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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Is Medicare-for-all an idea whose time has come?

    • Lesley Russell
    • 18 September 2017
    1 Comment

    Medicare-for-all is best seen as aspirational: it is shorthand for policy ideals and papers over political realities. With Republicans in control of Congress, there is obviously no immediate chance of Sanders's bill becoming law any time soon. But with Republicans and the President viewed as ineffectual in implementing their healthcare commitments and uncaring about voters' concerns, it is advantageous for Democrats to be seen to have solutions to the problems that confront their constituents.

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  • RELIGION

    Do we ban the nun's veil next?

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 24 August 2017
    29 Comments

    For an item of clothing that virtually no Australian Muslims wear, the burqa sure gets plenty of airtime. I've never seen the (usually blue) all-enveloping cloak with the small material grill for sale in any of the bricks-and-mortar Islamic clothing stores I've visited. Short of travelling to Afghanistan, the only place I can think where an anti-Islam protester might get one is by searching Halloween costume listings on eBay or Etsy.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Getting some perspective on Charlottesville

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 August 2017
    15 Comments

    Instead of refining his initial remarks about a Nazi rally in Charlottesville, which brutally claimed the life of a counter-protester, Donald Trump has doubled down. At a heated news conference in New York, he demanded that journalists define 'alt-right', invoked the idea of an 'alt-left', and lay blame on 'both sides'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding life in the obits

    • Daniel Rose
    • 30 July 2017
    3 Comments

    I read the obituaries every Sunday. Maybe as a writer I enjoy the stories people leave behind. I think too, that in this age of fake news, angry politics and incessant streams of information, the obits offer a slice of realism. One small headshot and a two inch long bio. That is all that remains of us in the end. You might think that perusing the obituaries would be depressing. But for me, it's invigorating. It's energising. It renews my faith in humanity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Awaiting the Referendum Council in NAIDOC Week

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 July 2017
    6 Comments

    It is no disrespect to those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders gathered at Uluru to say that now is the time for the report of the Referendum Council to be scrutinised by our national politicians, and that our elected leaders should pay special heed to the observations of those Indigenous members of the federal parliament who have offered considered reflections on the way forward. In particular, our elected representatives should have regard to the views of Patrick Dodson who is now Bill Shorten's Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

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  • RELIGION

    NAIDOC Week homily

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 July 2017

    There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of you, the First Australians. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the overwhelming majority of the voting public, regardless of when they or their ancestors first arrived in Australia. Given that you Indigenous Australians have spoken strongly through your representatives at Uluru in support of a First Nations Voice, it is now for the Referendum Council to recommend to government a timetable for constitutional change with maximum prospects of a 'Yes' vote.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    RIP David Passi, last surviving Mabo plaintiff

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 June 2017
    7 Comments

    Anglican priest, traditional landowner and land rights campaigner David Passi has died. He was the last surviving plaintiff in the historic Mabo decision. A year after the Mabo decision I travelled to the Torres Strait and met James Rice and Passi, the two successful litigants in the case. Returning by boat to the mainland from the island of Mer in the Murray Islands, the waters of the Torres Strait were exceedingly calm.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reimagining work is a project for the unemployed, too

    • Susan Leong
    • 23 June 2017
    4 Comments

    When I wrote recently that the future of work lies in understanding work as 'pleasure in the exercise of our energies', one reader noted 'these discussions have little meaning when you are poor or dispossessed'. Spending your life doing what you are competent at pales into insignificance when set against the prospect of a life engrossed in one's passions. That is a decision that every worker has it within their power to make. And as it turns out, it should be a concern of the unemployed, too.

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  • MEDIA

    Shielding kids from Grenfell Tower televised trauma

    • Barry Gittins
    • 16 June 2017
    4 Comments

    An article focusing on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings reported that people 'exposed to more than six hours of daily media coverage of the tragedy were more likely to experience symptoms of acute stress than those directly affected by the event'. News junkies, or those who saw extended coverage, were found to be worse off than those who actually survived the bombings. This is sobering as we consider how we deal with our children's exposure to traumatic events playing out on TV news.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    An inclusive Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 June 2017
    1 Comment

    This evening, we come together deliberately as people of diverse faiths and none, affirming the blessing of life in an inclusive country where all world views are to be respected. We are able to affirm that our spiritual lives sustain and strengthen our public lives and the vitality of the polis. Our Muslim hosts show us how to give thanks reverently for all the blessings of life, and how to attest publicly the spiritual dimension of all human life. Those of us who are migrants or descendants of migrants need to be particularly attentive to the yearnings and aspirations of those Australians who rightly claim an indigenous heritage with ancestors who have thrived on this continent for up to 60,000 years.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Egypt and Ethiopia river wars be dammed

    • Tuhimi Akebet
    • 16 May 2017
    2 Comments

    The building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile by a major Italian construction company remains a source of tension between Ethiopia and Egypt. Egypt sees the Nile as its sole source for the survival of its population and, historically, has seen itself as its sole natural guardian. Ethiopia argued in response, on the basis of unseen studies, that there would be no reduction of water downstream. Both are mindful of the disastrous war they waged against each other early in the 19th century.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    People's stories animate the landscapes in which we travel

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 29 March 2017
    6 Comments

    In the past two weeks I've met a man who crossed the Andes on foot, horse, bicycle, car and even rollerblades. I've trekked with a mountain guide to a rocky outcrop upon which he was due to marry his fiancé the following weekend, before abseiling down it with her. I've stood in a forest with a woman who came here in the hope of finding the perfect plot of land. Landscapes have a profound effect on the traveller, but it's their inhabitants who evoke for us the soul of a place far more effectively.

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