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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to survive the crucible of school bullying

    • Barry Gittins
    • 23 February 2017
    7 Comments

    Squarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Turnbull's coal pitch is a Trojan Horse for gas

    • Greg Foyster
    • 22 February 2017
    10 Comments

    Australia's most politically contentious rock is back in the limelight after Prime Minister Turnbull spruiked 'clean coal' power stations in early February, and Scott Morrison brought a lump of the stuff to parliament. It was a juvenile act, but an effective one: here we are again, still talking about coal weeks later, when the real energy policy battle is over gas. But that's how it goes - a pitch for a new coal-fired power station in Australia is actually a clever exercise in repositioning gas as a greener fuel.

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  • RELIGION

    Ensuring justice for all after the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 February 2017
    3 Comments

    The commission's forensic scrutiny of past actions of church officials in no way constitutes an interference with the freedom of religion. Its spotlight is to be welcomed, provided only that it is shone on a truly representative sample of all institutions which have been found wanting and provided the same light filter is applied to all institutions. I do however have a problem with the commission making findings on issues like the want of compassion when those findings are made only against a Church.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It's more than a game to LGBTI football fans

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 07 February 2017
    3 Comments

    Last year, I attended the AFL Pride Match with the LGBTI youth group Minus18. As I walked to Etihad Stadium, there was something profoundly emotional about seeing rainbows mix with football colours. A huge part of my childhood was no longer alienated from my lived reality. Yet as the game went on like any other, the whole experience recast itself. I felt more and more conspicuous, and I wondered how safe I'd feel if I were watching alone, waving a rainbow flag.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama built the foundations for Trump's Muslim ban

    • Justin Glyn
    • 01 February 2017
    9 Comments

    The right wingers who support stripping people of their visas, and separating families in the process, have a point when they say that the US government is not beginning a new persecution, but merely continuing and deepening the persecutions of their predecessors. While previous administrations were more subtle in their actions than Trump's, it is undoubtedly true that the nationals now picked for sanction were those who were already targeted for visa penalties in the Obama years.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    US-Mexico relations are officially off-the-wall

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 27 January 2017
    6 Comments

    Writing in the New York Times, renowned Mexican historian Enrique Krauze splendidly summed up the US conduct toward his country. 'For Mexico, the United States has been a difficult neighbour, sometimes violent, almost always arrogant, almost never respectful, rarely cooperative,' Krauze wrote. Donald Trump is the embodiment of all these. Trump has taken the US disrespect towards its Spanish-speaking neighbour to a level even Mexicans - a resigned bunch - won't put up with any longer.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Manning mercy belies double standard on whistleblowers

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 18 January 2017
    5 Comments

    Manning became the victim of an institutional drive to target whistleblowers, with the centrepiece of the prosecution focusing on computer crimes and the Espionage Act. Despite the eventual commutation of her 35 year sentence, the severity of that sentence demonstrated the gulf between the cosy, public relations air of an administration keen to project certain achievements and its stomping on those keen to disclose inappropriate and illegal conduct in the security and intelligence services.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Market thinking is not the way to improve prison education

    • Tony Smith
    • 12 January 2017
    4 Comments

    If the argument about sacking specialist education officers for NSW prisons holds, then perhaps it should be applied to schools. Sacking all permanent teachers and throwing all lessons across the state open to tender should improve educational outcomes. The absurdity of such a suggestion should be obvious. If the government is serious about improving prison education, it should work with the experienced teachers to make those improvements.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Public health solutions to managing HIV

    • Kate Galloway
    • 28 November 2016
    2 Comments

    Earlier this year, a Queensland man was found not guilty of intentionally infecting his former girlfriend with HIV. The case was sent back to the District Court to determine a sentence for the lesser charge of grievous bodily harm. At the time of the decision, the not-guilty finding was both welcomed by advocates who see criminal prosecution as reflecting the stigma of the condition, and criticised by others who consider the criminal law an appropriate sanction for harm caused.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Innovating for a jobless society

    • Rick Measham
    • 06 November 2016
    28 Comments

    Growing up in Geelong, many friends worked at Ford, or Alcoa, Pilkington or any of the other allied suppliers. As each of these stopped manufacturing in Victoria's second city, employers and governments promised retraining. But where are the jobs? Factories are quickly moving to a 'lights out' operation, with no lights, no air conditioning — and no humans. Modelling suggests nearly 5000 Geelong residents will lose their jobs to the decline in manufacturing before the end of 2017, and 200,000 nationwide. Can we find new-economy jobs for every one of them?

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  • MEDIA

    The language of popular music doesn't have to be English

    • Susie Garrard
    • 28 September 2016
    2 Comments

    Almost all territories have their own popular artists, writing and performing in their native languages. However, many of these musicians seem unable to break into the wider market. In terms of marketed music, there is no doubt that English speaking artists hold sway. Yet some artists, such as Sydney Aboriginal band Dispossessed, who perform in both English and in language, and Cardiff native Gwenno, whose debut solo album is sung entirely in Welsh and Cornish, are bucking the trend.

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  • MEDIA

    History will pardon Snowden even if Obama won't

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 21 September 2016
    9 Comments

    The relationship between the whistleblower and journalism has not always been a neat one. The tendency for symbiosis to become positively vengeful is evidenced in the Washington Post stance on Edward Snowden's whistleblowing activities. Having scooped up a Pulitzer working on the Snowden findings, the paper got nasty. There was little need for the paper to wade into these waters, but the editors obviously felt so strongly about Snowden it went for the jugular with seething conviction.

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