Search Results: State of the Union

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Change is possible when democracy runs deep

    • Moira Rayner
    • 21 March 2016
    18 Comments

    When I received my invitation to 'lead' the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees my first response was to ignore it. This was partly ego and partly disillusionment. It's true that in Melbourne at least 6000 people walked or struggled or strode along Spencer Street. But I no longer believe marches for huge national issues have any effect on local powerbrokers. I believe as Saul Alinsky said that the most powerful force for change is local activism on local issues and generational organisation from the grass roots up.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Vacuous politics breeds vacuous politicians

    • Justin Glyn
    • 14 March 2016
    6 Comments

    The standard explanation for the rise of 'outsider' figures like Donald Drumpf in the US and Clive Palmer in Australia is that there is disillusion in democratic countries with 'politics as usual'. Neal Gabler has blamed the media for turning politics into celebrity theatre. While he has pinpointed the symptom, I suggest that he has it exactly the wrong way around. It is because politics has already been hollowed out to be a slanging match of personalities rather than ideas that vacuous celebrities can flourish.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Downsizing numbers can't silence Indigenous protests

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 31 January 2016
    27 Comments

    On the day of the Invasion Day rally in Melbourne, I was abused for wearing a pro-Aboriginal rights t-shirt. I wasn't shocked. Indeed, I even expected it. It is not the first time I have been abused as an Indigenous activist on Australia Day. What did shock me were the media reports on the rally. When I read that the densely packed, energetic, noisy crowd consisted of only 150 people, I was surprised, to say the least. I and other seasoned protesters estimated the crowd at around 3-5000.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mixed loyalties don't negate Australianness

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 24 January 2016
    11 Comments

    I arrived in Australia at the ripe old age of five months. I learned Australian values by a process of gentle osmosis. Many Indigenous Australians learned these values in a less gentle fashion. Today, many Australian Jews show a strong loyalty to the world's only Jewish state. Others combine loyalties with other ancestral homelands. Australian Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists and Hindus have similar broadened loyalties. Exactly how such loyalties make them any less Australian beats me.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Consequences loom for global debt binge

    • David James
    • 18 January 2016
    11 Comments

    Low interest rates tend to change the understanding of risk; having high debt seems to be less of a problem because the cost of servicing it is lower. This cavalier attitude has been especially evident in Australian households, which have racked up more debt relative to the size of the economy than any other country in the world. The massive appetite for debt has been replicated across the globe. The world may have survived the era of casino money - just - but it is now facing another crisis.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Aboriginal Australians' year of action

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 15 December 2015
    5 Comments

    At the end of 2014, the scene for Indigenous politics in 2015 was set. While it is rare to see a year where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people don't take to the streets to challenge government policies, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett's announcement in November 2014 of the proposed closure of remote communities led to a large scale movement. It was one of several events that mobilised Indigenous communities during 2015. Next year is shaping up to be just as action packed.

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  • RELIGION

    Free speech and the plebiscite on same sex marriage

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015
    39 Comments

    Chris Puplick, a former senator and former president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, is one of a rising chorus expressing strong objections to the Australian Catholic bishops daring to evangelise and speak publicly about their views on same sex marriage. I too would be very upset if my bishops were saying, as Puplick claimed in an opinion piece in The Australian, that homosexuals are 'seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids'. But they're not.

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  • AUSTRALIA

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

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 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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  • RELIGION

    A third way in the marriage equality debate

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 06 December 2015
    45 Comments

    At the moment, the conversation on marriage equality vs traditional marriage is being driven by extremists on both sides, people who see the struggle as a polarised conflict with the goal of overwhelming victory. But most of us would find that victory unattractive no matter which side is triumphant. Instead, we can choose not to press the button, and to work together to allow both same-sex couples and practising Christians to live their beliefs faithfully, to the fullest of their flourishing.

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  • RELIGION

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

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Naming and renaming uni's racist monuments

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 01 December 2015
    7 Comments

    For many years, historian Gary Foley has drawn attention to the racist past inscribed throughout the infrastructure of Melbourne University. Now, some staff and students are campaigning to rename facilities linked to particularly egregious individuals, such as the Richard Berry building, named after a leading eugenicist who stole the corpses of Indigenous people for research designed to prove the racial superiority of whites. While some accuse the campaigners of politically correct censorship, in fact the past has already been censored, and the campaigners are dragging it back into the light.

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  • RELIGION

    Challenges and opportunities for the Catholic Church in the 21st century

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 November 2015
    6 Comments

    'No one doubts the pastoral sensitivity of Pope Francis. But the Church will continue to suffer for as long as it does not engage in open, ongoing discussion and education about the issue of women's leadership. The official position is no longer comprehensible to most people of good will, and not even those at the very top of the hierarchy have a willingness or capacity to explain it.' - Fr Frank Brennan SJ outlines five challenges and opportunities for the Catholic Church in the 21st century.

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