Vol 24 No 22

10 November 2014


 

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Richard Flanagan sorts suffering from virtue

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 20 November 2014
    4 Comments

    Winning the prestigious Man Booker prize has given Richard Flanagan's 2013 novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North precious new shelf life. I've long considered Flanagan an alchemist - giving everyday words an unmistakable verve and turning a phrase until it takes flight. But he's also a proud Tasmanian storyteller who now has the world's ear. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The ABC is not a business

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 20 November 2014
    25 Comments

    Governments are  tempted to use budgetary accountability as a neat cover for corporatisation of public utilities. As public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS do not inhabit the same philosophical territory as Sky News or Channel 7. The ABC's cuts are based on an efficiency report prepared by a financial officer from the commercial media. It does not seem relevant that balanced budgets do not deliver educated audiences.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis celebrates a homeless man's 50th

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 November 2014
    29 Comments

    Last week the Pope's almsgiver installed showers in St Peter's Square, for people who are homeless. This followed his meeting a homeless man, discovering it was his 50th birthday, and inviting him to dinner in a local restaurant, only for the man to decline on the grounds he smelled. The gesture was seen to have Pope Francis’ finger prints all over it, and it illuminates the differences of perspective between him and other church leaders.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Grieving women rock immutable Islam

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 19 November 2014
    2 Comments

    The three recently reunited sisters are immersed in whispered conversation, during the second day of mourning at the house. In the next room, older men in ceremonial garb chant a mourning ritual. Suddenly, the sisters get the giggles, only to be angrily shushed by one of the men in the next room. But grief can't be stage managed, and it seems only natural that the process should be guided by normal human interaction.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Why the rich are getting richer

    • David James
    • 18 November 2014
    6 Comments

    Investing capital in the production of goods and services may create jobs, but it's not the best way to make money. It's more profitable to manipulate the financial system to create more money from money, which is why the finance sector does so well. The polarisation of wealth is less extreme in Australia, but we have our own capital-driven Ponzi scheme - the residential property market, which has become an exercise in making money out of money. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Doing good and being happy

    • Shira Sebban
    • 18 November 2014
    4 Comments

    People of faith seem able to find an opportunity for growth, spirituality and meaning in every good deed they do, apparently experiencing true happiness along the way. By way of contrast, emotional happiness is often dismissed as selfish, elusive and unpredictable. But focusing on 'what works for us', and connection through family, friendship and community, also allows us to find purpose, and to savour many happy moments along the way.

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  • CARTOON

    Bearing up

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 18 November 2014
    3 Comments

    View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A faithful woman visits me weekly

    • Ian C. Smith
    • 17 November 2014
    1 Comment

    Supplying food, whisky, news, loving sex. All this on a pine-scented mountain. I trim my stark white beard, shampoo, sweep, spray, squeegee and swipe. The hour you drive up our steep hill I open our front gates like a greeting.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abbott ready to put G20 behind him

    • Tony Kevin
    • 17 November 2014
    4 Comments

    Abbott's best G20 moment was his closing media conference, where he gave an outlined the meeting's achievement of a 2.1 per cent global economic growth plan  over the next few years. But on two important matters – climate change and Ebola - the dynamic of the meeting got out of his control and produced outcomes clearly not to his liking. Abbott's counter-strategy – quite successful in retrospect – was to set media hounds running to the side-drama of Vladimir Putin. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't let Vlad's side show distract from the G20's purpose

    • Michael Mullins
    • 16 November 2014
    10 Comments

    The Murdoch press was reporting on Friday that Australian warships had been dispatched to 'intercept' the Russian flotilla 'steaming towards the G20 summit in Brisbane'. Serious heads needed to prevail for the G20 to maintain its relevance and Australia its credentials to host important events that do not concern sport. The Brisbane G20 had an opportunity build on the climate change action momentum established at APEC, or yield to the new climate deniers who don't accept that renewable energy is also good for economic growth.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Putting Putin's record into perspective

    • Justin Glyn
    • 16 November 2014
    17 Comments

    Amid talk of whether Vladimir Putin would leave the G20 early and numerous reports of frosty encounters between him and other summit leaders, Western media coverage has portrayed him as an erratic and dangerous dictator whose rule damages the once-great country he leads. But it would be foolish to pretend that the West did not take advantage of the weakness of the former Soviet states in the 1990s. Russia was looted of its assets, many of which found their way abroad.

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  • RELIGION

    Restorative justice for child sexual abuse victims

    • Vic O'Callaghan
    • 16 November 2014
    15 Comments

    Total focus on designing the right professional standards policy could be creating a hole, where all that is heard is a droning 'let's move on' message. Where are the stories of people gathering to help mend and heal themselves and the victims of this horrific episode in our history?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope's G20 hospital pass to Abbott

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 November 2014
    18 Comments

    The news that Pope Francis has written a letter to Tony Abbott makes one pause. It is usual for Popes to write such letters, and luckily this one is no shirtfront. Instead it will probably be treated as a hospital pass. The trouble with swerving away from hospital passes, though, is that the watchers may see you as cowardly.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    There's no such thing as a free blessing

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 13 November 2014
    2 Comments

    I looked at the Brahmin and felt a cackle rising in my throat. 'You said this blessing was free,' I said. 'The blessing is free, but you must pay for the maintenance of this place,' he insisted, sweeping his arm up towards the ghats and the temples surrounding it. I wondered briefly what the consequence would be of defying the Brahmin's demand.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hun Sen's Cambodia a mirage on the Mekong

    • Tony Kevin
    • 13 November 2014
    1 Comment

    Phnom Penh is a lively, bustling, often happy city of energetic and industrious people, with amazing growth statistics. In 2004 half of Cambodians lived in poverty, and by 2011 the figure had dropped to 20%. But this belies the terrible state of public health, the corruption in education, the abuse of human rights, and much more.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Male spirituality in Kiwi portrait of mental illness

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 12 November 2014

    New Zealand filmmaker Robertson’s latest feature has been described as a cross between modern antipodean classics Once Were Warriors and Shine. Like Warriors, Dark Horse considers masculinity, violence and spirituality in the lives of urban Maoris. Like Shine, it offers a moving portrait of a character whose mental illness appears to be the dark reflection of esoteric, obsessive genius.

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  • RELIGION

    Tonti-Filippini's intellectual quest undaunted by physical pain

    • Zac Alstin
    • 12 November 2014
    7 Comments

    Utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer paid tribute to his friend and intellectual nemesis Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, who died last Friday after suffering pain and discomfort for much of his life. The majority of Tonti-Filippini’s influence on bioethics in Australia took place out of the public spotlight, including has work as chair of a govenment committee on the care of people in an unresponsive or minimally responsive state.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Slain El Salvador Jesuits paid price for their advocacy

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 November 2014
    13 Comments

    Before the killing of five Jesuits and two of their employees in San Salvador exactly 25 years ago, the Jesuits had been advised to hide from the death squads. They decided it would be safe to stay at the University because it was surrounded by the army. But it was an elite army squadron that had been entrusted to kill them. The Salvadorean defence minister later described the decision to kill the Jesuits as the most stupid thing the Government had done. 

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  • CARTOON

    Tough talking Tony

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 11 November 2014
    14 Comments

    View this week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The masala stone

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 11 November 2014
    18 Comments

    Families, like mine, that are born from migration are reborn punctually through the scent of their cuisine. It's the 1970s and a grinding rhythm from the garden is audible through my window. Leaning over the ros kari, Jessie, our family cook, is crushing spices for the evening curry. With her two hands, she holds flat a cylindrical stone, the baba, and rolls it with her wrists back and forth, on its large rectangular base.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The honourable and quirky Wayne Goss

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 November 2014
    10 Comments

    Wayne was a no nonsense fellow with a real commitment to justice for Aboriginal Australians during the difficult Bjelke-Petersen days in Queensland. He put himself on the line, and would always come back to the office with a smile and a joke about the latest put down he suffered at the hands of the unforgiving magistrate not much given to pleas invoking past dispossession. He was irrepressible. He knew there had to be a better way.

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  • RELIGION

    Which bishop is challenging the bank on fossil fuels?

    • Jill Sutton
    • 11 November 2014
    3 Comments

    There has been an avalanche of divestment, including from the Rockefellers and the ANU, as they discern a lack of concern for environmental, social and governance issues. Shareholders attending Wednesday’s Commonwealth Bank AGM will hear a resolution requesting more transparency about the bank’s fossil fuel investments. But the bank’s response can seem like a game whose rules only become clear to its participants as they play it. Banks and other powerful organisations can still exploit any lack of clarity. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Meeting a fish

    • Yan An
    • 10 November 2014
    1 Comment

    The fish, ferocious like the eerie bird … challenges me to take it out of the water. … The thought of chucking it down from the heights, and sinking it into the unknown abyss, causes me to break out in a cold sweat. … Its mouth open … as if it had broken its vocal cord, reminding me of one night, when a kid, lost on the road, was crying, imperceptibly, in the darkness, half-visible, walking alone.

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  • RELIGION

    The Vatican's Francis Revolution gains pace

    • Paul Collins
    • 10 November 2014
    23 Comments

    An important power shift occurred in Rome at the weekend, and it has a genuine Australian connection. The nuncio in Canberra Archbishop Paul Gallagher was named Secretary for Relations with States, which will put him third in charge at the Vatican. He has been popular here because he has kept in touch with pastoral life, having volunteered to help out in the far-flung western NSW of Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes during his first Easter in Australia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Americanisation of Australia's universities

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 09 November 2014
    23 Comments

    The US, whose citizens owe more on student loans than they do on credit cards, is the land of deregulation. Australia’s Education Minister Christopher Pyne has the support of university management in his desire to see Australia to follow the US path. But it is clear to lecturers, tutors and researchers that this will only create more inequality, mainly by forcing people without money to either miss out all together on higher education or go into a huge amount of debt.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    West Africa needs more international help to defeat Ebola

    • Robert Vitillo
    • 09 November 2014

    There is a general sense of psychological trauma and anger among the people, and a fear of social unrest and a return to civil war. In the communities in which quarantine has been imposed, people do not have access to food, clean water, and other necessities. The countries are depending on increased international assistance will prevent further spread of the virus and a reduction of irrational fear, stigma, and discrimination in local communities.

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