Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What is Western Civilisation anyway?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 June 2018
    7 Comments

    The dispute about the Ramsay Centre Foundation for Western Civilisation had everything for those who like pub brawls. The question least discussed but most intriguing is precisely what is meant by Western Civilisation. Protagonists praised or damned its ideological associations, but rarely troubled to share their understanding of it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Triggs champions common compassion

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 June 2018
    15 Comments

    In the 1930s a Jewish Australian was trying to bring to Australia a Jewish family who were in grave danger in Austria. Asked by immigration what made him want to bring the family of his daughter's pen friend, none of whom he had ever met, he replied, 'Common compassion.' The family could not come, and most were later killed.

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  • EDUCATION

    How schools funding became such a problem

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 June 2018
    16 Comments

    Tony Taylor's study of the funding of Australian schools from the time when Menzies first aided Catholic schools until today explains how school funding has come to pose such an intractable problem for governments. It is also a lament for so many lost opportunities to build an educational framework that would open opportunity to all.

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  • RELIGION

    Vatican pointers for banks royal commission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 May 2018
    15 Comments

    As the royal commission prepared to resume its hearings into financial services the Vatican released Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones, on the ethics of markets. Although written quite independently, passages of the document could have been mistaken for factual reporting of the royal commission.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Stigmatising those in need is a grubby game

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 May 2018
    8 Comments

    These initiatives are sideshows, grubby and voyeuristic. They mask the simple truth: that governments have the duty to respect people as human beings and not ciphers, to provide benefits that help people to live with self-respect, to take responsibility for the disadvantage of Indigenous Australians and to involve them in its healing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gods, emperors and the ritual of federal budgets

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 May 2018
    2 Comments

    On the surface budgets are exercises in financial accountability. At a deeper level they are best understood as a yearly ritual; one of the ways in which rulers acknowledge and try to manipulate truths about state power. We should evaluate these less on their stated intentions but with what the show of competence and generosity reveals.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Tim Winton's model of manhood

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 May 2018
    5 Comments

    One of the challenges that faces any society is how boys will become men. In many societies the passage is mapped and enacted through ritual initiations or through military training. It also periodically causes great anxiety. Two recent books encourage reflection on different aspects of the passage from boys to men.

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  • RELIGION

    Subverting idolatry in churches and banks

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 May 2018
    31 Comments

    The banking royal commission has already come to resemble the earlier child abuse royal commission. To observers who share a personal and public-spirited interest in the decent functioning of institutions, the similarities invite reflection on why two apparently different forms of institution should behave in such similar ways.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Remembering shared humanity on Anzac Day

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 April 2018
    22 Comments

    The tension between remembering those who died and celebrating those who fought makes the celebration of Anzac Day inherently controversial. It is seen by many to canonise military values. But the risk is less to glorify war than to sanitise it by allowing time and space to take away its physical reality, and with it the sadness of war.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    China, aid and the gift of interdependence

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 April 2018
    2 Comments

    In recent months comment on international politics has been about taking sides and falling into line. Against such strident calls, two apparently unrelated pieces of speculation passed with little response: the prediction of a further cut to aid, and the assertion that China wanted to establish a military base in Vanuatu.

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  • RELIGION

    Clerical culture produces poor fruit

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 April 2018
    59 Comments

    In a recent article I remarked that in the Catholic Church clericalism is a pejorative term. Some readers criticised me for focusing on individuals and not the more insidious culture of clericalism. The criticism was justified, and in this article I shall reflect on the culture and its byproducts.

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  • RELIGION

    When popes fail

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 March 2018
    12 Comments

    This year Easter coincides with the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis' election. Anniversaries are times for assessment and measurement. Francis' anniversary has led many to comment on the successes and failures of his papacy. Easter is a doubly appropriate time to reflect on whether the commentators have weighed in correctly.

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