Latest articles

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison gesturing (Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)
    australia

    Election year hope and hijinks

    • Eliza Berlage
    • 18 January 2019
    2 Comments

    Entering an election year is like coming home for the holiday season. It's full of hope and hijinks but also promises and pain. And like every family, each party has its quirks. Hopefully a post-election Parliament will green light some meaningful reform to improve people's lives rather than always culture warring. But don't hold your breath.

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  • Australian $5, $10 and $20 notes.
    economics

    On banks and bonuses

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 January 2019
    6 Comments

    One of the issues raised at the royal commission into banks was the size of salaries and bonuses paid to senior staff. Subsequent discussion has tripped lightly around the issue. The larger question is whether it is in the best interests of financial institutions to offer to its senior officers huge salaries and bonuses.

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  • Close up of hands checking financial trading data on smartphone in city street at night (Getty)
    economics

    The true lesson of capitalism

    • David James
    • 15 January 2019
    1 Comment

    One of the most basic distinctions in finance, with which any stockbroker or fund manager is familiar, is that between equity and debt. As the global economy teeters on the edge of a debt and banking crisis, with global debt more than 300 per cent of global GDP, the merits of equity is something that needs to be better understood.

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  • Two men walk along a border fence that stands along a beach in the city of Tijuana. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    Scenes from the Mexican border

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 17 January 2019
    3 Comments

    There are others here on the beach, standing and staring at the border wall as the ocean tides crash and spray. I've met so many now who have been separated from their partners, parents, and children, those physical bonds forcibly torn with little possibility of reconnection.

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  • President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media as (L-R) Senator John Barrasso, Senator John Thune, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Roy Blunt and Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell listen after the weekly Republican Senate policy luncheon on 9 January 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump met with GOP lawmakers to shore up their resolve and support for his proposed border wall with Mexico as the partial federal government shutdown continues. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Opportunity amid US shutdown tragedy

    • Zac Davis
    • 14 January 2019
    7 Comments

    Schumer accused Trump of governing via temper tantrum. He's right. The wall is an ineffective and immoral solution to a deeply complicated problem. It should be rejected at every turn. And yet there's a peculiar quality to temper tantrums: in the absence of good parenting, and if you keep them up long enough, you get your way.

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  • Rahaf al-Qunun

    Qunun warmed hearts, Araibi still in the cold

    • Erin Cook
    • 11 January 2019
    5 Comments

    The world sat gripped as Rahaf al-Qunun live-tweeted her mad dash to freedom, then cheered when photos of her being escorted from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport by UN workers emerged. Hakeem al-Araibi has not been so lucky. His current nightmare is emblematic of the bureaucratic mess forced on refugees worldwide.

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  • Scott Morrison shakes finger at far-righters while overseeing his own inhumane immigration policy. Cartoon by Chris Johnston

    Government hypocrisy on Anning and fascism

    • Joshua Badge
    • 14 January 2019
    5 Comments

    The pantomime serves a purpose. Politicians denouncing Anning for his explicit support of fascism distracts from years of slightly more democratic, somewhat less in-your-face ethnonationalism. Sieg heils in St Kilda are bad, offshore internment camps are necessary.

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  • Frank Brennan (second from left) with (from left) with the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG; Claire Mallinson, National Director, Amnesty International Australia; Thomas Albrecht, UNHCR Regional Rep; and broadcaster Genevieve Jacobs following a forum at the National Library celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

    Religious freedom in secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 December 2018
    14 Comments

    Let's hope all members of parliament can agree to the insertion of such a clause in the legislation providing assurance to religious educators that they can continue to teach their doctrine in good faith while assuring all students and their families that they will not suffer any detriment while sitting at the feet of religious educators.

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  • University of Technology Sydney (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

    Philistine invasion is cringe-worthy indeed

    • Brian Matthews
    • 17 December 2018
    7 Comments

    Simon Birmingham's recent vetoing of 11 humanities research projects is a good example of cultural cringe's transmutation into populist philistinism. Scientific research projects are often more opaque to the uninitiated than humanities projects but are usually safe from ignorant criticism because their importance is assumed.

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  • Hobgoblins and Christmas tree

    Epiphany defeats hobgoblin evil

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 January 2019
    8 Comments

    One reason for the importance of Epiphany in Eastern Orthodoxy is the belief that Christmas is a period during which the world is threatened by various wicked spirits, most particularly the kallikantzaroi, the spirits of the dead: at this time they emerge from Hades (via a cave not too far from where I live) and roam the Earth.

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  • Senator Penny Wong (Michael Masters/Getty Images)

    Religious freedom in schools

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 January 2019
    29 Comments

    When Parliament resumes, one outstanding item of business will be Penny Wong's bill dealing with religious schools' capacity to discriminate against students on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. I support the bill subject to the proviso that religious schools should remain free to teach their doctrine respectfully and reasonably.

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  • Low angle of illuminated Christmas tree

    Don't knock secular Christmas

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 December 2018
    17 Comments

    The point of the involvement of God in the minute details of human life is to assert the value of the human world in all its relationships. This means that the customs and practices of our Australian Christmas should not be dismissed as a corrupted and so inferior version of the Christian celebration. They should be appreciated in their own right.

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  • Dead fish in the Darling River

    The Darling's dead fish of late capitalism

    • Cristy Clark
    • 17 January 2019
    11 Comments

    A key benefit asserted to justify treating water as an economic good is that the market will encourage 'high-value' water use to be prioritised. But, as the fish of the Darling River and the people of Walgett are experiencing, the problem with commodifying water is its social and environment values are not naturally reflected in the market.

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  • Main image: Smoke billowing from pipes (Depositphotos)

    The inequity of this silent killer

    • Cristy Clark
    • 26 November 2018
    11 Comments

    Airborne pollution is an issue of environmental justice, because it disproportionately affects those with the least capacity to move — the poor, the marginalised, and those, such as Indigenous peoples, with a significant relationship to place.

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  • Climate protest in London, sign reading There is no Planet B (Garry Knight/Flickr)

    Extinction Rebellion taking bold action

    • Kate Galloway
    • 21 November 2018
    14 Comments

    The movement is not secretive: it declares itself publicly, and openly. It announced in advance to police and emergency services: 'We are bold. We will not hide. We are all in open rebellion.'     

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  • Autumn leaves

    Mad blokes

    • Bruce Shearer
    • 21 January 2019

    He's recently retired / But not voluntarily and he / Walks down the street / With his two dinky dogs / Saying, off to the grind, as / I trudge up the hill, but / There is so much pain / In his voice as the trusty / Dinky dogs drag him on / Into the new world

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  • The Grampians

    Approaching the turnstile

    • Ross Jackson
    • 14 January 2019
    1 Comment

    If, when called upon at eighty years of age, I cannot prepare a sandwich, make a mess of my words, I fear that the thought may occur: I have my Seniors Card but I have no legacy, and I have no Torah, I have no Bible, and I have no Koran.

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  • Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas carol for a divided world

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 December 2018
    2 Comments

    In this season, I usually re-read A Christmas Carol, that timeless tour de force of the Dickensian imagination. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to the shops, where the former restores good humour to squabbling delivery boys. For, they said, it was a shame to quarrel on Christmas Day.

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