Search Results: ethics

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  • RELIGION

    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Adjustable ethics at the wheel of a self-driving car

    • Patrick McCabe
    • 22 November 2015
    1 Comment

    The safety features of self-driving cars could save many lives. But driving also involves making decisions, including ethical ones. Imagine you're in your self-driving car, travelling at speed on a highway. Suddenly an oncoming road train swerves into your lane and thunders head-on towards you. You may just be able to swerve, but unfortunately five men are standing on the side of the road, and you will surely hit them. Should the self-driving car kill five people, or stay the course and kill you?

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    South Australia's nuclear threat continues

    • Michele Madigan
    • 17 November 2015
    14 Comments

    It's no surprise that three of the federal government's shortlisted sites for the proposed national radioactive waste facility are in South Australia, the 'expendable state'. And it's disturbing to find that the owner of at least one of the sites has been misinformed, believing 'It's basically only a medical waste facility.' In fact the farmer and Indigenous opponents of the sites are right to be concerned. The intermediate level waste housed at such a facility will be hazardous for thousands of years.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pocock and Goodes are the role models Australia needs

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 November 2015
    10 Comments

    What are spectators to make of Adam Goodes' challenge to racial prejudice? What are they to make of David Pocock's outspoken defence of the environment and criticism of coal mining, or of his and his partner's refusal to marry in solidarity with LBGT couples? They make space for us to reflect on our own response to large human questions. But that space also invites us to judge our own integrity. The opprobrium such role models meet may arise out of discomfort with unwelcome self-questioning.

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  • RELIGION

    No room for culture warriors in Canberra or the Vatican

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 14 October 2015
    11 Comments

    Many in the Church would echo Tony Abbott's feelings on the dangers a theological environment 'at war with itself' presents to its moral authority. Similarly, there are many conservative politicians and members of the press who look at the current political commentary — marked by discussion rather than authority — and wonder what a government can accomplish in such an environment. Not surprisingly, Cardinal George Pell — described by Abbott as a 'fine human being and a great churchman' — is among those pushing back against the dialogue at the current Synod on the Family.

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 31 August 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Does religion in schools go beyond branding?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 August 2015
    27 Comments

    Religious schools have emphasised the transmission of faith and an ethical way of life through a network of relationships, symbols and processes. But this is now being tested, with the dominant view that values and faith are a private matter best hosted inside the family. The operative goals of schools become the academic and economic advancement of individuals, with religious classes and rituals little more than decoration and rhetorical branding.

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  • MEDIA

    Ashley Madison leak exposes a prurient and uncaring society

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 25 August 2015
    15 Comments

    The media has greeted the infidelity website leak with unabashed glee. We could instead ask why so many ordinary people are seemingly so discontented with their marriages, and what might be done to alleviate the wretchedness both of those who cheat and those who don't.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's an older person's life worth?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 August 2015
    12 Comments

    NT Health Minister John Elferink recently argued that the money spend on the health of the elderly — a million dollars for each person — would be better spent on children. Many Australian politicians and health administrators would secretly sympathise. But underlying this is the twin assumption that the life of an older person is of less value than that of someone who is younger, and that people’s value is measured by their economic contribution.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Government's inconsistent ethical argument for coal

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 July 2015
    15 Comments

    The Federal Government's ethical argument for coal is that it is the most readily available and cheapest resource for generating electricity for the development of poorer countries. The structure of this argument based on our duty to the poor is significant. It assumes that governments, mining companies, banks and the people who invest in them a duty to consider the effects of their actions on people both in their own nations and in other nations.

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  • RELIGION

    'The Australian' gangs up on Pope Francis

    • Bruce Duncan
    • 09 July 2015
    37 Comments

    In a series of articles, The Australian newspaper has strongly criticised the new encyclical Laudato Si', with editor-at-large Paul Kelly charging that the Pope has 'delegitimised as immoral' pro-market economic forces. This is wrong. Pope Francis is not opposed to the free market in principle, but insists that it be well regulated to ensure social justice for all involved.

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