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  • AUSTRALIA

    'War on business' rhetoric echoes '07 union bashing

    • Brendan Byrne
    • 27 June 2016
    15 Comments

    Whether or not the person in the now notorious 'fake tradie' ad is or isn't a 'real' tradie is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is a primary example of the co-option of the language of class struggle and economic justice that has so thoroughly poisoned economic debate in the industrialised West. Implicit within it is a patronising view of the working class that dismisses them as gullible dupes who can be made to entrench the privilege of the few in return for the paltry crumbs of consumer hedonism.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Laudato Si and the Australian election

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 22 June 2016
    23 Comments

    It is now 12 months since Pope Francis issued his environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. He opined, 'Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the 21st century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.' Where are the Australian politicians who can give hope to the coming generation by focusing our attention on this most urgent issue?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The moral conundrum of casting a vote on 2 July

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 June 2016
    46 Comments

    Sadly, the major political parties have forfeited any claim to govern in their own right because they have caused such disillusionment among so many voters about other policy issues with strong moral overtones. Any voter impressed with Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' or inspired by his visits to asylum seekers on the islands of Lampedusa and Lesbos could not blithely vote for either of the major parties, without first determining how to place some continuing political and moral pressure on them.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's little sepia book of dead political tricks

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 06 June 2016
    26 Comments

    Living within the United Nations community I've witnessed Australia fall from a well-respected international citizen, to becoming the spoilt, sneaky brat of international relations. Even the most blasé glance at the geo political currents moving through the planet reveal complexities this election pretends don't exist. Australians fighting about jobs and growth in the corner comes across as deeply deluded isolationism. The Great Barrier Reef is dying. The world is watching. Hello Australia? Anybody home?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Letting go of bicycle grief

    • Ben O'Mara
    • 03 June 2016
    7 Comments

    I found the remains of my bicycle on the carport wall. They were broken and twisted, like the body of a victim left to rot in a serial killer movie. The police officer told me it was strange. So strange that his partner took photos and dusted for prints. I couldn't make sense of the robbery. While sturdy, my bicycle was seven years old, and had seen better days. It wasn't worth much money. Who would buy worn leather and a few scratched bits of metal on eBay? Or risk being caught for second hand parts?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Good leaders need the confidence to listen

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 24 May 2016
    13 Comments

    Universities and the CSIRO are attacked and funds cut while the government promotes an 'ideas boom'. Creative industries and the Australia Council are diminished and investment slashed while the government talks of an 'innovation agenda'. It takes confidence in your own skill as a decision-maker to recognise the expertise of others as something you don't share but can benefit from. Instead we see nervous leadership, too anxious to trust in those who can build that future.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Engaging with Dutton's rhetoric is a slippery slope

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 20 May 2016
    33 Comments

    The irony of trying to negate these stereotypes is that in doing so, we are still cheapening asylum seekers to political tools, stripping them of their humanity and multiplicity. Aiming to counter such rhetoric as Dutton's with stories of high-achieving refugees plays into a toxic game that legitimises the same negative stereotypes by engaging with them. Just as invisibility dehumanises asylum seekers, so does the hypervisibility we attribute to a select few stories.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Reconciling with president-elect Duterte

    • Fatima Measham
    • 13 May 2016
    5 Comments

    The campaign left me bewildered. The things Duterte represents - vigilantism, unilateralism and violence - aren't these the same things that Filipino human rights activists had fought against? Is this now the preferred template for imposing order? I parsed post after post on social media, trying to working out what I was missing. For months I asked myself, what the hell went wrong? It is only lately that I'm beginning to accept that I got the wrong end of the question. What went wrong? Everything.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Another Coalition budget for the well-off

    • Marcelle Mogg
    • 05 May 2016
    18 Comments

    Even the International Monetary Fund recognises that the best way to grow an economy is to reduce the divide between rich and poor, ensuring that all people have a chance to participate in the social and economic life of a country. The Coalition government remains resolutely opposed to this growing body of evidence, continuing to rely on economic structures that entrench disadvantage, then blame the poor for their fate. The Budget provides tax cuts to the rich and service cuts to the rest.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being popular is not the same as leadership

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 May 2016
    3 Comments

    In democracies, public sentiment is meant to be taken seriously. Describing something as populist is a refusal to engage with the sentiment, including its source and complications, usually because we find it disagreeable. The subtext is: people are wrong about the things they care about. They are not being rational or realistic. It is a brave thing to say these days about support for a royal commission into banks, or softening public attitudes toward detention-bound children.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Five reasons the LNP's carbon scare campaign is doomed

    • Greg Foyster
    • 03 May 2016
    6 Comments

    It was as if Australian politics had regressed four years overnight. No sooner had Labor released its new climate change plan than the Coalition was resuscitating Tony Abbott's 'carbon tax' line. The Coalition's attempt to revive the defining debate of the 2013 federal election won't work. As other commentators have noted, Labor's plan has been carefully crafted to avoid the carbon tax sledge. More importantly, external factors have changed to make a scare campaign less potent.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Domestic violence is more than an attitude problem

    • Kristin Natalier
    • 27 April 2016
    4 Comments

    The federal government's new ad aims to 'stop violence from the start'. It sends a strong message that violence is never acceptable. But it firmly positions domestic violence as a problem of individual attitudes of perpetrators, not the social and economic vulnerability of victims. Envisaging an end of domestic violence achieved through 'starting conversations about respect with boys and girls' sidesteps the need for the material resources necessary to stop violence when it happens.

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