Search Results: Chris Johnston

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Unskilled immigration is good for Australia

    • Gabriela D'Souza
    • 08 November 2015
    10 Comments

    George Megalogenis describes a protest rally in 1849 organised by residents of Sydney against arrivals of more convict boats. Workers who 'wanted to maintain their high-wage society' made 'the first of countless calls that would be made against migrants who threatened to undercut their standard of living'. It is a familiar refrain today. In a world where three-fifths of a person's income is determined by their place of birth, it defies logic that we place restrictions on people's movement to preserve our standard living.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Known unknowns of the facial recognition capability

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 01 November 2015
    9 Comments

    In May, the Federal Justice Minister announced a plan to work toward a National Facial Biometric Matching Capability, due to start operating in mid-2016. The lead agency is the Attorney-General's Department, the same department frustrating telcos with its implementation of data retention. The lack of transparency around the project is concerning, as it has privacy implications for nearly all Australians. If you have a passport or driver's licence, your facial image is relevant.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My autistic superpower

    • Paul Micallef
    • 25 October 2015
    9 Comments

    My brain lacks a degree of 'pre-programming'. I am naturally open-minded and non-judgemental. When asked a question I immediately (often dispassionately) think of many possible solutions. This is great for questions like 'How can we improve this system?', and less good for questions like 'On which body part do you wear your pants?' The secret to learning social rules is in understanding emotions. Knowing what is 'appropriate' often comes down to how it makes the other person feel.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Rehabilitating Mexico's Hollywood image

    • Garry Westmore
    • 19 October 2015
    3 Comments

    Hollywood need not deny the violence cartels have perpetrated upon one another, members of the public, police and military. But to almost exclusively engage with Mexico in terms of this violence provides a badly limited perspective on that country. Hollywood does something similar when it goes to Africa and tells only stories of warlords and child soldiers. To do so brings nothing to the conversation, but merely exploits tragic situations for the benefit of laughs and action.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rehabilitating Abbott

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 October 2015
    18 Comments

    Australia has a long line of prime ministers whose standing has been propped up over time. Edmund Barton was a racist; Alfred Deakin spoke against 'undesirable coloured aliens'. The passage of time tends to extract the essential parts of a prime minister's stint, which is how complex figures like Whitlam, Fraser, Keating and Howard end up being rehabilitated in collective memory. It's hard to tell whether there is enough complexity in Abbott and his time as prime minister to enable such restoration.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Marr stings 'limited' Shorten

    • John Warhurst
    • 04 October 2015
    8 Comments

    The polls are still evenly balanced and Turnbull has yet to strut his stuff in any meaningful way. So Shorten should still be the subject of the sort of scrutiny that David Marr has just given him. Marr is appalled by Shorten's path to power through the union movement, the Labor Party and the factions for what it reveals about the modus operandi of these organisations. But he is still somewhat taken with Shorten's talents. Nevertheless, he doubts that Shorten is up to the job.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Oppressing compassion in Europe and Australia

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 27 September 2015
    16 Comments

    When refugees walked into Europe, away from distant distress sites, their presence made the global issue visceral for Europeans. Australia doesn't have asylum seekers walking en masse through ordinary streets. Our border is one of established hatred. 'Stop the boats' policy denies ordinary Australians their compassionate impulse, and creates a history that our children will face judgement upon. It denies humanity's collective memory after World War II.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How Abbott was defeated by his own pugnaciousness

    • Andrew Thackrah
    • 14 September 2015
    24 Comments

    After Malcolm Turnbull announced on Monday afternoon that he was challenging Tony Abbott for the LIberal leadership, commentators were unanimous in their speculation that Abbott would not give up the prime ministership without a fight. The pugnaciousness that characterised his political style was similarly part of the playbook of Canadian PM Stephen Harper, who was also seen to base his interaction with political adversaries on their 'standing' rather than debating policy. In Abbott's case this turned out to be a fatal flaw.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Untangling Abbott from Santamaria

    • John Warhurst
    • 31 August 2015
    18 Comments

    There is always an appetite for anything linking Tony Abbott and Bob Santamaria. The journalist in Abbott has encouraged observers to play up the links, even though it has never been entirely clear  what he is saying. He has explained that he was impressed as a young man by Santamaria’s courage as an 'advocate for unfashionable truths’, but he also pays his public dues to a number of prominent figures including John Howard, Cardinal George Pell, John Hewson, Bronwyn Bishop and even Pope Benedict XVI.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Vigilante' applies to the government more than environmentalists

    • Fatima Measham
    • 23 August 2015
    10 Comments

    The epithets used against environment groups have been extraordinary after a judge of the Federal Court set aside Environment Minister Greg Hunt's approval of the Adani thermal coal mine. Perhaps legislation has always been an instrument for ideological agendas, but the compulsion and ease with which the Coalition has taken to the law to restrict scrutiny doesn't bode well for us. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Thoughts on a lonely God

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 09 August 2015
    12 Comments

    When my son was four, he asked me one night, 'Why did God make the world and us?' I nearly broke a plate while searching for an answer; in the event, he beat me to it. 'I think he did it because he was lonely.' Perhaps the great, 'blasphemous' Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis also considered the possibility of God's loneliness, for at one stage he wrote: 'My God and I are horsemen: we ride and converse.'

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  • ECONOMICS

    Rich retirees may need the aged pension

    • David James
    • 30 July 2015
    6 Comments

    There has been great pressure on both of the major political parties to stop giving so-called rich retirees partial pension income. The conventional view has become that retired millionaires should not be feeding off the public teat. But in terms of income, many of those 'rich retirees' would actually be better off on the pension.

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