keywords: Personal Relationships

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis and the face of mercy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 December 2015
    2 Comments

    'I joined the Jesuits in 1975 just as the previous 32nd General Congregation (GC32) was concluding. Pedro Arrupe was at the height of his powers. That Congregation asked the question: 'What is it to be a companion of Jesus today?' and answered unequivocally, 'It is to engage, under the standard of the Cross, in the crucial struggle of our time: the struggle for faith and that struggle for justice which it includes.' I have always regarded myself as a GC32 Jesuit. Many of those who gathered for GC33 thought that the GC32 mission was a little too one-dimensional. I suspect Bergoglio was one of those.' Frank Brennan on the eve of the Catholic Church's Jubilee Year of Mercy.

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  • RELIGION

    'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2015
    1 Comment

    'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nanny State's arthritic grip contains common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 December 2015
    15 Comments

    A cyclist since my youth, I was intensely annoyed when campaigners first tried to enforce cycle helmets. I loved the wind rushing through my hair, and believed my safety could be left to my responsibility. Others might have wondered if I overestimated my sense of responsibility. It was hardly compatible with the practice of never applying the brakes when going down hills on country roads, or with the view that traffic rules applied only to cars. Later, I came to see that individual freedom must be considered in its context of human relationships.

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  • RELIGION

    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • MEDIA

    My trip down the grubby tabloid rabbit hole

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 20 November 2015
    3 Comments

    The best thing I ever did was give up reading the Mail Online. I'd log on at the end of a long day for a dose of what I thought was harmless, digestible fun. But it wasn't long before this mental junk food started to bloat my mind. When Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry appeared before a committee at Sacramento's state assembly to press for the introduction of laws aimed at protecting children from the paparazzi, I realised I was engaging in a despicable act: the consumption of other people's private stories.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Eviction porn has ethical foundations

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 12 November 2015
    1 Comment

    Against the backdrop of the crash of the US housing market, we linger on the lurid details of families' removal from the brick boxes that have been their homes for decades. We can only watch as they cycle through stages of denial, bargaining, fury and grief. These are well meaning people who have innocently fallen foul of a system that deals in laws and dollars, not humanity. It is a system so corrupt it turns the exploited into exploiters; where its desperate victims embrace corruption in turn as a means of survival.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pocock and Goodes are the role models Australia needs

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 November 2015
    10 Comments

    What are spectators to make of Adam Goodes' challenge to racial prejudice? What are they to make of David Pocock's outspoken defence of the environment and criticism of coal mining, or of his and his partner's refusal to marry in solidarity with LBGT couples? They make space for us to reflect on our own response to large human questions. But that space also invites us to judge our own integrity. The opprobrium such role models meet may arise out of discomfort with unwelcome self-questioning.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kids need care not cruelty to avoid radicalisation

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    A particular issue in Australia is the age of criminal responsibility, which varies in different states between ten and 12. Research into brain development suggests that people cannot fully take responsibility for their actions until they are 15 years old. Responsible policy must respect the human development of the child and ensure that the response to their wrongdoing takes into account their age and does not place them in processes they can neither understand nor properly participate in.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Soft sympathy and hard redemption for scarred chef

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 22 October 2015
    2 Comments

    Brilliant but volatile chef Adam humiliates and physically assaults a female colleague, Helene, over the heinous crime of mis-cooking a piece of fish. The encounter ends with Helene telling Adam to keep his hands off her and storming out. Yet clearly her justified indignation has its limits: in the very next scene she is shown madly rehearsing cooking the dish whose mangling sparked the incident. The glossing over of this abuse reinforces the notion that creative genius somehow excuses arsehole behaviour.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Devil worship on Boston's mean streets

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 08 October 2015
    2 Comments

    A Black Mass is a travesty of the Catholic Mass in worship of the devil. In this instance it is a metaphor for FBI agent Connolly's devotion to violent criminal Bulger, due in part to the social benefit he attains through his association with this powerful criminal, but running all the way back to a formative childhood encounter that is hinted at but not articulated in detail. Of the flatly villainous Bulger and the morally complex, wilfully compromised Connolly, the latter is the more palpably evil.

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