keywords: Race Relations

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: The roots of troll culture

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 12 January 2016

    The common perception of internet trolls is that they are outsiders descending on a particular platform in order to wreck it. But there is a close relationship between trolls and the culture in which they operate. If you're a publisher seeking virality, you need to foster the strong emotions in which social media trades. Getting people to love your content is great, but outrage, incredulity and even hatred also work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Abbott's culture war

    • Sabine Wolff
    • 11 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Just when the ringing of the words 'I stopped the boats' had finally subsided and you were getting used to the idea of business agility and economic innovation as the key battlegrounds, who should pop back up but former Prime Minister and Culture Warrior in Chief, Tony Abbott. Abbott's Margaret Thatcher memorial speech — in which the words 'a hint of Thatcher about my government' were used with apparently no irony whatsoever — was a stunning example of revisionism, hubris, and confused ideology.

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  • RELIGION

    Free speech and the plebiscite on same sex marriage

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 December 2015
    39 Comments

    Chris Puplick, a former senator and former president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, is one of a rising chorus expressing strong objections to the Australian Catholic bishops daring to evangelise and speak publicly about their views on same sex marriage. I too would be very upset if my bishops were saying, as Puplick claimed in an opinion piece in The Australian, that homosexuals are 'seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids'. But they're not.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fragile earth will not be saved by Sunday

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 10 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Located in Paris in the aftermath of the attacks, COP21 spookily mirrors how climate change politics occurs within complex and pre-existing power structures that determine its effectiveness. Social and environmental wars merge with increasing intensity: from Syria to the Arctic, from Indonesia to Paris. Climate change complexity matches the complexity of terrorism. Causal chains of social conflict are as complicated as carbon movements that result in environmental distress.

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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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human rights are more than an inconvenient truth

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 December 2015
    11 Comments

    Although they can be inconvenient, human rights matter. It is important for nations to recognise them and for citizens to defend them. The survivors of the Second World War who had seen the gross violations of human rights under both Nazi and Communist regimes clearly saw this. These states regarded human rights as a privilege that they could give and take away as they chose. History spells out in the alphabet of gas chambers and gulags what that attitude meant for their subjects.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Excluding abortion protestors is a matter of dignity

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 December 2015
    51 Comments

    Last Friday, Victoria passed an amendment to establish a protest-free zone around abortion clinics. I find it impossible to reconcile with the idea that personhood in utero depends on whether a baby is wanted or unwanted, but I also believe bodily autonomy is integral to the dignity of women. There is such a long history of women being deprived of agency across political, economic, social, sexual and cultural dimensions, that being able to make a choice carries its own compelling morality.

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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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  • 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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Untangling the murky Turkey plane incident

    • Justin Glyn
    • 26 November 2015
    6 Comments

    The downing of a Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber by Turkey reminds us of the risks which attend military intervention. There are, however, a number of additional complicating factors which promise to make the Syrian war even more dangerous and bloody for all sides. The situation could escalate dangerously. If this kind of event is not to become much more common, potentially leading to a much wider war, genuine peace talks with a lot more honesty on each side need to be a priority.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    On tolerance and terrorism

    • Chris Middleton
    • 16 November 2015
    14 Comments

    In many of these conflicts religious difference constitutes an important element in the conflict. Some commentators point to religion as the cause of many of humankind's wars. In a sense they are correct, as they would be also if they ascribed war to humankind's quest for liberty, equality, justice, or even love. It is a paradox of the human condition that that which is noblest in the human often gives way to violence and intolerance. How are we supposed to react to such an attack?

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