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  • Main image: Australian banknotes (Melissa Walker Horn/Unsplash)
    economics

    Until debt do us part

    • David James
    • 20 October 2020

    The global economy was already teetering on the edge of such a debt crisis before the coronavirus hit. The economic shutdowns have accelerated the damage.

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  • Main image: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)
    australia

    Imagining the Budget

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 October 2020
    8 Comments

    The Federal Budget this year coincided with the release of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Fratelli Tutti. Both are preoccupied with the shape that society will take after COVID-19. It is tempting to compare their different approaches.

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  • (Pramuk Perera/Unsplash)
    arts and culture

    Attacks on the arts miss their value

    • Leya Reid
    • 13 October 2020
    21 Comments

    A common argument is that publicly-funded artists take unnecessarily from the ‘average Australian’. In the current international crisis, this argument fails to recognise that artists and arts workers are just as deeply impacted financially by COVID-19 as the ‘average Australian’ in other industries.

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  • Main image: Woman impacted by COVID-19 in Bangladesh. Photo Caritas Bangladesh

    One-off funding not enough for the aid budget

    • Kirsty Robertson
    • 20 October 2020

    This Budget is a missed opportunity. It was a chance for the government to do something radical, to make real and defined impacts. Instead, we’ve increased funding for some regions, but at the cost of some of the most marginalised populations in the world, who have experienced years of discrimination, poverty and displacement.

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  • Archival photo of Helen Reddy singing (David Redfern/Getty Images)

    Legacies that carry us forward

    • Bree Alexander
    • 15 October 2020
    4 Comments

    Three people died within ten days of each other in the latter part of September who have gifted great legacies that call for reflection. I find reason to bring them together here in an attempt to highlight the threads that bind them; those of women of influence. Their stories are undoubtedly varied, yet they have all contributed to the broader advancement of women and ultimately, people.

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  • Main image: Protest against rape in Lahore (Anjum Naveed/AP)

    Victim blaming in Pakistan curbs the voices of survivors

    • Annam Lodhi
    • 08 October 2020
    2 Comments

    Social media, while a blessing, has also become a curse for survivors in Pakistan. The platforms are widely used by survivors to share their stories of sexual harassment, molestation or rape. It also gives users a chance to comment and provide leeway for the perpetrator. 

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  • Man telling joke to upset woman (fizkes/Getty Images)

    No joke: OCD is not a punchline

    • Anonymous
    • 15 October 2020
    7 Comments

    ‘You’ve got a bit OCD about all this handwashing, haven’t you?’ People say things like this all the time, to mock others’ habits and the routines they follow a little too closely. Usually, it’s not meant to be offensive. Just harmless teasing. But when I hear someone say something like this, it hurts. Because I actually have OCD.

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  • An illustration of Scott Morrison as Marie Antoinette as people carry fruit below him. Illustration by Chris Johnston

    Let them pick fruit

    • Vivienne Cowburn
    • 13 October 2020
    18 Comments

    An idea that’s gaining traction, in a pandemic where international travel has stopped and many Australians are losing their jobs, is this notion that the unemployed (aka: everyone on JobSeeker payments) should go out into the regions and help the farmers pick fruit.

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  • Main image: Grandmother and granddaughter hugging. (Ekaterina Shakharova/Unsplash)

    Putting a value on a human life

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 October 2020
    7 Comments

    The response to COVID has invited reflection about the relative value of one human death (and so of one human life) as compared with another. This is a radical question because it makes us ask whether the value of a human life is defined by economic wellbeing and by potential contribution to the economy, or by deeper qualities.

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  • John Fahey (Jeff J Mitchell / Getty)

    Susan Ryan, John Fahey and the Catholic story

    • John Warhurst
    • 08 October 2020
    15 Comments

    Recent weeks have seen the deaths of former NSW Liberal Premier and federal Finance minister, John Fahey, and former Labor federal minister, Senator Susan Ryan. They were both exemplary public figures who not only made a major contribution to Australian public life but did so in a way that drew praise from all sides of politics.  

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  • Main image: Pope Francis (Catholic Church England and Wales/Flickr)

    Fratelli Tutti: seeking the common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 October 2020
    32 Comments

    Pope Francis’ latest encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti is, as we might have anticipated, a reflection on our times. The burden of the encyclical is to commend fraternity and social friendship and deplore selfishness and hostility in the response to the crisis.

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  • Confessional

    The Catholic Church and modern science

    • Bill Uren
    • 15 September 2020
    138 Comments

    Whereas the Vatican II document sought to engage with, and to respect, the autonomy of the modern world and its science, only too many of the Vatican’s official statements over the past fifty years have effectively resiled from that commitment.

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  • Main image: 'Kimba halfway across Australia' sign (Thom Devereux/Wikimedia commons)

    The federal nuclear dump is a national issue

    • Michele Madigan
    • 22 September 2020
    16 Comments

    It may have taken five years but in the last session of the recently completed Senate Inquiry, finally a government department bureaucrat has used the phrase — '…it is a national issue.' Well certainly — 'When it suits,' one might respond.

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  • Gas range (Peter Asquith/Flickr)

    Climate truth should guide recovery spending

    • Various
    • 18 September 2020
    3 Comments

    The pandemic has afforded us a preview of how a crisis plays out when the science is not properly heeded. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists have long been sounding the alarm that the health and safety of large parts of the population are at serious risk, both here and around the world. We are already seeing the damage to health and to the environment that they predicted.

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  • Weeds (Unsplash)

    The virtues of weeds

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 September 2020
    10 Comments

    The freesias are a delight, for they flower in random places on their knife-edge leaves in yellows and whites and mauves, their beauty absolving them from their dubious classification as weeds. They delight the eye, therefore they are forgiven. But why not the nightshade and the onion weed, with their delicate flowers? What makes a weed a weed, anyway?

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  • Crayons in different skin colours (Jeff Siepman/Unsplash)

    Fair enough?

    • Seetha Nambiar Dodd
    • 20 October 2020

    The story of colourism has roots that go back many generations; it has trickled relentlessly through time and is still evident in many ways today. In many countries with a colonial history, light skin was perceived, for a long time, as belonging to the upper classes, constituting power and wealth.

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  • Plover chicks (Flickr/Ethan Gosnell)

    Spring is a hard season for the lonely

    • Peter Mitchell
    • 13 October 2020
    1 Comment

    Three plover chicks prow Torkina Park, parents at their helm: their heads alert, their eyes sails. If these were waters, the kookaburra in the grevillea branches above would be a shark.

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  • Street art of Henry Lawson (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    The romance of the song

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 October 2020
    10 Comments

    He came in, sat down, and we talked about Henry Lawson. He was well read in the field, having encountered Lawson not only in a small way at school but especially at home where his mother had given him an anthology of Australian stories and he’d come across ‘The Drover’s Wife’. We hit it off: he was pleasant, engaging and witty and we resolved to continue our talk in the near future.

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