Search Results: ethical questions

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nanny State's arthritic grip contains common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 December 2015
    15 Comments

    A cyclist since my youth, I was intensely annoyed when campaigners first tried to enforce cycle helmets. I loved the wind rushing through my hair, and believed my safety could be left to my responsibility. Others might have wondered if I overestimated my sense of responsibility. It was hardly compatible with the practice of never applying the brakes when going down hills on country roads, or with the view that traffic rules applied only to cars. Later, I came to see that individual freedom must be considered in its context of human relationships.

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  • RELIGION

    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Adjustable ethics at the wheel of a self-driving car

    • Patrick McCabe
    • 23 November 2015
    1 Comment

    The safety features of self-driving cars could save many lives. But driving also involves making decisions, including ethical ones. Imagine you're in your self-driving car, travelling at speed on a highway. Suddenly an oncoming road train swerves into your lane and thunders head-on towards you. You may just be able to swerve, but unfortunately five men are standing on the side of the road, and you will surely hit them. Should the self-driving car kill five people, or stay the course and kill you?

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Pope Francis and climate justice

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 November 2015
    1 Comment

    Francis does not pretend to have answers to the big questions which will confront world leaders when they gather in Paris. But he does think the science is IN, and the evidence is clear that much of the climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages are the result of human action. We are blessed to have a pope who speaks to all the world about the prudence, justice and empathy required so that more people on our planet might enjoy integral human development.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pocock and Goodes are the role models Australia needs

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 November 2015
    10 Comments

    What are spectators to make of Adam Goodes' challenge to racial prejudice? What are they to make of David Pocock's outspoken defence of the environment and criticism of coal mining, or of his and his partner's refusal to marry in solidarity with LBGT couples? They make space for us to reflect on our own response to large human questions. But that space also invites us to judge our own integrity. The opprobrium such role models meet may arise out of discomfort with unwelcome self-questioning.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why Pope Francis is not an anti-Capitalist greenie

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    Francis knows there are all sorts of issues inside and outside the Church where for too long people with power have tried to keep the lid on, in the hope that the problems and complexities will go away, often by parodying those who see the problems or complexities as small 'l' liberals or cafeteria Catholics. He delights in being joyful and troubled while contemplating big problems, calling people of good will to the table of deliberation reminding them of the kernel of the Christian gospels. He has the faith and hope needed to lift the lid without fear and without knowing the answers prior to the dialogue occurring.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Border control gulags have had their time

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 October 2015
    28 Comments

    Anyone hoping a Turnbull government will be more accommodating of boat people than an Abbott government will be sadly mistaken. But that is not the end of the matter. Now that the government has firmly closed the entry door to Australia, there is no warrant for maintaining the chamber of horrors in the Pacific which was set up as a 'circuit breaker' deterrent. Turnbull needs to admit that a purposeless chamber of horrors is not just harsh; it is cruel, and it is unAustralian.

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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 September 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Be wary of politicians who speak about moral obligation

    • Justin Glyn
    • 28 August 2015
    18 Comments

    One would think after the disastrous interventions in Iraq and Libya that Australians would have learned to be just a little bit suspicious when the US Government suggests another Middle East war, or when a politician urges — as Bob Carr and Tony Blair have — that we have a 'moral obligation' to join the legally dubious US bombing mission in Syria.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Does religion in schools go beyond branding?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 August 2015
    27 Comments

    Religious schools have emphasised the transmission of faith and an ethical way of life through a network of relationships, symbols and processes. But this is now being tested, with the dominant view that values and faith are a private matter best hosted inside the family. The operative goals of schools become the academic and economic advancement of individuals, with religious classes and rituals little more than decoration and rhetorical branding.

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