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  • AUSTRALIA

    Inequality in Australia is dental as anything

    • Barry Gittins
    • 13 May 2016
    5 Comments

    British research presented at the 2013 International Association of Dental Research posited 'a link between missing teeth and a patient's quality of life' and cited other research on observers' 'perception of men and women with straight and crooked teeth'. Furthermore, research by the Salvation Army in Australia records that 66 per cent of the Salvos' welfare clients could not afford dental treatment and two in five could not afford a yearly dental check-up for their children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Another Coalition budget for the well-off

    • Marcelle Mogg
    • 05 May 2016
    18 Comments

    Even the International Monetary Fund recognises that the best way to grow an economy is to reduce the divide between rich and poor, ensuring that all people have a chance to participate in the social and economic life of a country. The Coalition government remains resolutely opposed to this growing body of evidence, continuing to rely on economic structures that entrench disadvantage, then blame the poor for their fate. The Budget provides tax cuts to the rich and service cuts to the rest.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being popular is not the same as leadership

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 May 2016
    3 Comments

    In democracies, public sentiment is meant to be taken seriously. Describing something as populist is a refusal to engage with the sentiment, including its source and complications, usually because we find it disagreeable. The subtext is: people are wrong about the things they care about. They are not being rational or realistic. It is a brave thing to say these days about support for a royal commission into banks, or softening public attitudes toward detention-bound children.

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  • RELIGION

    Companies' bastardry about more than bad apples

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 April 2016
    19 Comments

    How do good people sink to this? The answer lies in the mutation of economic ideology from the crude buccaneering spirit of doing whatever it takes to get rich into a more urbane form. People see themselves as competing, not only for their own economic benefit, but for that of the company. This means greed can mask itself as altruism in serving a larger good. And as in the case of churches, identification with the company provides reason for protecting the company's reputation at all costs.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    System must work for victims, not against them

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 April 2016

    For victims and survivors, the royal commission report into family violence comes as catharsis. For activists and advocates, it is vindication. Perpetrators thrive on impunity. Impunity is built on uncertainty of punishment, cultures of silence, victim-blaming and perceived collusion with figures of authority. Dismantling this is central to violence prevention and ensuring the safety of women and children in the home. The royal commission addresses this goal across 227 recommendations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Family violence needs whole community response

    • Julie Edwards
    • 30 March 2016
    1 Comment

    The royal commission recommends a 'blitz' on rehousing family violence victims stuck in crisis and transitional housing, as well as individualised funding packages to open up access to private rentals for people fleeing violent relationships. Important though it is, it is not enough simply to support the victims of family violence. We also need to prevent family violence from occurring. This requires a strategy for preventing family violence that involves the whole community.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Deja vu for Timor as Turnbull neglects boundary talks

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 March 2016
    10 Comments

    Rui Maria de Araujo, the prime minister of Timor-Leste, wrote to Malcolm Turnbull inviting him to turn a new leaf in the Australia-Timor relationship. It was not to be. But the Timorese are well used to winning the hearts and minds of Australians even when our political leaders appear to be tone deaf to their pleas. This time they have convinced the Labor Party about the justice of their cause, and there is every chance that the Australian community will rally behind them after the federal election.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Apology from a baby boomer to generations X and Y

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 04 March 2016
    2 Comments

    At present, there is an argument between the two sides of politics about negative gearing. According to one side, changing the rules would reduce the cost of housing - and this is their strongest argument against such a change. A member of Gen X or Gen Y - someone in their 20s or 30s, not long out of education and in a first or second job, saving in the hope of one day being able to afford a home of their own - might not read it the same way. No wonder they are looking for a Messiah.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Diagnosing the great Australian sickness

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 March 2016
    9 Comments

    Who better to consult than Dr Hippocrates and his humours? Before Tony Abbott's deposition the choleric element dominated in Australia, full of sound and fury. This has been followed by the preponderance of the sanguine humour, expressing itself in that sunny optimism that makes light of problems. But more recent events suggest that the humours are again in chronic imbalance. The core weakness in the Australian constitution has not been removed with the accession of Malcolm Turnbull.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Being myself doesn't work

    • Paul Micallef
    • 29 February 2016
    11 Comments

    Autism typically makes people less likely to care what others think. When I was younger my default was to do what I wanted, to 'be myself', and not worry if others were not doing the same thing. You can imagine what happens when I put this into action: I end up alone. I am the only one not dancing. I am the only one who wants to crank the metal music at 7am. I like people. I want to share my experiences. But often my choice often comes down to: 'Do I be myself? Or do I be around others?'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gospel brutality reborn in our harrowing of refugee children

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 February 2016
    15 Comments

    The High Court decision on detention in Nauru came down just before the Christian season of Lent. It left the government free and determined to deport many young mothers and children to Nauru. For the mothers and children deportation will bring new trauma with renewed threat to their already precarious mental health. For the Australian public it again makes us ask what brutality, even to children, we are ready to tolerate. The savagery of this treatment is a suitable subject for Lenten reflection.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    There's no cheap path to harmony

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 February 2016
    10 Comments

    Of the United Nations Days and Weeks, World Interfaith Harmony Week is one of the most recent and perhaps the most modestly celebrated. It may also be the most needed. But the conversation cannot be confined to the churches and to those with religious faith. Its claim needs to extend beyond religious faiths to secular views of the world. The obstacle to such conversation is the religious settlement in Australia and Western nations, which can be described as negative tolerance.

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