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  • RELIGION

    Church reform scorecard

    • John Warhurst
    • 11 December 2018
    39 Comments

    Scoring the performance of the Australian church is a complex task at any time. Dioceses and congregations vary enormously. The mission of church agencies continues unabated in education, health, social services and aged care. But by any measure 2018 has been a big year.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The myth of polarisation in modern Australia

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 10 December 2018
    12 Comments

    Why do so many pundits decry the divisions in Canberra at a time when, objectively speaking, the parties have never been closer? The short answer is that they're responding to a genuine polarisation — not between Labor and Liberal but between both parties and the rest of society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    UN human rights declaration turns 70

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2018
    14 Comments

    It is appropriate to affirm the worldwide amplification system for the 'still, small voice' of conscience speaking to power, even when that voice of conscience maintains a religious tone, while the power of the state is increasingly secular and the tone of society more stridently secularist.

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  • RELIGION

    Philip Wilson's dead letter day

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 December 2018
    41 Comments

    The show trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson has backfired badly causing hurt to many people, most especially victims of child sexual abuse who thought the law was being rightly applied to put an errant Catholic bishop in the frame. Section 316 of the New South Wales Crimes Act is a dead letter and it causes nothing but trouble to everyone involved.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We still need libraries and book stores

    • Mary Dalmau
    • 07 December 2018
    16 Comments

    While it is said we read to know we are not alone, it is also true that libraries and bookstores are communal places, providing a safe environment for all and filling vital, societal roles. Of all my interactions over the years with readers, customers and library patrons, two instances remain strong in my memory.

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  • ECONOMICS

    What it will take to redeem the banks

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 December 2018
    8 Comments

    Now that the royal commission hearings have finished, people are asking whether things will change. There are grounds for both cautious hope and pessimism. Hope is based on the expectation that the exposure of greed, complacency and lassitude in institutions, boards and regulators will lead them to hunger for a better reputation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    James and the four eggs

    • Julie Perrin
    • 05 December 2018
    11 Comments

    James had come to the maths coaching because he'd been in trouble at work. He had to stack crates to a certain level at the workshop but was unable to count them, making the unloading impossible for people without his height and strength. He needed to learn to count.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    William Cooper set the pace for social justice

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 05 December 2018
    4 Comments

    Eighty years ago today, 77-year-old Yorta Yorta elder walked ten kilometres to deliver a letter to the German consulate protesting the attacks on Jewish people during Kristallnacht nearly a month earlier. Despire the dire circumstances faced by Aboriginal people at the time, Cooper's conscience couldn't ignore the suffering of others.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kerryn Phelps' middle-class populism

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 05 December 2018
    4 Comments

    At first glance, the move towards electing independent MPs seems to be a repudiation of attempts to mimic right-wing populism and a vote for small l liberalism. But it shares more with populism than many care to admit.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Compound interest is the root of banks' evil

    • David James
    • 04 December 2018
    7 Comments

    The problem goes much deeper than a few crooked operatives and it will not be fixed by changing the corporate 'culture'. The fundamental evil is the arithmetic of compound interest. Interest on debt rises exponentially, while economic activity is linear. That means that sooner or later those in a weaker position are unable to pay.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not even with time travel

    • Earl Livings
    • 03 December 2018
    3 Comments

    You never will know all ... You'd have to be everywhere at once, be behind and in every word and act, flow with the charged breath of mote and light. To sum up: You'd have to be God. Poor Thing. For the one fact denied God is the unforeseen.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The migrant caravan was born of calamity

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 03 December 2018
    5 Comments

    When government corruption is chronic and the streets are ruled by armed gangs, there are no collective funds for quality health care or education. The thousands of migrants at the US border are fleeing the effects of climate change, wide-scale government corruption, brutal state violence, and flourishing non-state gang rule.

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