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  • RELIGION

    Sheikh Fehmi talked me out of going to war

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 04 October 2016
    11 Comments

    Fehmi Naji El-Imam, the former Grand Mufti of Australia who died last month, taught us at a time when we had no internet and books on Islam were limited. Politicised religion was all the craze. In Afghanistan, a coalition of local militias and foreign fighters, the Mujahideen, were receiving support from Western leaders. Conservative politicians praised them for taking on those nasty Soviet Communists. It was easy to be carried away, to have one's faith shaped by overseas events. I almost did.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mediscare blame obscures government's weaknesses

    • John Warhurst
    • 03 October 2016
    5 Comments

    The main message of the 2016 election review delivered recently at the National Press Club by Tony Nutt, the federal director of the Liberal Party, was that Turnbull only failed to have a convincing victory because of the 'Mediscare' by the Labor Party. It is a message that deflects attention from the current and past weaknesses of the government and the prime minister. It is like a football coach who after a loss or a narrow win blames his team's performance on the dirty tactics of the opposition.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Oliver Stone's love letter to hero Edward Snowden

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 28 September 2016
    1 Comment

    Snowden's disclosures regarding the data-mining activities of the US government sparked a worldwide debate about security versus privacy that rages to this day. If his status as either a villain or a hero - a traitor, or the ultimate patriot - remains a matter of debate in some circles, you won't die wondering in which camp Oliver Stone sits. In Snowden the famously didactic filmmaker posits an utterly sympathetic portrait within the structure of a lithe and gripping political thriller.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    My climate change denial is worse than Malcolm Roberts'

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 September 2016
    11 Comments

    In January, swathes of ancient forest in Tasmania burned in bushfire. February 2016 was a scorcher - the warmest in 136 years of modern temperature records. By late March I was looking at images of a bleached Great Barrier Reef and feeling similarly blanched. I went for a walk, breathing heavily. It was sunny. Ominously warm. Fifteen minutes later, when I returned to my desk, my mood was buoyant again. I turned off my computer, and threw the report I'd been reading in the recycling bin.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious freedom in an age of equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 September 2016
    18 Comments

    'No good will be served by a royal commission auspiced by the state telling a Church how it judges or complies with its theological doctrines and distinctive moral teachings. By all means, set universal standards of practice expected of all institutions dealing with children, but do not trespass on the holy ground of religious belief and practice.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ addresses the Freedom for Faith Conference in Melbourne, 23 September 2016.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Count the cost of Apple's September sell

    • Megan Graham
    • 19 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Apple has been in hot water for years about the ethics of the manufacture of their devices. Yet iPhone fans gleefully fork out more money every September when the next version is ceremoniously revealed. This circus has become so normalised, most of us hardly blink an eye. How many people ask themselves whether the upgrades in the technology are worth getting a new phone every year? More importantly, how many people question the real-world costs that their purchase entails?

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis among other disruptive leaders

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 September 2016
    17 Comments

    Is Francis' style of political engagement effective? It has certainly gained him a favourable hearing within church and society. His message and his personality suit the times. Whether it will be lastingly effective will depend on whether he changes attitudes, particularly those of people who will be responsible for governance in church and state. But at the very least he has stressed the ethical and religious urgency of treating refugees, the environment, and the economy with respect.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The sound of black

    • Kevin Gillam
    • 13 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
    • 09 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
    • 06 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
    • 31 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
    • 31 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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