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  • AUSTRALIA

    Our first female High Court chief justice is first class

    • Moira Rayner
    • 30 November 2016
    10 Comments

    So the High Court finally has its first woman chief justice. Mainstream media have seized upon this as a remarkable achievement for the legal profession and as 'a fair go' for the empowered woman of 2016. Kiefel's attainment of her highest goal should be recognised as no such lesser win. It is right and proper recognition of the suitability of a solidly trained and experienced lawyer, and the product of this individual human being's commitment to the law and its customs, protocols and conventions.

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  • MEDIA

    Queering the airwaves for TV diversity

    • Adolfo Aranjuez
    • 29 November 2016
    17 Comments

    A recent Screen Australia report determined only 5 per cent of characters in Australian TV dramas could be identified as LGBTQI; less than half the proportion of real-world queer individuals in Australia. Media products are inherently normative, legitimising identities and lived realities through visibility. This is important, given the continuing debates surrounding marriage equality and the pervasiveness of homophobia, the result of which was seen in the suicide of 13-year-old Tyrone Unsworth.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Spring: Thirty short poems

    • Carol O'Connor
    • 21 November 2016
    6 Comments

    Counting angels dancing on a pinhead? How about, making count the stranger who stands right in front of me ... Love lies hidden. Quick! Look under the moss, hear the stone sing ... Mother Earth is groaning ... Dislocation. Disconnection. Displacement. Only you, only you, only you can take us home.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Opposition growing to SA nuclear plan

    • Michele Madigan
    • 17 November 2016
    11 Comments

    The last 30 days have seen some big developments in the ongoing attempts of Premier Weatherill's plan to import high-level and intermediate level radioactive waste. On Sunday 6 November came the surprising decision of the Premier-initiated Citizens Jury. By the end of their six day deliberations, the 350 second round jurists showed a decided shift in opinion. Their 50 page report, presented to a somewhat discomfited Premier, had a strong two thirds majority against the dump.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A few hot days in the Flinders Ranges

    • John Cranmer
    • 07 November 2016
    1 Comment

    Have you ever noticed the way that book and reality sometimes entwine and become essentially one? It's happening here and now as we contemplate these few hot days in Hawker and the Flinders. Anita Desai's The Zigzag Way creates a context for living here at this particular ephemeral moment. Altiplano Mexico in all it's barren frugality integrates with these hot and marginal plains hemmed in by the cragginess of surrounding scarplands with their many strong stories

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  • EDUCATION

    Jostling for justice on school funding's contested ground

    • Michael Furtado
    • 04 November 2016
    12 Comments

    Amid the furore surrounding Minister Birmingham's disclosure of figures showing massive discrepancies in public funding between some independent schools and low-SES schools, some facts need scrutinising. Systemic Catholic schools draw for their enrolment from lower-SES postcodes than independent schools. Postcodes being an indelible predictor of the educational chances of Australians, balancing systemic school funding against that of independent schools is politically and ethically problematic.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    An ode to speechless Bob Dylan

    • Philip Harvey
    • 04 November 2016
    10 Comments

    Initial silence from Dylan after the announcement of his Nobel Prize led one of the Scandinavian officials to complain he was being 'impolite and arrogant'. This prompted even more vitriolic opinion online on all sides, from fans, litterateurs, Dylanologists, and other armchair grenadiers. Just as things were getting completely tangled up in blue Dylan himself broke the silence to explain that news of the award had left him speechless. We shouldn't be surprised. Speechless is a normal state for a poet.

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  • RELIGION

    Buried or burned, respect for the dead is what matters

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 November 2016
    29 Comments

    Last week the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an Instruction on the conditions under which cremation is legitimate for Catholics. The starting point is the conviction that for Christians the best way of treating the body after death is through burial. Yet cremation is open to possibilities that the Instruction does not envisage. Sprinkling the ashes over the sea or a place significant to the dead person can be consistent with an informed Christian sensibility. It need not be pantheistic.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Respect and relationships in forming identity

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 October 2016
    7 Comments

    Promos suggest you can choose your identity. Join a tour to Kurdistan and you can become an adventurer. Buy an Aussie flag, sing loudly about boundless plains, and you can become a dinky di Aussie. Identity, however, is more subtle. It is formed by relationships, to the human race, to body, to place of birth, to language, to the significant adults of childhood, to possessions, to education and work, to hobbies, religions and political parties and to all the people met through these relationships.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Young women confronted by the horror of exploitation

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 19 October 2016

    Our first glimpse of Jesse, a 16-year-old model recently arrived in LA, is of her sprawled on a sofa, scantily clad and smeared with fake blood. Later, during her first professional shoot, she is ordered to strip naked, and to endure being smeared with gold paint by the photographer's own hand. Another model boasts about the routine cosmetic surgery she undergoes to maintain the object that is her body. In the eyes of the industry, Jesse as an 'object' is already perfect.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The criminal law 30 years on

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 October 2016
    2 Comments

    With idealism and pragmatism, I invite you criminal lawyers in the next 30 years to imagine and enact a better criminal justice system which alleviates rather than exacerbates the devastating effects of colonisation and marginalisation on Indigenous Peoples, and most particularly their children. An intelligently designed criminal justice system must help secure the foothold of Indigenous children in both the Market and the Dreaming.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Responsibility for royal commissions' effectiveness lies with us

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 11 October 2016
    2 Comments

    'Finally!' we might think, regarding the commencement of the royal commission after the mainstream revelation of the abuses at Don Dale and other juvenile detention centres. But is this just another deferral to a disinterested power? What can we hope will come of moves like this from leaders whose own legitimacy feels so craven and thin? I suspect not much. There are already claims the royal commission into the protection and detention of children in the NT is on shaky ground.

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