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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A plague of killer robots

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 April 2014
    6 Comments

    Killer robots — drones in an advanced stage of development — are now a daytime reality. They will be autonomous in their operation, able to identify targets, track them down, work out the best way to destroy them, and learn from their failures, all without the need for human direction. These qualities raise serious ethical questions. Obama's use of just war theory to defend such drones was misguided at best, pernicious at worst.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's killing the charities regulator?

    • Michael Mullins
    • 31 March 2014
    5 Comments

    The Federal Government is moving to abolish the body set up to protect and regulate the non-profit sector. Vinnies CEO John Falzon describes the action as 'ideological', while Melbourne Catholic education chief Stephen Elder sees it as an opportunity to spend more time raising money and delivering services. The Government must explain the policy imperatives driving it to dismantle such an extensively considered piece of legislation.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Bali fear beyond Rhonda and Ketut

    • Ali Winters
    • 17 March 2014
    14 Comments

    Insurer AAMI's 'Rhonda and Ketut' Balinese love story, teased out over four commercials and three years, has come to its soapy end. Whether you loved it or cringed, its camp, cocktail soaked tentacles have penetrated the Australian mainstream. But the knowledge Australians have for our closest Asian neighbour is poor. According to a DFAT report released last year, 30 per cent of respondents didn't know Bali was part of Indonesia.

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  • RELIGION

    Radical Pope's gender flaws

    • Megan Graham
    • 13 March 2014
    47 Comments

    The broad support Francis receives from progressives, despite his unwillingness to even consider female ordination, demonstrates how marginalised women's issues really are in our society. He may have changed the game in terms of the Church's engagement with the poor, but this does not diminish the significance of his oppressive and outdated views on gender roles.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Closing the Gap won’t work without human reconciliation

    • Michael Mullins
    • 17 February 2014
    14 Comments

    The Prime Minister's Closing the Gap speech to Federal Parliament last Wednesday was a finely crafted piece of work that failed to hit the spot. It seems that 'Closing the Gap' is the Government's Indigenous policy. Yet it can be seen as a justification for getting out the big stick to achieve short term gains that will look good on the Government's own political report card. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bleeding hearts alone won't save asylum seekers

    • Fatima Measham
    • 28 January 2014
    21 Comments

    Those who campaign for more humane treatment of asylum seekers cannot keep assuming that the elements of the debate that matter to them most are the most persuasive. The hardest thing to accept may be that the socioeconomic anxieties for which immigration serves as proxy, as well as the insecurity and resentment generated by state impotence and political opportunism, do not necessarily make for 'bad' people.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2013: Domestic violence reality check for the 'manosphere'

    • Sarah McKenzie
    • 14 January 2014
    1 Comment

    The 'battered husband' claim has flourished online where aggressive men's rights groups blame feminism for everything from high unemployment rates to shorter male lifespans. There is no doubt that some victims of domestic violence are men, and that these men are equally deserving of resources and support. But to suggest that domestic violence is a gender-equal crime is plainly incorrect, and dangerous.

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  • MARGARET DOOLEY AWARD

    Best of 2013: Slow down, you're just in time

    • Megan Graham
    • 08 January 2014
    1 Comment

    At a certain point, emotional and mental overstimulation leads to a sort of emotional numbness, as the brain and central nervous system can only respond to so much. With enough dopamine hits from 'likes' on Facebook, and adrenalin spikes from sensationalised news stories, one's emotions can become blunted. That is, with the notable exception of general irritability borne of expecting one's real life to be as fast-paced as one's online one.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Trott a hero for quitting the Ashes

    • Michael Mullins
    • 02 December 2013
    2 Comments

    English batsman Jonathan Trott was pilloried in some media comments because he abandoned his team because he felt 'stressed'. We should be celebrating the fact that a high profile male sportsman finds that he can declare he has a stress-related illness and then seek help for it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Monster in the car park

    • Prue Gibson
    • 27 November 2013
    1 Comment

    The car park is a concrete cave, a holding cell, a sarcophagus. From the outside, it looks like other buildings, but inside, there are darker, deeper modalities. I wind down to sub level four. Free spaces, empty rows: I savour the desolate and bare space. 'Hey you,' shouts someone from up ahead. A man, in well-groomed suit pants with a snappy vest, strides towards me. I glance around at level four. There are almost no cars to be seen.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    So much for Labor values

    • Brian Toohey
    • 14 October 2013
    9 Comments

    Amid all the post-election talk about Labor values, no one within the party has explained how the appalling behaviour exposed by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption could have occurred if senior figures took any notice of these supposedly cherished values. It is not credible that most NSW state and federal Labor MPs, and key officials, had no inkling of Obeid's behaviour while a backbencher or minister.

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  • RELIGION

    Cardinals meeting consultative Pope

    • Brian Lucas
    • 01 October 2013
    14 Comments

    As a specially selected group of cardinals prepares to meet with Pope Francis, there is eagerness among the world's press for access to the meeting and clear expectations of radical shifts in church policy. Some have tried to hose such hopes down. Yet the cardinals have a unique opportunity and a serious responsibility to help Francis understand what the people of God are thinking and expecting.

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