Search Results: freedom of speech

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  • Maintaining the humanity of the public square

    • Greg O'Kelly
    • 30 June 2015
    3 Comments

    The phrase 'the public square' is peppered throughout Frank Brennan's work. The 1988 film Cinema Paradiso depicts the public square in a Sicilian village over 30 or so years, and its slow and subtle change from a place where human beings gather to laugh, play and discuss. Billboards and garish signs appear and it becomes a car park bereft of its humanity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Retrospectivity a blow to the rule of law

    • Justin Glyn
    • 28 June 2015
    8 Comments

    Steve Ciobo MP described Zaky Mallah’s terrorism acquittal as based on a 'technicality'. This was that the anti-terror laws enacted after his acquittal were 'not retrospective'. The truly frightening thing about retrospective laws is that they make conduct which is perfectly legal when it is done, criminal by fiat. Anyone can be convicted of anything retrospectively, and this is why it is forbidden in the constitutions of many countries.

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  • Meddling priest's witness to the primacy of conscience

    • Paul Bongiorno
    • 08 June 2015
    9 Comments

    'In discussing Australia's asylum seeker policies Frank laments the government's deaf ear to calls from the churches, his own included, for a greater measure of compassion and a better way of dealing with the issue of boat people. Frank wryly comments: 'If only the Abbott Government with its disproportionate number of Jesuit alumni cabinet ministers could listen.' Paul Bongiorno launches Fr Frank Brennan SJ's book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra, 8 June 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mannix, master conjurer in the cause of the underdog

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 March 2015
    15 Comments

    Daniel Mannix, who was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63, knew how to control an audience and shift the perception of events. He argued fiercely against conscription in the 1917 Referendum, and railed against the exploitation of struggling workers. On finishing his new biography, I imagined a meeting between him and Pope Francis, both masters of public symbols with a disdain for church clericalism and sanctimonious speech.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Good race relations is not just an American thing, it's democracy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 March 2015
    17 Comments

    Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the voting right marches across the bridge in Selma, Alabama. The movie Selma is a great though imperfect study in race relations, which is still a hot issue in the US following the spate of police killings of young African American men. Good race relations still has a long way to go, as it does in Australia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Britain's Bahrain bid triggers human rights alert

    • Daniel Read
    • 22 February 2015
    1 Comment

    Britain's recent drive to establish a naval base in Bahrain has only widened the rift between the UK's foreign policy and its respect for human rights. Bahrain will now potentially play host to a British military presence for the long-term, despite the Gulf state's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests over the past several years. This may be yet another instance of political expediency taking precedence over all else.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    We are all bigots

    • Justin Glyn
    • 18 January 2015
    18 Comments

    According to large sections of the media, 'we' are all Charlie now. While it is absolutely right that we stand with the victims and their families in grief and outrage at the terrible acts that took place in Paris earlier this month, predictably we have been told that we should, as a corollary, also defend people’s rights to say what they like, no matter how hurtful it may be. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Another year bites the parliamentary dirt

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 December 2014
    27 Comments

    What a dreadful year it has been for parliamentary democracy. Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has taken pride in the number of members she has ejected. Senator David Leyonhjelm has introduced his same sex marriage bill in an orderly fashion, but the decision will rest with the Abbott Government, which won't want to to hand the bouquet for breaking the logjam to Leyonhjelm. To get arrangements for the bearing and nurturing of children right, we need our parliament to be a more considered and dignified place than a battlefield.

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  • RELIGION

    Constitutionally Australia is a religious country

    • Kevin Donnelly
    • 02 November 2014
    28 Comments

    Unlike France, Australia's Constitution specifically accepts the place of religion in the broader society, with its reference to Almighty God in the Preamble. Its only stipulation is that governments should not privilege one religion over another, or unfairly discriminate. Moreover, our legal system and institutions might be secular in nature, but they draw heavily on Christian ethics and morality.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A pope of blurred boundaries

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 October 2014
    41 Comments

    Pope Francis is a leader out of his time. In Western society the times are sombre and fearful, and governance emphasises control, security and strong leadership. There is a desire for clear boundaries marking who is in and who is out. The Synod on the Family will  show how far Pope Francis' open and inclusive style can be reflected in the Church's instruments of control.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Hong Kong not in the mood for love

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 02 October 2014
    3 Comments

    Over the last 20 years, every time the people of Hong Kong have heard some 'menacing' messages from Beijing, they have responded and become politically active. The menacing message this time is the one I heard two years ago in the office of Leung Kwok-hung – better known as 'Long hair' – in the Legislative Council offices far from the epicentre of the protests: 'Beijing won’t honour its pledge’.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sacrificing freedoms in the war against terror

    • Justin Glyn
    • 21 September 2014
    7 Comments

    Terrorism is a real threat but it is hardly a killer on the scale of coronary heart disease or accidental falls, both of which far outstrip terrorism as killers on Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Blanket rollbacks of important civil liberties, until recently taken for granted, cannot but provoke the suspicion that terrorism has become a diversion of the public's attention from something much more sinister.

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