Search Results: asylum seekers

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  • RELIGION

    Life beyond Pope Francis

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 April 2016
    19 Comments

    As Francis begins his fourth year in office, questions are raised as to whether the changes he has brought to the church will last beyond his time in office. Some argue that because he has made no significant changes in governance, his changes will not survive him. His successors and the Curia will be free to restore former expressions of church life. This argument highlights the need to embody vision in institutional structures. But good structures alone do not ensure the continuation of vision.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't fall for Humpty Dumpty politics

    • Justin Glyn
    • 10 April 2016
    10 Comments

    We got a lesson in the art of language from the Minister of Immigration, Peter Dutton, whose redefinition of the word 'detention' was reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty's remark in Alice Through the Looking Glass: 'When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' We are social creatures who make real decisions based on the representations of others. Once we know we cannot expect the truth from each other, especially those who govern, society can no longer function.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The value of protest lies in ritual not results

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 March 2016
    5 Comments

    The Palm Sunday Refugee Marches have come and gone; the travails of people who seek asylum continue. In a recent article that reflects her rich experience, Moira Rayner was right to say that marches are not effective in changing policy. Where they are, as in the Vietnam War marches in Australia or in Manila under Marcos, the fortress was already crumbling. Yet even when they are not effective, marches are not a waste of energy. Their value lies not in their effectiveness but in their ritual.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The bleeding obvious about homelessness

    • John Falzon
    • 29 March 2016
    11 Comments

    The Prime Minister wants us to be clever. Well how about we make sure everybody's got a place to call home? The problem of homelessness and the shortage of social and affordable housing is so huge that we need a massive solution and a massive financial commitment if we want to lay claim to being civilised and fair, let alone smart and innovative. This is why, among things such as reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax, we need a $10 billion social and affordable housing fund.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious thought in sacred secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 March 2016
    6 Comments

    I offer no public judgment of Pell, and unlike many other commentators I'll await the findings of the royal commission. I have however been outspoken about his right to a fair hearing and natural justice, not because I am a priest but because I am a human rights lawyer who cares about the universal application of the rule of law. It is when a representative of institutional religion like Pell taps into the generic religious sensibility or moral consciousness that the real work of Australian religious thought is done.

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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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  • RELIGION

    Liberation theology in modern Australia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 February 2016
    23 Comments

    Liberation theology was once caricatured as Marxism with a Christian tinge, or the Bible plus Kalashnikov. In fact, thinkers identified with the movement were involved in a serious theological exploration. In public conversation in Australia the theological questions ut it raised are of marginal significance. But secular variants abound in which society is analysed in terms of the discrimination suffered by various minority groups at the hands of the majority or of those with power.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Good and bad news about the Syria ceasefire

    • Justin Glyn
    • 24 February 2016
    4 Comments

    There is cause for both optimism and scepticism in the news that the US and Russia have agreed a ceasefire in Syria. On the face of it, one of the world's bloodiest civil wars is about to come to an end; an end to be guaranteed by the two biggest, best armed militaries on the planet. This should be excellent news for everybody, not least the long suffering civilian population of one of the most bombed countries on earth. So what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Baby Asha and the pyramid of suffering

    • Kate Galloway
    • 23 February 2016
    4 Comments

    It is right and good that the outpouring of community and professional goodwill has at least delayed the return of baby Asha to what are reported to be the terrible conditions of the detention centre on Nauru. But Australia's asylum seeker laws involve unresolved systemic issues that such wins cannot by themselves resolve. Widespread community focus on individual cases such as that of baby Asha may in fact prevent action on the deeper issues from gaining traction.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The baby Asha problem in Australia's refugee policy

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 23 February 2016
    3 Comments

    On Sunday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton seemingly relented, allowing the child to be released into community detention rather than carting her off to Nauru. It has, however, been made clear that this is no prelude to settlement in Australia. Dutton's line goes to evenness in policy: 'We are going to have a consistency approach here ... intelligence out of Indonesia recently was that people smugglers were reporting ... there was going to be a change in policy.' None of these arguments passes muster.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    When it's right to break the law

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 February 2016
    18 Comments

    It is common for people to break the law. People fail to move on when instructed by police, evade tax, drive too fast, keep silent about abuse, trespass on military facilities, and drive when drunk. Many people assert that it is never right to break a law duly enacted by the government. From this principle it follows that anyone offering sanctuary to people who seek protection in Australia is acting wrongly. This blanket condemnation of law breaking runs against our inherited moral tradition.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Millennials have allies in the emerging grey vote

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 February 2016
    5 Comments

    The formative experiences of Australian early boomers include unprecedented access to university education and health care, immersion in feminist discourse, Aboriginal land rights campaigns, environmental activism, LGBT movements and pacifism. Quite remarkably, it mirrors some of the elements that engage millennials. While in some ways anti-boomer sentiment seems well placed, what it misses is that on social issues a 21-year-old might have more in common with a 61-year-old than a 71-year-old.

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