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  • australia

    Has the pandemic changed the way we work for good?

    • Tim Dunlop
    • 26 October 2021

    We are in the midst of what is being called the ‘the Great Resignation’, with millions of workers rethinking the place of work in their lives, and WFH is a huge part of this. According to a report by Microsoft, ‘over 40 per cent of the global workforce [is] considering leaving their employer this year’ and hybrid work — a combination of home and office work — is here to stay.

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  • australia

    Poor-blaming lets governments off the hook

    • Claire Victory
    • 26 October 2021
    2 Comments

    We don’t need further commentary that gives people who are well off yet another excuse to demonise people living in poverty and to blame them for their circumstances. It lets governments off the hook – governments which should be addressing the structural causes of poverty.

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  • religion

    The careful choreography of plenary

    • Francis Sullivan
    • 25 October 2021
    3 Comments

    The First Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council held few surprises. The program made sure of it. Proceedings were carefully choreographed and the agenda was deliberately anodyne. It took several days before participants found their feet. The upshot was a week devoid of strategic focus.

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  • Climactic events in Royal Park

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 October 2021
    1 Comment

    These weekday mornings all is quiet. / I stroll across the highway, / a piddle of cars in the outbound lane, / a puddle at the distant lights. / Along the parkland trail / cowled figures walk alone, / measuring their distance. / From the rise above the railway cutting / Macedon stands burly in the smoke-free air.

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  • Poetry in lockdown: Recent work of Hermina Burns

    • Jennifer Gribble
    • 14 October 2021
    7 Comments

    Well before the pandemic, the future for poetry’s slim volumes was looking far from healthy.  Last November, the threatened closure of UWA Press, one of the largest publishers of poetry in Australia, drew attention to the narrowing opportunities for emerging poets to make their mark. 

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  • Observing October

    • Barry Gittins
    • 11 October 2021
    3 Comments

    I have decided to observe October as a month to observe other people observing things. For me, there was a sense of self crumbling under the weight of being house arrested for the good of all. Gravitas, like gravity, can be crushing; I knew I needed a break from howling at the Moon (16 October is the ‘international observe the Moon night’). So to the calendar I turned.

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  • Booster bandits and booster jabs

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 14 October 2021
    10 Comments

    With the world clearly divided between those vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are not, ethicists, public health specialists and politicians have become more preoccupied by the prospect of booster shots. 

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  • What’s next for Afghanistan?

    • Hava Rezaie, Hayat Akbari, Zaki Haidari
    • 28 September 2021
    5 Comments

    It has now been over a month since the Taliban seized Kabul. As attention inevitably shifts elsewhere, the painful question arises: What's next? Is this another 'back to the future' moment? The signs are grim. Over the last two weeks, the Taliban have issued a number of edicts which demonstrate that their attitudes to women have not changed.

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  • Australia’s nuclear submarine trade-off

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 20 September 2021
    29 Comments

    Defence is a costly business, and few branches of defence are more costly, and questionable, than a country’s submarine capability. Since 2009, Project SEA 1000, the name for Australia’s Future Submarine program, has fascinated strategists and defence planners.  In 2016, this resulted in an agreement with the French submarine company DCNS (now called Naval Group) to build an un-designed attack class vessel. Other contenders in the competitive tender — Germany and Japan, for instance — had existing models. 

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  • Accepting uncertainty

    • Tim Hutton
    • 21 October 2021
    6 Comments

    The pandemic has been a clear demonstration that science is a method, not an endpoint. It is an ongoing process of hypothesising, testing, and interpreting the results of those tests through public policy. Though the hypothesis may be accepted or rejected, these interpretations are unlikely to be absolutely definitive statements or recommendations and are usually made with varying degrees of certainty.

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  • What we talk about when we talk about mental health

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 19 October 2021
    2 Comments

     Millions of Australians are slowly emerging from another lockdown and it’s again reported our mental health has suffered. The Victorian Government recently announced 93,000 hours for mental health clinicians to work across the state, and the delivery of 20 pop-up community mental health sites.

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  • The sacked professor Ridd's freedom of speech

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 October 2021
    5 Comments

    The High Court decision has been confusing for many people because it both upheld Ridd’s right to intellectual freedom and the university’s entitlement to sack him for breaches during disciplinary proceedings which had followed upon two wrongly argued censures. Basically, Ridd won on the point of intellectual freedom but he lost on the other aspects of his behaviour which had nothing to do with the exercise of intellectual freedom. 

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  • In a state of synodality

    • Brian Lucas
    • 21 October 2021
    14 Comments

    One takeaway from the First Assembly of the Plenary Council that might come as no surprise is that the controlling elite in the Church, the bishops, are not dependent on popular support. They are appointed not elected. They are generally irremovable. They come from a culture that is about preserving ‘the tradition’ (which can easily be expanded to include historical novelties that are not really part of the tradition). Moving into the new world of synodality brings obvious challenges.

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  • Handing on a tradition

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 October 2021
    13 Comments

    One of the challenges facing churches today has to do with tradition. Tradition is a sometimes charged word, but it refers to an everyday social need. It has to do with how a community passes on its way of life and its understanding of authoritative writings that shape it. The word itself can refer both to what is passed on and to the process of passing it on. The challenge of passing on a tradition is perennial. Both ways of living and writings reflect the culture of their own time and so need to be translated into the changing languages of later cultures.

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  • The Plenary Council: Restoring the Third Rite

    • Bill Uren
    • 05 October 2021
    14 Comments

    As a result of the pandemic, like other religious observances, the availability of the Sacrament of Penance has been drastically curtailed, and it is unlikely that recourse to the sacrament will be as frequent as previously even when the restrictions are lifted. Further, the confidence of the laity in the inviolability of the seal has, understandably, been undermined, a consequence of which may again be that recourse to the sacrament will be in decline. 

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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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  • Children don’t need counselling for climate anxiety, they need climate action

    • Cristy Clark
    • 13 September 2021
    7 Comments

    It was reported recently that Coalition MPs have been calling for an expansion of the government’s school chaplaincy program in order to reduce the mental health impacts of climate change ‘activism and alarmism’ on children. Yes, that’s right, they want to address the mental health impact of activism, not the impact of the actual, visible effects of climate change itself, or the very real threat that it poses to children’s futures.

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