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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why calls for compassion for refugees don't work

    • Tim Robertson
    • 09 September 2015
    3 Comments

    Writing in The Australian this week, Chris Kenny declares: 'Emotion, moral vanity, political posturing and good intentions won't be much of a guide when it comes to making the right decisions and delivering the best results'. He and like minded opinion writers get so much traction because they're essentially correct. Compassion alone is not enough.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Family rape victims delivered to a worse hell

    • Madeleine Hamilton
    • 07 September 2015
    8 Comments

    While at Melbourne's Winlaton Youth Training Centre, many became victims of sexual and physical assaults by staff and other girls. This was how the state of Victoria looked after its most vulnerable girls, who following their incarceration were simply expected to get on with their lives. Except many didn't. As the list of witnesses for the Royal Commission hearing was being finalised, I was told: 'There's going to be a lot of very angry and re-traumatised mothers and grandmothers.'

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 September 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Redesign my soul

    • Rodney Wetherell
    • 01 September 2015
    4 Comments

    My soul's antennae are TV-tested for searching power, speed, vibrations — sluggishness is found, and some corrosion, but not a power of deep delusion. I pass, but barely — could do better. Empathy is down, the next test finds, neighbours more passed by than loved. And do I love myself?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Politicians' cognitive dissonance over blaming the system

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 August 2015
    12 Comments

    Words like rorter, bludger and leaner only ever seem to apply to those who apply for welfare. A politician who draws down unreasonably on entitlements or a banker who earns stratospheric bonuses are seen as passive beneficiaries of the system. It seems the case that only those with power or capital are allowed to blame systems. The rest of us get to be individuals who make choices.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian academics right to resist respected global warming skeptic

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 August 2015
    8 Comments

    Lomborg's profile was built by a book on global warming in which he accepted its reality, but argued its effects would not be as catastrophic as predicted. He is a good media performer whose métier is not scholarship but popularisation. Universities, which claim that their activities are characterised by depth, appoint people with higher scholarly credentials and research experience to lead their research centres.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The ethical consequences of making the ALP electable

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 July 2015
    28 Comments

    Labor's National Conference endorsement of boat turnbacks does raise questions, as policies are not merely pieces of paper. They are statements of value, in this case about vulnerable and desperate humans. If, under our policies, we inflict pain for other purposes, it will come back to haunt us.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Addiction is about social exclusion not moral failing

    • Paul Jensen
    • 21 July 2015
    11 Comments

    Greens leader Richard di Natale is currently visiting Portugal for a first hand look at how they have successfully bypassed the criminal justice system in treating drug addiction. There’s increasing acceptance of the view that addiction is caused by a lack of social connection and bonding. For Portugal, the most crucial step was to provide addicts with secure housing and subsidised jobs so they had a purpose in life and a sense of responsibility.

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  • RELIGION

    Coal warriors targeting Pope Francis

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 15 July 2015
    29 Comments

    It is not surprising that The Australian should be leading the local pushback on the environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. What is surprising is that a Catholic priest - Fr James Grant - should be joining the chorus against the encyclical, initially in an IPA media release. His more recent contribution to The Australian is right out of the briefing notes supplied by the coal industry in its global public relations efforts to shore up its waning reputation. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Border Force Act's disquieting parallels

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 July 2015
    32 Comments

    On July 1 the Australian Border Force Act 2015 became law. Detention centre staff are now forbidden to speak about human rights abuses, with a two year jail penalty applying. It is perhaps appropriate to recall the secrecy of the security apparatus of Stalinist Russia, Apartheid South Africa, and Chile and Argentina under the Generals, where victims were denigrated and information prevented from leaking out.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Italian perspective on Australia's asylum seeker shame

    • Anna Martin
    • 12 June 2015
    31 Comments

    Over the last few months, I have been completing a Masters in International Criminal Law at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute in Turin, Italy. Over the last two weeks, our classes revolved around human rights — always a bit of a cringeworthy topic when one comes from Australia. Certainly Italy's attitude and approach to asylum seekers puts Australia's to shame.

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