Search Results: clean

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Health gap widens as wage growth falls

    • Amy Coopes
    • 26 June 2017
    7 Comments

    Universal health care is an ostensibly bipartisan prerogative, but what it actually means and how it's achieved is a somewhat moveable feast. Spending, we are told, is unsustainable as the population ages and we move toward ever-more personalised and technologically-advanced treatment paradigms. The objective of this rhetoric is to rationalise the privatisation of our health system by stealth. The latest wages figures are something of an inconvenient truth in this 'unsustainable spending' fiction.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Finkel and the climate theatre of the absurd

    • Greg Foyster
    • 22 June 2017
    6 Comments

    If politics is theatre, climate politics is a family drama. For the last decade we've watched two rival households having the same endless argument. Political journos call it the 'climate wars' and mostly focus on the lead actors standing in the spotlight - in the Western narrative tradition, characters drive events. Almost no one has noticed the scenery change. Stagehands dismantled the backdrop years ago, but politicians have carried on as if the same circumstances existed when they started this charade.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Petty political class is stunting Australia's growth

    • Fatima Measham
    • 21 June 2017
    15 Comments

    In the latest Essential poll, the primary vote for Pauline Hanson's One Nation lifted to 11 per cent. It does not bode well when competence is no longer the baseline; though in a leadership vacuum, 'someone else' holds a natural appeal. In any case, there can be worse things than incompetence. There is timidity. Mediocrity. Running up the cost of doing nothing at all. In so many ways, the Australian political class is holding us back. That is the crux of nearly every policy impasse over the past several years.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The Lady Macbeth of Northumberland

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 June 2017
    2 Comments

    Catherine arrives a new bride, with husband Alexander, to take up residence in his luxurious rural home. Quickly we get a sense of how little control she has over her destiny. Alexander demands she remain inside the house at all times; when one evening she wishes to go to bed early, her father-in-law orders her to remain awake for her husband. In the life of the household, she is merely an attractive object. Yet like her Shakespearean forebear, she is not averse to manipulation and violence in pursuit of her goals.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Respect and tranquility in a Japanese tea ceremony

    • Penny Garnsworthy
    • 19 June 2017
    8 Comments

    In 15th Century Japan a young man named Murata Shukou, who was studying for the priesthood, began to practice Zen philosophy. His teacher explained that the spirit of Zen was also present in the practice of tea-making, so Shukou began a journey of discovery into making and serving tea. There are almost 40 steps involved in this ancient ritual; time stops and I am mesmerised by the rhythm and the silence, as if I am separated from the world and nought exists save for the movement.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding my grandfather

    • Wally Swist
    • 29 May 2017
    2 Comments

    There is the photograph of my father's father in military uniform, an Austrian, serving in the Polish cavalry in WWI, standing ramrod straight. It is he whom I think of when I find myself dowsing my genome for answers regarding my origin, the deep pull that draws me to the late symphonies of Mozart, Rilke's angelic mysticism, and, as a child, to Krapfen and Apfelstrudel ... That grandfather died shortly after returning to his farm from the results of having been a victim of a mustard gas attack in the war.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Getting off gas not so easy for renters

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 May 2017
    4 Comments

    Standard electric heaters turn roughly one unit of electricity into one unit of heat. A reverse cycle air conditioner, however, uses electricity to 'pump' heat from one place to another and is incredibly efficient. Using electricity from the grid creates more pollution than burning gas, but the electric reverse cycle air conditioner is so efficient it's still less damaging overall. That's great news for households with air con, but galling for anyone who can't afford one, or isn't allowed to install it.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ahok is innocent and Indonesia needs him

    • Pat Walsh
    • 15 May 2017
    11 Comments

    Did he denounce Islam as 'evil' like the American evangelist Franklin Graham? Did he publicly denounce God as 'stupid' like Stephen Fry? On the contrary. Ahok is deeply respectful of Islam and has many Muslim supporters. The affair has done a serious disservice to Indonesia, presenting it as fanatical, racist and sectarian. While these perceptions are unfair, the affair also reveals some aspects of contemporary Indonesia that are obscured by Canberra's often lavish praise of our important neighbour.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hardline on soft drink

    • Isabella Fels
    • 02 May 2017
    8 Comments

    In my late 20s when I became seriously unwell and diagnosed with schizophrenia, Coca-Cola was like an ever flowing fountain of happiness for me. How I loved sipping it. I would even quickly down it with my meds. I could feel life getting better and speeding up. Having Coke was magic. But lately, with all the publicity surrounding the dangers of drinking fizzy, sugary soft drinks, I am trying to cut down. It is not easy trying to fight an almost lifelong addiction.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Changi war remembrance asks how we keep peace today

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 28 April 2017
    2 Comments

    The air-conditioned bus offers a sanctuary from the tropical temperatures outside. It's hard to believe these are the same temperatures experienced by inmates over 70 years ago on this site. It is not often that we consider peace as something we must constantly work for. Often it is portrayed as something which can be achieved and then passed down to us. Changi reminds us we shouldn't become complacent in our memory of war because it might cause us to lose sight of how we keep peace today.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The counter-cultural, rehumanising work of volunteers

    • Fatima Measham
    • 27 April 2017
    4 Comments

    A significant portion of the work that goes on in our economy is voluntary. It features in many contexts, such as social welfare, mentoring, animal welfare, landcare, local sport, and arts and literary activities. It can be hard to make a case for volunteering at a time when labour exploitation is rife. Students, migrants and Indigenous people, who need to establish work experience, are particularly vulnerable when it comes to unpaid work. This does not mean that volunteer work can never be meaningful.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Citizenship changes make a new enemy of the migrant

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 24 April 2017
    16 Comments

    Australia has long had a successful migration program, and the country's economic success is proof of this. So when Turnbull calls a press conference to impart the news that 'membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia', he is making a redundant point. The vast majority of migrants and new citizens already do this.

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