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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Environmentalists' potential allies on the populist right

    • Greg Foyster
    • 03 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The neoliberal right is losing political power to the populist right, which isn't filled with the same ideological zeal for free-market capitalism. Suddenly debates can expand beyond the narrow confines of economic growth. Moral and social arguments won't be relegated to the intellectual fringes anymore. Mainstream parties of the left and right, both of which bought into the neoliberal agenda, will have to break their bipartisan dismissal of discontent with the side effects of globalisation.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Beyond the myth of the rational voter

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 July 2016
    8 Comments

    When the democratic exercise is no longer the aggregate of informed, reasoned choices, but a matter of mood, then the business of persuasion - politics - becomes far less about ideas and more about momentary catharsis. This shifts the function of politicians and government, from leading and dispensing equity to masturbatory aid. Even so, there are questions worth asking. But at whose expense are public moods assuaged? After catharsis, what happens next?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No 'one size fits all' solutions to youth unemployment

    • Julie Edwards
    • 27 June 2016
    9 Comments

    Both major parties offer 'one size fits all' approaches to youth unemployment. This ignores the huge difference in experiences - and employability - between different categories of young person. Not all have completed high school and live at home in a supportive environment. For young people at risk of homelessness, those experiencing mental illness or substance abuse problems, or those who have had contact with the criminal justice system, the initiatives of both parties simply won't be effective.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    White Australia is alive and well in our parliament

    • Jarni Blakkarly
    • 21 June 2016
    11 Comments

    Across the political spectrum, Australia's major and minor parties are failing to reflect the multicultural Australia of the 21st century. We have fallen far behind similar nations like Canada, who elected 19 Indian-Canadians alone, and ten indigenous parliamentarians, at their last election. Who we elect to our parliament is not just about the gesture, it is also a reflection of where power lies within our society, and whose voices are given the space to be heard to represent the community.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elder abuse thrives on silence

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 June 2016
    12 Comments

    We all know elderly people who are healthy, active, and blessed with loving families. But the image represents only part of the reality of old age. Many elderly people are ill, have lost their partners, live alone with little connection to their families, suffer from incipient dementia, and are dependent on others for the daily business of living. If they appear at all in the media, it is usually in bad news stories. They are seen as people different from us. A significant minority of older people, too, suffer from abuse.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    No sex please, we're praying

    • Rodney Wetherell
    • 07 June 2016
    2 Comments

    In prayer, our minds are sex-free, let us hope; our thoughts of God do not include the body, his or ours, svelte or chunky, erotic perfume should be undetectable, ditto the sense of orgiastic writhing sent down to us from digital porn heaven. Should your inner eye pick out an angel, beautiful, and fixing eyes on you, or Jesus wearing little but a wisp of cloth across a gym-toned body streaked with blood, contact your counsellor, ring that number - you've wandered to the opposition site.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Legislating for human dignity without being misty-eyed

    • Kate Galloway
    • 02 May 2016
    23 Comments

    I have often wondered at the likely success of entreaties to compassion for asylum seekers. This is not because I do not personally feel compassion for these people. And it is not because I do not believe that it is morally correct to show compassion, including through government policy. Rather my response is partly a factor of my training as a lawyer. Through my legal eyes, I can see little hope for appeals to politicians to show compassion. My conditioned response instead is to appeal to law.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Depp dog stunt distracts from real ecological violence

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 21 April 2016
    15 Comments

    In the face of the increasing environmental destruction legally occurring within Australia's borders, chasing actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard for bringing their undeclared dogs into Australia in breach of biosecurity laws comes across as a curated media stunt. Like everywhere in the world, Australian environmental law is at a crossroads. On one hand government regulations that permit violence against habitat increase, and on the other, legal challenges against this destruction rise.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    New radicalisation on display at fundraiser protest

    • Lyn Bender
    • 13 April 2016
    27 Comments

    The chants were thunderous and sustained, as the suited and elegantly coiffed guests began to arrive for the Liberal Party fundraiser at Docklands. Initially there did not seem to be a significant police presence, as if the need for security was not considered high. As the chanting rose to a crescendo, chaos ensued. The mounted police arrived; but there seemed no plan of crowd control. It was a small protest but it was locked into a contained area with only one entrance. Then the wounded started to emerge.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't fall for Humpty Dumpty politics

    • Justin Glyn
    • 11 April 2016
    10 Comments

    We got a lesson in the art of language from the Minister of Immigration, Peter Dutton, whose redefinition of the word 'detention' was reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty's remark in Alice Through the Looking Glass: 'When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' We are social creatures who make real decisions based on the representations of others. Once we know we cannot expect the truth from each other, especially those who govern, society can no longer function.

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  • RELIGION

    Year of Mercy's opportunity for Aboriginal reconciliation

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 March 2016

    'On his last two visits to Latin America, Pope Francis has focused on past and present relationships between indigenous peoples and their colonisers. This Jubilee Year of Mercy perhaps it could be a blessed moment for Aboriginal Australians and descendants of their colonisers to walk together through the Door of Mercy at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, calling to mind the sins and endeavours of the past, the achievements and commitments of the present, and the hopes and aspirations of the future.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ, Lenten Talk, Norwood Parish, 3 March 2016

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Good and bad news about the Syria ceasefire

    • Justin Glyn
    • 25 February 2016
    4 Comments

    There is cause for both optimism and scepticism in the news that the US and Russia have agreed a ceasefire in Syria. On the face of it, one of the world's bloodiest civil wars is about to come to an end; an end to be guaranteed by the two biggest, best armed militaries on the planet. This should be excellent news for everybody, not least the long suffering civilian population of one of the most bombed countries on earth. So what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot.

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