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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The sound of black

    • Kevin Gillam
    • 12 September 2016
    1 Comment

    I understand the meaning of her silence but don't have a word for it so I scour night sky for a term for the sound of black between stars and moon and meteorites and planets and us and come up with 'evol' and write it down and then show it to her and she says 'is that the root of evolve like before stuff moves or morphs?' and I say 'no, it's love backwards' and she stares at me and says nothing

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Australian churches off the pace on clean energy switch

    • Thea Ormerod
    • 08 September 2016
    10 Comments

    With the grip of climate change tightening, few seem to understand the urgency of the crisis. This is why the announcement of over 3500 churches in the UK switching to clean power is so significant. At last, a solution presented by religious communities that matches the scale of the problem. They are providing the kind of leadership for the needed transition to an ecologically sustainable future. Unfortunately, one reason why it is so exciting is that we're nowhere near this in Australia.

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  • RELIGION

    Plebiscite the only way forward for Turnbull on marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 September 2016
    23 Comments

    Once Turnbull went to the election with a commitment not to legislate for same sex marriage except after the conduct of a successful plebiscite, it was inevitable that the only way forward to resolving the issue during the life of this parliament would be by enacting legislation to authorise a plebiscite. A conscience vote during the life of this parliament, and without a plebiscite, would leave the opponents of same sex marriage rightly feeling that the government had breached an election commitment.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Plebiscite debate is pure politics

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 August 2016
    17 Comments

    If the plebiscite bill is defeated in parliament Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon will bear responsibility for not taking the opportunity offered even if it is in their view a second-best option. The government is already labelling them as same sex marriage wreckers. Yet if before too long a parliamentary alternative, such as a free vote, is found to advance the cause of same sex marriage then the rejection of the plebiscite option will come to be applauded as a master stroke.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Price of a plebiscite is too high for LGBTI young people

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 30 August 2016
    28 Comments

    If you're a cisgender straight person, the Irish vote 'no' poster, like 'Children need a mother and father', may not seem like a big deal. You may even agree with it. However, if you're a LGBTI young person who might be going through a process of denial and self-loathing about your sexual orientation or gender identity, it's just another reminder in your daily life that there are people who think you are wrong for being who you are. It's a sign that says you're not welcome or wanted here.

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  • RELIGION

    Time to defuse Nauru and Manus Island time bombs

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 August 2016
    23 Comments

    The suggestion that those camps need to remain filled in order to send a message to people smugglers is not only morally unacceptable; it is strategically questionable. Those proven to be refugees should be resettled as quickly as practicable, and that includes taking up New Zealand's offer of 150 places a year - just as John Howard did when he accepted New Zealand's offer to take 131 from the Tampa. It's time to act. Ongoing inaction will send a green light to desperate people to do desperate things.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The merits of Trump's economic agenda

    • David James
    • 08 August 2016
    15 Comments

    The main legislative catalyst for the GFC was the repeal, in 1999 by Bill Clinton, of the Glass Steagall Act, which had prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business. This allowed the investment banks to indulge in the debauch of financial invention that almost destroyed the world's monetary system. Trump has made the reinstatement of Glass Steagall official policy. Should that happen, it could be the most beneficial development in the global financial system for decades.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Forget conspiracies and own your complicity

    • Ellena Savage
    • 07 August 2016
    4 Comments

    The talking heads say the same things I once heard on Illuminati documentaries. In place of Pharrell Williams making suspicious hand gestures though, the blame for the unpleasant outcomes of a healthy free market is bestowed on the western world's maligned: refugees, Indigenous people, queer people, the working poor. These talking heads, who feel desperate and inferior because they have never contributed anything to anyone other than themselves, are eschewing their complicity in harm.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Buddhist traffic light

    • Lesley Lebkowicz, Andrew Madigan, Barry Gittins
    • 01 August 2016
    1 Comment

    My friend, new to Mandalay, never before in Asia, sighs as she sees the east- and west-bound cars and rickshaws slow to a ragged fringe across the intersection. The north- and south-bound take their turn in the same gentle, fearless lack of order. Ah, she says, see how aware they are, each of the other. Such harmony: you can tell it's a Buddhist country. Spoilsport, I point to where, so easily ignored, enmeshed in a thicket of wire overhead, lights flicker: green, amber, red.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Census scepticism as privacy comes under threat

    • Kate Galloway
    • 31 July 2016
    18 Comments

    Government wishes to capitalise on our data using new data mining technologies. The ABS uses the language of efficiency and public interest in justifying the changes. It even implies that the new online census is environmentally friendly. It may well be that collecting and retaining our names along with our personal information is efficient, but that does not address the foundation question of whether we as citizens retain the privacy that constitutes us as members of a liberal democratic society.

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  • RELIGION

    Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing

    • Frank Brennan
    • 28 July 2016
    79 Comments

    Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law - not as academic notions for lawyers but as the secure bulwarks of a society in which everyone's rights and interests are protected.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Prisoners of their own stories

    • Brian Matthews
    • 24 July 2016
    10 Comments

    Holocaust survivor Primo Levi wrote If This is a Man to carry out what he saw as the critical task of bearing witness, and he became one of the greatest writers of the 20th century as he continued to bear witness one way and another in later books. Some day, one of Australia's asylum seekers will, like Levi and with the same sense of dread and horror, tell his or her story to ensure that someone bears witness; and to confirm that all of us are implicated.

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