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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Australia out of step with Pope's climate action mission

    • Thea Ormerod
    • 26 January 2015
    33 Comments

    It is no coincidence that Pope Francis chose to visit the Philippines before he releases his encyclical on the environment, and that he made a point of visiting Tacloban, which was ground zero for super typhoon Haiyan. This follows the recent UN climate talks in Lima, where Australian negotiators so regularly blocked consensus that they won us the 'colossal fossil' award for 2014 from environmental observers.       

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  • RELIGION

    Fundamentalism in the land of Jesus

    • Lawrence Cross
    • 20 January 2015
    30 Comments

    Israel is demanding to be recognised as a Jewish state. The corollary is that they have an interest in getting Christians out. On the Palestinian side, the Islamic influence has been intensifying for decades. Fundamentalism creates the perfect audience for the disinformation and propaganda that masks the slaughter of some of the world's oldest Christian groups.

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  • RELIGION

    An Aussie Muslim's Taiwan Christmas

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 18 December 2014
    6 Comments

    Christmas is a fabulous time to spend at home. Even those of us who aren’t terribly Christian can enjoy a free holiday with friends and family. And if you like choral music, you can always come along with me and a Jewish mate to St Mary's Cathedral. But last Christmas I found myself in Taiwan.

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  • RELIGION

    A messy birth and a vulnerable baby

    • Richard Leonard
    • 17 December 2014
    21 Comments

    At a Christmas party, I met the charge nurse of the maternity ward. Pleading that because I was a celibate I would never be at a birth, I enquired if I might be allowed to come and see'. … Mary and I met six hours into her labor, which was an unusual circumstance within which to meet your birthing partner.' She had very little small talk, maybe because she had no breath at all.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia turns its back on a world in need

    • Paul O'Callaghan
    • 11 December 2014
    14 Comments

    As we prepare to mark the tenth anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami, Australia's proud achievement in being the largest per capita provider of overseas aid at the time is being overshadowed by reports of further devastating government cuts to our aid program. Successive cuts - including 20 per cent in the May Budget - mean that we are starting to be seen as a country turning inwards. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The ABC is not a business

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 20 November 2014
    25 Comments

    Governments are  tempted to use budgetary accountability as a neat cover for corporatisation of public utilities. As public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS do not inhabit the same philosophical territory as Sky News or Channel 7. The ABC's cuts are based on an efficiency report prepared by a financial officer from the commercial media. It does not seem relevant that balanced budgets do not deliver educated audiences.

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  • RELIGION

    Which bishop is challenging the bank on fossil fuels?

    • Jill Sutton
    • 11 November 2014
    3 Comments

    There has been an avalanche of divestment, including from the Rockefellers and the ANU, as they discern a lack of concern for environmental, social and governance issues. Shareholders attending Wednesday’s Commonwealth Bank AGM will hear a resolution requesting more transparency about the bank’s fossil fuel investments. But the bank’s response can seem like a game whose rules only become clear to its participants as they play it. Banks and other powerful organisations can still exploit any lack of clarity. 

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  • RELIGION

    The Vatican's Francis Revolution gains pace

    • Paul Collins
    • 10 November 2014
    23 Comments

    An important power shift occurred in Rome at the weekend, and it has a genuine Australian connection. The nuncio in Canberra Archbishop Paul Gallagher was named Secretary for Relations with States, which will put him third in charge at the Vatican. He has been popular here because he has kept in touch with pastoral life, having volunteered to help out in the far-flung western NSW of Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes during his first Easter in Australia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    West Africa needs more international help to defeat Ebola

    • Robert Vitillo
    • 09 November 2014

    There is a general sense of psychological trauma and anger among the people, and a fear of social unrest and a return to civil war. In the communities in which quarantine has been imposed, people do not have access to food, clean water, and other necessities. The countries are depending on increased international assistance will prevent further spread of the virus and a reduction of irrational fear, stigma, and discrimination in local communities.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    G20's opportunity to nail multinational tax dodgers

    • Angela Owen
    • 06 November 2014
    3 Comments

    The media has reported that Swedish furniture company IKEA's Australian arm has earned an estimated $1 billion in profits since 2003, almost all of which has been exported tax-free. Action to crack down on tax avoidance is on the agenda of next week's G20 in Brisbane, but it remains to be seen if the interests of developing countries will be looked after.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Does she really need to know the truth?

    • Prue Gibson
    • 04 November 2014
    3 Comments

    How was the funeral? The wooden pews had been waxed and she found it hard to breathe without gagging. The incense incensed her. What rot to swing that horrible stuff around the place. What did the semi-trailer driver see, she wondered? How was Rob thrown out of the vehicle, if his seat belt was fastened? Why did he join the main road, when he could have gone down the old highway, free from any traffic? 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Church legally liable for pre-1996 child sexual abuse

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 October 2014
    47 Comments

    Reviewing Cardinal Pell's evidence to the Royal Commission in August, I have concluded that Catholics need to accept moral responsibility and legal liability for all child sexual abuse committed by clergy prior to 1996, regardless of what might be the moral or legal position after 1996 when improved measures for supervision and dismissal of errant clergy were put in place. 

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