Author: Frank Brennan

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  • RELIGION

    The Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 February 2017
    74 Comments

    Last Monday, the Royal Commission commenced its three-week forensic examination of the causes of child sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church in Australia over the last 60 years. The statistics were horrifying. Every case represented a person who claims as a child to have been abused by a person of authority in a Catholic institution. Whichever way the statistics are interpreted in comparison with other institutions, they are appalling. We need to hold the victims clearly in focus.

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  • RELIGION

    Looking for light amid Royal Commission's Catholic wrap-up

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 February 2017
    17 Comments

    Listening to the media and our church leaders in recent days, we know that there is plenty of darkness ahead for our Church in the weeks ahead with the Royal Commission's so-called 'Catholic wrap-up'. We're told that the statistics will be terrible and we expect that some of our church leaders will appear, looking stunned and helpless. This morning, I think we need to reflect on these stark realities in the light of the scriptures. And this can be done only by holding the victims clearly in focus.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Timorese have had a win but could still lose big-time

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 January 2017
    17 Comments

    Without any media fanfare, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop published a statement on 9 January 2017 announcing that Australia and Timor Leste had agreed to terminate the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea. This news is more welcome to the Timorese government than to the Australian government. But the uncertainty created by this Timorese win might in time impact more adversely on Timor than on Australia. Only time will tell.

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  • RELIGION

    Why the seal of the confessional should remain in tact

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2016
    18 Comments

    One distinctively Catholic practice is personal confession in which an individual confesses to God their sins and seeks forgiveness in the presence of and at the hands of a priest. Some groups and individuals are proposing to the royal commission that the seal of the confessional no longer be inviolable. I was quoted in The Australian saying, 'If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I'm one of those priests who will disobey the law.' Being also a lawyer, let me explain.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    How to relieve poverty in India without endangering the planet

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 December 2016
    9 Comments

    Neither India nor Australia can go it alone when confronting a global issue such as climate change. India cannot disregard the effects on other nations when it adopts laws and policies for alleviating the poverty of the poorest of the poor. Australia cannot disregard the effects on other nations when it considers restricting the availability of resources for export such as coal which might help provide electricity for the world's poorest citizens.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Ethical reflections on seeking sustainable development for India

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2016

    'No matter what the economic, political and legal problems confronted by modern day India, our response can be improved by an application of the key principles and norms developed in the international law of trade and human rights, helping to enunciate the realm of law, regulation and political accountability, enhancing public scrutiny providing the right environment for doing business.' Frank Brennan presents the 25th JRD Tata Oration, Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, India, 26 November 2016.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Five reasons to welcome US Manus deal

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 November 2016
    12 Comments

    The government has struck a deal with the USA which provides hope at last for the 1600 proven refugees on Manus and Nauru. There's still a lot of work to be done before these refugees can get on with their lives after three years of hopeless agony. Gone are the days of presuming that those who arrive without visas are in direct flight from persecution. Gone are the days when they get first option on the available humanitarian places. I welcome the government's decision, and await the detail.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Seven warnings for Queensland as it considers a human rights act

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 October 2016
    2 Comments

    'First warning: if you're going to be serious about a Human Rights Act, make sure that your government departments are sufficiently resourced and encouraged to produce meaningful statements of compatibility. Second warning, especially in a unicameral legislature: make sure that your parliamentary committee on human rights has sufficient muscle and status to arrest the progress of any bill until it has been thoroughly scrutinised for human rights compliance.' Frank Brennan's remarks at the Fringe Conference of the 2016 Queensland ALP Convention.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human rights acts after Brexit

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 October 2016
    7 Comments

    Even prior to Brexit, the Conservatives were wanting to replace the UK Human Rights Act with weaker legislation. They have been worried about what they perceive to be a loss of sovereignty. But even the British Conservatives remain committed to some form of human rights act. I commend the Queensland parliament for undertaking its present inquiry, and sound a cautious note of optimism about the modest gains which might be made by the enactment of a human rights act in Australia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Marriage equality supporters' hope for a free conscience vote

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 October 2016
    25 Comments

    When the dust settles next year, maybe LGBTI advocates will see the wisdom in trying to convince the Labor party to reinstitute a free conscience vote on its side if only to force the Coalition to do the same. That way the parliament a few years down the track might be able to do what the LGBTI advocates want them to do now. If it were my call, I would have opted for the plebiscite in February with prompt parliamentary legislation to follow. But it's not my call.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The criminal law 30 years on

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 October 2016
    2 Comments

    With idealism and pragmatism, I invite you criminal lawyers in the next 30 years to imagine and enact a better criminal justice system which alleviates rather than exacerbates the devastating effects of colonisation and marginalisation on Indigenous Peoples, and most particularly their children. An intelligently designed criminal justice system must help secure the foothold of Indigenous children in both the Market and the Dreaming.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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