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  • AUSTRALIA

    Labor's light on the hill

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 November 2013
    7 Comments

    'There have been innumerable post-mortems and words of advice as to how the party with new structures, election rules, and policies can pick itself up, dust off, and win the next election. Sadly some of those post-mortems have come with more coatings of spite and loathing. It is no part of my role in the public square as a Catholic priest to offer such advice.' Frank Brennan's address to the Bathurst Panthers Club, 2 November 2013.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Dollar bulletproofs US economy

    • David James
    • 04 October 2013
    1 Comment

    America is fond of claiming exceptionalism, which is usually little more than an indication of its attitude to moral accountability. But in one area America definitely is exceptional: the global currency markets. There is no risk of the market for American dollars drying up, which means that a default by the American government is, while significant, not especially relevant to what happens with the global trade in US dollars.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's electronic voting pitch is on the right track

    • Edwina Byrne
    • 12 September 2013
    3 Comments

    Malcolm Turnbull's justification for calling for the introduction of electronic voting is that roughly six per cent of voters failed to correctly fill in their ballot papers on Saturday. Electronic voting would stop this senseless waste. Ignoring the fact that electronic voting would disenfranchise the roughly 5.9 per cent of voters whose democratic wish is to draw male appendages on their ballot, Turnbull has a point.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Credibility at stake for restrained religious media

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 September 2013
    22 Comments

    In Australia, September is the month of religious media conferences. This year church media, particularly Catholic media, face a growing challenge: how to deal with bad news about the Church, especially stories regarding sexual abuse and failures of governance. Pope Francis' own style of communication suggests an alternative purpose and approach that such media might adopt.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    On Seamus Heaney's turf

    • Peter Gebhardt
    • 05 September 2013
    8 Comments

    Ten years ago, my wife and I went to Dublin. Upon our arrival at the hotel there were three notes waiting from Seamus; the first suggested a meeting, the second drinks, the third 'Heigho, we'll have some scrags'. He picked us up in a Mercedes Benz. I said something about a poet and such a car, 'Never mind it's got a broken window'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Small stories of redemption in Laos

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 29 August 2013

    A psychologically scarred war veteran struts about dressed as James Brown. An annual 'rocket' festival sees men celebrate explosives, in a country riddled with unspent American bombs. And a ten-year-old boy, who is accused by his grandmother of being a bad luck charm, sets out to prove that he is not to blame for the tragedies his family has endured.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    21st century hermit

    • David Lumsden
    • 27 August 2013
    5 Comments

    He carried no phone and sent no text. He had no email address, deleted no spam, recharged no devices, never backed up.

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  • RELIGION

    Irrational fear of the Muslim Brotherhood

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 21 August 2013
    9 Comments

    It’s a crude and misleading line of reasoning to declare that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood can’t be committed to democracy because it is an Islamist organisation much like al-Qaida and Hezbollah. On what basis do we label individuals or groups 'Islamist'? Or 'fundamentalist'? Or 'extremist'? How can we have a monolith amongst a set of congregations making up almost one quarter of the world's human population? The history and politics of Islam is just as complex as that of Christianity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Foreign policy beyond asylum seeker silliness

    • Evan Ellis
    • 16 August 2013
    1 Comment

    We might get lucky. Malcolm Turnbull might be right, and the mass of egos, grievances and interests that make up US-Sino relations might 'evolve into a new order, without either side having to make concessions to the other'. But the risks are growing. In this context the framing of asylum seekers as a threat to our sovereignty seems plain silly. War between China and the US would be a disaster to our national interests.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Crying chairs' cold comfort for refugees

    • Lyn Bender
    • 24 July 2013
    5 Comments

    I watched the 'crying chairs' from my psychology clinic disappear into the truck. Many people over the years had nestled in one of those voluminous chairs and wept, whispered, or shouted their rage, sorrow and despair. Now it was time to leave my counselling office so I surrendered my sturdy armchairs for a greater good.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Royal baby's semi-charmed life

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 24 July 2013
    15 Comments

    For all the intrusions this tiny prince will have to endure in the years that stretch ahead, there will exist, as a salve of sorts, the incalculable benefits that his social status has randomly afforded him. We shouldn't diminish the joy of the royal couple, but we should be wary of allowing our sustained and fawning attention to further entrench the idea that some people are inherently more valuable than others.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Facts alone won't save Australia's fatuous political agenda

    • Michael Mullins
    • 15 July 2013
    12 Comments

    It is pleasing that PolitiFact is able to demonstrate that foreign minister Bob Carr's claim that boat people 'are not people fleeing persecution ... they are coming here as economic migrants' is 'mostly false'. But even if Carr's claim was mostly true, how does discussion of the comparatively small number of economic migrants justify its place on the agenda, compared with issues such as the mental health of Australia's youth? 

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