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  • australia

    Discovery or cover-up?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 August 2022

    Much has recently written about the doctrine of discovery and its bearing on the treatment of Indigenous peoples, particularly in the United States where it grounded an early legal decision. The doctrine enshrined in law claims that the discovery of underpopulated and cultivated lands conferred on the discoverers the right to ownership, and was used to justify colonial occupation of territory in the Americas, Asia and Africa.

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  • arts and culture

    This sporting life

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 10 August 2022

    It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes interested and supportive people to encourage athletic talent. A recent documentary on the world's most successful male distance runner Sir Mo Farah raises questions around how host countries know about waste of talent and opportunity when they routinely deport asylum seekers or lock them up? 

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  • international

    Impending catastrophe leads calls to help fight famine

    • Kirsty Robertson
    • 10 August 2022
    1 Comment

    Last month I travelled to Ethiopia, visiting an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp filled with thousands of people facing a hunger crisis. The triple threats of conflict, COVID and climate have created the perfect storm, with serious impacts on countries that depend heavily on grain, fuel and fertiliser imports from Russia or Ukraine, including Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan.  

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  • arts and culture

    Stray thoughts: Alone

    • David Halliday
    • 01 August 2022
    1 comment(s)

    As the boat pulls away, a figure is left standing alone on the rocky beach beneath a thick wall of fir trees. The person stares out after the boat relishing the last morsel of human contact they will have for an indefinite time.    

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  • arts and culture

    The book corner: An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 29 July 2022
    1 comment(s)

    Daniel Mendelsohn lectures in classics at Bard College, a liberal arts institution in New York State. His retired father, aged 81 in 2011, regrets gaps in his own education, and asks to sit in on his son’s course of seminars on Homer’s The Odyssey. Professor Mendelsohn agrees, and Jay Mendelsohn joins a class of 18-19 year-olds. Later, father and son go on a cruise that retraces The Odyssey where they discover: is home a physical place, or something you carry around with you or within you? 

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  • australia

    Stray thoughts: Living by make-believe

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 July 2022
    1 comment(s)

    In some ways this habit of association of ordinary personal life with the epic figures of literature or history marks a return to childhood. In it admired figures have a mythical status. I used to imagine that if, in my hand I had a Don Bradman bat, on my cap a Neil Harvey badge, or Mopsy Fraser’s number on my back, their skills would become mine. They never seemed to.

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  • At Glendalough

    • John Kelly
    • 10 August 2022

    Walk with me a while now / as an up-and-ready sun bids /  the blinking world: “Good day!” /  in this hallowed place / where two lakes meet, / and Kevin prayed / and studied in his cave; / and where water, wind and light / conspire to cast a faery gossamer / on tree and grass and stream. 

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  • ARTificial intelligence

    • Jamie Wigley
    • 09 August 2022
    1 Comment

    To many who work in the arts industry, the rise of art-making artificial intelligence may pose an eventual threat to their livelihoods. Will independent artists be replaced by corporations using AI to generate mass entertainment? 

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  • #Kindness

    • Cherie Gilmour
    • 02 August 2022
    4 Comments

    We all know the Internet can be a seething cesspool of vitriol, so the presence of heart-warming videos of people slipping $20 into someone’s coat pocket or randomly complimenting a stranger, even the ubiquitous handing out of flowers, is largely welcome. But is this actually kindness? If an act of kindness happens and no one is there to film it, did it really happen?

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  • The UK decision to extradite Assange

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 19 July 2022
    3 Comments

    The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding the extradition of Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the solemn view that he was ‘duty-bound’ to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917, and one based on computer intrusion.

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  • America after Roe v Wade

    • Chris Middleton
    • 05 July 2022
    10 Comments

    The overruling of the Roe v Wade decision by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs decision marks a significant moment in the abortion debate, while highlighting the deep fissures in America’s body politic. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruling had been foreshadowed months ago, the shock has been real.

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  • LaMDA and the (lack of) body

    • Julian Butler
    • 05 July 2022
    2 Comments

    Just over a fortnight ago Google suspended Blake Lemoine, an engineer for Google’s AI organisation, for publicly claiming a computer chatbot he was working on is sentient and thinks and reasons like a human. The publicity surrounding the suspension has raised questions about the development of artificial intelligence (AI), about our shared understanding of what it means to be conscious and sentient.  

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  • Home sweet home turns sour

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 August 2022
    6 Comments

    It is easy to view homelessness from a distance as only a failure of economic policy and of the political responsibility to deliver material goods. A home, however, is more than a house. It connotes connections that are central to humanity. Left without a home people are deprived of more than bricks and mortar; they are diminished in their humanity.

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  • Sharing a world both clean and not

    • Barry Gittins
    • 03 August 2022
    1 Comment

    History has repeatedly shown us that what gets us through a crisis, what helps us to recover and rebuild, is responding to it with prosocial behaviour ― working together, starting with our communities at the local level, and from there building mutually supportive relationships at and across every level of society. 

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  • Former detainee seeks compensation for unlawful detention

    • Maeve Elrington
    • 02 August 2022
    1 Comment

    Former detainee, Kurdish-Iranian refugee Mostafa ‘Moz’ Azimitabar, seeks compensation from the Federal Government for what he alleges was unlawful detention. Detained offshore in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and in Australia for almost eight years, Moz is seeking compensation in the Federal Court of Australia for the physical and emotional toll of his detention, particularly from the final 14 months of detention in two Melbourne based hotels.

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  • After the Plenary

    • Geraldine Doogue
    • 27 July 2022
    6 Comments

    What did the Plenary mean exactly, and what is next for the church? Secretary to the Council, Fr David Ranson, offers a rich and bracingly realistic set of observations about the Plenary Council. As secretary, Fr David was deeply absorbed in the lead-up, in the events of the week itself and now in assessing what comes next. He might surprise you with his judgements. They're delivered by a man with an acute sense of Church procedures but also with an eye to possibilities. 

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  • War, truth and Christianity

    • Peter Vardy
    • 21 July 2022
    3 Comments

    Pope Francis recognised that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was ‘perhaps somehow provoked’ and said he was warned before the war that Nato was ‘barking at the gates of Russia’. In an interview with the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica the Pope condemned the ‘ferocity and cruelty of the Russian troops’ but warned against a fairy tale perception of the conflict as good versus evil.

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  • Church reform is systemic not personal

    • John Warhurst
    • 19 July 2022
    17 Comments

    When those, like myself, seeking reform speak of systemic change to church structures those opposed to change see disrespect towards those holding positions like bishop and priest within the established order. When reformers seek the equality of women in governance and ministry those opposed to change see disrespect towards lay men and male religious as well as to other women. 

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