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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Grenfell Tower laying inequalities bare

    • Saman Shad
    • 28 June 2017
    4 Comments

    The Lancaster West Estate, which contains Grenfell Tower, is among the top ten per cent of the most deprived areas in England, but is located within the wealthiest local authority. As a former resident of the area the disaster has validated what I knew all along: that events such as these bring out both the best and the worst in people, and that this little corner of West London is a microcosm for greater society and an increasingly unequal world where the poor suffer while the rich increasingly prosper.

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  • RELIGION

    Family matters: Strengthening respectful relationships

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 June 2017
    6 Comments

    Here in Ballarat, you know better than most other Catholics that respectful relationships in the church community have been rent asunder by the depredations of child sex offenders whose exploits went unchecked by those ordained to exercise tradition, authority, teaching and discipline. We will strengthen respectful relationships only with a voluntary commitment to truth, justice and healing — and not one forced by a royal commission or public odour. 

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  • RELIGION

    Live by love and not by fear

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 June 2017
    6 Comments

    These cardinals have a few strong concerns. They think the pope should be setting down clear universal rules that apply to everyone in every situation. Having spent a life time as a pastor in Buenos Aires, Francis knows life is much more complex and messy than that. These four cardinals pine for the papacy of John Paul II. John Paul was a great leader and a great pope for his time. Francis is also a great leader and a great pope for his time, for our time. John Paul and Francis are very different. But then again, the times are very different.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Health gap widens as wage growth falls

    • Amy Coopes
    • 26 June 2017
    7 Comments

    Universal health care is an ostensibly bipartisan prerogative, but what it actually means and how it's achieved is a somewhat moveable feast. Spending, we are told, is unsustainable as the population ages and we move toward ever-more personalised and technologically-advanced treatment paradigms. The objective of this rhetoric is to rationalise the privatisation of our health system by stealth. The latest wages figures are something of an inconvenient truth in this 'unsustainable spending' fiction.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The Lady Macbeth of Northumberland

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 June 2017
    2 Comments

    Catherine arrives a new bride, with husband Alexander, to take up residence in his luxurious rural home. Quickly we get a sense of how little control she has over her destiny. Alexander demands she remain inside the house at all times; when one evening she wishes to go to bed early, her father-in-law orders her to remain awake for her husband. In the life of the household, she is merely an attractive object. Yet like her Shakespearean forebear, she is not averse to manipulation and violence in pursuit of her goals.

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  • MEDIA

    Balance vs fairness in giving airtime to conspiracy theorists

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 19 June 2017
    4 Comments

    The NBC has pushed ahead with its plans to air Megyn Kelly's interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones despite criticism from friends and family whose loved ones were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, which Jones claims was 'staged by actors' and 'never happened'. This contentious interview has sparked a conversation about which forums should allow dissenting viewpoints and whether dangerous ideas should be given public airtime in a news context.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Our addiction to connection is centuries old

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 15 June 2017
    4 Comments

    On a recent tour of Vaucluse House in Sydney's east, I couldn't help but notice, in every bedroom, a writing desk. I imagined Sarah Wentworth scribbling away with inkpot and pen 180 years ago. I wonder if the Wentworths went straight to their writing desks first thing in the morning, the way some people check their phones? The desire to receive news from someone somewhere else is century's old. In 1850 Tasmania had 11 newspapers, for a population of 70,000.

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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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  • AUSTRALIA

    High school racism in the merry old land of Oz

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 13 June 2017
    10 Comments

    I was told in grade nine I shouldn't bother trying out for the lead of our school play, The Wizard of Oz, because there's no way Dorothy would be Asian. Though I had no intention of trying out for the play, the fact that she told me not to bother made me arc up. The reason she gave - my incongruous Asianness - made me feel angry and ashamed. Angry because it was stupid and unfair. Ashamed because it felt somehow like it was my fault for not being white enough.

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  • PODCAST

    ChatterSquare Extra: Is religion reporting no longer relevant?

    • Podcast
    • 08 June 2017

    Shouldn't religion be treated like an essential news desk? What does journalistic competence in this area look like? How do funding cuts affect the way religion is covered? In this Extra episode of ChatterSquare, Rohan Salmond and Tito Ambyo take us through the challenges and benefits of religion reporting.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cashless Cards and other salvos in the war on the poor

    • Michele Madigan
    • 06 June 2017
    11 Comments

    In 1978 Kaurna/Narungga woman, Georgina Williams, said to me that Aboriginal people tend to be first on the receiving end of governmental oppressive practices and, when that works, the practices are extended to other poor Australians. Thirty-nine years later, almost every day brings new evidence of a relentless campaign against the poor, of which Cashless Cards are but one particularly vindictive example.

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  • ECONOMICS

    What lies beneath the finance industry's water words

    • David James
    • 05 June 2017
    10 Comments

    One thing that is rarely done is a literary-style analysis of the language used in finance and business. It can quickly reveal the sleight-of-hand, even outright deception, that plague these powerful sectors. To take one example, finance language heavily relies on water metaphors, which are deeply misleading. It is unlikely that this is done deliberately; it is more probably reification (making the intangible appear to be concrete). But its consequences have been, and remain, devastating.

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