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  • RELIGION

    Dancing through St Patrick's Day myths

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 16 March 2017
    8 Comments

    My grandfather told me Patrick was a saint because he drove the frogs and snakes out of Ireland. He also told me if I stepped in a fairy ring while we were on our walks I'd disappear forever. So naturally as I grew older, I became skeptical. Each year in my family St Patrick's Day has marked a survival of Irish culture in Australia. Sometimes this can be in subtle ways and sometimes it means singing at the top of our lungs, enjoying a drink and having a dance.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Rule of law' furore reveals real thugs

    • Fatima Measham
    • 16 March 2017
    18 Comments

    A new round of anti-union chest-thumping is underway, following ACTU secretary Sally McManus' remarks that 'I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair ... But when it's unjust, I don't think there's a problem with breaking it.' If any other person had said this in the context of civil and political rights, the words might not be so incendiary. Laws are not as neutral as we imagine them to be. They are constructed by individuals of immense power, with their own set of values and connections.

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  • PODCAST

    ChatterSquare Extra: Is Justin Trudeau really all that?

    • Podcast
    • 14 March 2017

    Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada in 2015, taking the Liberal Party to a strong majority after nearly a decade of Conservative rule. He signaled many things that were seen as progressive. But is he really all that? In this episode of ChatterSquare Extra, we catch up with Neal Jennings, Canadian politics nerd, who joins us from Vancouver.

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  • PODCAST

    ChatterSquare S01E03: Turnbull, catharsis and scapegoating

    • Podcast
    • 07 March 2017

    In this episode, we feel a bit sorry for Malcolm Turnbull and wonder whether the electorate even cares who is leader anymore. We also discuss scapegoating and how attempts to discriminate lead to indiscriminate effects.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Scenes from a city picked clean by investors

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 03 March 2017
    4 Comments

    An unread newspaper tumbles and breaks apart in the wind. A man sits alone on a park bench wondering what it would be like to hear children riding bicycles through the park. As darkness settles the city's workers commence their long journeys home. Not even the music of the street performers is heard anymore. They were all relocated. Car engines hum and airplanes roar. Somehow the city ecosystem continues despite the investment predators having eaten up all other types of life.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Swift injustice in modest penalty rates proposal

    • Fatima Measham
    • 02 March 2017
    13 Comments

    The Fair Work Commission decision on penalty rates removes any doubt that young people might have still had about their place in the economic order. The four-yearly review of awards in hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy found that Sunday penalty rates 'do not achieve the modern awards objective, as they do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net'. But whose safety net? Unfair to whom? These industries are already notorious for exploiting young workers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No one wins as public discourse thins

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 March 2017
    18 Comments

    It is a commonplace that our political discourse is much impoverished. Speeches are built around sound bites. The Trump administration is experimenting with letting go of speeches and communicating within the limits set by Twitter. In such a world there is little space for more complex rhetoric, for cultural reference, for reflection on historical precedents, or for wondering. Our politicians' words leave no echoes. It is worth musing on what may be lost in the thinning of public discourse.

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  • PODCAST

    ChatterSquare Extra: Reading history in the age of Trump

    • Podcast
    • 28 February 2017

    In this episode, we chat with Dr Evan Smith, from the School of History and International Relations at Flinders University, Adelaide. We go over some of the historical analogies being made about the Trump administration, why people are drawn to them, and the pitfalls of reaching into the past to make sense of the present.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Food waste in the age of hunger

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 24 February 2017
    2 Comments

    This week the UN announced that more than 20 million people across four African countries face starvation in the coming months. As the World Food Program struggles to feed the starving, they are also reminding people that where there is great need in the world, there is often great waste. In Australia, the Department of Environment and Energy estimates food waste is costing households $8 billion every year. This is twice what the UN predicts it needs to cease a famine in four nations.

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  • PODCAST

    ChatterSquare S01E02: Hansonism, fear and fantasy

    • Podcast
    • 21 February 2017

    Is there an upside to Hansonism? In this episode, we try to figure out what One Nation actually has to offer. We also talk about fear and how some Americans are dealing with the Trump era by turning to fantasy literature. Is this just escapism?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Making space for diversity in the cultural square

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 20 February 2017
    1 Comment

    Recognising the necessity of initiatives and events in which you would not participate but that others find exciting and worthwhile is partly about social generosity. It's also about acknowledging that the public culture that surrounds you is not - and should not - only reflect you and your priorities. Ideally, it would involve knowing about, and potentially advocating for, the presence of groups and voices that are currently absent or misrepresented.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We all benefit from having migrant workers

    • Fatima Measham
    • 16 February 2017
    9 Comments

    There's not enough jobs because foreigners are stealing them. Wages aren't going up because foreigners drag them down. Graduates aren't finding positions because skilled worker visas are being given out too easily. Such answers are potent in pockets of Australian society that would rather blame outsiders than demand their government create new jobs, lift the minimum wage, improve work conditions and training, and mediate skills transfers from industries that are contracting, such as mining.

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