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  • AUSTRALIA

    Inquiry into data use asks the wrong questions

    • Kate Galloway
    • 06 October 2016
    3 Comments

    The Productivity Commission was charged in March to inquire into 'data availability and use'. The inquiry holds important implications for Australians because our personal information is collected and stored by business and government in nearly all our daily interactions. The inquiry's terms of reference however make a number of assumptions, making it look very much as though it will find that the benefits of making data available outweigh the costs. And those costs are likely to be our privacy.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis among other disruptive leaders

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 September 2016
    17 Comments

    Is Francis' style of political engagement effective? It has certainly gained him a favourable hearing within church and society. His message and his personality suit the times. Whether it will be lastingly effective will depend on whether he changes attitudes, particularly those of people who will be responsible for governance in church and state. But at the very least he has stressed the ethical and religious urgency of treating refugees, the environment, and the economy with respect.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The world we choose to live in

    • Jim McDermott
    • 24 August 2016
    5 Comments

    Maybe standing there we weren't afraid about the fight that was happening across the street, but the fraying at the edges that it represents, the insecurity that the gospel both of Trump and against Trump seems to be creating in our society. It echoes the insecurity we hear in the Brexit vote, and the treatment of both ethnic British citizens and immigrants that followed. Likewise, the resurrection of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party. None of it sounds good and where is it all going?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The changing face of the law across generations

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 July 2016
    7 Comments

    Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the amendment to the Constitution which took out the adverse references to Aborigines. Following our recent election, we are assured at least six, and possibly seven, members of our national parliament who proudly claim an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage. They are represented in all parties and none. How good it would be if our elected Aboriginal politicians could come together across party lines and propose an amendment to the Constitution which recognises them.

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  • RELIGION

    Women deacons the solution to priestly power problem

    • Phyllis Zagano
    • 11 May 2016
    21 Comments

    Pope Francis may be interested in better situating women within Church governance and ministry, and there is sufficient theological evidence to readmit women to the order of deacon. Even so, significant curial roadblocks keep him from moving in the obvious direction. Women deacons could take up significant posts, at the Vatican and around the world, but in 2008 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decreed ordination of women a crime worthy of automatic excommunication.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Dumped-on Elders down but not despairing

    • Michele Madigan
    • 03 May 2016
    11 Comments

    As fifth century BC Athenian historian and general Thucydides said: 'The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.' 'I'm sitting here trying to eat my weetbix and keep my thoughts calm,' said Enice Marsh, Traditional Owner for the Flinders Ranges area of SA. Enice and the other Adynamathanha Elders had just received the news that former Liberal Senator Grant Chapman's property Bardioota is 'at the top of the list' to be the site of Australia's national radioactive waste dump.

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  • RELIGION

    The past, present and future of the Easter Rising 1916

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 May 2016
    2 Comments

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Singing and subverting White American history

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 14 April 2016
    1 Comment

    The show's implicit subversiveness runs deep. It is embodied in the fact that its cast consists of mostly Black and Latino performers portraying White characters, using a vernacular and musical styles popularly associated with these cultural groups. It thus stands as a riposte to the history of black/brownface and whitewashing in popular entertainment. Crucially, in a show about 'founding fathers', it is the story's women who not only provide its emotional core but are also the most fundamentally heroic.

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  • RELIGION

    Life beyond Pope Francis

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 April 2016
    19 Comments

    As Francis begins his fourth year in office, questions are raised as to whether the changes he has brought to the church will last beyond his time in office. Some argue that because he has made no significant changes in governance, his changes will not survive him. His successors and the Curia will be free to restore former expressions of church life. This argument highlights the need to embody vision in institutional structures. But good structures alone do not ensure the continuation of vision.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Homeless truths from an agent against poverty

    • Brian Doyle
    • 09 March 2016
    8 Comments

    The tall man had worked for the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence for years, and long ago had lost any illusions about the overarching nobility of people who were hammered and lost and helpless against addictions, diseases, crisis and tragedy. I asked him about the most wonderful people he'd met, and he told me some amazing stories, and then I asked him about the worst, and he told me some horrifying stories, and then his face twisted and he told me about the worst of the worst.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: 'Unhappy' Abbott years end

    • Tony Kevin
    • 13 January 2016
    5 Comments

    Now is an exciting moment for Australia, after all the low points of the past two years. We can look forward to a real return to greater civil discourse and intellectual integrity in politics. It will be good if the parties can set aside the negative energy that was brought to the Parliament and return to an informed contest of ideas, for there is much to debate.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Funding our own surveillance

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 12 January 2016

    Back in March Malcolm Turnbull told ABC radio: 'The only thing the data retention law is requiring is that types of metadata which are currently retained will be retained ... for at least two years.' In fact the laws, which come into effect next week, include an obligation on service providers to 'create' data that falls within the data set to be retained, if they don't already collect it. This isn't nitpicking. The more data that is created, the more the scheme will cost, and the greater the risk of privacy breach.

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