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  • AUSTRALIA

    Stand with heroic Gillian Triggs

    • Moira Rayner
    • 25 October 2016
    55 Comments

    This damnable pursuit of Gillian Triggs must stop at once. Triggs is an outstanding independent statutory office holder, one of the many appointed by governments over decades to remind them of Australia's international human rights obligations and to oversee the functions of laws to mitigate social wrongs such as age, race, disability and sex discrimination in public arenas. But no government likes watchdogs on the moral and legal limits on its power.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Western Bulldogs' example for the common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 October 2016
    5 Comments

    The best writers on sport show that it is a metaphor for life. Perhaps that is why the triumph of the Western Bulldogs in the AFL Grand Final has been so ruthlessly milked for larger significance. But I would like to exploit it once more for the way in which it illustrates the weakness of a liberal politics that assumes that all will benefit from the economic growth that unfettered competition between individuals yields. The joy of the Western Bulldogs victory lay in its challenge to these assumptions.

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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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  • ECONOMICS

    Morality is back on the economic agenda

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 20 September 2016
    4 Comments

    It is a welcome change to see budgets spoken of in moral terms. The government recently insisted on a moral responsibility to future generations to fix the deficit. And the Australian Catholic bishops welcomed on moral grounds the compromise that saw dropped from the budget measures which would further disadvantage vulnerable people. The difference was that the government's argument was focused on the budget, whereas the bishops' focused on particular groups of people.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis among other disruptive leaders

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 September 2016
    17 Comments

    Is Francis' style of political engagement effective? It has certainly gained him a favourable hearing within church and society. His message and his personality suit the times. Whether it will be lastingly effective will depend on whether he changes attitudes, particularly those of people who will be responsible for governance in church and state. But at the very least he has stressed the ethical and religious urgency of treating refugees, the environment, and the economy with respect.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Catholic Church's view on human rights

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 September 2016
    1 Comment

    'I am a Jesuit amongst Dominicans contemplating the Church's view of human rights. I am a human rights practitioner rather than a theologian, aware that human rights discourse is increasingly more universal and secular. Contemplating, preaching and enacting human rights in the 21st Century Church and World, I come asking two questions.' Frank Brennan's keynote presentation in Salamanca Spain to the International Congress of Dominicans in the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights: Past, Present, Future on the occasion of their 800th anniversary.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Environmentalists' potential allies on the populist right

    • Greg Foyster
    • 03 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The neoliberal right is losing political power to the populist right, which isn't filled with the same ideological zeal for free-market capitalism. Suddenly debates can expand beyond the narrow confines of economic growth. Moral and social arguments won't be relegated to the intellectual fringes anymore. Mainstream parties of the left and right, both of which bought into the neoliberal agenda, will have to break their bipartisan dismissal of discontent with the side effects of globalisation.

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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

    Hanson supporters must accept world has changed

    • Fatima Measham
    • 08 July 2016
    26 Comments

    Rather than her reprise, it was the appeals for civility that I found more disconcerting. Katharine Murphy, Margo Kingston and Tracey Spicer ran variations of the argument that confronting the things that Hanson and her party stand for would inflate her status (as if getting elected into the senate has not already done that). Kingston suggests seeking out Hanson supporters for a chat. Unfortunately, that is not a thing black and brown Australians do, sit down for a cuppa with people who despise them.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What matters after the election is decided

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 July 2016
    17 Comments

    After a plodding election race the stewards have called for a photo. But it looks more likely that Turnbull will be able to form a government. If so, he will need to address the interlocking challenges that we face in order to leave our children a world of possibility. The hope will be muted because both major parties promised little or nothing to address them. But we can take heart that there is certain to be an independently minded senate that can consequently strike down bad policies, and keep asking what kind of an Australia we want.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Beyond the myth of the rational voter

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 July 2016
    8 Comments

    When the democratic exercise is no longer the aggregate of informed, reasoned choices, but a matter of mood, then the business of persuasion - politics - becomes far less about ideas and more about momentary catharsis. This shifts the function of politicians and government, from leading and dispensing equity to masturbatory aid. Even so, there are questions worth asking. But at whose expense are public moods assuaged? After catharsis, what happens next?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    What if the PM went to Manus Island?

    • Samuel Dariol
    • 23 June 2016
    15 Comments

    It is one thing to sit at a desk and make policies that will impact on individuals across the sea whom you do not know. It is another thing to cross the sea, to look into the eyes of people abandoned there, to meet the children and see the pictures they have drawn, and to see in their eyes terror, despair, depression and contempt. For a prime minister to go to Manus Island would require him to throw off the shroud and stare affrighted at the maggots in the flesh of the body politic.

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