Search Results: ethical questions

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A plague of killer robots

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 April 2014
    6 Comments

    Killer robots — drones in an advanced stage of development — are now a daytime reality. They will be autonomous in their operation, able to identify targets, track them down, work out the best way to destroy them, and learn from their failures, all without the need for human direction. These qualities raise serious ethical questions. Obama's use of just war theory to defend such drones was misguided at best, pernicious at worst.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Is our morality at sea with the refugees?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 April 2014
    8 Comments

    'We should abandon talk of taking Australia off the table. We should also abandon talk of taking the sugar off the table. The collateral damage of that is too great. The best we can do ethically and practically is to put the sugar out of reach while leaving it on the table for those who make it here with a visa or in direct flight from persecution.' Frank Brennan contributes to a Palm Sunday panel at St Michael's Uniting Church, Melbourne.

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  • RELIGION

    Asylum seeker ethics is simple

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 March 2014
    28 Comments

    Asked whether they think the government's treatment of asylum seekers is right, some people will withhold judgment, arguing that the question is ethically complex; asylum seeker policy must take into account many issues, and an ethical judgment must await consideration of all these factors. This position is mistaken. The ethical questions are quite simple. The complexities and confusions arise only after we have answered them.

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  • RELIGION

    Encouragement for bleeding hearts

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 March 2014
    36 Comments

    To call someone a bleeding heart is an insult, not a description. It has no meaning but does have connotations. Those who call advocates for asylum seekers bleeding hearts usually dismiss ethical arguments. Although they may accept in the case of personal relationships that it would be wrong to inflict pain on people in order to deter others, they usually claim without supporting argument that governments are not bound by this ethical principle.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Silence won't answer the Woody Allen abuse allegation

    • ZoĆ« Krupka
    • 04 February 2014
    22 Comments

    On Saturday Dylan Farrow accused her adoptive father, the filmmaker and actor Woody Allen, of sexual assault for the second time. She first made these allegations when she was seven years old. There is a real ethical concern when allegations that have been denied in court continue to be raised publicly. We need to be able to forge a difficult balance between making space for ongoing doubt and fuelling public vilification.

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  • MEDIA

    Journalistic ethics in transgender tragedy

    • Ellena Savage
    • 23 January 2014
    4 Comments

    Last week a troubling story broke on sports journalism site Grantland. While investigating the background of Dr V., an avowed physicist who had invented a revolutionary golf putter, journalist Caleb Hannan discovered that Dr V. was a trans-woman. In the course of the investigation, Dr V. committed suicide. This tragic case raises questions about journalistic ethics, not least of which is if journalism is, by its very nature, unethical.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Spies like us

    • Bill Calcutt
    • 24 November 2013
    6 Comments

    The recent observation by a close Asian ally that 'spying on friends is amoral' belies an apparently growing gap between the illusion of civility and honesty and the reality of our suspicious relations with 'foreigners'. While the justification for the development of ubiquitous electronic surveillance capabilities is counter-terrorism, the greatest beneficiaries may be private business interests gaining a competitive advantage in a global free market.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The ethics of spying

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 November 2013
    12 Comments

    A minor diversion in the disruption of Australia's relations with Indonesia has been the entanglement of political commentators. Many have wriggled on the hook of their conviction that international relations are an ethics free zone in which the only guiding star is national self interest. But that does not stop them from launching a raft of ethical judgments. It is worth considering on what ethical principles international and national politics might rest.

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  • RELIGION

    Church's family reality check

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 November 2013
    14 Comments

    In a welcome first step, the Vatican has invited lay Catholics to offer their views on the family. The document that accompanies the survey represents a fairly traditional Catholic theology of the family, setting it within a high theology and expressed in elevated language. This theology has been developed principally by celibate men, no doubt familiar with family life through their childhood and pastoral ministry, but at a distance from it.

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  • RELIGION

    Christian social thinking for Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 November 2013
    1 Comment

    'Many Catholics wonder how we can maintain our Christian faith at this time in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis and the many judgmental utterances about sexuality and reproduction. The Church that has spoken longest and loudest about sex in all its modalities seems to be one of the social institutions most needing to get its own house in order.' Frank Brennan's address to the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy, 8 November 2013. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The case for funding legal services with public money

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 November 2013
    3 Comments

    From a liberal perspective the use of public money to fund free legal services to individuals is inherently undesirable. Even if the contracts are awarded under competitive tendering, the funding of the services is a distortion in the market. Ideally they should be left to the market to provide. And by definition they are less efficient than commercial organisations disciplined by a free and competitive market.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Labor's light on the hill

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 November 2013
    7 Comments

    'There have been innumerable post-mortems and words of advice as to how the party with new structures, election rules, and policies can pick itself up, dust off, and win the next election. Sadly some of those post-mortems have come with more coatings of spite and loathing. It is no part of my role in the public square as a Catholic priest to offer such advice.' Frank Brennan's address to the Bathurst Panthers Club, 2 November 2013.

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