keywords: Advent

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Putting a face to the effects of Australia's aid freeze

    • David Holdcroft
    • 12 May 2017
    4 Comments

    Alain is one of around 11,000 people living in this particular camp in the south of Zimbabwe. It seems an unlikely location to talk of the freeze on funding for Australian foreign aid announced in the budget, but it is in places like these, unseen and therefore unknown by the Australian population, that the effects are often felt. Alain is lucky: the camp where he lives has good education. Worldwide however, only 50 per cent of children in forced migrant situations will attend primary school, 22 per cent secondary and a paltry 1 per cent any institution of higher learning.

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  • RELIGION

    Finding meaning in a chaotic/changing world

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 May 2017
    1 Comment

    Our Church is presently a strained, outdated social institution with an exclusively male hierarchy and clergy. But it is also the privileged locus for us to be called to the banquet of the Lord sharing theology and sacrament which have sustained the hearts and minds of similar pilgrims for two millennia. Thank God for Pope Francis who is showing us the way, helping us to find meaning in our changing and chaotic world, putting a fresh spring in the step of all those Catholics holding in tension the prophetic and the practical, the theological and the humanist, the tradition and the contemporary reality.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Unis share blame for profit motive funding model

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 03 May 2017
    14 Comments

    For various reasons, 'free' education in Australia has been qualified by HECS, which actually serves to wedge the liquid incentive of government and educational institutions on the one hand with the need for students to obtain affordable education on the other. Even that balance is now under threat, with a pre-budget announcement suggesting cuts to university funding and increasing costs to student degrees are in the offing. Universities are far from blameless in the present distorted funding model.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Rogue relations: The US vs North Korea

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 19 April 2017
    6 Comments

    A truculent rogue in the White House fumes at an upstart rogue in Pyongyang, both fumbling away in the kindergarten of blunder and realpolitik. How do they measure up in the stakes of rogue behaviour? Even conservative commentators such as Samuel Huntington noted in 1999 that the US is 'in the eyes of many countries ... becoming a rogue superpower'. International law, for the bomb-heavy bully, is a convenient moral reference when needed, but is avoided like a leper when it becomes an impediment.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    No easy judgement in Syrian chemicals attack

    • Justin Glyn
    • 07 April 2017
    13 Comments

    The pictures coming out of Khan Sheikhoun are horrific. Children foaming at the mouth, some with terrible head wounds. No wonder the reaction of the world has been outrage. 'Assad must go' has been revived as a catchphrase in the West. We are right to be appalled. Yet several features about the reported sarin attack in Syria's Idlib Governorate should give pause in the current rush to judgment. Firstly, while you wouldn't know it from much of the media, the facts themselves are contested.

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  • MEDIA

    Wherefore art thou women on film?

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 03 April 2017
    4 Comments

    I can think of many films I saw in childhood which still resonate because of their morals and characters. The dark and dangerous fire swamp of The Princess Bride, where Westley must wrestle with rabid beasts to save the damsel in distress, taught me about bravery. The Harry Potter series shows a boy who has suffered a great loss but finds community and purpose during his time at Hogwarts. There's something all these movies have in common: they were all about men.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't underestimate the politics of hate

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 March 2017
    15 Comments

    The Prioress in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales had a brooch alluding to Virgil's phrase, 'love conquers all'. In her case, her love for her two lapdogs beat her affection for mere people. But in public life one wonders about the truth of the epigram. Indeed a good case could be made that hatred conquers all, and that it is stronger than love. The advent of Donald Trump with his individual style has occasioned lament that the public world is now dominated by hatred and contempt. But there is nothing new in it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Market thinking is not the way to improve prison education

    • Tony Smith
    • 13 January 2017
    4 Comments

    If the argument about sacking specialist education officers for NSW prisons holds, then perhaps it should be applied to schools. Sacking all permanent teachers and throwing all lessons across the state open to tender should improve educational outcomes. The absurdity of such a suggestion should be obvious. If the government is serious about improving prison education, it should work with the experienced teachers to make those improvements.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elderly tourists on border control hit list

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 08 December 2016
    22 Comments

    What does it take to secure room at Australia's inn? For the refugee, it's virtually impossible, with a fraction of the many millions of displaced people in the world granted entry into this privileged country each year. Those who immigrate here, like my own family did, must engage in an expensive and convoluted process. But the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has now subjected a third group of people to its program of suspicion and inhospitality: elderly tourists.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    No vacancy at the inn (or anywhere else in Australia)

    • Marlene Marburg
    • 05 December 2016
    5 Comments

    Please god of the fit and strong, forbid we should become 'the un-lucky country'. Help us to conjure the nerve to say, There is no room for you here in Australia. No vacancies. All full up. You will be turned away while you are trying to give your family respite from poverty or war. We have no room for you. We are using our space for shops. And Christmas trees.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The unique labour conditions of millennials

    • Sonia Nair
    • 28 November 2016
    11 Comments

    Belonging to a generation where I was constantly told I could do anything I set my mind to, I was carted off to every class imaginable as a young child - art class, violin class, music theory class, English literature tutoring and so forth. But the advent of unparalleled choices that was constantly peddled to me did not coincide with an increase in the spaces that are available for young people to excel, or much less be employed, in the fields of their choice.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Middle class privilege is more than material

    • Sonia Nair
    • 24 October 2016
    15 Comments

    Social theorist Pierre Bourdieu posited the disturbing finding that academic underperformance in lower-class students could be traced back to their lack of cultural capital, defined as 'familiarity with the dominant culture in a society, and especially the ability to understand and use 'educated' language''. According to Bourdieu, the mainstream education system assumes a certain level of cultural capital and as a result, educators speak in a manner that is only understood by a privileged few.

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