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  • AUSTRALIA

    Paternalism is no answer to disadvantage

    • Kate Galloway
    • 26 September 2017
    9 Comments

    The Senate is currently inquiring into the Cashless Debit Card Bill that will further expand the income management program. Welfare is a redistributive mechanism that supports the dignity and self-determination of the individual. In tying conditions to payments government is denying the self-determination of welfare recipients, counter to the very purpose of welfare.

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  • RELIGION

    Bishops call for an economy that serves all

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 September 2017
    11 Comments

    The general argument of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Statement on the economy is that Australia is a wealthy economy in which too many people are marginalised. In response to the litany of neglect and abuse that it details, the statement calls for a new view of the economy as the servant of people, and not vice versa.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Lawyers the last line of defence for dumped refugees

    • Kate Galloway
    • 31 August 2017
    7 Comments

    It is true that lawyers, in doing their work, have interrupted the government's agenda of attempting to deny the humanity of asylum seekers. However, it goes to the heart of our system of governance that power is exercised within lawful boundaries. It is therefore ironic that the Minister, whose own powers are circumscribed by the Australian Constitution, and who is looking for an easy workaround, should criticise lawyers for being 'tricky'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A credibly Christian church would respect gay employees

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 August 2017
    47 Comments

    A threat reportedly made, and later denied, by some church leaders was to dismiss from employment in Catholic organisations people who contract same-sex marriages. The argument is that Catholic organisations must uphold the teaching of the church, and that upholding church teaching implies living in a way consistent with it. Whatever the abstract merits of this argument and its applicability to dismissal in limit cases, its general use belongs to a past age.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Using ignorance to know if mandatory drug testing laws are sound

    • Daniel Fleming
    • 14 August 2017
    16 Comments

    Sometimes ignorance can be a virtue in political decision-making. The great 20th century political philosopher John Rawls had a thought experiment called the “Veil of Ignorance” which he suggested should be applied to any political decision to test whether or not it is just. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Justice is weakened when the court of public opinion reigns

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 June 2017
    2 Comments

    The presumption of innocence has recently been in the dock, notably in the curious affair of the three federal Ministers and the Victorian Court of Appeal. Other cases have raised the question whether in our society the presumption that those accused of crimes are innocent until found guilty is yielding. Is it now the case that people who have been found guilty in the court of public opinion have to prove their innocence, and that courts will be judged to have failed unless they ratify the guilty verdict?

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  • RELIGION

    The work of disobedience

    • Susan Leong
    • 19 May 2017
    14 Comments

    As adults we deal with KPIs every day at work, targets defined apparently for one's benefit so we all know what needs to be achieved if our jobs are to be secured. Sadly, they also determine what, how and where we focus our efforts as these targets are internalised over time. If there is to be a future for work, it is to be found in such disobedience, a rejection of the primacy of paid labour for work as 'pleasure in the exercise of our energies'.

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  • RELIGION

    Finding meaning in a chaotic/changing world

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 May 2017
    1 Comment

    Our Church is presently a strained, outdated social institution with an exclusively male hierarchy and clergy. But it is also the privileged locus for us to be called to the banquet of the Lord sharing theology and sacrament which have sustained the hearts and minds of similar pilgrims for two millennia. Thank God for Pope Francis who is showing us the way, helping us to find meaning in our changing and chaotic world, putting a fresh spring in the step of all those Catholics holding in tension the prophetic and the practical, the theological and the humanist, the tradition and the contemporary reality.

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  • RELIGION

    The risk and future visioning of sustainable Catholic services

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 March 2017
    1 Comment

    'We need to be more focused on grace, Christ and God's word, rather than just on law, the Church and papal utterances. But today, I will draw more on law, the Church and the Pope to point us towards those more fruitful domains: grace, Christ and God's word. Our future visioning needs to focus more on the gospel imperatives including the option for the poor and the dignity of all persons, including those who are non-believers.' Address to Catholic Health Australia's Catholic Governance Symposium, 27 March 2017

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The power of persuasion in confronting fascism

    • Daniel Nicholson
    • 24 February 2017
    9 Comments

    In the footage of one violence protest, I was shocked to see a handful of my homeless clients, draped in Australian flags, engaged in street battles with anti-racists. These young men had experienced alienation, exploitation and poverty - all the things the Left is supposed to fight against. Long, uncomfortable conversations don't make for good social media content, yet if Australia is to stare down the threat of a rising alt-right it won't be done by yelling at right wing fringe groups across a police barricade.

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  • RELIGION

    Ensuring justice for all after the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 February 2017
    3 Comments

    The commission's forensic scrutiny of past actions of church officials in no way constitutes an interference with the freedom of religion. Its spotlight is to be welcomed, provided only that it is shone on a truly representative sample of all institutions which have been found wanting and provided the same light filter is applied to all institutions. I do however have a problem with the commission making findings on issues like the want of compassion when those findings are made only against a Church.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis and the age of automation

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 20 January 2017
    7 Comments

    Many have called for the automated Centrelink debt collection system to be scrapped, but the government is standing by it. One of the reasons for this may be that the system is doing just what it's designed to do - trying to force people away from welfare reliance by making it more onerous. Pope Francis argues that far from a 'neutral' tool, technology creates a framework which conditions people and limits their possible options along lines dictated by the most economically and politically powerful.

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