Search Results: Christmas

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  • RELIGION

    Australian bishops gather in the light of the royal commission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 May 2017
    51 Comments

    The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values. The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display: the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics bishops. The question Australians ask is whether the bishops and other public representatives of the Catholic Church have the stomach for the changes in governance needed to address the factors that led to child abuse.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cry if you want to as mandatory detention turns 25

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 02 May 2017
    10 Comments

    Friday 5 May is the 25th birthday of the introduction of mandatory detention in Australia by the Keating government. It is by no means a 'happy birthday'. Rather it is a sombre reminder of how control, power and political vilification can be used for political ends. There are now more sections in the Migration Act dealing with statutory bars, mainly directed at asylum seekers, than the total number of sections in the whole of the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Who was that luckless politician?

    • Geoff Page
    • 30 April 2017
    3 Comments

    Who was that luckless politician, federal, I think, gone now from so many memories, including mine? Male, a sort of suited fledgling, older maybe than he looked, the guy who feelingly achieved, while reaching for the aphoristic wisdom of his people, the verbal train-wreck we remember so much better than than the 'issue' or his features as they pleaded with the swooping of a lens: I'm torn between two places and a hard rock?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Letters from dystopia in these best and worst of times

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 April 2017
    6 Comments

    Small wonder there is a particular surge of interest in dystopian novels: many people feel times have never been so troubled or so complicated, although I remember my father pointing out that people felt the same when the longbow and later gunpowder were invented. Amazon recently reported that Orwell and Huxley are selling like hot cakes. This at a time when certain purveyors of doom are lamenting the fact that 26 per cent of Americans, for example, did not read a single book during 2016.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mme. Blanchard hits the roof

    • Ian C. Smith
    • 02 April 2017

    Riding her gondola, a skimpy thing like herself, she sees her balloon ablaze, begins her descent, feathered hat lost, a rushed farewell performance. The house roof's pitch steep, her rigging tangled, fire almost out, burned, broken, she can't hang on, she who once remained aloft all night over Rome.

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  • RELIGION

    Sister Barbara and the books that changed everything

    • Julie Davies
    • 06 February 2017
    20 Comments

    Sister Barbara taught me in my fifth and sixth years. She had a large multi-grade class, yet she found time to realise I wasn't 'a bit slow' but was actually half-blind, partially deaf and bored witless. She ensured I was placed close to the front where I could hear, and arranged my first eye examination. Sister Barbara also sent away for high school English books just for me and that year this supposedly 'slow' child came first in class. These acts changed the course of my life.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Washed in Thomas Becket's blood

    • Earl Livings
    • 05 February 2017
    4 Comments

    Narrow, pointed arch entrance, low vaulted ceiling, stone and wood panelling - here four murderers walked over 800 years ago to rid their king of a meddlesome priest. Amidst singing and candlelight at Vespers, Thomas Becket stood at the Cathedral altar, knowing the armoured knights were coming: 'Here I am, not a traitor of the King, but a priest. Why do you seek me?' After their clamouring and brandishing of hatchets and axe, he knew his fate, bent his head in submission.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Alternative facts in the Centrelink debacle

    • Kasy Chambers
    • 02 February 2017
    12 Comments

    Centrelink's new policy of automated online debt collection has been subject to conflicting reports. The Minister and the department head are sticking to the assertion that everything is working fine. Yet there is another version of the truth, seen in the growing list of people talking publicly about the distress caused to them by being falsely tageted. One difficulty with the process is that the adversarial manner that it set up is unlikely to allow Centrelink to learn from the cases it reviews.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis and the age of automation

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 19 January 2017
    7 Comments

    Many have called for the automated Centrelink debt collection system to be scrapped, but the government is standing by it. One of the reasons for this may be that the system is doing just what it's designed to do - trying to force people away from welfare reliance by making it more onerous. Pope Francis argues that far from a 'neutral' tool, technology creates a framework which conditions people and limits their possible options along lines dictated by the most economically and politically powerful.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What I did in my holidays

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 January 2017
    7 Comments

    It seems incredible that there were ten of those summers, consecutive ones when three generations coexisted happily. My siblings and I had an idyllic Ocean Road beach practically all to ourselves, the men went fishing every afternoon, except when, to Grandfather's annoyance, an easterly was blowing, and the women, in time-honoured fashion, kept everybody fed. Of course change was inevitable, although I didn't really believe it, and started with my grandmother's death. I was 19.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Twenty-two years on the run from abuse

    • Elise Power
    • 15 January 2017
    11 Comments

    We packed our bags in the black of an early morning. We ran from a house on the beach to a house in Frankston. Me, my mum, and my younger brother. My father had four intervention orders to his name, a law degree and all the bravado and lack of empathy typical of a perpetrator of domestic violence. For many women and children domestic violence doesn't end after you've run away. That is only the beginning. I'm 33 and I've been running away from my dad ever since I was 11.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Maintaining children's rights amid youth detention crises

    • Kate Galloway
    • 12 January 2017
    4 Comments

    The Minister has committed to improving youth detention facilities, the appointment of 100 more staff, and revision of Victoria's youth detention policy. But in doing so, she has sheeted home blame to the former government, and has accused lawyers for the children of pandering to ideology. The government's discourse continues the tough-on-crime narrative rather than acknowledging the causes and contexts of juvenile offending and the consequences of appalling facilities on the youth who are detained.

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