keywords: Houston Report

  • AUSTRALIA

    Resist the normalising of gun culture

    • Susan Biggar
    • 04 April 2019
    4 Comments

    I was on a train in Melbourne's CBD when word came through there was a suspected gunman at Flagstaff Station. It turned out to be a false alarm. After Christchurch and One Nation's attempts to cosy up to the NRA, it is not surprising guns are on our minds. For most Australians this is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. That's the way it should stay.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A new standard for asylum seeker policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 February 2019
    26 Comments

    We are all gearing up for the third election in a row when boat turnbacks and the punitive treatment of refugees and asylum seekers feature. It need not be so. It’s time voters sent a message that it should not be so.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Striking Syria and the vagueness of humanitarian intervention

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 10 April 2017
    5 Comments

    Absent a Security Council resolution, the US had operated independently, adopting a policing and punitive stance against the Assad regime. 'This action,' House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted, 'was appropriate and just.' If humanitarian intervention is supposedly engineered to punish a regime in breach of obligations to protect the civilian population, it starts looking, all too often, like an act of regime change. At what point is the distinction on such matters as proportion or necessity even credible?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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  • RELIGION

    Time to defuse Nauru and Manus Island time bombs

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 August 2016
    23 Comments

    The suggestion that those camps need to remain filled in order to send a message to people smugglers is not only morally unacceptable; it is strategically questionable. Those proven to be refugees should be resettled as quickly as practicable, and that includes taking up New Zealand's offer of 150 places a year - just as John Howard did when he accepted New Zealand's offer to take 131 from the Tampa. It's time to act. Ongoing inaction will send a green light to desperate people to do desperate things.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    High Court not the answer to Nauru depravity

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 February 2016
    24 Comments

    Following Wednesday's High Court decision, the moral depravity of Australian funded offshore detention of asylum seekers, including children, is to continue. There is no joy to be found in our High Court applying a Constitution even more bereft of human rights protections than that of Nauru. It's time for our politicians to address the political and moral question: what purpose is actually served by sending this mum and her baby back to Nauru, when the boats have already stopped and will stay stop?

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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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  • RELIGION

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

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 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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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 September 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It's time Parliament had a say on 'disgraceful' PNG solution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 June 2014
    29 Comments

    Australia's cruel arrangement for asylum seekers arriving without a visa cannot be scrutinised by our courts and has never been approved by our Parliament. In the name of democracy, in the name of Australian self-respect, and in the name of human rights protection and the rule of law, it is time this arrangement was presented to our Parliament for its approval by our elected representatives or for immediate ditching. It's a disgrace.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Is our morality at sea with the refugees?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 April 2014
    8 Comments

    'We should abandon talk of taking Australia off the table. We should also abandon talk of taking the sugar off the table. The collateral damage of that is too great. The best we can do ethically and practically is to put the sugar out of reach while leaving it on the table for those who make it here with a visa or in direct flight from persecution.' Frank Brennan contributes to a Palm Sunday panel at St Michael's Uniting Church, Melbourne.

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