Search Results: Alan Gill

  • RELIGION

    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Malcolm Turnbull's confidence trick

    • Tim Robertson
    • 25 November 2015
    17 Comments

    The vitriol with which much of the liberal mainstream media responded to Tony Abbott's Margaret Thatcher memorial speech last month confirmed what many rightwingers have been claiming: that Abbott's problem was not his policies, but his inability to sell them. As communicators, he and Turnbull are poles apart. To date, the most striking achievement of the Malcolm Turnbull confidence trick is that he's rewarded for his apparent progressivism, even when he speaks explicitly against it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why Pope Francis is not an anti-Capitalist greenie

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    Francis knows there are all sorts of issues inside and outside the Church where for too long people with power have tried to keep the lid on, in the hope that the problems and complexities will go away, often by parodying those who see the problems or complexities as small 'l' liberals or cafeteria Catholics. He delights in being joyful and troubled while contemplating big problems, calling people of good will to the table of deliberation reminding them of the kernel of the Christian gospels. He has the faith and hope needed to lift the lid without fear and without knowing the answers prior to the dialogue occurring.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pity abandoned on the banks of the Parramatta

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 21 October 2015
    6 Comments

    A young man introduces himself: Ashley. He has sandy blond hair, a lithe body and an ease and grace with the kids. The lessons are free, but my daughter doesn't wait to for this explanation; she's already picked up a unicycle. 'You need a helmet first,' Ashley explains, and I tap my daughter's arm and sign, 'Helmet'. 'Does she read lips?' he asks. 'If you could just look at her when you're talking,' I say. 'Okay,' he says with the slightest trepidation. 'She's d-d-deaf and I have a stutter.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Justice for Aboriginals grows out of recognition

    • Frank Brennan
    • 19 October 2015
    7 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Contours and prospects for Indigenous recognition in the Australian constitution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 October 2015
    2 Comments

    I acknowledge those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who insist that they have never ceded their sovereignty to the rest of us. I join with those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who hope for better days when they are recognised in the Australian Constitution. As an advocate for modest constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, I respect those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who question the utility of such recognition. But I do take heart from President Obama's line in his Charleston eulogy for the late Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney: 'Justice grows out of recognition'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rehabilitating Abbott

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 October 2015
    18 Comments

    Australia has a long line of prime ministers whose standing has been propped up over time. Edmund Barton was a racist; Alfred Deakin spoke against 'undesirable coloured aliens'. The passage of time tends to extract the essential parts of a prime minister's stint, which is how complex figures like Whitlam, Fraser, Keating and Howard end up being rehabilitated in collective memory. It's hard to tell whether there is enough complexity in Abbott and his time as prime minister to enable such restoration.

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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 September 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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  • RELIGION

    The nun who couldn't say no

    • Philomena van Rijswijk
    • 12 August 2015
    12 Comments

    Our family life was fraught with conflict, centred on our parents' inability to cope with my father's serious mental illness. During the early years of her childhood, my sister was made my mother's intimate confidante. This was a time of anguish for Mum, about both her marriage and a series of tragic miscarriages. My sister left home when she was 14, and entered the juniorate on the way to becoming a nun.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Goodes, Gillard, and Australia's sick culture of victim-blaming

    • Megan Graham
    • 04 August 2015
    23 Comments

    Someone yells a racial slur at you while you were just trying to do your job. Then you get booed for months for publicly celebrating your cultural heritage. You might think, how can anyone say this is okay? With the evidence brought to light, how can it be denied or, worse, condoned? But the truth is that siding with the bully or perpetrator is psychologically far easier for your average self-serving person.

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