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  • RELIGION

    Plebiscite the only way forward for Turnbull on marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 September 2016
    23 Comments

    Once Turnbull went to the election with a commitment not to legislate for same sex marriage except after the conduct of a successful plebiscite, it was inevitable that the only way forward to resolving the issue during the life of this parliament would be by enacting legislation to authorise a plebiscite. A conscience vote during the life of this parliament, and without a plebiscite, would leave the opponents of same sex marriage rightly feeling that the government had breached an election commitment.

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  • RELIGION

    Purifying language vital to renewing 'polluted' churches

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 September 2016
    15 Comments

    Dowling, who was a victim of clerical abuse, offers a program of reflections that bring together scriptural themes and the effects of sexual abuse. Most striking is the extraordinary labour required to purify the language of a tradition that has become polluted. This is vital not simply as a therapeutic exercise but as a condition for renewal and reconciliation. It may also be pertinent to wider society, where Brexit and the Trump phenomenon have been characterised by a coarsening of public language.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    SA power play backfires

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 August 2016
    8 Comments

    On 7 July, South Australia experienced a cold snap. As residents turned on their heaters, the still and cloudy conditions meant wind and solar power couldn't contribute much to meeting electricity demand. The last coal plant had closed a few months before, pushed out of the market by renewable energy. As if on cue, the spot electricity price spiked. Instead of a lesson about the danger of too much wind power, it's about the danger of too much market power in the hands of a few big players.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Fear and loathing in One Nation's Australia

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 11 August 2016
    10 Comments

    Recently I was discussing the election of Pauline Hanson and One nation senators with some Hazara clients. These clients are Pakistani Hazaras, who speak good English. They told me they are worried about what Hanson says. 'She seems very angry,' said Ali. 'She does not understand Muslims,' added Hussein. Hussein was recently getting his car fixed and was asked if he was a Muslim. He replied that he was. 'I could see the man's face change,' Hussein told me. The man had become angry and fearful.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nauru Files reinforce the need for political grace

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 August 2016
    11 Comments

    The Guardian has released incident reports that lay bare the details of life on Nauru for people detained under our immigration regime. It is an 8000-page indictment of the ethical and moral character of this country. We've been here before. We already know that the torment of children does not move the political class, nor do the indignities meted out to women. Men have died under circumstances that flow from decisions nominally made on our behalf. What would it take to break the impasse?

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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

    Frank Brennan on John Molony's Don Luigi Sturzo: The Father of Social Democracy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 July 2016
    3 Comments

    John traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's next for maybe-PM Malcolm Turnbull

    • John Warhurst
    • 05 July 2016
    8 Comments

    Turnbull's most pressing decision if he is returned will be what to do with Abbott, whether to bring him back into the ministry or leave him on the backbench with the promise of a future diplomatic posting. He will need to renegotiate the Coalition agreement with the Nationals from a position of weakness and in the context of both these decisions begin to think about what to do with the big issues of climate change, asylum seekers aand same sex marriage. He must not just gird his loins for many tough battles but recognise that the battlelines have been re-set to his disadvantage.

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