keywords: The Joy Of Being Wrong

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  • AUSTRALIA

    High Court not the answer to Nauru depravity

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 February 2016
    24 Comments

    Following Wednesday's High Court decision, the moral depravity of Australian funded offshore detention of asylum seekers, including children, is to continue. There is no joy to be found in our High Court applying a Constitution even more bereft of human rights protections than that of Nauru. It's time for our politicians to address the political and moral question: what purpose is actually served by sending this mum and her baby back to Nauru, when the boats have already stopped and will stay stop?

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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

    '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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Myanmar Mother Suu's moment in history

    • Amal Aung Zaw
    • 13 November 2015
    5 Comments

    The results resonate beyond the shores of Myanmar. The manner in which a fragile woman with the power of empty hands wrought a miracle, melting decades of totalitarian dominance, is the stuff of history. The world savours this moment as its own. This is the Gandhi moment, the Mandela moment of the 21st Century. In an era of ISIL killings and chronic violent wars in the middle east for 'democracy', a woman from the east has once again affirmed the moral superiority of non violence.

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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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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Windows to grace on the school bus

    • Brian Doyle
    • 13 October 2015
    6 Comments

    I am present in the kitchen window at 7.39 exactly if at all possible, to be given the gift of a kid licking his window, or a kid waving at me, or one little kid inarguably and thoroughly picking his nose. You wouldn't think that a boy picking his nose would be a glorious and poignant and thrilling and joyous sight, something that seemed truly and deeply holy, but it sure was, to me. All children are my children and yours and the bus bounces down the street every morning and we are not dead and all is grace.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Two stories of Adam Goodes

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 23 September 2015
    10 Comments

    No matter which story about Goodes a person chose to believe, the fact that the booing had such a profound personal effect on him should have at least given spectators pause. As I've written before, if someone continued to boo Goodes after everything that had been said they were at best a bully, and at worst wilfully perpetuating racism. That the boos continued right up until the last game of Goodes' career is an indictment on all AFL fans.

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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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  • A trinity of questions about Laudato Si’

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 August 2015
    3 Comments

    Pope Francis is not the first pope to address a social encyclical to everyone. But in comparison with his predecessors, Francis has been more inclusive in the process of writing the encyclical and in the final content of the document. He quotes from 17 different conferences of Catholic bishops. He is at pains to indicate that he is collaborative and that he takes the principle of subsidiarity very seriously. Being the final redactor of the text, he has felt free to interpolate some very folksy advice from time to time. He has also taken the liberty of inserting some very blunt, evocative images of environmental and economic devastation.

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  • EDUCATION

    Neither blame nor thank the Jesuits for Abbott and co.

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 August 2015
    56 Comments

    It seems absurd to hold schools responsible for the way Shorten, Abbott, Joyce, Pyne and Hockey behave. Schools have influenced them in good and bad ways, but ultimately they are their own men. So we Jesuits have no call to apologise, nor to take pride. We are not responsible for them. But we are responsible to them, as we are responsible to all our alumni, even if they languish in public life or public prisons.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Goodes, Gillard, and Australia's sick culture of victim-blaming

    • Megan Graham
    • 04 August 2015
    23 Comments

    Someone yells a racial slur at you while you were just trying to do your job. Then you get booed for months for publicly celebrating your cultural heritage. You might think, how can anyone say this is okay? With the evidence brought to light, how can it be denied or, worse, condoned? But the truth is that siding with the bully or perpetrator is psychologically far easier for your average self-serving person.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tears as a sign of inner strength in troubled waters

    • Cassandra Golds
    • 15 July 2015
    5 Comments

    'You are stronger than you know.' To scroll through Facebook is to meet such exhortations constantly. Often circular, and strangely unhelpful. Some, at a time of rising concern about violence against women, are downright alarming. 'A strong woman is one who is able to smile this morning like she wasn’t crying last night.'

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