Vol 29 No 20

06 October 2019


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Borders blur at Australia's northern tip

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 October 2019

    It's the final outpost, symbolically, demarcating Australia from its closest neighbour, PNG. The islands beyond it are a link to the cultures and geologies that lie to the north, giant stepping stones that guide Australia's Torres Straight Islanders home. For white Australians, they're the barrier marking the country's fiercely-held border.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sympathy for the poor or bunyip aristocracy

    • Daniel Sleiman
    • 17 October 2019

    Adam Smith wrote 'no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable'. Poverty and inequality lead to non-participation in work and inhibit social mobility, which negatively affects economic growth. The concentration of economic power is bad for democracy.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Hypocrisy and hysteria over Chinese influence

    • Tim Robertson
    • 16 October 2019
    4 Comments

    Chinese interference in Australian politics is an issue of genuine concern. But why is the hysteria exclusive to China? Like the outrage surrounding the awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature to Mo Yan, accused of working within the bounds of China's censorship program, why don't we hold our own government to the same level of scrutiny?

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  • CARTOON

    Senate had a little Lambie

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 15 October 2019

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  • RELIGION

    Child safety reforms still progressing slowly

    • John Warhurst
    • 14 October 2019
    4 Comments

    The royal commission concluded that child safety, in all its organisational ramifications, raised questions of culture and governance for the church. If the Plenary Council 2020 doesn't take such issues seriously then it will be one indicator that the momentum around last year's official national apology has slowed.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trump joins the game of Kurdish betrayal

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 14 October 2019
    2 Comments

    While expecting an indefinite US presence in Syria was unrealistic as part of bargaining for a homeland, the Kurdish forces are right in feeling the sting of yet another historical abandonment. They have been more than useful fighters, a point that is also held against them. The question now is how bloody this next chapter will prove for them.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Paul Kelly and the lighthouse in the sky

    • Julie Perrin
    • 14 October 2019
    4 Comments

    The musicians stepped forward, heads close around one microphone. The words of the 23rd Psalm were familiar and re-cast all at once. They met us in hope and in despair in 'the middle of the air'. There was a space of yearning there; the space where artists, songwriters and psalmists send us. That is the place we can be met.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My mother the Surrealist

    • Michael Sharkey
    • 14 October 2019
    3 Comments

    The voices of two women in the train up to the highlands rise in volume and insistence ... 'Mother, they're not Germans. I said, gerberas, they're all around the farm. Just wait, you'll see them from the window of the lovely room we've set up for your stay. A field of gerberas in full bloom.' 'And are the Germans all in uniforms, then, dear?'

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Small impactful climate action for the rest of us

    • Katherine Richardson
    • 11 October 2019
    5 Comments

    Ruling out an individual's efforts simply because they aren't perfect seems to be a fantastic way of discouraging people from joining what is an incredibly important movement. But climate action doesn't have to be about perfectionism — it's about doing the best you can, and sometimes even small changes can make a big difference.

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  • RELIGION

    Woe to those who punish the poor

    • Barry Gittins
    • 11 October 2019
    6 Comments

    If our PM's theological name dropping rings true, his life is guided by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. That unemployed Jewish tradie turned rabble rouser made this apocalyptic observation: 'Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.' Yet it remains a vote winner, this business of punishing poor people for being poor.

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  • MEDIA

    The fake news of the dude and his muse

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 10 October 2019
    3 Comments

    As musician James Blake pointed out regarding Jameela Jamil's contributions to his most recent album, the muse is an objectified woman who is seen to have no direct impact on the creation of the work itself and no creative life of her own, but is merely the source of the male artist's inspiration and a vehicle to project his own desires onto.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Inmate internet access more than a prison perk

    • Nicola Heath
    • 10 October 2019
    7 Comments

    For a nation with such a significant convict history, Australians take a peculiarly puritanical approach to prisoner welfare. Punishment, not rehabilitation, is often viewed as the point of the justice system. We take a very dim view of anything that could be construed as a prisoner perk. One such perceived privilege is access to the internet.

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  • RELIGION

    The good words of John Henry Newman

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 October 2019
    16 Comments

    Of English saints the newly canonised John Henry Newman is the most intellectual and active in public life since Thomas More. When conversation turns to faith it is common to regard the gift of finding good words as no more than a decoration on the hard reasoning that faith demands. Newman stands as a reproach to that view.

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  • RELIGION

    Cultural questions for getting back on mission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 October 2019
    3 Comments

    For Catholics who are interested in the Australian Church, its future and the Plenary Council, this is essential reading. Given its focus on governance, it may also be of interest to a wider audience. Many of the strains of dysfunction it finds in Church governance are similar to those in public life in Australia and internationally.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Living in Australia's social credit dystopia

    • Kate Galloway
    • 08 October 2019
    5 Comments

    If government is concerned for citizens' wellbeing, it should properly resource services — drug and alcohol support, parenting support, subsidised childcare, education and so on. Instead, it is generating a system of social credit: rewarding those who toe the line and punishing those whose 'score' falls below that of the 'good citizen'.

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  • CARTOON

    Doesn't hold water

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 08 October 2019

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  • MEDIA

    We can't count on media to call out racism

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 08 October 2019
    19 Comments

    This fiasco has done nothing to even remotely help the plight of Aboriginal abuse sufferers. Considering another January is just around the corner, I am certain that a repeat performance, by Kennerley or any other number of white media commentators unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, is inevitable.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    No time to be polite about climate

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 08 October 2019
    18 Comments

    No-one should be fooled: the politicians and commentators who condemn civil disobedience are the same politicians and commentators who attack the UN for passing resolutions on carbon; who tell scientists to get back to the lab when they speak out on politics; who do everything they can to keep climate out of the parliament.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Rewriting the fairy tales of disability

    • Justin Glyn
    • 07 October 2019
    7 Comments

    Beginning with the origins of the fairy story and with her own diagnosis with cerebral palsy, Leduc opens the question of why disability in fairy stories is a trope when, for many of us, it is just a fact of life. What follows is a fascinating exploration of how fairy stories socialise us into particular expectations — of ourselves and of society.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    While swimming in the secret bay

    • John Falzon
    • 07 October 2019
    2 Comments

    I love reading about the lives of the poets. The ones for whom nothing good ever happened. The ones who were sure that if they did not write, they would surely disappear. The ones who tried to make the invisible visible, and failed; who carried news to this world from another one, as if it were bottles of wine and loaves of bread.

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  • RELIGION

    Moral dangers of the PM's pentecostalism

    • James Boyce
    • 05 October 2019
    27 Comments

    When I was a child and was asked 'How are you?', only once did I reply, 'I am good'. I still remember the rebuke from my Aunty Ivy, who explained that it is not for me to judge if I am 'good'; better to opt to be 'well'. She would be cross were a prime minister to go around asking 'how good' we are.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    In praise of Aboriginal trailblazers

    • Michele Madigan
    • 01 October 2019
    9 Comments

    Narungga Elder Tauto Sansbury died 23 September after a lifetime of campaigning to make the criminal justice system just for Aboriginal people, among other matters. He and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trailblazers set a benchmark to which we can all aspire in the pursuit of positive change.

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