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  • RELIGION

    How forced migration defined Francis' papacy

    • David Holdcroft
    • 22 September 2017
    8 Comments

    Francis was elected on his perceived ability to address the need for reform of a Roman Curia increasingly beset by paralysis, inefficiency and scandal. It is almost in parenthesis that we note his pontificate coinciding with the rise of numbers of forced migrants to historically unprecedented post-war levels both in Europe and around the globe. This presented Francis with a unique opportunity to develop and demonstrate his vision for a renewed Church, repositioned in and for a globalised world.

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  • ECONOMICS

    World trade is now America versus China (and Russia)

    • David James
    • 23 August 2017
    4 Comments

    The anti-Russian frenzy in the United States amounts to little more than a great deal of evidence that the intelligence community suspects there might be a great deal of evidence that the Russians have been meddling. It has to rank as one of the biggest, and most orchestrated, blind alleys of modern media coverage. When a journalist says an anonymous ‘respected source’ thinks the Russians are up to something, this writer is always left wondering: respected by whom? His dog?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The thin line between apes and humans

    • Megan Graham
    • 26 July 2017
    9 Comments

    I came to the Planet of the Apes films a little late, thinking it was just a bit too far on the silly side for my tastes. But with time to kill on a holiday in 2014, I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and found myself surprisingly invested in the emotions of the characters. Released in Australia today is the latest episode: War for the Planet of the Apes.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Know your enemy (and it's not Islam)

    • Fatima Measham
    • 08 June 2017
    13 Comments

    Since 9/11, as well as more recent, atomised attacks in Europe and the UK, our judgment about what is against us has been clouded. It is not Islam, no matter what politicians and commentators say. To believe them is to take seriously the notions that it is ever possible to 'fight' religion as if it were a nation-state, that religion holds a single interpretation, that the only legitimate victim of religious violence is white and non-Muslim, and that human motivation is simple and direct.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious belief in a tempest tossed church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 March 2017
    29 Comments

    The Tempest Tossed Church will invite some Catholics to ask how they should visualise and plan for the future of the church. The Catholic challenge will be to shape pockets in which religiously literate and radical communities are formed around the symbols of faith. Its contribution to a more humane society will be made by joining other small groups in keeping alive the sense of 'something more' and by passing on the craft of finding the words, symbols and silences that catch it.

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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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trump, masculinity and class

    • Colin Long
    • 10 February 2017
    15 Comments

    Much commentary on Trump's victory has veered between two explanations: either there is large proportion of the electorate with 'deplorable' attitudes to women and minorities; or economic dislocation has produced an angry white working class eager to punish political elites. These explanations are not mutually exclusive. The willingness to ignore or welcome Trump's misogyny is a symptom of the undermining of a deep sense of masculinity that, for some men, is their primary identity.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Trump's pro-globalisation critics miss the key questions

    • David James
    • 07 February 2017
    10 Comments

    Many defenders of globalisation express frustration at the rise of Trump and what they see as an ignorant and self-defeating backlash against its virtues. But they have no answer to the most pressing question: Is the global system there to serve people, or are people there to serve the global system? They also never address a central contradiction of globalisation: that capital is free to move, but for the most part people are not, unless they belong to the elite ranks.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Appeals to caring and fairness alone can't bridge climate divide

    • Greg Foyster
    • 02 February 2017
    10 Comments

    If climate change were a short-term problem, polarisation wouldn't be so crippling. One side could push a solution through parliament, and by the time the other side took power it might be a non-issue. But climate change is an extraordinarily long-term problem that requires massive investment in new infrastructure and consistent policy settings over decades. It needs a supermajority of support so years of work isn't undone with each change of government. That means getting conservatives on board.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Sifting the scat of Trump's first ten days

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 February 2017
    23 Comments

    The shape Trump's presidency is beginning to be discernible. The likely deepening of inequality, the disregard for universal human rights and for the international and national responsibilities that flow from them, the contempt for the environment and for evidence based research, and the debasement of political speech promise a more divided society in a more divided world. In such a noisy and staccato atmosphere the beginnings of an appropriate response lie in not responding to every tweet.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The year our leaders doubled down on doubling down

    • Mark Hearn
    • 31 January 2017
    6 Comments

    2016 was a bumper year for the political double down. Journalist Mark Kenny witnessed a dramatic manifestation: 'Mr Abbott was seen to double down on his recent indirect messaging to Mr Turnbull about a possible return to the frontbench.' A combined 'double down with indirect messaging': perhaps a uniquely Abbott adaptation. Doubling down - otherwise known as repeating yourself - is the public language of aggressive redundancy, drowning out alternative voices and ideas.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama's shining light in sombre times

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 January 2017
    12 Comments

    In an otherwise sombre start to the year Barack Obama's final speech has been a shining light. He celebrated what he saw as the successes of his administration without sneering at his political opponents. He spoke graciously and decently, and evoked hope for the future. Obama is right in insisting that empathy is the necessary starting point for reconstructing a broken economic framework. It enables a global perspective from which the good of individuals and groups is set within the flourishing of the whole community, and especially the most disadvantaged.

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