Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • RELIGION

    Third World issues illuminate Synod's first world problems

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 September 2015
    14 Comments

    Although important to respond to generously, divorced and homosexual Catholics will not be the only people who make a claim on the Synod on the Family in Rome, with bishops of the Third World to want a focus on the life and death issues that face families in their region. But divorced and homosexual Catholics are important, and the divisions between bishops are both real, and generally misread by the media.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reflect and connect to give peace a chance

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 September 2015
    3 Comments

    This year's International Day of Peace comes amid much war-making. Those with a feel for history may see it as an echo of an idealistic age that had experienced years of war and was determined to shape a better world. To those caught in fear and violence, and promised another ten years of the same, it will come as an insinuating hope against hope; a reproach to a world that stirs rather than douses wars.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian Citizenship Day with an edge

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 September 2015
    8 Comments

    This is traditionally a soft occasion, with ceremonies to welcome those becoming Australian citizens, in the presence of the local mayor, and the presentation of a small tree as a symbol of their own grafting on to the Australian vine. But this year the day has deeper meaning, in the wake of the Australian Government's introduction of anti-terrorism legislation designed strip citizenship from certain individuals with dual nationality.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A political death

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 September 2015
    23 Comments

    It is hard to comment on Tony Abbott’s demise without being splattered by the schoolyard mud. But we should begin by sparing a thought for the man himself in this time of humiliation. He has given his life to the Liberal Party, and to be disowned as leader by it is surely devastating. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A moment of compassion and solidarity that nurtures hope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 September 2015
    16 Comments

    A fortnight ago political conversation about asylum seekers had to do with turning back the boats, the links between terrorism and religious identity, exporting our Stop the Boats policy to Europe, the seductive dangers of compassion, and attempts to wedge other parties on the basis of their softness. Now it appears we have moved on, and for that Mr Abbott deserves our ungrudging gratitude, whatever side of politics we stand on.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bishops' statement challenges politicians' hard hearts

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 September 2015
    9 Comments

    The Australian Bishops' 2015 Social Justice Statement on justice for refugees and asylum seekers comes at the right time. It is not likely to receive enthusiastic support from the Government. The Bishops set the tone of their statement with a quote from Pope Francis' uncompromising Lampedusa sermon. Like him, their priority is 'what it takes'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Operation Fortitude aftershocks

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 September 2015
    9 Comments

    Actions taken in the Immigration Detention Centre after the 28 August aborted Border Force operation involved the use of force and intimidation on people who are being detained. Not for their misdeeds or any threat they pose, but for the convenience of the Department. And they disclose what happens when ABF officers are permitted to to use any force they think necessary without proper accountability.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian Border Force cuts through the fence of law and due process

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 September 2015
    6 Comments

    Last week the Reform Summit and the Australian Border Force's aborted Operation Fortitude were responses to the the perceived paralysis in Australian politics and public life. The Summit was a commendable initiative demonstrating that organisations with diverging agendas can talk together and reach consensus. It offered a chastening example to the political parties that currently emphasise their areas of disagreement and prefer to smash through — rather than think through — the obstacles to Australia’s prosperity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Francis' day to pray underlines priority for environment

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 31 August 2015
    5 Comments

    Pope Francis has named 1 September as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. There are many such days, and it will pass unnoticed in many local churches. But his naming of it - and its reception - will reveal much about the style with which he chooses to address environmental degradation, throwing his weight behind the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who had previously consecrated the day to the Environment.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Does religion in schools go beyond branding?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 August 2015
    27 Comments

    Religious schools have emphasised the transmission of faith and an ethical way of life through a network of relationships, symbols and processes. But this is now being tested, with the dominant view that values and faith are a private matter best hosted inside the family. The operative goals of schools become the academic and economic advancement of individuals, with religious classes and rituals little more than decoration and rhetorical branding.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's an older person's life worth?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 August 2015
    12 Comments

    NT Health Minister John Elferink recently argued that the money spend on the health of the elderly — a million dollars for each person — would be better spent on children. Many Australian politicians and health administrators would secretly sympathise. But underlying this is the twin assumption that the life of an older person is of less value than that of someone who is younger, and that people’s value is measured by their economic contribution.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The gloriously flawed humanity of our federal politics

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 20 August 2015
    9 Comments

    Recent weeks' events in federal politics stretch the imagination. The search for historical parallels brought me to the start of the Burke and Wills Expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria, the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, and the race that saw Fine Cotton unravel. Each of these events was characteristically Australian. In Les Murray’s memorable phrase, they all had sprawl: the mingling of excess, overweening self-confidence, and the cutting of corners. 

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