Keywords: The Character Of The Dug Explained

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Is democracy going down the drain?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 November 2021
    14 Comments

    There is much discussion about the future of democracy, freedom and other aspects of liberal institutions. Mainly in the United States, under the pressure of a polarised public life. But also to a lesser extent in Australia, in the face of the evasive and authoritarian behaviour of governments and the manifest priority of winning elections over addressing the existential threats of global warming and gross inequality. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Outgrowing apartheid: FW de Klerk

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 23 November 2021
    14 Comments

    The passing of South Africa’s last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, raises pressing questions about a complex historical character who, according to his brother, Willem de Klerk, slowly outgrew apartheid. In a critical sense, he was bound, understandably, by both time and context: race, the need to defend a racial hierarchy, the historical role of a segregationist system that saw his all-white National Party retain power for decades. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why our defamation laws are no longer fit for purpose

    • Cristy Clark
    • 10 November 2021
    7 Comments

    Peter Dutton has recently argued that funds for defamation actions should be a ‘workplace entitlement’ for Members of Parliament (MPs). I’d like to repeat that another way: the Honorable Peter Dutton, Commonwealth Minister for Defence, would like the taxpayer to fund MPs to sue members of the Australian public for defamation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Revisiting American Dirt

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 04 November 2021
    12 Comments

    Writers inevitably learn bitter lessons, including one about readers who will be wounded, hurt, or at least deeply offended by their work. There is usually more than one group of these, for people become upset for reasons that are many and varied. Such is the case in the reaction to Jeanine Cummins’ fourth book, American Dirt. Cummins has been variously accused of stereotyping, racism, narcissism, and of lacking in empathy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Your poetry questions, answered

    • Philip Harvey
    • 04 November 2021
    8 Comments

      Although I teach poetry and do occasional workshops, the following is written in response to one such workshopper, new to writing poetry, who in lockdown would message me on social media with fairly open-ended questions about poetry. My answers are written after the wry manner of the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska; wry, but generally helpful. They are not the launch pad for a new poetics. I have stopped for now at 12 questions, but the questions keep rolling in.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    When love raises its head on the shop floor

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 November 2021
    6 Comments

    In large organisations love hardly rates a mention. Mission statements highlight care, duty, responsibility and friendliness, but not love. Love is generally seen as an interrupter, combustible, something to fence in with protocols and professional standards, and for HR to monitor. When Pope Benedict XVI devoted an Encyclical to the place of love in public relationships, people were surprised. His argument is worth revisiting.

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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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    In the shadow of SIEV-X

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 01 November 2021
    26 Comments

    Two decades ago, an Indonesian vessel given the name SIEV X sank with loss of life that should have caused a flood of tears and a surge of compassion. Instead of being seen in humanitarian terms, the deaths of 353 people became a form of rich political capital, placed in the bank of opportunism to be amortised at a federal election.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The promise of alchemy

    • David Rowland
    • 01 November 2021
    8 Comments

    Ben Jonson is one of the great English Renaissance playwrights but he can also be challenging for the modern reader. When I first came to Jonson some years ago, I attempted a comedy from 1610, The Alchemist. I soon felt out of my depth. Conceding defeat, I put the book aside and told myself that there would be some ‘other time’. This year in Melbourne, with the theatres closed, the streets largely deserted, and travel restrictions firmly in place, that ‘other time’ arrived.

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  • RELIGION

    Handing on a tradition

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 October 2021
    26 Comments

    One of the challenges facing churches today has to do with tradition. Tradition is a sometimes charged word, but it refers to an everyday social need. It has to do with how a community passes on its way of life and its understanding of authoritative writings that shape it. The word itself can refer both to what is passed on and to the process of passing it on. The challenge of passing on a tradition is perennial. Both ways of living and writings reflect the culture of their own time and so need to be translated into the changing languages of later cultures.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Booster bandits and booster jabs

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 14 October 2021
    10 Comments

    With the world clearly divided between those vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are not, ethicists, public health specialists and politicians have become more preoccupied by the prospect of booster shots. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The satisfactions of homeliness

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 October 2021
    2 Comments

    I’m reminded of George Orwell in smashed-up thoroughly locked-down, wartime London welcoming the first signs of spring amidst the ruins and winter’s lingering cold but wondering whether he should. ‘Is it wicked,’ he asks, ‘to take a pleasure in spring and other seasonal changes? To put it more precisely, is it politically reprehensible?’ 

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