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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don Dale abuse is a symptom of a sick justice culture

    • Julie Kimber
    • 27 July 2016
    13 Comments

    The 4 Corners report into the treatment of children in a NT juvenile justice facility is a stark and grotesque demonstration of state abuse of power. As a result John Elferink, NT Corrections Minister, has been sacked, and the Prime Minister has announced a royal commission into the actions at Don Dale. This is a good start, but there is much more to be done. We need to question a culture that willingly imprisons the most vulnerable, and puts up with a system where not all are equal before the law.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Religion and violence in Australian-Indigenous history

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 July 2016
    2 Comments

    The violence at the pastoral frontier of the British colonies here in Australia was all pervasive. 228 years after it commenced, we are still experiencing the after-effects. When I started advocating Aboriginal rights here in Australia almost 40 years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that the missions and missionaries were all bad news. It will come as no surprise that I have always doubted that Aborigines were well rid of religion and the missionaries in all circumstances.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    White Australia is alive and well in our parliament

    • Jarni Blakkarly
    • 21 June 2016
    11 Comments

    Across the political spectrum, Australia's major and minor parties are failing to reflect the multicultural Australia of the 21st century. We have fallen far behind similar nations like Canada, who elected 19 Indian-Canadians alone, and ten indigenous parliamentarians, at their last election. Who we elect to our parliament is not just about the gesture, it is also a reflection of where power lies within our society, and whose voices are given the space to be heard to represent the community.

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  • ECONOMICS

    How financial markets are stymying climate action

    • David James
    • 15 June 2016
    7 Comments

    There is little doubt that the means to dramatically reduce the amount of pollution produced by developed economies is already theoretically available. It is perfectly possible to redesign industrial systems so that they do not pollute and do not consume finite resources at a rate that is unsustainable. But it requires a radical shift - and the biggest barrier to that shift occurring, the financial markets, is barely even mentioned in discussions of the challenge.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A closer look at the AFP's shady Labor raid

    • Justin Glyn
    • 01 June 2016
    14 Comments

    It has puzzled me that the constitutional implications of the AFP's raid on the offices of the official opposition and one of its senators two weeks ago has not been explored in more detail. The uncomfortable fact is that the leaks about which NBN Co is complaining are not damaging because they relate to competition nor to national security, but because they expose cost overruns and reflect badly on the government of the day - the same government which holds all the shares in NBN Co.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reflecting on justice for asylum seekers during an election campaign

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 May 2016
    5 Comments

    'Being in the middle of an election campaign, I will not be making any partisan party political points. However being here in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, I will conclude with a critique of both major political parties, and with one piece of political advice for citizens of goodwill seeking a national asylum policy more in harmony with the ideals set out by our bishops in their social justice statement.' Yass Catholic Parish Potluck Dinner, 28 May 2016

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Laughing in the face of climate change despair

    • Fatima Measham
    • 30 May 2016
    12 Comments

    People understand that some of the solutions for the problems faced by current and coming generations are likely rooted in decisions made now. Future-proofing is not merely anticipation, but intervention on a scale that goes beyond households. It involves design and culture. It demands an international rather than insular outlook. Perhaps this is why gallows humour has seeped into my conversations about the future. I no longer expect our leaders to do something worthwhile about it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Rumours of thylacines and distant barbarians

    • Shane McCauley
    • 24 May 2016

    Here in this weather-beleaguered outpost there are so many rumours - thylacines, panthers, wagyls even that in the distant east are barbarians ... But separating deserts might as well be galaxies, and we are self-contained, and even like those theoretical others have our contentments - blue sky, blue sea, and even now the sun's great wintery eye. Hidden as we are however we hold our heads high, perhaps would not be ashamed one day to be discovered ...

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Conversations with homeless protesters

    • Tim Robertson
    • 23 May 2016
    8 Comments

    I asked John, a tall, articulate man with long hair and well-maintained hipster beard, if he'd had a chance to read the most recently published Herald Sun think-piece arguing that what they are doing is not a demand for help, but a political protest. He smiled wryly, expelled a couple of bursts of laughter and said that that may be their most accurate reporting of the unfolding situation to-date: 'This has always been a political protest ... that's always been our intention.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Swept into the milky past

    • Pat Walsh
    • 17 May 2016
    2 Comments

    The sound of my old yard broom, worn bristles rasping the brick path, wet with last night's rain, picks at a faint memory that grows louder with each stroke, and carries me back across borders of seasons, lives and landscapes, to a time of rubbing gumboots sucking through the quickmud, hands hugging mugs of steaming tea, the uphill heartbeat of the engine, the baby bleating of hungry calves, voices cussing and coughing, and the scrape of yard brooms pushing back the tide of muck ...

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Inequality in Australia is dental as anything

    • Barry Gittins
    • 13 May 2016
    5 Comments

    British research presented at the 2013 International Association of Dental Research posited 'a link between missing teeth and a patient's quality of life' and cited other research on observers' 'perception of men and women with straight and crooked teeth'. Furthermore, research by the Salvation Army in Australia records that 66 per cent of the Salvos' welfare clients could not afford dental treatment and two in five could not afford a yearly dental check-up for their children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Strong women as self-agents in remote communities

    • Jasmeet Sahi
    • 06 May 2016
    1 Comment

    Doreen, a women's leader from the community in Kalumburu, said, 'it is our dream for us women to get up and make the community stronger'. Such determination ought to be facilitated. What this means is making avenues where Indigenous culture and cultural life are at the centre of the conversation to effect change. Instead of adopting a 'helping' attitude, there needs to be a shift towards facilitating self-agency as an economically rational approach when it comes to Indigenous Australians.

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