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  • RELIGION

    New horizons for justice and solidarity

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 September 2018

    As leaders like Gough Whitlam and Patrick Dodson have attested, if we are to imagine and strive towards New Horizons for Justice and Solidarity, we need conviction, perseverance, capacity for compromise, relationships of trust, humour.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Nowhere to hide thanks to wi-fi in the sky

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 29 June 2018
    2 Comments

    Who wants wi-fi up in the air anyway? Until the recent arrival of in-flight internet connectivity, flights presented one with a rare opportunity to escape real life and forget it ever existed. This, after all, is the reward for a long, uncomfortable flight: precious time. At least, it used to be.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Will veganism save the planet?

    • Cristy Clark
    • 08 June 2018
    13 Comments

    Researchers from Oxford concluded that consumers have significant power to 'deliver environmental benefits on a scale not achievable by producers' by excluding animal products from their diets. Interestingly, this report comes at a time when the uptake of veganism is growing significantly, both globally and in Australia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    What we think we know about the Syrian war

    • Justin Glyn
    • 19 September 2017
    8 Comments

    You could be forgiven for never having heard of Deir ez-Zor. There is virtually no mention of it in the Western press, except by British journalist Robert Fisk. Yet this ancient Syrian city of just over 200,000 people on the banks of the Euphrates is the site of what looks to be the final defeat of the dream of ISIS of creating an ethnically cleansed, sectarian caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A credibly Christian church would respect gay employees

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 August 2017
    47 Comments

    A threat reportedly made, and later denied, by some church leaders was to dismiss from employment in Catholic organisations people who contract same-sex marriages. The argument is that Catholic organisations must uphold the teaching of the church, and that upholding church teaching implies living in a way consistent with it. Whatever the abstract merits of this argument and its applicability to dismissal in limit cases, its general use belongs to a past age.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    An inclusive Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 June 2017
    1 Comment

    This evening, we come together deliberately as people of diverse faiths and none, affirming the blessing of life in an inclusive country where all world views are to be respected. We are able to affirm that our spiritual lives sustain and strengthen our public lives and the vitality of the polis. Our Muslim hosts show us how to give thanks reverently for all the blessings of life, and how to attest publicly the spiritual dimension of all human life. Those of us who are migrants or descendants of migrants need to be particularly attentive to the yearnings and aspirations of those Australians who rightly claim an indigenous heritage with ancestors who have thrived on this continent for up to 60,000 years.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Artificial womb has many possible futures

    • Kate Galloway
    • 09 May 2017
    6 Comments

    One of the big science stories in the last month has been the invention of an artificial womb. The device has successfully assisted a number of lamb foetuses to term, and scientists are hopeful it will also assist premature human babies. What a wonderful development, to alleviate the health complications for those tiny babies and reduce the heartache for their parents. But the potential of the invention does not stop there. Like all tools, humans could choose to put it to use in ways that are good or bad.

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  • RELIGION

    Sheikh Fehmi talked me out of going to war

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 04 October 2016
    11 Comments

    Fehmi Naji El-Imam, the former Grand Mufti of Australia who died last month, taught us at a time when we had no internet and books on Islam were limited. Politicised religion was all the craze. In Afghanistan, a coalition of local militias and foreign fighters, the Mujahideen, were receiving support from Western leaders. Conservative politicians praised them for taking on those nasty Soviet Communists. It was easy to be carried away, to have one's faith shaped by overseas events. I almost did.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    I'm not falling for Turnbull's diabetes bribe

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 24 June 2016
    5 Comments

    Facing his first election as leader of the Coalition, Turnbull announced that, if reelected, his party would spend $54 million on continuous glucose monitors for up to 4000 Type 1 diabetics under the age of 21. This impressive promise was a lightning rod to the children and small number of adults diagnosed each year with Type 1 diabetes. But it comes too late for Donna Meads-Barlow, who has campaigned tirelessly for government funding for CGMs, and upon whose efforts the government has finally taken action.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Vacuous politics breeds vacuous politicians

    • Justin Glyn
    • 15 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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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Homeless truths from an agent against poverty

    • Brian Doyle
    • 09 March 2016
    8 Comments

    The tall man had worked for the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence for years, and long ago had lost any illusions about the overarching nobility of people who were hammered and lost and helpless against addictions, diseases, crisis and tragedy. I asked him about the most wonderful people he'd met, and he told me some amazing stories, and then I asked him about the worst, and he told me some horrifying stories, and then his face twisted and he told me about the worst of the worst.

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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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