AUSTRALIA

Section: AUSTRALIA

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nazi punch is a non-violence red herring

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 05 February 2017
    7 Comments

    The recent viral footage of 'alt-right' spokesperson Richard Spencer taking a punch to the chops caused considerable debate. There is no doubting the moral clarity that non-violent resistance achieved in the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King and the Indian independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, and the real result of justice for African American and Indian people. When it comes to the odd individual act of public pushing and shoving, though, asking 'Is it okay?' is a red herring.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Alternative facts in the Centrelink debacle

    • Kasy Chambers
    • 02 February 2017
    12 Comments

    Centrelink's new policy of automated online debt collection has been subject to conflicting reports. The Minister and the department head are sticking to the assertion that everything is working fine. Yet there is another version of the truth, seen in the growing list of people talking publicly about the distress caused to them by being falsely tageted. One difficulty with the process is that the adversarial manner that it set up is unlikely to allow Centrelink to learn from the cases it reviews.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Biding time in the anti-establishment era

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 February 2017
    6 Comments

    It strikes me as odd that we have mostly withstood anti-establishment agitation, as seen in the Philippines and the UK. It is not like our political class have not earned similar scorn. What if the optimism bias that kept most of us from anticipating the results of the Brexit referendum and the US election are now also in play in Australia? How long will current welfare architecture and the incompetence of nativists keep at bay the destabilising forces that have laid America so low?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Entitlements saga asks what is legitimate political work

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 January 2017
    7 Comments

    The question of proper parliamentary and government work expenses remains unresolved. Whether rural MPs should use charter flights rather than commercial airlines is the latest aspect. Every element of political work expenses is now under sceptical public scrutiny. The recent case of former Minister for Health Sussan Ley is just one of many questionable instances. The central question is what is a legitimate work expense for politicians. The matter of who should then pay is secondary.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The year our leaders doubled down on doubling down

    • Mark Hearn
    • 30 January 2017
    6 Comments

    2016 was a bumper year for the political double down. Journalist Mark Kenny witnessed a dramatic manifestation: 'Mr Abbott was seen to double down on his recent indirect messaging to Mr Turnbull about a possible return to the frontbench.' A combined 'double down with indirect messaging': perhaps a uniquely Abbott adaptation. Doubling down - otherwise known as repeating yourself - is the public language of aggressive redundancy, drowning out alternative voices and ideas.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Horror year of state care abuse justifies intervention

    • Oliver Jacques
    • 26 January 2017
    10 Comments

    Allowing the Catholic Church to investigate itself was once described by an abuse victim as akin to 'putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank'. The Church now largely accepts the value of outside scrutiny, and has even endorsed a national redress scheme that would subject it to independent examination of its complaint handling and treatment of victims. But there is another institution - plagued by rampant child abuse in 2016 - where the vampires in charge are still trusted to mop up the blood.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Australian bureaucratic Mean Virus is epidemic

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 26 January 2017
    23 Comments

    'Take that out of your mouth, I have to touch that,' barked the Border Protection officer, glaring at me. I'd been juggling bags, boarding tickets, and a passenger exit card, so my passport was positioned precariously between my lips. I wondered if there was a class for teaching them how to be that special mix of forcefully domineering and nasty. It's not just at airports that ordinary people are increasingly feeling a sense of helplessness in the face of bureaucratic antagonism.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The problem of privilege in Australia Day billboard furore

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 23 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The removal of an Australia Day billboard featuring two girls in hijabs prompted a swell of support against Islamophobia. Alongside this was a backlash from those who read the action as forcing Muslim Australians to be complicit in the oppression of Indigenous peoples. My unease came from seeing intra-community tension manifest as dismissal and denigration of those who were considered not 'woke' enough to the politics and embedded racism surrounding invocations of Australian identity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't pick the scab of meaning from our national holidays

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The enjoyment of the holidays did not soften the mayhem and malice of the public world and the people whose lives and happiness are so destroyed by them. It held in mind the images of death and diminishment, but set them on a canvas of thanksgiving for the ways in which kindness and humanity are embodied in people's lives, for the strength and delicacy of relationships that we take for granted, and for the gift of a beach holiday that is an impossible dream for so many Australians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why I don't support changing the date of Amnesia Day

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 22 January 2017
    27 Comments

    For many years I felt that by changing the date we might come to a more inclusive national celebration. However the past few years of Indigenous activism have left me cynical. The things we were fighting for decades ago are very similar to the things we're still fighting for. Australia has not acknowledged and rectified its history; rather it seems content to reinforce its amnesia. It's therefore unlikely I will be able to stop protesting this celebration, regardless of the day it's held upon.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Freedom of conscience and same-sex marriage

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 22 January 2017
    25 Comments

    Two issues can be dealt with shortly. First, ministers of religion must be free to solemnise marriages in accordance with their beliefs. Second, there is no basis for extending a similar concession to marriage celebrants. The case of commercial service providers is more complex. Many argue that caterers, florists, reception centres and so on should be free to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings, on the basis of their religious beliefs. The case for the commercial exemption is unconvincing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Unity on the lamb in the ethnocracy of Australia

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 19 January 2017
    12 Comments

    Like all authorised generalisations, this luminous, unified vision of Australia contains truth, exaggerations, and lies. As well as being a globally known story, it's also the story Australia most likes to tell itself; it sings through ideas like the lucky country, the land of the fair go, the land of the long weekend. Social research on Australia tells a more complex story. Australia is in fact an ethnocracy - a state that is formed in the image and for the benefit of a dominant ethnic group.

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