Author: Michael Mullins

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The theology of Chris Lilley

    • Michael Mullins
    • 12 May 2014
    12 Comments

    The jury is out on whether Chris Lilley's new ABC1 comedy Jonah from Tonga gives a free kick to racism and other forms of discriminatory behaviour. The prejudices in Lilley's Jonah are depictions of the wounds of Australian society, not the attempt of a far-right ideologue to promote a stratified nation based on race.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What Pope Francis thinks about Abbott's Audit

    • Michael Mullins
    • 05 May 2014
    17 Comments

    The National Commission of Audit believes spending cuts that produce a balanced Budget will make us all better off because we will have a stronger economy and more jobs. But Pope Francis is skeptical about such 'trickle-down' economic theories, which express 'a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    South Sudan warning for Australia's hate speech champions

    • Michael Mullins
    • 28 April 2014
    9 Comments

    In South Sudan, hate speech broadcast on a local FM radio station earlier this month led to the slaughter of hundreds of innocent civilians in a massacre based on ethnicity. Local UN officials are now calling on authorities to 'to take all measures possible to prevent the airing of such messages'. Meanwhile in Australia, the Government is attempting to give legal sanction to the kind of hate speech that incited to the South Sudan massacre.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The people power of Game of Thrones pirates

    • Michael Mullins
    • 14 April 2014
    3 Comments

    Last week's Game of Thrones series four premiere revealed Melbourne as the pirate capital of the world. The downloaders make a 'people power' claim to moral legitimacy because they think pay TV provider Foxtel's business model undermines the access they believe they are entitled to. Stories are not a cultural form of terra nullius, and human nature will not allow them to be wholly appropriated by business interests.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The GST and Abbott's fair go for all

    • Michael Mullins
    • 07 April 2014
    7 Comments

    Federal Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has called on the Government to increase the GST. In isolation this would hurt the poor and benefit the rich. But it could help the common good if it is part of a tax reform package that cuts tax avoidance strategies for high income earners, including superannuation concessions, negative gearing and trusts.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's killing the charities regulator?

    • Michael Mullins
    • 31 March 2014
    5 Comments

    The Federal Government is moving to abolish the body set up to protect and regulate the non-profit sector. Vinnies CEO John Falzon describes the action as 'ideological', while Melbourne Catholic education chief Stephen Elder sees it as an opportunity to spend more time raising money and delivering services. The Government must explain the policy imperatives driving it to dismantle such an extensively considered piece of legislation.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bullying artists and the art of conversation

    • Michael Mullins
    • 17 March 2014
    6 Comments

    Arts minister George Brandis has accused artists of 'bullying' corporate heavyweight Transfield. The artists' recent ultimatum to the board of the Sydney Biennale threatens to kill the event and possibly the entire model of arts sponsorship in Australia. Both sides of the dispute have lost sight of the opportunity that networking between artists and sponsors offers for civilised conversation that leads to a better world for all.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Empowered shock jocks must also be accountable

    • Michael Mullins
    • 10 March 2014
    9 Comments

    The Federal Government plans to change the Racial Discrimination Act to give preference to free speech over protecting individuals and groups from vilification. It is not surprising that there is strong media support for the changes, as they will give investigative reporters and shock jocks alike the legislative freedom they need to do their job. But the Government must include robust legislation to penalise those who get their facts wrong.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ugly nationalism in support for Qantas bailout

    • Michael Mullins
    • 03 March 2014
    10 Comments

    In the face of the Federal Government's resolve to be unemotional in its attitude to financial assistance for Qantas, we have Bill Shorten warning us against 'waving goodbye to an Australian icon'. Underlying mention of Qantas as an 'Australian icon' could be the sentiment associated with the 1990s resurgence of nationalism and its racist undertones associated with Pauline Hanson.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    $6 co-payment not what the doctor ordered

    • Michael Mullins
    • 24 February 2014
    22 Comments

    Health minister Peter Dutton has refused to dismiss the possibility that a $6 ‘co-payment’ for GP visits could be announced in the May Federal Budget. This would be no more than a quick and easy temporary fix that would penalise ordinary Australians. It would simply defer the government's need to tackle the vested interests that are arguably the major cause of the inefficiencies that have made our health care system prohibitively expensive.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Closing the Gap won’t work without human reconciliation

    • Michael Mullins
    • 17 February 2014
    14 Comments

    The Prime Minister's Closing the Gap speech to Federal Parliament last Wednesday was a finely crafted piece of work that failed to hit the spot. It seems that 'Closing the Gap' is the Government's Indigenous policy. Yet it can be seen as a justification for getting out the big stick to achieve short term gains that will look good on the Government's own political report card. 

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  • MEDIA

    Exploiting consumers needs to be illegal

    • Michael Mullins
    • 10 February 2014
    7 Comments

    The ANZ Bank faces a huge payout after a class action by its customers secured a partial but significant victory against the bank's unfair and illegal credit card late payment fees. This is happening because we have laws to protect consumers. The Federal Government is well advanced in its efforts to wind back existing and planned laws that protect consumers, as they are considered red tape that places an unnecessary burden on business.

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