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  • AUSTRALIA

    What we can learn from the Covington incident

    • Chris Middleton
    • 04 February 2019

    Because this story is in the political arena, it seems vicious comments from celebrities, politicians, and countless others are made with impunity. And we wonder why young people can be so cruel online and why it is so hard to educate them that words matter; that words hurt. Then, as they say, the story got complicated.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A half way to live

    • Peter Bowden
    • 04 February 2019
    1 Comment

    Distant she said. Superficial was his word. Words to describe all that they cared, after the years gone by, long gone, and two children now almost reared. Twenty they were, those changing years. Love replaced by void, even fears. A house, a high hill, ambitious pride. A façade, an emptiness.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cultural change beyond royal commissions

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 31 January 2019
    17 Comments

    Experience suggests that royal commissions disclose only a fraction of unacceptable behaviour committed, and that the cultural attitudes that entrench it outlast the proposed reforms. The reasons for their comparative ineffectiveness can be illuminated by reflection on reforms of the 19th century.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How I stopped worrying and read what I liked

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 24 January 2019
    5 Comments

    I realised my own definition of what was challenging was based on a lifetime of hate-reading books I thought I should like, while the romance books that I was reading were often dealing with heavy topics like colonisation, racism, trauma and mental illness from perspectives different to my own.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious freedom in schools

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 January 2019
    39 Comments

    When Parliament resumes, one outstanding item of business will be Penny Wong's bill dealing with religious schools' capacity to discriminate against students on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. I support the bill subject to the proviso that religious schools should remain free to teach their doctrine respectfully and reasonably.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Melbourne punks are at the forefront of protest

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 18 December 2018
    3 Comments

    While Melbourne has long been the city of protest, it is also a major global centre for quality protest music. The songs are defiant, political, loud and proud; they're staunch, they're angry, they're educative, they're funny and they demand to be listened to. These local bands are full of women, queer-identifying people, or people of colour.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Religious freedom in secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 December 2018
    15 Comments

    Let's hope all members of parliament can agree to the insertion of such a clause in the legislation providing assurance to religious educators that they can continue to teach their doctrine in good faith while assuring all students and their families that they will not suffer any detriment while sitting at the feet of religious educators.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's Christmas cognitive dissonance

    • Amy Thunig
    • 13 December 2018
    6 Comments

    I cannot help but think about the level of cognitive dissonance required to believe you hold not only the rights to an entire holiday, but also the moral high ground, all while occupying buildings built on stolen lands. The migration of this celebration to this continent did not happen in isolation from the violence of invasion and colonisation.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Confidentiality, Confession and the law

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 December 2018
    15 Comments

    Victoria's government has promised legislation to force religious ministers to report information about child sexual abuse received in Confession, and called a royal commission after revelations a lawyer breached the professional duty of confidentiality to clients. The implications of these breaches of confidentiality deserve reflection.

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  • RELIGION

    Church reform scorecard

    • John Warhurst
    • 11 December 2018
    53 Comments

    Scoring the performance of the Australian church is a complex task at any time. Dioceses and congregations vary enormously. The mission of church agencies continues unabated in education, health, social services and aged care. But by any measure 2018 has been a big year.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    UN human rights declaration turns 70

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2018
    14 Comments

    It is appropriate to affirm the worldwide amplification system for the 'still, small voice' of conscience speaking to power, even when that voice of conscience maintains a religious tone, while the power of the state is increasingly secular and the tone of society more stridently secularist.

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  • RELIGION

    Philip Wilson's dead letter day

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 December 2018
    41 Comments

    The show trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson has backfired badly causing hurt to many people, most especially victims of child sexual abuse who thought the law was being rightly applied to put an errant Catholic bishop in the frame. Section 316 of the New South Wales Crimes Act is a dead letter and it causes nothing but trouble to everyone involved.

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