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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why Pope Francis is not an anti-Capitalist greenie

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    Francis knows there are all sorts of issues inside and outside the Church where for too long people with power have tried to keep the lid on, in the hope that the problems and complexities will go away, often by parodying those who see the problems or complexities as small 'l' liberals or cafeteria Catholics. He delights in being joyful and troubled while contemplating big problems, calling people of good will to the table of deliberation reminding them of the kernel of the Christian gospels. He has the faith and hope needed to lift the lid without fear and without knowing the answers prior to the dialogue occurring.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Learning how to die with chimera Montaigne

    • Patti Miller
    • 14 October 2015
    13 Comments

    I have always felt guilty about an inability to commit to any belief system. So when Montaigne said 'Only fools have made up their mind', I felt an enormous sense of relief. He knew that those who are certain are the ones to shut down newspapers, lop off heads, blow up planes, burn books. There is a thread throughout his essays, too, of him finding sex undignified and therefore unfitting for grown men and women. It is one of his many contradictions and confronts me with my own contradictory attitude.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Growing old in Australia is a difficult business

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 07 October 2015
    9 Comments

    Well, I know the dehumanising rot began to set in a long time ago. I have a vision of George Orwell sitting on a cloud and wringing his hands in renewed horror, for now the business model and associated language appears to have taken over the world. In short, the changes in aged care could be counterproductive, as the aims of streamlined access and equity may result instead in the development of barriers and more inequity. Growing old clearly means more hard work, and more adjustment.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The children of Aleppo

    • Graham Kershaw
    • 22 September 2015
    1 Comment

    I dreamt of a family escaping through pines, over the crest of a forest, young and old struggling down to the shore of a great cold lake, their only hope of escape; no boat was there, but the strong might try to carry the old, at least, if they cared enough. And it made me want to simply run away, to escape the brain-ache of not doing what we are best made to do.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian Citizenship Day with an edge

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 September 2015
    8 Comments

    This is traditionally a soft occasion, with ceremonies to welcome those becoming Australian citizens, in the presence of the local mayor, and the presentation of a small tree as a symbol of their own grafting on to the Australian vine. But this year the day has deeper meaning, in the wake of the Australian Government's introduction of anti-terrorism legislation designed strip citizenship from certain individuals with dual nationality.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Broken porcelain illuminates destructive Dutch colonial legacy

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 16 September 2015
    4 Comments

    400 years ago, when Mauritius was still uninhabited, a cyclone thrust three tall ships of the Dutch East India Company against the coral reef. As the ships were ripped apart and thousands of Ming porcelain pieces on board smashed, the crew fought for their lives, but 75 men including the fleet commander Admiral Pieter Both, drowned. I picture that Sunday afternoon in the 1980s when my mother and I were wading in the water close to a familiar beach and found washed up shards of the porcelain. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How Abbott was defeated by his own pugnaciousness

    • Andrew Thackrah
    • 15 September 2015
    24 Comments

    After Malcolm Turnbull announced on Monday afternoon that he was challenging Tony Abbott for the LIberal leadership, commentators were unanimous in their speculation that Abbott would not give up the prime ministership without a fight. The pugnaciousness that characterised his political style was similarly part of the playbook of Canadian PM Stephen Harper, who was also seen to base his interaction with political adversaries on their 'standing' rather than debating policy. In Abbott's case this turned out to be a fatal flaw.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It’s time Mr Heydon was taken to court

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 September 2015
    7 Comments

    Senator Penny Wong moved a motion requesting the Governor-General to sack Dyson Heydon from the unions royal commission. This is a disgrace. It evokes memories of Governor General John Kerr sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam almost 40 years ago. The unions must appeal Heydon's decision to the courts, or abide by the umpire's decision.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Operation Fortitude aftershocks

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 September 2015
    9 Comments

    Actions taken in the Immigration Detention Centre after the 28 August aborted Border Force operation involved the use of force and intimidation on people who are being detained. Not for their misdeeds or any threat they pose, but for the convenience of the Department. And they disclose what happens when ABF officers are permitted to to use any force they think necessary without proper accountability.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't fence me in

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 28 August 2015
    5 Comments

    As immigrants settling in Australia, the relative lack of fences and security measures was a sign that we'd chosen a safe and respectful country. This erasing of margins implied at once both mutual trust and an innate respect for the invisible boundaries that demarcated people's personal space. But 13 year later, I'm noticing the emergence of fortified residences boasting shiny black fences and firmly shut gates.

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  • The insights of Pope Francis in shaping Catholic health and aged care

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 August 2015
    7 Comments

    When addressing Italian doctors last November, Pope Francis quoted St. Camillus de Lellis who suggested that the most effective method in caring for the sick was simply to 'Put more heart into those hands.' Let's do something to change the market settings and political settings here in Australia to modify the behaviour of all Australians in the future, and let's attend to our own Franciscan interior ecological conversion with our care for the vulnerable.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What might have been for the toddler in the suitcase

    • Jen Vuk
    • 07 August 2015
    8 Comments

    Behind scrub on a nondescript South Australian highway lay a battered suitcase. It had been abandoned and largely forgotten, yet its presence was incongruous in this vast, unforgiving landscape. Last month, one passer-by was so disturbed by what he found after peering inside that he contacted police. Just off the Karoonda Highway in Wynarka, in South Australia's Murray Mallee region, a terrible secret had lain in wait.

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