Search Results: Australian politics

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  • AUSTRALIA

    In praise of local councils

    • Fatima Measham
    • 26 October 2016
    7 Comments

    Unless you have lived elsewhere, where taxes and rates rarely manifest as a tangible and permanent benefit, it is easy to take councils for granted. I grew up in a town where potholes are forever, healthcare is ad hoc and libraries are private. The things that I see my local council do as a matter of routine are wild luxuries in other places around the world. Such competencies arguably measure the health of a democracy - it means that most of the money has not been lost to corruption and fraud.

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  • RELIGION

    Heed the echoes of Mussolini's Italy in today's world

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 October 2016
    11 Comments

    When surveying one's world it is always dangerous to forget the past. Australian historian John Molony's recent book about Italian priest and politician Luigi Sturzo is an accounting, showing how easily democracy, freedom and respect for human rights can be surrendered both by politicians and by the Catholic Church. It invites reflection on our situation today. The Italy in which Mussolini came to power and in which Sturzo operated has haunting similarities to today's world.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Stand with heroic Gillian Triggs

    • Moira Rayner
    • 24 October 2016
    55 Comments

    This damnable pursuit of Gillian Triggs must stop at once. Triggs is an outstanding independent statutory office holder, one of the many appointed by governments over decades to remind them of Australia's international human rights obligations and to oversee the functions of laws to mitigate social wrongs such as age, race, disability and sex discrimination in public arenas. But no government likes watchdogs on the moral and legal limits on its power.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Marriage equality supporters' hope for a free conscience vote

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 October 2016
    25 Comments

    When the dust settles next year, maybe LGBTI advocates will see the wisdom in trying to convince the Labor party to reinstitute a free conscience vote on its side if only to force the Coalition to do the same. That way the parliament a few years down the track might be able to do what the LGBTI advocates want them to do now. If it were my call, I would have opted for the plebiscite in February with prompt parliamentary legislation to follow. But it's not my call.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The criminal law 30 years on

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 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

    Identity politics and the market

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 October 2016
    5 Comments

    In political commentary liberal politics and identity politics are often presented as polar opposites. For supporters of liberal politics the relationship between the two is one between virtue and vice, rationality and emotion, the wise against the mob. I believe that the relationship is more complex, that identity politics shares the same stunted assumptions about personal and national identity as liberal politics, sees the self-interest of the latter, and wants to despoil it.

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  • RELIGION

    Sheikh Fehmi talked me out of going to war

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 03 October 2016
    11 Comments

    Fehmi Naji El-Imam, the former Grand Mufti of Australia who died last month, taught us at a time when we had no internet and books on Islam were limited. Politicised religion was all the craze. In Afghanistan, a coalition of local militias and foreign fighters, the Mujahideen, were receiving support from Western leaders. Conservative politicians praised them for taking on those nasty Soviet Communists. It was easy to be carried away, to have one's faith shaped by overseas events. I almost did.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Vulnerable people must be at the heart of welfare reforms

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 September 2016
    8 Comments

    There is much to welcome in the ideals spruiked in Minister Porter's proposed welfare reforms. Who could fail to be delighted if people are helped to support themselves, and the welfare bill is reduced as people no longer need support? The question left hanging is what drives these changes. Is the human welfare of our fellow Australians the goal towards which the budgetary changes are a means? Or are budgetary savings the goal to which the treatment of our fellow Australians will be a means?

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  • RELIGION

    Religious freedom in an age of equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 September 2016
    18 Comments

    'No good will be served by a royal commission auspiced by the state telling a Church how it judges or complies with its theological doctrines and distinctive moral teachings. By all means, set universal standards of practice expected of all institutions dealing with children, but do not trespass on the holy ground of religious belief and practice.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ addresses the Freedom for Faith Conference in Melbourne, 23 September 2016.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Morality is back on the economic agenda

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 September 2016
    4 Comments

    It is a welcome change to see budgets spoken of in moral terms. The government recently insisted on a moral responsibility to future generations to fix the deficit. And the Australian Catholic bishops welcomed on moral grounds the compromise that saw dropped from the budget measures which would further disadvantage vulnerable people. The difference was that the government's argument was focused on the budget, whereas the bishops' focused on particular groups of people.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hope, not nihilism, is the antidote to bleak times

    • Fatima Measham
    • 14 September 2016
    3 Comments

    In Mexico, a 12-year old boy walked onto the road to stare down an 11,000-strong anti-LGBTQ protest. In Italy, a small town has been revived by the arrival of refugees and migrants. In the US, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has pulled the issue of police brutality into apolitical spaces, using symbolic gestures to draw out the history of racialised oppression. As Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine puts it, 'If you want to be right, be a pessimist, if you want to do right, be an optimist.'

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  • ECONOMICS

    The bad business of privatisation

    • David James
    • 12 September 2016
    18 Comments

    The argument that putting government operations into private hands ensures that things will run better and society will benefit is not merely a stretch; it is in many respects patently false. The argument is based on the claim that the market always produces superior price signals. Yet one area where private enterprise definitely fails is long term stability. If there is an expectation that a privatised service should last in the long term, and usually there is, then selling it to business is a bad choice.

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