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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Refugee children process trauma through drama

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 20 September 2016
    1 Comment

    At a Sydney school, a group of teenage refugees come together to share their stories, first with each other, and then with their friends and families via a live theatrical performance. Treehouse Theatre is run by three dedicated teachers, who facilitate the sharing, and help transform the children's stories into scripts that can be performed. Their stories are yet another reminder of the human cost of conflict, and of policies that exclude and further traumatise those who are fleeing from it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Battling the Pauline Hanson battler myth

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 15 September 2016
    12 Comments

    It is ironic that Hanson thrives on the perception that she is an authentic outsider against 'the system' when in fact she is part of that system. Think about how she is constantly given paid platforms by television networks. She hasn't been silenced by 'the system', her voice is heard and has been amplified. She is also no amateur, she is a professional and knows exactly what she is doing. She is not some 'battler' being picked on, and that needs to be emphasised.

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  • RELIGION

    Rise of the celebrity pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 September 2016
    7 Comments

    Popes are politically significant because they lead a large international church that is present in many nations. The teaching, interests and opinions of popes affect the way bishops and priests act, and so influence Catholic attitudes. More recently, popes have also become celebrities. Their influence on public opinion, in wider society and in the Church, is increasingly personal. As a result the way individual popes understand and express their faith will shape the possibilities for their political influence.

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  • RELIGION

    Plebiscite the only way forward for Turnbull on marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 September 2016
    23 Comments

    Once Turnbull went to the election with a commitment not to legislate for same sex marriage except after the conduct of a successful plebiscite, it was inevitable that the only way forward to resolving the issue during the life of this parliament would be by enacting legislation to authorise a plebiscite. A conscience vote during the life of this parliament, and without a plebiscite, would leave the opponents of same sex marriage rightly feeling that the government had breached an election commitment.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Catholic Church's view on human rights

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 September 2016
    1 Comment

    'I am a Jesuit amongst Dominicans contemplating the Church's view of human rights. I am a human rights practitioner rather than a theologian, aware that human rights discourse is increasingly more universal and secular. Contemplating, preaching and enacting human rights in the 21st Century Church and World, I come asking two questions.' Frank Brennan's keynote presentation in Salamanca Spain to the International Congress of Dominicans in the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights: Past, Present, Future on the occasion of their 800th anniversary.

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  • RELIGION

    Rogue bishop's rebellious example lives on

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 01 September 2016
    19 Comments

    Many Brazilians remember the 'Red Bishop' as much more than a defender of human rights. For these people, Helder Camara is included reverently in the litany of rogues who drew the ire of church and state authorities by demanding both do a better job of embodying a message of social justice. It was a powerful idea to grow up with: that this imposing and defining institution I had been born and baptised into contained a rebellious truth that often demanded we go against the institution's own grain.

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  • EDUCATION

    Students are not the monsters in our universities

    • Ellena Savage
    • 01 September 2016
    6 Comments

    In the golden era, I suppose, only a handful of people, selected for their potential to contribute to certain class formations, went to university. And then there was a shift, and this occurred with the supposedly democratising process of neoliberalisation. But neoliberalisation went a bit far and now we don't know how to tell our students that while they are entitled to real attention from their teachers, a lot of the time their teachers are basically volunteers for the charity called their expensive education.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A common good argument for legalising same sex marriage

    • Alan Hogan
    • 30 August 2016
    17 Comments

    When a traditional marriage breaks down, there is a substantial body of law that has been developed to deal with the consequences. A substantial number of people in the community have already entered into homosexual relationships, monogamous and intended to be permanent. Some will break down, and disputes will arise about matters such as property, maintenance, and access to children. Common law principles are inadequate for settling such disputes fairly and economically.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Girls are not to blame for their own exploitation

    • Madeleine Hamilton
    • 23 August 2016
    14 Comments

    The response from police and others in authority to recent cases involving the abuse or exploitation of adolescent female sexuality is depressingly reminiscent of attitudes held more than 50 years ago. While it was no defence to argue that the girl had consented, if it could be proven she had had consensual intercourse with other men previously, the offender could be acquitted. Consequently, in carnal knowledge trials, girls were frequently accused of having rich histories of sexual activity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Truth beyond written records of the Wave Hill walk off

    • Moira Rayner
    • 22 August 2016
    9 Comments

    I had been in WA for exactly a year when the local newspaper reported that a white guy had led about 200 people off Wave Rock station. Coming out of the comfortable myth that my home country of New Zealand was not racist, I was amazed to learn that Australia's Indigenous people were obliged to work without industrial protections. In 1966 it was the British Vesteys Group that had been exploiting Aboriginal people: today it is the State in the guise of 'community development', aka work for the dole.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Grandchildren are your children twice over

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 August 2016
    7 Comments

    When we were all younger, I wrote about my three sons. In the words of Sir Thomas More, their characteristics strangely tugged at my heart, and like More, I fed them cake, ripe apples and fancy pears. Among other things. But eventually there was a mild rebellion about the writing, in the course of which my eldest threatened to send me a bill. Now I write about my grandchildren, three boys and a girl, who are too young as yet to be so commercially minded.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dying with dignity in Madrid

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 18 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The film's quiet humour leaves open many spaces for reflection on getting older, and on mortality. Tomas is uncomfortable with the subject of death, but Julian is determined to confront it with honesty and dignity. His activities during those four short days reveal he possesses a well formed conception of his own humanity and mortality that is not short of admirable. We are as sympathetic to Paula raging against her cousin's resignation, as we are to Tomas' growing acceptance.

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