comments

    Thinking my jadedness of the nine-to-five was vindicated, I crossed the road at lunchtime where this tow-truck was waiting its turn at the lights. The trucker had 'Born on the Bayou' by Credence blasting through open windows. Thought he had an amazing sound system. Then realised he had a drum-kit set up on his dash and was going for it with his sticks in time to the tune. He made his day job look easy — and all of a sudden I felt like a small little angry man. He made my week.

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  • EDUCATION

    My heroic, dyslexic son

    • Tony Thompson
    • 08 April 2016
    21 Comments

    The school has been supportive, but in this data driven age even the finest teachers are compelled to teach to the vile Naplan tests. Dyslexic kids are put through unbelievable stress with these tests. If deaf kids were compelled to do listening examinations, there would be an outcry. I'm not sure if there's a difference. I'm also not sure if the ever narrowing scope of education can still accommodate students like my son, despite all the talk about diversity and differentiated learning.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's uncertain road to glory

    • John Warhurst
    • 24 March 2016
    4 Comments

    Media reaction to Malcolm Turnbull's decision to recall Parliament on 18 April was remarkably glowing. The move was acclaimed as a masterstroke and his decisiveness applauded. However the path Turnbull has laid out and the roadblocks that still remain is actually more complex. His plan may be too clever by half, and reflects a misreading of the nature of modern Liberal factional politics. His internal conservative party opponents are cultural warriors, not old-style economic advocates.

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