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Author: Julian Butler

  • AUSTRALIA

    The ties that bind: How negative campaigns eclipse community focus

    • Julian Butler
    • 12 May 2022
    2 Comments

    Election campaigns can be defined by all sorts of things. Gaffes, negative ads, international incidents, public policy. It is trite but no less true to say that this federal election campaign has been much more about the first three rather than the last. The policy discussion has been edged into the election mix most seriously by various interest groups and by some of the macro party and independent candidates seeking election.  

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  • ECONOMICS

    Supply to survive

    • Julian Butler
    • 31 March 2022

    In 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic raged globally, as Australia shut its borders and some states shut in their people, massive government income support was introduced. The government was a little slow coming to recognise the need for such measures. Once they had, they wanted the support rolled out as quickly as possible. Frydenberg, Scott Morrison and their colleagues recognised that a demand side boost was absolutely necessary to sustain economic activity. The government was uncomfortable, though, with this approach.  

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Distinguishing communities

    • Julian Butler
    • 22 March 2022

    Part of what makes community is what distinguishes community, what sets it apart. It might be an interest in music, or sport, a neighbourhood or a set of values or practices. Initially, at least, the extent to which we identify with the community will depend upon the extent to which those things that define or characterise it are important to us.   

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Juvenile injustice

    • Julian Butler
    • 22 February 2022
    4 Comments

    Having previously spent time as lawyer working predominantly in the Children’s Court of Victoria, there isn’t too much about the State’s treatment of young people that shocks me. That is, until a few weeks ago when I was drawn to the final item of The Weekend Australian’s editorial column. Under the heading, ‘Hurt boy’s inhuman treatment’, was set out the details of a 15-year-old West Australian boy who had been ‘locked alone in a glass-walled observation cell of a juvenile detention centre in the southern suburbs of Perth for 79 days.’    

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Public faith and Perrottet

    • Julian Butler
    • 01 November 2021
    15 Comments

    The elevation of Dominic Perrottet to the Premiership of New South Wales caused a flurry of commentary about his religious faith. In many parts of the media his politics and personality were framed by his Catholicism. I watched on with a degree of discomfort, and with a sense of possibility. Could some of the bigoted characterisations invite a richer conversation about the ideals and deeper narratives that enliven our public leaders?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Anti-lockdown protests expose need for new conversations

    • Julian Butler
    • 28 September 2021
    9 Comments

    Walking down to the local Saturday morning street market, I wasn’t expecting to find myself amidst the beginnings of a violent protest. Seeing some police, I thought they were out and about to ensure the public weren’t taking too many liberties with the slightly eased restrictions that had come into effect for Melbourne the previous night. But half a dozen on each corner of Church St and Bridge Rd in inner-city Richmond suggested something more.  

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  • RELIGION

    Wherever faith resides

    • Julian Butler
    • 29 April 2021
    103 Comments

    Even as it is an ‘inner light’, illuminating all else, having faith isn’t without critical reason. Philip’s ‘appreciative but never uncritical’ approach to faith might be said to characterise the approach of a growing number of young people, too.  

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Living with lockdown

    • Julian Butler
    • 18 February 2021
    7 Comments

    Each of us has our own experience of the first COVID year. We do all share some of the best results in supressing the virus anywhere in the world. Talk, though, of social cohesion and government competency is loaded here in Melbourne.

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  • FAITH DOING JUSTICE

    Without JobSeeker, inequality will rise

    • Julian Butler
    • 11 February 2021
    4 Comments

    The size and spread of government payments in past 12 months has held steady, and to some extent, improved the circumstances of many on low incomes or government support. The withdrawal of that support risks returning many to payments that do not provide for basic human needs.

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  • RELIGION

    Ryan Report: crimes of the 'human' Church

    • Julian Butler
    • 15 June 2009
    18 Comments

    Eventually the Vatican will have to stand in solidarity with the victims of abuse. The Church is capable of acting well and badly. To separate individuals from the Church diminishes the responsibility of the whole body.

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  • ECONOMICS

    The crash of the can market

    • Julian Butler
    • 18 February 2009
    6 Comments

    Some of the soup van's clients collect cans to sell to a scrap dealer. The work supplements their welfare income and provides a sense of fulfillment. Since the global market crash business has been slow: 'China doesn't want aluminium now.'

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