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  • INTERNATIONAL

    2015 in review: Contemplating war in France

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 14 January 2016
    3 Comments

    As I marched for Remembrance Day in our small village in France, I wondered, 'How long will these villages keep these ceremonies? When will someone decide these wars are too long ago or too far away?' Two days later, Paris was attacked. The news came like war does: sudden and violent. Then came declarations of a state of emergency and the closing of borders. My eldest daughter was over the border in Switzerland without a passport. War starts in increments, in the small ordinary worries of families.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What will children dream if not of bears?

    • Brian Doyle
    • 09 December 2015
    2 Comments

    If a three-year-old likes bears, you are into bears for the foreseeable future. Bears have been around since before there were pencils, my young friend said, which is inarguably true, and not something I had ever considered before. When we talk about what is lost in a world in which wilderness is lost, we never talk about the loss of the life we imagine. When there are no bears in the world, then no children will dream of bears, and draw bears, and sleep with bears, and that will be a terrible shame.

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  • RELIGION

    'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2015
    1 Comment

    'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hipster heroes of gentrification

    • Charlotte Howell
    • 02 December 2015
    1 Comment

    I was born into a working class family in Leyton, East London. But in the late 1980s, gentrification in the area forced us to relocate to the poor working class town of Harlow, Essex. In a twist of fate, these days I can't even afford to live there. This time it is not due to gentrification brought about by 'hipster' entrepreneurs, but because powerful construction companies have replaced the historical architecture with new developments and housing estates. I know who I'd rather pick a fight against.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not racist but

    • Barry Gittins
    • 01 December 2015
    5 Comments

    I'm not homophobic, but if you question my relished prejudice, satirise my hissy fits, you're not playing fair. I'm not racist, but don't you call out my revulsion, or reveal cultural discrimination (not here over there). I'm not sexist but your flaunting of sexual freedom, power, makes me long for lost hour ... If you peer quite closely you will notice I am mostly not a loving breathing person (that's rare).

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Contemplating war in ordinary France

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 16 November 2015
    16 Comments

    As I marched for Remembrance Day in our small village in France, I wondered, 'How long will these villages keep these ceremonies? When will someone decide these wars are too long ago or too far away?' Two days later, Paris was attacked. The news came like war does: sudden and violent. Then came declarations of a state of emergency and the closing of borders. My eldest daughter was over the border in Switzerland without a passport. War starts in increments, in the small ordinary worries of families.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Paris climate talks offer real/last hope for meaningful action

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 November 2015
    6 Comments

    The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris is set to become the last opportunity for meaningful global action. The signs so far bear optimism, as the impetus for a binding international agreement to tackle the severity and effects of climate change has taken a turn. In order to better understand why, and appreciate the difference that a few years can make, it is worth revisiting why Copenhagen was such a disaster. The most meaningful difference between then and now involves leaders.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why Pope Francis is not an anti-Capitalist greenie

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    Francis knows there are all sorts of issues inside and outside the Church where for too long people with power have tried to keep the lid on, in the hope that the problems and complexities will go away, often by parodying those who see the problems or complexities as small 'l' liberals or cafeteria Catholics. He delights in being joyful and troubled while contemplating big problems, calling people of good will to the table of deliberation reminding them of the kernel of the Christian gospels. He has the faith and hope needed to lift the lid without fear and without knowing the answers prior to the dialogue occurring.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Growing old in Australia is a difficult business

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 07 October 2015
    9 Comments

    Well, I know the dehumanising rot began to set in a long time ago. I have a vision of George Orwell sitting on a cloud and wringing his hands in renewed horror, for now the business model and associated language appears to have taken over the world. In short, the changes in aged care could be counterproductive, as the aims of streamlined access and equity may result instead in the development of barriers and more inequity. Growing old clearly means more hard work, and more adjustment.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Oppressing compassion in Europe and Australia

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 28 September 2015
    16 Comments

    When refugees walked into Europe, away from distant distress sites, their presence made the global issue visceral for Europeans. Australia doesn't have asylum seekers walking en masse through ordinary streets. Our border is one of established hatred. 'Stop the boats' policy denies ordinary Australians their compassionate impulse, and creates a history that our children will face judgement upon. It denies humanity's collective memory after World War II.

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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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