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Best of 2021

19 December 2021


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2021: Religious discrimination laws coming to the boil

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 January 2022

    It’s four years since the Australian Parliament amended the Marriage Act 1961 to provide that marriage means ‘the union of two people to the exclusion of all others’. The legislation followed the plebiscite on same sex marriage. To address the concerns of some religious groups, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull set up an expert panel chaired by long time Liberal Party minister Philip Ruddock to report on whether Australian law adequately protected the human right to freedom of religion. 

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  • RELIGION

    Best of 2021: Atheists and God cancellers

    • Michael McGirr
    • 11 January 2022
    1 Comment

    I must have time on my hands. I have been thinking about the difference between atheists and God cancellers. I love my atheist friends, of whom I am blessed with many. I relish the existential grist of our talks, the deep sense of substance and mutual respect. I also love the constant jokes. We keep each other honest. I enjoy a rich engagement with the history of thought and I believe we ennoble each other through the kind of trust that is prepared to talk about things that are off limits to others.

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  • MEDIA

    Best of 2021: Impartial journalism in the age of social media

    • Denis Muller
    • 11 January 2022
    1 Comment

    The landscape has changed, and there is no going back. Individual journalists are now integrated into the ranks of pundits, urgers and persuaders who abound online. At their employers’ behest, they blog, they podcast, they ‘engage’ as the current jargon has it, with those who post comments to their articles online.

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  • FAITH DOING JUSTICE

    Best of 2021: The hollow meritocracy

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 January 2022

    The debate about quotas based on gender has been well canvassed. The wider issues raised about merit and meritocracy, however, merit further reflection. Far in the background to both conversations lies a sophisticated body of reflection on merit among Christian theologians. 

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  • EDUCATION

    Best of 2021: Educating children about consent

    • Chris Middleton
    • 11 January 2022
    1 Comment

    We need to encourage parents to have these conversations with their children, and earlier, around Years 8 and 9, rather than later. And I suspect we need to encourage boys to talk more with sisters, girlfriends, friends who are girls and good mates about consent.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Best of 2021: Not just climate adaptation, but genuine transformation

    • Cristy Clark
    • 11 January 2022
    1 Comment

    On a superficial level, it makes no sense to commit so strongly to managing the impacts of climate change (adaptation) on the one hand while refusing to significantly reduce emissions (mitigation) on the other. On the other hand, when you start to unpack the logic of so much adaptation policy, this contradiction fades away.

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  • MEDIA

    Best of 2021: Facebook unfriends Australia

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 11 January 2022

    Instead of retaining its control of a fruit market, or preserving an oil monopoly, Facebook harnesses another resource: data. Any regulator or sovereign state keen to challenge the way the Silicon Valley giant gathers, monetises and uses that data will face their ire.

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  • RELIGION

    Best of 2021: The careful choreography of plenary

    • Francis Sullivan
    • 04 January 2022

    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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  • ECONOMICS

    Best of 2021: Homelessness is caused not by poverty but by wealth

    • John Falzon
    • 04 January 2022

    When you put rising housing costs alongside stagnating wages, an alarming trend in normalising insecure work, persistent unemployment and underemployment, and statutory incomes that are going backwards in real terms, there’s good reason to be deeply worried about an increase in homelessness.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Best of 2021: Why corporatism, not capitalism, is the root of social harm

    • David James
    • 04 January 2022

    There really is no such thing as ‘capitalism’ — or rather there are so many capitalisms that the word is altogether too imprecise to be useful. A much better term to identify the problems, even evils, of modern developed economies is ‘corporatism’. This can be precisely identified and its transgressions and general harm are getting worse.

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  • MEDIA

    Best of 2021: Beyond belief: How the media gets caught up on PM’s Pentecostalism

    • Anthony N Castle
    • 04 January 2022

    At this point, the media cycle is mostly internal, and while the media is talking to itself, Scott Morrison is talking to a rapidly growing base with significant resources. The devil isn’t in the headline here, the devil is in the detail, in the appeal itself.

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  • FAITH DOING JUSTICE

    Best of 2021: How do fathers figure in?

    • Mike Kelly
    • 04 January 2022
    1 Comment

    There are many gems and reflections on ‘fathering’ in Pope Francis’s apostolic letter, Patris Corde ‘With a Father’s Heart’, in which he nominates 2021 as the year to honour the fatherhood of St Joseph. Francis’s letter is inclusive, encompassing the scope of fatherhood and the responsibilities fathering entails. ‘Fathers are not born, but made’, Francis says.

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  • RELIGION

    Best of 2021: Making space for conversation

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 January 2022
    3 Comments

    The exchanges within churches echo trends in national life that heighten disagreements, lessen respect, and tend to confine conversation circles to people of similar views. People become annoyed if those opposing their views gatecrash their forums. This trend creates problems for Church sponsored publications.

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  • MEDIA

    Best of 2021: More respectful Invasion Day coverage, but much work still to be done

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 04 January 2022

    It’s a tradition of mine to undertake my own “media watch” experiment following the annual Invasion Day rallies. I ended up being pleasantly surprised.

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