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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The cost so far of Filipinos' gamble on thug rule

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 August 2016
    13 Comments

    I fret more than ever for friends and family in the Philippines. If life is so expendable, who can be safe? What if my brother-in-law is mistakenly identified as a drug 'pusher'? What if my dad goes to a cockfight and armed vigilantes do a drive-by? It is disheartening that many Filipinos seem to approve of Duterte's methods. This is the purge many had wanted. They see the current campaign as a necessary, painful transition to better things. They are wrong. Nothing personal, just history.

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  • RELIGION

    Time to defuse Nauru and Manus Island time bombs

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 August 2016
    23 Comments

    The suggestion that those camps need to remain filled in order to send a message to people smugglers is not only morally unacceptable; it is strategically questionable. Those proven to be refugees should be resettled as quickly as practicable, and that includes taking up New Zealand's offer of 150 places a year - just as John Howard did when he accepted New Zealand's offer to take 131 from the Tampa. It's time to act. Ongoing inaction will send a green light to desperate people to do desperate things.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The holy sacrament of coffee communion

    • Barry Gittins
    • 14 August 2016
    12 Comments

    Within the first 20 minutes of my morning, I pay homage to life by partaking in that glorious gift to humanity, coffee. As well as the contested space around coffee's possible physical health benefits and purported dodgy effects, going for a coffee is good for the soul. Humans are social creatures, and coffee lubricates our communing. Over a cuppa I have shared hardships, counselled and been counselled, listened to tales of brokenness and celebrated the wins that punctuate our travails.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humanity meets bureaucracy on asylum seeker Fast Track

    • Shira Sebban
    • 14 August 2016
    14 Comments

    Sobs rack his body. Under the Fast Track Assessment process being used to clear the backlog of protection claims, the nondescript official sitting opposite him, or one of his colleagues, will most likely be the one to decide his fate. 'Should you be found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, the government may share your biographical details with the authorities of your country of origin,' the official intones. 'If you give them information about me I will be killed,' comes the chilling reply.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don Dale and the failure of arntarnte-areme

    • Mike Bowden
    • 09 August 2016
    11 Comments

    MK rang me after the 4 Corners program on the treatment of children at Don Dale. In western lingo we talk about a 'duty of care', but for my friend MK and the Arrernte people it is more fundamental than that. They talk abou arntanrte-aremele, which means looking after, holding, nurturing or caring for. Altyerre teaches that we must care for everybody, even the people who do wrong. And 'looking after' the children is the primary role of life. This is not about western, whitefella law, it just how it is.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Corruption and calamity in Rio's Games of exclusion

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 07 August 2016
    4 Comments

    The Rio 2016 Olympics has earned a well-deserved label: the jogos da excludad, the games of exclusion. It is a label that shames a ruling class that got its priorities wrong. In the name of the Games, 77,000 residents of Rio's favelas have been evicted and hundreds of these settlements have been bulldozed. Those favelas that avoided the bulldozers have been hidden behind concrete walls that epitomise what theologian Leonardo Boff has called the 'lack of shame' living deep in the Brazilian soul.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Forget conspiracies and own your complicity

    • Ellena Savage
    • 07 August 2016
    4 Comments

    The talking heads say the same things I once heard on Illuminati documentaries. In place of Pharrell Williams making suspicious hand gestures though, the blame for the unpleasant outcomes of a healthy free market is bestowed on the western world's maligned: refugees, Indigenous people, queer people, the working poor. These talking heads, who feel desperate and inferior because they have never contributed anything to anyone other than themselves, are eschewing their complicity in harm.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mortal touch

    • Anne Elvey
    • 25 July 2016
    4 Comments

    With the same sense that meets the keys I stroke her arm. This tactility makes the tangible seem eternal, as if the want to write were training me to count on time. My mortality is misdirected thus by a capacity to touch. And when I put my arm around her shoulders, I feel beneath the skin the sharpness of the bone.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Frank Brennan on John Molony's Don Luigi Sturzo: The Father of Social Democracy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 July 2016
    3 Comments

    John traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Worn and wasted by election day shambles

    • Ellena Savage
    • 07 July 2016
    3 Comments

    The OIC makes a dramatic speech about the integrity of live ballot papers, that there will be no repeat of the Western Australian kerfuffle, that we have our booklets that contain all the answers (and many typos, too). He seems nice. Maybe a little skittish. Not someone I'd imagine would be hired to run an office or manage a kitchen or even wait tables, but he must know what he's doing. This speech is the last demonstration of authority I witness on this day.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Yielding and wielding personal information

    • Kate Galloway
    • 05 July 2016
    5 Comments

    I once knew of a boy whose birth was not registered. His parents believed this would free him from the strictures of the state: his life would be truly private. But it would leave this boy without the trappings of citizenship that we take for granted. Privacy is likely to become something that we can purchase if we have sufficient wealth. Those without enough wealth will be left exposed through both state and corporate surveillance. We will have an 'underclass' without the choice of privacy at all.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What matters after the election is decided

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 July 2016
    17 Comments

    After a plodding election race the stewards have called for a photo. But it looks more likely that Turnbull will be able to form a government. If so, he will need to address the interlocking challenges that we face in order to leave our children a world of possibility. The hope will be muted because both major parties promised little or nothing to address them. But we can take heart that there is certain to be an independently minded senate that can consequently strike down bad policies, and keep asking what kind of an Australia we want.

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