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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Immigration and the baby shortfall

    • Sean Cowan
    • 24 August 2017
    8 Comments

    It seems like immigration hasn’t been seen in a positive light of late. Control over immigration has been a central theme in the successful Brexit bid in the United Kingdom. America elected a president who suggests tougher laws and screening for immigrants. Syrian refugees were welcomed by the thousands into Canada (46,700 in 2016 alone to be exact) not without considerable controversy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The beloved countries are still crying

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 August 2017
    9 Comments

    Seventy years ago Alan Paton wrote Cry the Beloved Country. His novel opened many Australians’ eyes to the wounded South Africa that lay behind its colonial surface. His elegiac conclusion was prescient of the two generations that followed.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding life in the obits

    • Daniel Rose
    • 29 July 2017
    3 Comments

    I read the obituaries every Sunday. Maybe as a writer I enjoy the stories people leave behind. I think too, that in this age of fake news, angry politics and incessant streams of information, the obits offer a slice of realism. One small headshot and a two inch long bio. That is all that remains of us in the end. You might think that perusing the obituaries would be depressing. But for me, it's invigorating. It's energising. It renews my faith in humanity.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Spider music

    • Chris Jackson
    • 16 July 2017
    1 Comment

    I am, of course, a spider: my obstinacy, a viola; my gossamer back-and-forthing, woven ruminations of a violin. Watch me, busy always to continue a spider's life. All things love the little kingdom they inherit. This is home, intricate with fetched fidget, this scratchy bow-flight is a busy cello urging me to tracery, all tossed about in winds of orchestra.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Jane Goodall's quest to stem the human plague

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 11 July 2017
    7 Comments

    Revered for her groundbreaking study of chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe Stream, Goodall has spent the past three decades travelling the world in an effort to alert its human inhabitants to the alarming news: we are destroying the planet. The message seems to have been lost on those in a position to halt the change, for research scientists have just reported that a mass extinction is currently underway, a biological annihilation in which billions of regional or local populations have already been lost.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate revolutionaries of East Africa

    • Paul O'Callaghan
    • 10 July 2017
    3 Comments

    The world's poor are bearing the brunt of global warming yet they have done the least to cause it. African countries have some of the lowest carbon emissions rates in the world, but their fields are drying up and their pastureland is vanishing. Still, all is not lost. If we want to find the answers to climate change, many of them exist within the communities already being impacted. These people understand the urgent threat posed by global warming and they are banding together to find solutions.

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  • RELIGION

    NAIDOC Week homily

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 July 2017

    There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of you, the First Australians. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the overwhelming majority of the voting public, regardless of when they or their ancestors first arrived in Australia. Given that you Indigenous Australians have spoken strongly through your representatives at Uluru in support of a First Nations Voice, it is now for the Referendum Council to recommend to government a timetable for constitutional change with maximum prospects of a 'Yes' vote.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    You beaut country

    • Tony London
    • 02 July 2017

    His baseline is country, ridges, lakes, breakaways, songlines, and we are taken along the skylines of his imagination which shoulders its way through the streamers of the players race, colours askew, bursting out into the field of play where we are invited into his game, his rules, goal posts he moves forever, we engage with the master gamer.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Respect and tranquility in a Japanese tea ceremony

    • Penny Garnsworthy
    • 18 June 2017
    8 Comments

    In 15th Century Japan a young man named Murata Shukou, who was studying for the priesthood, began to practice Zen philosophy. His teacher explained that the spirit of Zen was also present in the practice of tea-making, so Shukou began a journey of discovery into making and serving tea. There are almost 40 steps involved in this ancient ritual; time stops and I am mesmerised by the rhythm and the silence, as if I am separated from the world and nought exists save for the movement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    An inclusive Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 June 2017
    1 Comment

    This evening, we come together deliberately as people of diverse faiths and none, affirming the blessing of life in an inclusive country where all world views are to be respected. We are able to affirm that our spiritual lives sustain and strengthen our public lives and the vitality of the polis. Our Muslim hosts show us how to give thanks reverently for all the blessings of life, and how to attest publicly the spiritual dimension of all human life. Those of us who are migrants or descendants of migrants need to be particularly attentive to the yearnings and aspirations of those Australians who rightly claim an indigenous heritage with ancestors who have thrived on this continent for up to 60,000 years.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nearly knowing John Clarke

    • Brian Matthews
    • 12 June 2017
    2 Comments

    One of the 30 comedians, satirists, cartoonists and writers they interviewed was John Clarke. 'I first met John Clarke five years ago,' Murray recalls in his 1992 introduction to the interview, 'even though we grew up in the same town in New Zealand and for a while went to the same school. My claim to fame is that I nearly knew John Clarke. Recently when we looked though his school photos we realised that we knew every kid in Palmerston North in 1960 except each other.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    On Aboriginal land: seeking a place at the table

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 May 2017
    6 Comments

    Indigenous leaders this last week have called for the creation of two new legal entities. They want a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission set up by legislation. The Makarrata Commission would supervise agreement making between governments and First Nations and engage in truth telling about history. The envisaged destination is a national Makarrata (or treaty). So the immediate constitutional issue is the creation of the First Nations Voice. There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of Indigenous Australia. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the voting public.

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