keywords: Advent

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ghosts of letters past

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 October 2017
    4 Comments

    Conscientious friends have recently sent me bundles of the letters I wrote them decades before. I found myself strangely reluctant to look at them, or even loose the letters from their envelopes. The longer I procrastinated, the more I asked myself why I was doing so, and concluded that memory is another form of haunting: those letters are home to ghosts.

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  • MEDIA

    We treat dogs better than the asylum seekers

    • 23 August 2017
    10 Comments

    Last week I was rung to say my dog was missing. I finished at work as soon as I could, ringing the local council and neighbourhood vet on the way home. Neither had seen anything of him but suggested we post on social media. As my husband and I drove and walked the streets, the messages came in. People were concerned. He was missing from an enclosed yard. Some offered to look, others from further away, shared hope and the Facebook post. The post went everywhere, the last I saw was in Western Australia.  

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  • RELIGION

    Confessions of a literature addict

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 14 August 2017
    12 Comments

    Was Harry Potter’s 20th birthday to blame? Or the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death? Or merely the ageing process? It’s hard to decide, but in a life quite possibly ruined by literature, I have started remembering some of the books I read in childhood.  

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A world of majesty and cruelty

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 11 August 2017
    14 Comments

    We have just taken off from Dubai for St Petersburg. My son is marvelling at the immensity of Dubai’s airport—now officially the busiest in the world. We have stood on a bus—stifling, cramped—and boarded our air-conditioned connecting flight with a deep sense of relief. We have watched the planes lining up behind ours on the shimmering tarmac, and have noted the outside temperature flashing on the screen: 44 degrees Celsius. Thank God we’re getting out of here. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding the high way

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 July 2017
    11 Comments

    In our society ethical questions such as those to do with marriage, crime and punishment, the beginnings and endings of life, and freedom of speech are often highway issues. Protagonists establish in advance the right way to go, keep their foot down and their eyes on the road without noticing the terrain the highway traverses. Road signs indicating another destinations or alternative routes are ignored and towns by-passed. Certainty is gained; understanding of country is sacrificed.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Putting a face to the effects of Australia's aid freeze

    • David Holdcroft
    • 12 May 2017
    4 Comments

    Alain is one of around 11,000 people living in this particular camp in the south of Zimbabwe. It seems an unlikely location to talk of the freeze on funding for Australian foreign aid announced in the budget, but it is in places like these, unseen and therefore unknown by the Australian population, that the effects are often felt. Alain is lucky: the camp where he lives has good education. Worldwide however, only 50 per cent of children in forced migrant situations will attend primary school, 22 per cent secondary and a paltry 1 per cent any institution of higher learning.

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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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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Unis share blame for profit motive funding model

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 03 May 2017
    14 Comments

    For various reasons, 'free' education in Australia has been qualified by HECS, which actually serves to wedge the liquid incentive of government and educational institutions on the one hand with the need for students to obtain affordable education on the other. Even that balance is now under threat, with a pre-budget announcement suggesting cuts to university funding and increasing costs to student degrees are in the offing. Universities are far from blameless in the present distorted funding model.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Rogue relations: The US vs North Korea

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 19 April 2017
    6 Comments

    A truculent rogue in the White House fumes at an upstart rogue in Pyongyang, both fumbling away in the kindergarten of blunder and realpolitik. How do they measure up in the stakes of rogue behaviour? Even conservative commentators such as Samuel Huntington noted in 1999 that the US is 'in the eyes of many countries ... becoming a rogue superpower'. International law, for the bomb-heavy bully, is a convenient moral reference when needed, but is avoided like a leper when it becomes an impediment.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    No easy judgement in Syrian chemicals attack

    • Justin Glyn
    • 07 April 2017
    13 Comments

    The pictures coming out of Khan Sheikhoun are horrific. Children foaming at the mouth, some with terrible head wounds. No wonder the reaction of the world has been outrage. 'Assad must go' has been revived as a catchphrase in the West. We are right to be appalled. Yet several features about the reported sarin attack in Syria's Idlib Governorate should give pause in the current rush to judgment. Firstly, while you wouldn't know it from much of the media, the facts themselves are contested.

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  • MEDIA

    Wherefore art thou women on film?

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 03 April 2017
    4 Comments

    I can think of many films I saw in childhood which still resonate because of their morals and characters. The dark and dangerous fire swamp of The Princess Bride, where Westley must wrestle with rabid beasts to save the damsel in distress, taught me about bravery. The Harry Potter series shows a boy who has suffered a great loss but finds community and purpose during his time at Hogwarts. There's something all these movies have in common: they were all about men.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't underestimate the politics of hate

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 March 2017
    15 Comments

    The Prioress in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales had a brooch alluding to Virgil's phrase, 'love conquers all'. In her case, her love for her two lapdogs beat her affection for mere people. But in public life one wonders about the truth of the epigram. Indeed a good case could be made that hatred conquers all, and that it is stronger than love. The advent of Donald Trump with his individual style has occasioned lament that the public world is now dominated by hatred and contempt. But there is nothing new in it.

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