Search Results: Democracy

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The US Supreme Court's gay marriage overreach

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 July 2015
    75 Comments

    In its determination that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, the US Supreme Court took it upon itself to discover a definitive answer in the silent Constitution on this contested social question. This is regrettable, because there can be no doubt that the democratic process was taking US society in only one direction, and the Court's unilateral intervention has reduced the prospects of community acceptance and community compromise regarding the freedom of religious practice of those who cannot embrace same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

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  • ECONOMICS

    The IMF has failed Greece

    • David James
    • 30 June 2015
    6 Comments

    International Monetary Fund prescriptions have a long history of failing, and countries that ignore them are often the ones that do surprisingly well. Few have been asked to be more servile than the Greeks. When the IMF came in with what is amusingly referred to as its austerity 'plan', the Greek economy was expected to grow at over 2 per cent. After the 'plan' had taken effect, the country’s economy had shrunk by a quarter.

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  • Maintaining the humanity of the public square

    • Greg O'Kelly
    • 30 June 2015
    3 Comments

    The phrase 'the public square' is peppered throughout Frank Brennan's work. The 1988 film Cinema Paradiso depicts the public square in a Sicilian village over 30 or so years, and its slow and subtle change from a place where human beings gather to laugh, play and discuss. Billboards and garish signs appear and it becomes a car park bereft of its humanity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Retrospectivity a blow to the rule of law

    • Justin Glyn
    • 28 June 2015
    8 Comments

    Steve Ciobo MP described Zaky Mallah’s terrorism acquittal as based on a 'technicality'. This was that the anti-terror laws enacted after his acquittal were 'not retrospective'. The truly frightening thing about retrospective laws is that they make conduct which is perfectly legal when it is done, criminal by fiat. Anyone can be convicted of anything retrospectively, and this is why it is forbidden in the constitutions of many countries.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Whistleblowing and other new crimes

    • Fatima Measham
    • 25 June 2015
    7 Comments

    Ministerial discretion over citizenship can't replace court processes. Such executive overreach, which contradicts democratic principle, has already found expression in law. From July 1st, workers involved in immigration detention, including doctors and teachers, are subject to two years imprisonment for speaking publicly about what they witness. In other words, whistleblowing has been penalised.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The rhetorical question with an answer

    • Maureen O'Brien
    • 23 June 2015
    4 Comments

    What can you do? There's comfort arising from an internal acknowledgement of the fact that, however painful it might be, there are some things beyond our control. But certain role models in our community - including anti domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty - have demonstrated through their actions that it is possible to move beyond a seemingly all pervasive sense of resignation.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    An Orwellian reading of our anti-terror legislation

    • Justin Glyn
    • 21 June 2015
    13 Comments

    In George Orwell's most famous novel 1984, the white face of the Ministry of Truth bears the slogans: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Australia is not approaching dictatorship, but a quick look at Orwell's slogans in the light of the past week's news makes disturbing reading.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Magna Carta's spotlight on today's political arbitrariness

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 16 June 2015
    3 Comments

    It was far from democratic and arose from circumstances of pure opportunism, but the Magna Carta was created as a break on arbitrary rule and power. Therefore contemporary moves to undermine such principles as the rule of law are prescient. Australia's parliament commemorates its birthday even as it extends the reach of national security laws and endorses a draconian refugee policy.

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  • Frank Brennan's 'fifth gospel'

    • William Morris
    • 14 June 2015
    7 Comments

    'Frank points out that the Church cannot credibly proclaim a message of social justice in a pluralist democracy when its own processes fall short of ordinary community standards of justice. It needs to turn its teaching about human rights and human dignity back on itself, the Church, insisting on due process within the life of the Church community.' Bishop William Morris helps launch Frank Brennan's new book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Finding an antidote to populism

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 June 2015
    12 Comments

    In ancient Greece the relative merits of autocracy, oligarchy and democracy as a framework for wise governance were widely discussed. But the dreaded elephant in the room was always ochlocracy — mob rule. Populism has shades of the triumph of the mob over the wisdom that, say, a philosopher king might provide. The development of representative democracy can be seen as the simultaneous taming and incorporation of the mob into governance.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Missing girls expose town's threadbare soul

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 10 June 2015

    World-weary detectives Juan and Pedro arrive in an agrarian township on Spain's Guadalquivir Marshes to investigate the disappearance of two teenage sisters. But their investigation among the town's various innocents, eccentrics and reprobates uncovers a much larger, sinister burr within the very soul of the town. The smell of fascism lingers thickly in the air.

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  • Meddling priest's witness to the primacy of conscience

    • Paul Bongiorno
    • 08 June 2015
    9 Comments

    'In discussing Australia's asylum seeker policies Frank laments the government's deaf ear to calls from the churches, his own included, for a greater measure of compassion and a better way of dealing with the issue of boat people. Frank wryly comments: 'If only the Abbott Government with its disproportionate number of Jesuit alumni cabinet ministers could listen.' Paul Bongiorno launches Fr Frank Brennan SJ's book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra, 8 June 2015.

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