Vol 28 No 24

02 December 2018


 

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    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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  • RELIGION

    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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia misses GCM boat, but it's not too late

    • Carolina Gottardo
    • 19 December 2018
    4 Comments

    To abandon the GCM is a loss for all migrant women, men and children affected by human mobility, and creates a strong signal that Australia no longer deems multilateralism as an appropriate approach to global challenges.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Christmas through the ages

    • Jenny Blackford
    • 19 December 2018
    5 Comments

    At twelve, halfway through too many stifling hours crammed in the Holden station wagon, three girls munch Mum's ham sandwiches in a Rotary park ... At thirty, waifs-and-strays Christmases with friends in our adopted southern city.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Scott Morrison's cowboy foreign policy

    • Erin Cook
    • 18 December 2018
    4 Comments

    Right wing commentators say the recognition of West Jerusalem as capital is a triumph over bullying Muslim countries within the region. This line highlights how extraordinarily unprepared the Australian right wing is for the rapid realignment which is pushing Australia into the region and away from the traditional Western powers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Melbourne punks are at the forefront of protest

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 18 December 2018
    3 Comments

    While Melbourne has long been the city of protest, it is also a major global centre for quality protest music. The songs are defiant, political, loud and proud; they're staunch, they're angry, they're educative, they're funny and they demand to be listened to. These local bands are full of women, queer-identifying people, or people of colour.

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  • CARTOON

    Three wise men

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 18 December 2018
    1 Comment

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Religious freedom in secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 December 2018
    15 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    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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  • AUSTRALIA

    The casual service industry is broken

    • Devana Senanayake
    • 14 December 2018
    8 Comments

    David Leyonhjelm recently thanked men from South Asian backgrounds for delivering his pizza, groceries and online purchases; for rolling up their sleeves for jobs others refused. This gesture is seriously problematic. The casual service industry is broken and exploitative and needs to be carefully regulated and constantly audited.

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  • RELIGION

    The saint and the sultan's model for peace

    • Barry Gittins
    • 14 December 2018
    9 Comments

    Next year will mark the 800th anniversary of the future Saint Francis of Assisi's historic meeting with Malik-al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt, during the Fifth Crusade. As we hear or sing seasonal songs of peace and harmony, there are some lessons we can learn from that quirky piece of history.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Scenes from the Land of Frankincense

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 13 December 2018
    2 Comments

    How delightful to see this country's mosques suffused with the scent of frankincense — not just on celebratory days, but always. And what a surprise it is to find that this place in whose proximity Christianity unfolded smells exactly — precisely — like Christmas.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's Christmas cognitive dissonance

    • Amy Thunig
    • 13 December 2018
    6 Comments

    I cannot help but think about the level of cognitive dissonance required to believe you hold not only the rights to an entire holiday, but also the moral high ground, all while occupying buildings built on stolen lands. The migration of this celebration to this continent did not happen in isolation from the violence of invasion and colonisation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Modern day hearts of darkness

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 12 December 2018
    14 Comments

    A commentator recently described most politicians as being professional liars, and it can be argued that they tend to deceive themselves as well. Many can be compared with Heart of Darkness's Kurtz, who hid 'in the magnificent folds of his eloquence the barren darkness of his heart'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Confidentiality, Confession and the law

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 December 2018
    15 Comments

    Victoria's government has promised legislation to force religious ministers to report information about child sexual abuse received in Confession, and called a royal commission after revelations a lawyer breached the professional duty of confidentiality to clients. The implications of these breaches of confidentiality deserve reflection.

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  • CARTOON

    ScoHoHo

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 11 December 2018

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Suggestions regarding space and time

    • Robert Whalley
    • 11 December 2018
    3 Comments

    Curve it the way neck curves to shoulders, like the inside of an elbow, like a valley in spring. And send it out like glorious orphan; hovering in the style of infinite with no immediate purpose in mind in the unsubtle audacity of now.

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  • RELIGION

    Church reform scorecard

    • John Warhurst
    • 11 December 2018
    53 Comments

    Scoring the performance of the Australian church is a complex task at any time. Dioceses and congregations vary enormously. The mission of church agencies continues unabated in education, health, social services and aged care. But by any measure 2018 has been a big year.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The myth of polarisation in modern Australia

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 10 December 2018
    12 Comments

    Why do so many pundits decry the divisions in Canberra at a time when, objectively speaking, the parties have never been closer? The short answer is that they're responding to a genuine polarisation — not between Labor and Liberal but between both parties and the rest of society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    UN human rights declaration turns 70

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2018
    14 Comments

    It is appropriate to affirm the worldwide amplification system for the 'still, small voice' of conscience speaking to power, even when that voice of conscience maintains a religious tone, while the power of the state is increasingly secular and the tone of society more stridently secularist.

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  • RELIGION

    Philip Wilson's dead letter day

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 December 2018
    41 Comments

    The show trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson has backfired badly causing hurt to many people, most especially victims of child sexual abuse who thought the law was being rightly applied to put an errant Catholic bishop in the frame. Section 316 of the New South Wales Crimes Act is a dead letter and it causes nothing but trouble to everyone involved.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We still need libraries and book stores

    • Mary Dalmau
    • 07 December 2018
    16 Comments

    While it is said we read to know we are not alone, it is also true that libraries and bookstores are communal places, providing a safe environment for all and filling vital, societal roles. Of all my interactions over the years with readers, customers and library patrons, two instances remain strong in my memory.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kerryn Phelps' middle-class populism

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 05 December 2018
    4 Comments

    At first glance, the move towards electing independent MPs seems to be a repudiation of attempts to mimic right-wing populism and a vote for small l liberalism. But it shares more with populism than many care to admit.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    James and the four eggs

    • Julie Perrin
    • 05 December 2018
    11 Comments

    James had come to the maths coaching because he'd been in trouble at work. He had to stack crates to a certain level at the workshop but was unable to count them, making the unloading impossible for people without his height and strength. He needed to learn to count.

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  • ECONOMICS

    What it will take to redeem the banks

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 December 2018
    8 Comments

    Now that the royal commission hearings have finished, people are asking whether things will change. There are grounds for both cautious hope and pessimism. Hope is based on the expectation that the exposure of greed, complacency and lassitude in institutions, boards and regulators will lead them to hunger for a better reputation.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    William Cooper set the pace for social justice

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 05 December 2018
    4 Comments

    Eighty years ago today, 77-year-old Yorta Yorta elder walked ten kilometres to deliver a letter to the German consulate protesting the attacks on Jewish people during Kristallnacht nearly a month earlier. Despire the dire circumstances faced by Aboriginal people at the time, Cooper's conscience couldn't ignore the suffering of others.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Compound interest is the root of banks' evil

    • David James
    • 04 December 2018
    7 Comments

    The problem goes much deeper than a few crooked operatives and it will not be fixed by changing the corporate 'culture'. The fundamental evil is the arithmetic of compound interest. Interest on debt rises exponentially, while economic activity is linear. That means that sooner or later those in a weaker position are unable to pay.

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  • CARTOON

    Jobs for the boys

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 04 December 2018

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not even with time travel

    • Earl Livings
    • 03 December 2018
    3 Comments

    You never will know all ... You'd have to be everywhere at once, be behind and in every word and act, flow with the charged breath of mote and light. To sum up: You'd have to be God. Poor Thing. For the one fact denied God is the unforeseen.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The migrant caravan was born of calamity

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 03 December 2018
    5 Comments

    When government corruption is chronic and the streets are ruled by armed gangs, there are no collective funds for quality health care or education. The thousands of migrants at the US border are fleeing the effects of climate change, wide-scale government corruption, brutal state violence, and flourishing non-state gang rule.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's migrant labour pains

    • Rosie Williams
    • 30 November 2018
    3 Comments

    That up to one in ten Australian jobs are now performed by temporary migrants demonstrates a continuation of our past abuse and commitment to privileging capital over worker rights. Coupled with the rise of temporary and insecure work, our reputation as a human and labour rights leader is now under threat.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mapuche murders not just a right-wing issue

    • Ramona Wadi
    • 27 November 2018
    1 Comment

    Catrillanca's killing, like those of other Mapuche murdered by the Chilean state, is not just a question of targeting the indigenous population. It is part of a broader framework that eliminates perceived obstacles to the neoliberal politics espoused by the government and receives tacit support across the political spectrum.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Alt-right wolves in sheep's clothing

    • Joshua Badge
    • 27 November 2018
    2 Comments

    Far-right extremists are savvy political actors. They know openly discussing their beliefs risks running afoul of anti-discrimination laws. Because of this, they have mastered how to speak in the negative and convey meaning through allusion.

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