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  • AUSTRALIA

    Thoughts of an ambivalent feminist

    • Fatima Measham
    • 05 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Unless feminism abandons its individualistic, secular, western framing of freedom, it cannot presume to liberate all women. Some of its recent concerns give away limitations: whether this politician identifies as feminist, whether child-raising is self-sabotage, whether women abandon autonomy when they take their husband's name. I wonder sometimes whether it is ever possible to talk about sexual exploitation of women in Asia without getting entangled in sex positivity and legal sex work.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    History can't absolve Serbia's great demon demagogue

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 30 August 2016
    8 Comments

    In the savage wars of the Balkans during the 1990s, the identification of good sides over bad meant evil had to be singularised, culprits found to galvanise resistance. One such figure was Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. His death in a Hague cell in March 2006 had the effect of suspending arguments about responsibility from any legal scrutiny. Earlier this month, British journalist Neil Clark suggested he had in fact been exonerated for his role in war crimes and crimes against humanity. He's wrong.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    SA power play backfires

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 August 2016
    8 Comments

    On 7 July, South Australia experienced a cold snap. As residents turned on their heaters, the still and cloudy conditions meant wind and solar power couldn't contribute much to meeting electricity demand. The last coal plant had closed a few months before, pushed out of the market by renewable energy. As if on cue, the spot electricity price spiked. Instead of a lesson about the danger of too much wind power, it's about the danger of too much market power in the hands of a few big players.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mack Horton vs the People's Republic of China

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 17 August 2016
    3 Comments

    Horton desired to highlight the need for more stringent application of doping policies but in the process he enabled Chinese nationalists to bolster their inflated national pride, at his and Australia's expense. That he used his concern about drug use as a competitive tactic lessened its effectiveness, and only enabled Chinese nationalists to once more don the mantle of victim. Any chance for reform around issues like drugs in sport got caught in the wake of wounded egos and jingoistic pride.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humanity meets bureaucracy on asylum seeker Fast Track

    • Shira Sebban
    • 15 August 2016
    14 Comments

    Sobs rack his body. Under the Fast Track Assessment process being used to clear the backlog of protection claims, the nondescript official sitting opposite him, or one of his colleagues, will most likely be the one to decide his fate. 'Should you be found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, the government may share your biographical details with the authorities of your country of origin,' the official intones. 'If you give them information about me I will be killed,' comes the chilling reply.

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  • RELIGION

    Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 July 2016
    79 Comments

    Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law - not as academic notions for lawyers but as the secure bulwarks of a society in which everyone's rights and interests are protected.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Frank Brennan on John Molony's Don Luigi Sturzo: The Father of Social Democracy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 July 2016
    3 Comments

    John traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Environment groups face fight for their lives

    • Greg Foyster
    • 01 July 2016
    13 Comments

    By the time polls close Saturday, tens of thousands of voters in marginal seats will have received 'election scorecards' from environment groups. Almost all will rate the Liberal Party worse than Labor or the Greens on a range of issues, from protecting the Great Barrier Reef to encouraging investment in clean energy. Privately, some Liberal candidates will be seething - and, if the Coalition wins, they'll have the means for brutal revenge.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'War on business' rhetoric echoes '07 union bashing

    • Brendan Byrne
    • 27 June 2016
    15 Comments

    Whether or not the person in the now notorious 'fake tradie' ad is or isn't a 'real' tradie is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is a primary example of the co-option of the language of class struggle and economic justice that has so thoroughly poisoned economic debate in the industrialised West. Implicit within it is a patronising view of the working class that dismisses them as gullible dupes who can be made to entrench the privilege of the few in return for the paltry crumbs of consumer hedonism.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Remembering forgotten wars as fallen soldiers return

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 07 June 2016
    5 Comments

    Thirty-three bodies returned to Australia last Thursday in the country's largest repatriation of dead servicemen and their dependents, including six children. All of the dead were connected with Australia's involvement in overseas conflicts which have been archived and, in some cases, forgotten altogether. Returning the fallen has been a contentious matter. In some cases, the issue has been politicised, with dead soldiers discarded for being the immoral instruments of disputed foreign policy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Lonely lament of a stay-at-home mum

    • Suvi Mahonen
    • 01 June 2016
    5 Comments

    'Hi,' the text began. 'Just letting you know there's no pilates tonight. We're all going to The Hub to C an indie music jam. C U next week?' I put my phone down and stared numbly around my kitchen. Dirty dishes jammed the sink. My toddler's banana was smeared all over the fridge door, but I couldn't gather the energy to wipe it clean. I knew I was lucky to have everything I'd worked for - family, a new apartment, financial stability - but I also knew I had never felt so lonely. 'C U next week.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nuns in love

    • Brian Doyle
    • 31 May 2016
    7 Comments

    O, I had a sweetheart, sure I did, says a tiny stooped nun to me this morning. Long tall handsome man he was too. Did you think I signed up to be a nun before I could fall In love? No. I never met a nun yet wasn't in love before. It's good for you as a nun to have had your heart broken, seems to me, or to break someone else's heart. It's a way of the world. Better to know it so you can be tender when you see it later.

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