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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia turns its back on a world in need

    • Paul O'Callaghan
    • 12 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
    • 21 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
    • 12 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
    • 11 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
    • 10 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
    • 07 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
    • 05 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
    • 22 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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  • RELIGION

    Iraq intervention meets just war conditions

    • Chris Middleton
    • 15 October 2014
    11 Comments

    The theory of just war has evolved as a way of laying out the conditions under which a war may be justified morally. The case against ISIS in terms of it being an aggressive force inflicting lasting, grave and certain damage is compelling. Millions of Iraqis and Syrians have been displaced and there is widespread hunger.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The other hero of Anzac

    • Robyn Rowland
    • 14 October 2014
    8 Comments

    Muriel Wakeford was stunned to see the ocean suddenly scarlet, a shoal of new-mown corpses that lay face-down in the sea. She saw what few steps most men managed before a grey hail began dropping them like insects sprayed.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The enemy in my kitchen

    • Brian Matthews
    • 10 October 2014
    2 Comments

    I have always prided myself on my capacity to do some heavy labouring in my spare time, but a serious back injury put a stop to most of that. Michael doesn't mind though. I point at the pizza oven and its need for removal. 'Well, mate,' he says, 'it's dressed in black and it's totally masked and unidentifiable. It wouldn't be allowed into Parliament would it?'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rise of the corporate cowboys

    • Tony Smith
    • 29 September 2014
    7 Comments

    Unfortunately, when people pin their hopes for a just and fair society to a corporation, they can be sadly disappointed. A spate of deaths around the country suggests that many corporations have plenty of power to influence governments to produce policies and legislation convenient for their operations, but fail to take responsibility for their bad outcomes, which include deaths in workplaces.

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