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  • AUSTRALIA

    The emptiness of reform rhetoric in Australian politics

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 08 September 2015
    4 Comments

    The recent National Reform Summit was lauded as an attempt to 'rediscover the art of reform that in the past generation helped to drive high living standards and made Australia the envy among smart nations'. Yet the urgency with which Australian pundits demand 'reform' corresponds with a peculiar opacity about what the term actually means, with its past association with the socialist movement but more recent appropriation as a neoliberal mantra. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's friendship with Indonesia is bruised but should not break

    • Emily Mitchell
    • 01 May 2015
    13 Comments

    Today, the relationship between Indonesia and Australia — the 'most important relationship' espoused by our Prime Minister — is aching. People are saying we must boycott Bali, that we must not go to Indonesia. While I understand these sentiments, I do not think this is the answer. To stay within our borders would only maintain the status quo. Instead we must embrace our neighbours and rekindle our friendship.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    David Cameron's shirtfronting impotence

    • Brian Matthews
    • 07 November 2014
    4 Comments

    Some aspects of the English/Scottish independence referendum confrontation rang interesting bells for Australia. But British PM David Cameron has had to tread cautiously on foreign policy to avoid adding grist to the 'Yes' campaign's mill. Not so Tony Abbott, for whom strutting the world stage works a treat to lift the pall of governmental confusion and unpopularity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Treating people well in Abbott's Australia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 September 2013
    40 Comments

    On the asylum seeker issue there is little to be gained in indulging resentment against the Prime Minister and the Coalition except the sour consolations of self-righteousness. The real challenge is to persuade our fellow Australians that each person matters, not because of the choices they make or the qualities they possess, but because they are human, and that a society is measured by the quality of its relationships.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turkey's Kurdish Spring

    • William Gourlay
    • 12 April 2013
    3 Comments

    A public letter from the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), declared that PKK insurgents should forego armed struggle against the Turkish military. An end to terror is one thing, but there is a way to go before Turkey's Kurds have the rights and freedoms they've long hankered for. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Moments after meditation

    • Earl Livings
    • 28 August 2012
    1 Comment

    Somewhere else car bombs split-screen the news. Somewhere else couples harangue vows and baggaged fears. Somewhere else children mimic fashion of what works what conceals. Here ... Silence infuses skin and thought ... Much like that pause before a newborn's first surprise of light.

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  • RELIGION

    On Jesuit collaboration

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 April 2012
    4 Comments

    'This Jesuit network will not succeed where Copenhagen failed, but it is an incremental contribution to one of the great moral challenges of our age [climate change].' Text from Frank Brennan's paper 'An interpretation and a raincheck on GC 35's call to develop international and interprovincial collaboration', Boston College, 28 April 2012.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The two St Patricks

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 14 March 2012
    6 Comments

    The theory that the person we know as St Patrick is an amalgam of a number of holy men is now respectably mainstream. The idea that Patrick came to pagan Ireland and changed it to an island of saints and scholars is an attractive one, however shaky that conversion has often seemed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Life lessons on the Thai-Burma border

    • Duncan Maclaren
    • 16 December 2011
    2 Comments

    Jimmy was among the quietest of the refugee students we taught. He is now a leader with a 'backpack' medical organisation whose members take medicines into the areas where 'internally displaced persons' are found. He risks his life every day since the jungle is awash with Burmese soldiers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Teaching boys to love and hate books

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 18 May 2011
    7 Comments

    My sons had their bedtime stories for years, but had to become used to my saying 'Just a minute' while I raced to the end of a page or chapter. Now grown, my technophile youngest had a most surprisng reaction to the marvellous present sent to me recently.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Faith in the dark

    • Alex Skovron
    • 08 March 2011

    Once omnipotent night slid over the campsite to reveal nothing beyond a black more dazzling than any darkness could contain, all we could do was inhale an immense presence touching everything, which we called faith.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Shark encounter

    • Vince Chadwick
    • 24 November 2010
    2 Comments

    The full moon illuminated the silky water and tepid sand like a disco ball. Rounding one corner suddenly we could see a kilometer of open beach and, in the middle distance, two men standing around a fire. The group mentality did not counsel caution. But what were they doing here?

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