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  • MEDIA

    Channel 7 needs to get with AFL's non-violence program

    • Garry Westmore
    • 01 May 2016
    4 Comments

    Arguably, as a society, Australia's tolerance for violence is waning, and both the AFL and the NRL have been proactive in diminishing the prevalence of deliberate and reckless violence that might endanger players' safety. Unfortunately, despite the AFL's desire to stamp out the more dangerous incidents, many televised football commentators are hindering the cause by making excuses for players, playing down the severity of their actions, and failing to condemn them.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Negative gearing is the end of the Australian Dream

    • Kate Galloway
    • 27 April 2016
    14 Comments

    Historically, having a largely home-owning population has ensured both the social benefit of housing, and an economic benefit through enforced saving with long-term growth. In contrast, the negative gearing push splits the cultural and economic meaning of home ownership, because it focuses on investment. Negative gearing promotes property ownership but not home ownership. Thus the social benefits of home ownership that we have come to expect give way to bare economic indicators.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Serfs sucked dry in the kingdom of banks

    • David James
    • 17 April 2016
    11 Comments

    Three finance-related events are currently gaining great attention in the media. One is the so-called Panama Papers. Another is the proposal to have a royal commission into the banks. And a third is the furore over the unaffordability of homes and the debate over negative gearing. On the surface they would seem to be quite separate issues. But all three issues demonstrate yet again that banks are, if not the most malign organisations on the planet, then certainly among the most dangerous.

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  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A new year, a new Bill?

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 17 March 2016
    9 Comments

    While Turnbull may be ahead as preferred prime minister, the Coalition has yet to demonstrate the principle of fairness that is deeply held and widely felt across the electorate. Labor's narrative needs to be not only that it is the party best equipped to deal with the challenges we face, but is the only party that can ensure any changes will be just and equitable. A plan for the future that is both convincing and seen as fair may end up being the difference between being in government and opposition.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The night the Black Dog caught up

    • Peter Day
    • 08 March 2016
    12 Comments

    Our friend's not doing so well. The Black Dog has caught up with her. It's been chasing her for 20 years. She got tired; couldn't run anymore. So up to the emergency department she went: 'Doctor, nurse ... anyone, I can't run anymore. The Black Dog's too fast, too strong. I'm worn out - just want to be normal.' They heard her ... sort of. Into a tiny room she was sent ... to wait. Don't be fooled by politicians and bureaucrats holding umbrellas; the mental health landscape is in severe drought.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and the (young) maiden

    • Barry Gittins
    • 01 March 2016
    3 Comments

    This year we faced the prospect of having Wolfgang, our 16-year-old apricot Spoodle, euthanised. This was sad for me, my wife, and our son. But for our daughter, entering her first year of high school, it presented a looming disaster. Mark Twain is purported to have said that 'the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.' Timidity equals preoccupation with mortality? No disrespect to Samuel, but it's unlikely he shared that gem with his daughters.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's techno-optimism is a tad hasty

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 16 February 2016
    7 Comments

    A government campaign declares 'we've always been good at having ideas. Now we need to get better at innovation: turning ideas into successful products and services.' The message is that we are on the brink of a technological revolution, driven by government. But really we've some way to go. As we have seen with wind turbines, the communities that host new technologies can react with anger and fear. If they are left out of the process, visions of grand, sweeping change can be undermined.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Whose Australia Day?

    • Fatima Measham
    • 21 January 2016
    18 Comments

    Last November I was on a panel at the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council conference, musing about postmodern identities, whether 'ethnics' were mainstream and not peripheral, and whether 'Aussie values' are in fact universal. I enjoyed the discussion, but part of me felt worn. It seemed to me that black and brown folks like us are less concerned about what it means to be Australian than how Australian we would have to be, to be as Australian as everyone else.

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  • EDUCATION

    Preppies' hope cuts through the terror of terrorism

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 19 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Last year, I was my son's main school-day carer. It was a year of which the second half was dominated by acts of terrorism around the world. For the first time I properly registered the fact that there were people on the planet who, given the opportunity, would kill the preppie and me because we didn't want the kind of world they wanted. I started to feel a presence looming over us. It wasn't a pleasant reality with which to engage. Nor, I soon realised, was it any way to live.

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: Australia's film industry boys club

    • Rochelle Siemienowicz
    • 12 January 2016

    The success of the Australian comedy The Dressmaker is thrilling to those watching the local film industry. There's more to cheer in the fact the film is proudly female in both story and production. We're not as bad as Hollywood, but even in Australia, there are not enough films for women, about women and by women. Since the 1970s male directors have been responsible for more than 85 per cent of the feature films made. Why does it matter? Because women are more likely to tell stories about women.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Fears and fictions in SA's nuclear waste tussle

    • Michele Madigan
    • 10 December 2015
    13 Comments

    The state of Nevada continues to show its resolve by its longterm refusal to host a national nuclear waste dump. Such is their success that President Barack Obama has continued to back their opposition. It would certainly be beyond their comprehension that any community, any government, would volunteer to take other countries' nuclear waste, which remains radioactive for thousands of years. Yet in Australia, this is what nuclear proponents, the SA premier, and now the prime minister are backing.

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