Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Border Force Act's disquieting parallels

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 July 2015
    32 Comments

    On July 1 the Australian Border Force Act 2015 became law. Detention centre staff are now forbidden to speak about human rights abuses, with a two year jail penalty applying. It is perhaps appropriate to recall the secrecy of the security apparatus of Stalinist Russia, Apartheid South Africa, and Chile and Argentina under the Generals, where victims were denigrated and information prevented from leaking out.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The pace of Muslim integration into Australian society

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 July 2015
    18 Comments

    Against the background of Australia's migration history, we can see the importance of Muslim groups maintaining their own praying community and culture including the use of their native language of worship. This will inevitably change with successive generations, but the pace of this is a matter for the communities themselves. The most harmful thing native born Australians can do is to pressure migrants to abandon their cultural roots in order to fit our expectations and to placate our fears.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    ABC apology was the error of judgment in Q&A affair

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 June 2015
    58 Comments

    It is particularly dangerous for a Prime Minister to demand that public institutions or private citizens take a stand on complex issues. To take a stand for something means that you take a stand against something else. In the Q&A case, to take a stand means to condemn Zakky Mallah. From there it is a short slide to standing for 'genuine' Australians against Muslim Australians. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Understanding Pope Francis' hard line against population control

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 June 2015
    23 Comments

    In his recent encyclical, Pope Francis demands that, in addressing the needs of the environment, wealthy nations must reform an economic system that perpetuates poverty in the underdeveloped world. In seeking a conversion of heart on the part of those who are wealthy, he sees imposing artificial population control on the world's poor as a thoroughly unfair and unconverted attitude. The real problem is the greed of the rich, not the inability of the poor to control their fertility.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why Pope Francis' new encyclical is so radical

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 June 2015
    10 Comments

    The interdependence of human beings on one another underlies the Catholic insistence that the dignity of all human beings must be respected, so that the test of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Laudato Si extends that solidarity to the natural world.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It's time to ask why refugees are on the nose

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 June 2015
    13 Comments

    Refugee Week has been overshadowed by stories of harsh new laws, reports of government misbehaviour and ministerial silence. Regrettably hostility towards asylum seekers is widespread. We must look beyond this crabbed little world to imagine a polity in which states cooperate to change the conditions that force refugees to flee.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Finding an antidote to populism

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 June 2015
    12 Comments

    In ancient Greece the relative merits of autocracy, oligarchy and democracy as a framework for wise governance were widely discussed. But the dreaded elephant in the room was always ochlocracy — mob rule. Populism has shades of the triumph of the mob over the wisdom that, say, a philosopher king might provide. The development of representative democracy can be seen as the simultaneous taming and incorporation of the mob into governance.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Royal Commission hatred is childish

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 June 2015
    30 Comments

    In my early years of secondary school there was a fine footballer in the senior team of another school. I had never met him, but I hated him with a passion. This memory returned in recent weeks when reading of the vilification of Adam Goodes, and some of the opinion pieces on the Ballarat sexual abuse. Hatred avoids questions by trying to obliterate those whose lives pose them to us.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Same sex marriage a defeat for humanity?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 June 2015
    60 Comments

    The Vatican Secretary of State's post-Irish referendum comment refers to the Church's understanding of the privilege given by society to lasting heterosexual marriage reflecting the social good of the institution. But the heaviest defeats for humanity come from government policies that focus on the individual, ignore the needs of those raising children, and penalise the disadvantaged.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Education with higher expectations

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 May 2015
    7 Comments

    Tony Abbott's evocation of 'the tyranny of low expectations' invites more general reflection on education and public life. I believe that the Australian approach to education does indeed impose a tyranny of low expectations in the sense that the expectations are defined by economic achievement and its attendant wealth and status, and the goal for schools is success in enabling students to participate economically.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's 'stop the boats' policy as iconic

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 May 2015
    18 Comments

    The world is gazing with astonishment at our single-minded way of dealing with people who come to us for protection. It is iconic, now that nations in the region have adopted it. The modern understanding of icons as embodying qualities people desire differs from the Byzantine approach in which traditional religious icons do not impress us with their dominance over their environment, but draw us to their eyes.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Is faith more than metaphor?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 May 2015
    50 Comments

    Australian writer David Tacey argues that the Christian story, like all religious beliefs, should be seen as metaphor. He argues that in turning from a literal understanding, we recapture the original Christian message. But for me, adopting his reading would mean the loss of a personal God to whom I can pray, of a Christ who is a living presence among his followers, and of a community in living continuity with Jesus' disciples.

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