Search Results: Christmas

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Forestalling disgrace amid a welfare nightmare

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 22 November 2016
    5 Comments

    The welfare system Daniel experiences is a bureaucratic nightmare, populated by condescending Health Care Professionals, shadowy and calculating Decision Makers, managers who loom over their clients like stern parents, and caseworkers who stifle any human compassion for their desperate supplicants. He is grilled by a welfare officer about every aspect of his health except the only relevant one, his heart. Later, he runs afoul of the agency's 'online by default' processes. Daniel has never used a computer in his life.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Marriage equality supporters' hope for a free conscience vote

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 October 2016
    25 Comments

    When the dust settles next year, maybe LGBTI advocates will see the wisdom in trying to convince the Labor party to reinstitute a free conscience vote on its side if only to force the Coalition to do the same. That way the parliament a few years down the track might be able to do what the LGBTI advocates want them to do now. If it were my call, I would have opted for the plebiscite in February with prompt parliamentary legislation to follow. But it's not my call.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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  • RELIGION

    Sheikh Fehmi talked me out of going to war

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 03 October 2016
    11 Comments

    Fehmi Naji El-Imam, the former Grand Mufti of Australia who died last month, taught us at a time when we had no internet and books on Islam were limited. Politicised religion was all the craze. In Afghanistan, a coalition of local militias and foreign fighters, the Mujahideen, were receiving support from Western leaders. Conservative politicians praised them for taking on those nasty Soviet Communists. It was easy to be carried away, to have one's faith shaped by overseas events. I almost did.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Young man burned by Australia's detention hell

    • Lisa Stewart
    • 25 September 2016
    21 Comments

    In the early hours of Wednesday morning, 21 September 2016, a young asylum seeker was forcibly removed from the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre. With barely time to scramble his possessions together, he was taken away, placed on a plane and, along with four others, transferred to the high security detention facility on Christmas Island. Why? Because he's done something wrong? Because he's a criminal? No. Just because that's the way we now do things here.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pauline's peddling the hate again

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 15 September 2016
    24 Comments

    Invisible to Hanson and her ilk are the hundreds of thousands of Aussies whose understanding of Islam allows them to enjoy and promote the separation of religion and state, live happily and peacefully alongside their non-Muslim neighbours, and have no long-term plans to impose their beliefs on anyone. Why should anyone delegitimise their Islam? Pauline Hanson may do it for the votes, but if we listen to her and follow her suggestions, we run the risk of destroying the very social cohesion she mistakenly thinks is threatened by multiculturalism.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    New adventures in David Brent's theatre of cruelty

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 31 August 2016

    There are hints of darkness behind the laughs. We learn Brent spent time in an institution some time after the original 'documentary' aired. He is shunned by his band members, who see themselves as reluctant employees rather than friends. What emerges is a rather affecting portrait of a man whose self-identity is at total odds with reality, and threatening to come crashing disastrously down.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Grandchildren are your children twice over

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 August 2016
    7 Comments

    When we were all younger, I wrote about my three sons. In the words of Sir Thomas More, their characteristics strangely tugged at my heart, and like More, I fed them cake, ripe apples and fancy pears. Among other things. But eventually there was a mild rebellion about the writing, in the course of which my eldest threatened to send me a bill. Now I write about my grandchildren, three boys and a girl, who are too young as yet to be so commercially minded.

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  • RELIGION

    Time to defuse Nauru and Manus Island time bombs

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 August 2016
    23 Comments

    The suggestion that those camps need to remain filled in order to send a message to people smugglers is not only morally unacceptable; it is strategically questionable. Those proven to be refugees should be resettled as quickly as practicable, and that includes taking up New Zealand's offer of 150 places a year - just as John Howard did when he accepted New Zealand's offer to take 131 from the Tampa. It's time to act. Ongoing inaction will send a green light to desperate people to do desperate things.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humanity meets bureaucracy on asylum seeker Fast Track

    • Shira Sebban
    • 14 August 2016
    14 Comments

    Sobs rack his body. Under the Fast Track Assessment process being used to clear the backlog of protection claims, the nondescript official sitting opposite him, or one of his colleagues, will most likely be the one to decide his fate. 'Should you be found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, the government may share your biographical details with the authorities of your country of origin,' the official intones. 'If you give them information about me I will be killed,' comes the chilling reply.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's 'alien' relations then and now

    • June Factor
    • 02 August 2016
    13 Comments

    In 1940, Prime Minister Robert Menzies received a letter from a woman in Western Australia: 'I have heard on the wireless the news that Australia would be willing to receive internees from England. I beg to protest; we have enough of the scum here already, too many in fact ... I sincerely trust that a U-boat gets every one of them.' The 'scum' she rejected so emphatically were the German and Austrian refugees, predominantly Jewish, soon to travel to Australia as 'enemy alien' prisoners.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Census scepticism as privacy comes under threat

    • Kate Galloway
    • 31 July 2016
    18 Comments

    Government wishes to capitalise on our data using new data mining technologies. The ABS uses the language of efficiency and public interest in justifying the changes. It even implies that the new online census is environmentally friendly. It may well be that collecting and retaining our names along with our personal information is efficient, but that does not address the foundation question of whether we as citizens retain the privacy that constitutes us as members of a liberal democratic society.

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