keywords: National Human Rights Consultation

  • AUSTRALIA

    Justice for Aboriginals grows out of recognition

    • Frank Brennan
    • 19 October 2015
    7 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Contours and prospects for Indigenous recognition in the Australian constitution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 October 2015
    2 Comments

    I acknowledge those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who insist that they have never ceded their sovereignty to the rest of us. I join with those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who hope for better days when they are recognised in the Australian Constitution. As an advocate for modest constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, I respect those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who question the utility of such recognition. But I do take heart from President Obama's line in his Charleston eulogy for the late Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney: 'Justice grows out of recognition'.

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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 September 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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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

    Whistleblowing and other new crimes

    • Fatima Measham
    • 26 June 2015
    7 Comments

    Ministerial discretion over citizenship can't replace court processes. Such executive overreach, which contradicts democratic principle, has already found expression in law. From July 1st, workers involved in immigration detention, including doctors and teachers, are subject to two years imprisonment for speaking publicly about what they witness. In other words, whistleblowing has been penalised.

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  • Ambassador of conscience

    • Sean McManus
    • 25 June 2015
    4 Comments

    As much as any other religious figure in Australia, Frank Brennan has maintained a religious perspective while engaging in issues of ethics and justice in contemporary Australia. His book Amplifying that Still Small Voice emphasises the importance of the 'religious sense that the human person is created in the image and likeness of God', while speaking in the language and terms that are understandable to the public square.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Speaking for others in the public square

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 June 2015
    4 Comments

    Walking towards the courthouse, I heard a cry, 'Hey, Father Frank, over here! You've got to support us mob.' I was torn. I was chairing a national consultation at the request of the Commonwealth Government. I did not want to politicise our presence in town.   But then again, I did not want to abandon Ben and his colleagues in their hour of need. They all stood in front of an Aboriginal flag.  Some were crying out for justice for their deceased loved one.

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  • Demanding justice for the small, still voices

    • Shannon and Kateena
    • 12 June 2015
    1 Comment

    'In chapter 12 "Respecting Autonomy and Protecting the Vulnerability of the Dying", Frank quoted my grandmother ... "Well there is not much to say about euthanasia is there? Just don't kill people and look after them while they are dying. What more can you say?" Well Grandma, I am not certain that I share your view. Just as Pope Francis did not know all the answers at age 36 years, neither do I.' Frank Brennan's nieces Shannon and Kateena help launch his new book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice.

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  • A crucial time for a discerning voice

    • Michael Elligate
    • 10 June 2015

    'The Institutional Church has so often taken smug refuge in pushing the need for an informed conscience. However this does not certainly mean personal freedom must bow to the stand of the establishment. The rights of partners to be honest in their own sexual matters is given due place in this new book.' Fr Michael Elligate launches Fr Frank Brennan SJ's book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice at Newman College, Melbourne, 5 June 2015.

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  • Meddling priest's witness to the primacy of conscience

    • Paul Bongiorno
    • 09 June 2015
    9 Comments

    'In discussing Australia's asylum seeker policies Frank laments the government's deaf ear to calls from the churches, his own included, for a greater measure of compassion and a better way of dealing with the issue of boat people. Frank wryly comments: 'If only the Abbott Government with its disproportionate number of Jesuit alumni cabinet ministers could listen.' Paul Bongiorno launches Fr Frank Brennan SJ's book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra, 8 June 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The enigma of Malcolm Fraser

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 March 2015
    17 Comments

    Through the rough and tumble of politics, Fraser helped the country find true north on issues relating to race and human rights. His friendship with Gough Whitlam has been one of the great signs in Australian public life that human decency and shared commitment to noble ideals can transcend even the most entrenched political animosities cultivated across the despatch box. May he rest in peace.

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