Search Results: Bill of Rights

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  • RELIGION

    Let's amend 18C to say what it means

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 March 2017
    24 Comments

    The debate over section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (18C) has gone on for far too long. It's time to bring it to a close. To date, I have been silent in the present debate, in part because I was a critic of such legal provisions when they were first proposed in 1992 and again in 1994. I have since been convinced that a provision like 18C could be designed to target racial vilification, leaving offensive insults beyond the reach of the law in a robust democracy committed to freedom of speech.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Lament of a pro-life feminist

    • Kate Moriarty
    • 09 March 2017
    48 Comments

    I'm what you might call a feminist outsider. I'm passionate about the rights of women. I believe every girl should have the opportunity to be educated, and that workplaces need to become more accommodating of families. I spend a worrying amount of time shouting 'You wouldn't say that if she were a man!' to commentators on the radio. I'd like to be called a feminist. But I don't think I'm allowed to be. You see, I also believe a baby is a person before she is born. And I believe that person has rights.

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  • RELIGION

    Luther’s challenge to the Church then and now

    • Bill Wright
    • 05 March 2017
    4 Comments

    Speaking of reform in the church can mean many things. Often it's about practical matters: sorting out the Vatican Bank, changing how bishops are chosen or clergy trained; that sort of thing. Occasionally, however, reform is about seeking real religious change. Martin Luther, I want to suggest, is one of those reformers who was not concerned with tinkering with structures of the church but with reforming the Christian message so that it might reform the believer.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Netanyahu visit drives the Palestine wedge deeper

    • Andra Jackson
    • 21 February 2017
    15 Comments

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia this week is having precisely the opposite impact to what he no doubt intended. Instead of shoring up support for Israel's flagrant disregard for United Nations resolutions condemning its continual annexation of Palestinian land, it is driving a deep wedge into what was previously unflagging bipartisan Australian political party support for Israel. Australia's connection with Palestine actually predates the creation of the state of Israel.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Catholic voices against runaway capitalism

    • Michael Walker
    • 19 February 2017
    20 Comments

    The presidency of Donald Trump should bring a renewed focus on the dangers of unbridled capitalism. The Catholic Church has a rich trove of teachings on the subject that have been missing in action for the past 30 years. Now is the time for a well-articulated Christian message addressing such issues as widening wealth inequality fuelled by stagnant wage growth, the privatisation of public services, the financialisation of the economy (which fuels both of those trends), and tax justice.

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  • RELIGION

    Ensuring justice for all after the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 February 2017
    3 Comments

    The commission's forensic scrutiny of past actions of church officials in no way constitutes an interference with the freedom of religion. Its spotlight is to be welcomed, provided only that it is shone on a truly representative sample of all institutions which have been found wanting and provided the same light filter is applied to all institutions. I do however have a problem with the commission making findings on issues like the want of compassion when those findings are made only against a Church.

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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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Freedom of conscience and same-sex marriage

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 22 January 2017
    25 Comments

    Two issues can be dealt with shortly. First, ministers of religion must be free to solemnise marriages in accordance with their beliefs. Second, there is no basis for extending a similar concession to marriage celebrants. The case of commercial service providers is more complex. Many argue that caterers, florists, reception centres and so on should be free to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings, on the basis of their religious beliefs. The case for the commercial exemption is unconvincing.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Financial literacy programs need to get real

    • Rachel Kurzyp
    • 15 December 2016
    8 Comments

    Studies have found that in Australia, groups with the poorest financial awareness and skills are those under 25, those with no formal post-secondary education, those on low incomes and working 'blue collar occupations', and women. While it makes sense to provide these groups with financial information on home loans and super, this wouldn't have helped my mother when she had to decide between, say, buying groceries for the week or getting the car serviced.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The wild, normal diversity of the modern family

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 05 December 2016
    6 Comments

    I'm a 36 year old white Australian who grew up middle class in suburban Adelaide. I can count on one hand the number of households in the streets I lived on which were always-already made up of a mum-dad-kids scenario. The research on children's attachment, development and resilience shows kids need meaningful, culturally appropriate relationships with caring and competent adults in order to thrive as human beings. These adults can be pretty much anyone as long as they fit that bill.

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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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