Search Results: democracy

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The problem of privilege in Australia Day billboard furore

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 24 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The removal of an Australia Day billboard featuring two girls in hijabs prompted a swell of support against Islamophobia. Alongside this was a backlash from those who read the action as forcing Muslim Australians to be complicit in the oppression of Indigenous peoples. My unease came from seeing intra-community tension manifest as dismissal and denigration of those who were considered not 'woke' enough to the politics and embedded racism surrounding invocations of Australian identity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Freedom of conscience and same-sex marriage

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 23 January 2017
    25 Comments

    Two issues can be dealt with shortly. First, ministers of religion must be free to solemnise marriages in accordance with their beliefs. Second, there is no basis for extending a similar concession to marriage celebrants. The case of commercial service providers is more complex. Many argue that caterers, florists, reception centres and so on should be free to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings, on the basis of their religious beliefs. The case for the commercial exemption is unconvincing.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama's shining light in sombre times

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 January 2017
    12 Comments

    In an otherwise sombre start to the year Barack Obama's final speech has been a shining light. He celebrated what he saw as the successes of his administration without sneering at his political opponents. He spoke graciously and decently, and evoked hope for the future. Obama is right in insisting that empathy is the necessary starting point for reconstructing a broken economic framework. It enables a global perspective from which the good of individuals and groups is set within the flourishing of the whole community, and especially the most disadvantaged.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fall of Aleppo caps off wretched 2016

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 16 December 2016
    12 Comments

    Assad's victory epitomises, in a sense, the reactionary tide prevailing just about everywhere in this, the Year of the Donald. The hopes raised during the Arab Spring have, it seems, been crushed, with the Syrian regime consolidating its grip over a nation it has oppressed for so long. Yet Aleppo also illustrates how little the Right's victories have actually settled. The Right's biggest asset is often the Left, with progressives seemingly determined to validate all the smears levelled against them.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Behind Trump's 'Happy Gilmore' moment with Taiwan

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 09 December 2016
    2 Comments

    Trump's phone call with Tsai Ing-wen is to diplomacy what Happy Gilmore's slap shot was to the Pro Golf Tour. It defies all convention, is appallingly out of context, and should not even work, but it might just augur a new way of doing things. That conversation disrupted previous norms, some of which resulted from decades of delicate, often secret, negotiations. In the midst of the confected outrage it is worth considering the event within the context of contemporary US-China relations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bond notes bode ill for Zimbabwe's currency calamity

    • Tariro Ndoro
    • 07 December 2016
    2 Comments

    Last week, the much dreaded bond notes were released into the economy, in a move hoped to alleviate the cash crisis. Most citizens are negative about the move, with good reason - the last time Zimbabwe had its own currency was 2009, when inflation was so high the currency had to be dropped to salvage the economy. Most Zimbabweans remember that time well: every other month citizens had to drive to Botswana to put food on the table because the country's own shops were empty.

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  • MEDIA

    Religious media cuts undermine harmony

    • Kasy Chambers
    • 05 December 2016
    21 Comments

    There has been a slow trickle of news outlets in Australia winding back their coverage of religion over recent years. Some might argue that this is a good thing in a secular democracy, and that discussion of religion creates division. This however flies in the face of the overwhelming good that religious belief, and religious-based organisations, do in this country. Not to mention the fact that religion and ethics are a major part of the narrative of society, of how we live together and how we form a community.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Our first female High Court chief justice is first class

    • Moira Rayner
    • 30 November 2016
    10 Comments

    So the High Court finally has its first woman chief justice. Mainstream media have seized upon this as a remarkable achievement for the legal profession and as 'a fair go' for the empowered woman of 2016. Kiefel's attainment of her highest goal should be recognised as no such lesser win. It is right and proper recognition of the suitability of a solidly trained and experienced lawyer, and the product of this individual human being's commitment to the law and its customs, protocols and conventions.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We are links in the chain of asylum seeker cruelty

    • Rod Grant
    • 18 November 2016
    18 Comments

    Having a sense of something as right or wrong, good or bad, is the essence of humanity. We get it from home, from education, religion, friends, the media. It's the sniff test or the pub test or the gut feeling or the Bible or Quran or Torah. We all have it. And just as people have a sense of right and wrong, we also have a very good humbug detector, and it's clanging loudly when politicians unctuously claim all their 'stop the boats' strategies are driven by desire to prevent drownings at sea.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Empathy for Russia after Trump's ascent

    • Justin Glyn
    • 15 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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Understanding Trump the businessman President

    • David James
    • 10 November 2016
    17 Comments

    The first step for a business person is to make the sale, usually by over-promising and tapping into the emotional triggers of the customer. That is what Trump did. Over and over, he assured everyone that electing him would be 'fantastic'; he would deliver; customer-value is in the bag. The next step, once the sale is made, is for a hard financial logic to be applied. Trump's hype will be, at the very least, toned down. Once the customer has coughed up, business people typically become extremely pragmatic.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trust or bust after shattering US election campaign

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 November 2016
    21 Comments

    The US election, to no one's regret, is now over. It remains to wish Donald Trump well as he prepares to take up the office of president. It is tempting to see Hillary Clinton as Humpty Dumpty and ask how she can pick up the pieces of her life, when tarnished and wearied by a campaign so full of personal abuse, revelations of tawdry behaviour and a lack of grace. Yet it is not Clinton that lies broken at the foot of the wall. It is the polity of the US, shown to be bereft of the trust necessary for national wellbeing.

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