Search Results: science

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    Plebiscite the only way forward for Turnbull on marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 September 2016

    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.


    The Catholic Church's view on human rights

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 September 2016
    1 Comment

    'I am a Jesuit amongst Dominicans contemplating the Church's view of human rights. I am a human rights practitioner rather than a theologian, aware that human rights discourse is increasingly more universal and secular. Contemplating, preaching and enacting human rights in the 21st Century Church and World, I come asking two questions.' Frank Brennan's keynote presentation in Salamanca Spain to the International Congress of Dominicans in the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights: Past, Present, Future on the occasion of their 800th anniversary.


    Plebiscite debate is pure politics

    • John Warhurst
    • 31 August 2016

    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.


    The holy sacrament of coffee communion

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 August 2016

    Within the first 20 minutes of my morning, I pay homage to life by partaking in that glorious gift to humanity, coffee. As well as the contested space around coffee's possible physical health benefits and purported dodgy effects, going for a coffee is good for the soul. Humans are social creatures, and coffee lubricates our communing. Over a cuppa I have shared hardships, counselled and been counselled, listened to tales of brokenness and celebrated the wins that punctuate our travails.


    Homeschooling on the road

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 04 August 2016

    While snorkelling at Ningaloo, we had an underwater lesson, in Auslan, about tropical fish and coral. On a walk to Manning Gorge on the Gibb River Road, I explained the terms 'first' and 'third-person' narrators. As we strolled past boabs, we discussed the merits and drawbacks of each perspective. Kaitlyn's written four stories on the trip so far and she recalled which point of view she chose for each story, and why. I used to criticise parents who thought their kids too precious for school. Now, I'm not so sure.


    Turnbull's Senate challenge is about more than numbers

    • John Warhurst
    • 02 August 2016

    Turnbull had hoped to bring about a new Senate with most of the 'troublemakers' gone. But the new cross-bench seems certain to be both larger and more diverse. Commentary since the election has concentrated primarily on how the numbers in the new Senate will make it difficult for Turnbull. A better focus would be to look back at Senate-government interaction over the past two years for some positive lessons for Turnbull about what actually happened. It was not just a numbers game.


    Breaking out of the social media echo chamber

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 29 July 2016

    Though the internet has stretched and expanded the number of people and places we have access to, it has also constrained the range of ideas and opinions to which we're exposed. Research has found that Facebook users tend to read and share information that reinforces their own beliefs. This phenomenon has been particularly noticeable in the past month, with the emotion whipped up by the Brexit campaign, the election, and a spate of shocking, apparently Isis-related killings.


    Worn and wasted by election day shambles

    • Ellena Savage
    • 08 July 2016

    The OIC makes a dramatic speech about the integrity of live ballot papers, that there will be no repeat of the Western Australian kerfuffle, that we have our booklets that contain all the answers (and many typos, too). He seems nice. Maybe a little skittish. Not someone I'd imagine would be hired to run an office or manage a kitchen or even wait tables, but he must know what he's doing. This speech is the last demonstration of authority I witness on this day.


    What's next for maybe-PM Malcolm Turnbull

    • John Warhurst
    • 05 July 2016

    Turnbull's most pressing decision if he is returned will be what to do with Abbott, whether to bring him back into the ministry or leave him on the backbench with the promise of a future diplomatic posting. He will need to renegotiate the Coalition agreement with the Nationals from a position of weakness and in the context of both these decisions begin to think about what to do with the big issues of climate change, asylum seekers aand same sex marriage. He must not just gird his loins for many tough battles but recognise that the battlelines have been re-set to his disadvantage.


    The moral conundrum of casting a vote on 2 July

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 June 2016

    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.


    What lies beneath election campaign ethical silences

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 June 2016

    Election times are full of sound and fury, much of it broadcast on a loop. But they are also marked by silences. These silences indicate concealed perils in society. Asylum seekers and young Indigenous people are spoken about, often noisily, but always as the object of policy, not as people whose lives have been blighted by policy. The human beings who suffer are shrouded in silence. This silence is an ethical silence that covers people whom we want to keep out of mind.


    Australia's little sepia book of dead political tricks

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 06 June 2016

    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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