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  • arts and culture

    Standing room only

    • Brian Matthews
    • 30 November 2021
    1 Comment

    The time: Queen’s Birthday Monday 1992. The place: outside the Great Southern Stand of the MCG. The occasion: St Kilda versus Collingwood. One word, belonging to the world we all now live in, brings the scene vividly back to me … because the gathering throng is clearly going to be huge — much bigger than forecast — and because one section of the G, at least as I remember it, is closed off for some local temporary reason, a very large crowd will require more than routine management.

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  • international

    The thawing of a frozen conflict

    • Justin Glyn
    • 30 November 2021
    2 Comments

    Global warming, much in the news of late, has been accompanied by another unwelcome thaw. The ‘frozen conflict’ in the East of Ukraine between a Western-backed, Ukrainian nationalist government and Russian-speaking rebels with cultural affinity with Moscow, has been heating up alarmingly.

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  • australia

    Where to now with Religious Discrimination?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 November 2021
    6 Comments

    On Thursday, three Bills were introduced to the House of Representatives: the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021, the Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021, and the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021.  Collectively, these bills constitute the Morrison Government’s response to the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review provided to government in May 2018.   

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  • The sovereign good

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 25 November 2021
    18 Comments

    Attitudes towards truth have changed. Now we accept the idea that there are different sorts of truth: the phrases historical truth, narrative truth and emotional truth come trippingly off the lips of vast numbers of people. Then there are the complex notions of fantasy and fiction: we have long subscribed to the notion of novelists making up various ‘lies’ or fantasies in order to tell underlying truths about human nature. But we also have to accept, I think, that a gentleman’s word is no longer his bond.

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  • Wipeout

    • Les Wicks
    • 22 November 2021

    The largest wave is friendship. / Heard stories about seamlessness / that sleepy beast of an upsurge that carries you in / until your fin cuts a channel in the sand. / There are dumpers that leave you gasping. / Will & persistence, how a cold current / can race to your head.

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  • Decadence

    • Thuy On
    • 08 November 2021
    1 Comment

    You’re a scavenger / so restless in your wakings / picking remnants in the hours / thieving at the doorstep / to sleep-this threshold / I turn to your profile / mussed hair dark on grey / we are always touching.

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  • Outgrowing apartheid: FW de Klerk

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 23 November 2021
    14 Comments

    The passing of South Africa’s last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, raises pressing questions about a complex historical character who, according to his brother, Willem de Klerk, slowly outgrew apartheid. In a critical sense, he was bound, understandably, by both time and context: race, the need to defend a racial hierarchy, the historical role of a segregationist system that saw his all-white National Party retain power for decades. 

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  • TikTok Tourettes: The rise of social media-induced illness

    • Jarryd Bartle
    • 04 November 2021
    2 Comments

    For the past two years, there has been a dramatic uptick in young people (almost exclusively females) presenting with tic-like behaviours indicative of Tourette Syndrome to specialist clinics in Canada, the United States, the UK, Germany and Australia. The phenomena of tic-like behaviours developed rapidly over a course of hours or days, coined ‘rapid onset tic-like behaviours’ in one paper, appears to be a form of functional neurological disorder with an unusual cause: social media.

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  • In the shadow of SIEV-X

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 01 November 2021
    26 Comments

    Two decades ago, an Indonesian vessel given the name SIEV X sank with loss of life that should have caused a flood of tears and a surge of compassion. Instead of being seen in humanitarian terms, the deaths of 353 people became a form of rich political capital, placed in the bank of opportunism to be amortised at a federal election.

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  • Is democracy going down the drain?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 November 2021
    14 Comments

    There is much discussion about the future of democracy, freedom and other aspects of liberal institutions. Mainly in the United States, under the pressure of a polarised public life. But also to a lesser extent in Australia, in the face of the evasive and authoritarian behaviour of governments and the manifest priority of winning elections over addressing the existential threats of global warming and gross inequality. 

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  • COVID and remote First Nations communities: Why are vaccination levels so varied?

    • Brian McCoy
    • 22 November 2021
    5 Comments

    We are now watching the entry of the Delta variant into the Northern Territory and with increasing concern about its possible spread across First Nations communities who vary greatly with their vaccination rates. This question was posed last Friday (19/11) on the ABC’s Coronacast: ‘Why is Indigenous vaccination so patchy?’

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  • Look back at who we’ve left behind

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 November 2021
    4 Comments

    The abrupt change in public attitudes to the threat of COVID calls to mind an earthy Cambodian proverb. It describes someone who has begged a boat ride across a river and then goes on his way without thanking or paying the boatman. Roughly translated the proverb says, ‘Flash your bum and say good-bye’.

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  • More than strawberry on the cake: A call for greater gender equity

    • Andrea Dean
    • 18 November 2021
    22 Comments

    It’s good news to see women being appointed to significant roles within the Catholic Church, including several recent appointments of women to important positions in the Holy See. In early November Pope Francis appointed Sr Raffaella Petrini as secretary-general of the Vatican’s governorate. 

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  • Assessing the Plenary: A work in progress

    • Geraldine Doogue
    • 15 November 2021
    36 Comments

    How do I assess our Plenary Council thus far? Or make sense of its related word-of-the-moment, synodality? With apologies to Churchill, dare I hope it is the ‘end of the beginning’? But of what precisely? A priest-friend distilled the challenge rather well last week to me: what would success look like?

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  • Seats at the table: Incorporating diverse identities in a global church

    • Michael Furtado
    • 11 November 2021
    44 Comments

    Every Australian diocese and parish already has its particular subcultural identity that inflects its liturgy. Celebration, being the authentic hallmark of a liturgy that reflects identity, must keep pace with a theology that also incorporates the diverse cultural space that the young inhabit. 

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  • Scott Morrison’s climate PFFT

    • Greg Foyster
    • 27 October 2021
    6 Comments

    After an excruciating few weeks of negotiations with the Nationals — and far too many hours subjected to Barnaby Joyce’s ramblings — the Morrison government has finally announced their predictably underwhelming plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

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  • The right to a healthy environment

    • Cristy Clark
    • 21 October 2021
    2 Comments

    On 8 October, at its 48th session, the United Nations Human Rights Council formally adopted a resolution recognising the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. It emphasises that ‘environmental degradation, climate change and unsustainable development constitute some of the most pressing and serious threats to the ability of present and future generations to enjoy human rights, including the right to life’.

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  • Your guide to the federal government’s climate spin — before it’s announced

    • Greg Foyster
    • 18 October 2021
    15 Comments

    In July this year the UN ranked Australia dead last out for climate action out of more than 170 countries surveyed. Yes, our federal government’s climate policies are literally the worst in the world. But while Australia is a global laggard in reducing pollution, we’re something of a leader in covering up this failure and getting away with it.

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