keywords: Australian Defence Force

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  • RELIGION

    Let's amend 18C to say what it means

    • Frank Brennan
    • 14 March 2017
    24 Comments

    The debate over section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (18C) has gone on for far too long. It's time to bring it to a close. To date, I have been silent in the present debate, in part because I was a critic of such legal provisions when they were first proposed in 1992 and again in 1994. I have since been convinced that a provision like 18C could be designed to target racial vilification, leaving offensive insults beyond the reach of the law in a robust democracy committed to freedom of speech.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to survive the crucible of school bullying

    • Barry Gittins
    • 24 February 2017
    7 Comments

    Squarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.

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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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  • EDUCATION

    Jostling for justice on school funding's contested ground

    • Michael Furtado
    • 04 November 2016
    12 Comments

    Amid the furore surrounding Minister Birmingham's disclosure of figures showing massive discrepancies in public funding between some independent schools and low-SES schools, some facts need scrutinising. Systemic Catholic schools draw for their enrolment from lower-SES postcodes than independent schools. Postcodes being an indelible predictor of the educational chances of Australians, balancing systemic school funding against that of independent schools is politically and ethically problematic.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The man who sank the myth of controlled nuclear warfare

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 18 October 2016
    2 Comments

    The late Professor Desmond Ball of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre came as close as any on being a public intellectual on nuclear strategy. While some of his counterparts in the US felt that using nuclear weapons was feasible and sound, Ball issued his pieces with mighty caveats. 'Controlling escalation', Ball ventured, 'requires both adversaries to exercise restraint, and current US policy is to offer a ... mixture of self-interest and coercion.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The criminal law 30 years on

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 October 2016
    2 Comments

    With idealism and pragmatism, I invite you criminal lawyers in the next 30 years to imagine and enact a better criminal justice system which alleviates rather than exacerbates the devastating effects of colonisation and marginalisation on Indigenous Peoples, and most particularly their children. An intelligently designed criminal justice system must help secure the foothold of Indigenous children in both the Market and the Dreaming.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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  • RELIGION

    Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 July 2016
    80 Comments

    Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law - not as academic notions for lawyers but as the secure bulwarks of a society in which everyone's rights and interests are protected.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Leave Europe arguments betray cultural amnesia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 June 2016
    19 Comments

    Some commentators in the Australian media have welcomed the prospect of Britain's leaving the EU. The founders of the union would recognise these commentators' hoped-for changes. They are precisely the conditions that contributed to the wars that they so feared: the xenophobia, disregard for human rights, chauvinism, military adventures entered by individual nations and competitive economic policies that alienated citizens and so bred authoritarian and ideologically inspired leaders.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What lies beneath election campaign ethical silences

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 June 2016
    10 Comments

    Election times are full of sound and fury, much of it broadcast on a loop. But they are also marked by silences. These silences indicate concealed perils in society. Asylum seekers and young Indigenous people are spoken about, often noisily, but always as the object of policy, not as people whose lives have been blighted by policy. The human beings who suffer are shrouded in silence. This silence is an ethical silence that covers people whom we want to keep out of mind.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Positivity key to the new Shorten's rise

    • J. R. Hennessy
    • 30 May 2016
    4 Comments

    Labor has built a small poll lead over the Coalition as led by the eminently more marketable Malcolm Turnbull, and in this case the commentariat are willing to give Shorten and Labor the credit. They're the ones controlling the policy conversation and setting the agenda, and it feels like the government are just responding in turn. Who is this Bill Shorten? This is someone who even a few months ago would be largely inconceivable in the top job, but now seems at the very least plausible.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reflecting on justice for asylum seekers during an election campaign

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 May 2016
    5 Comments

    'Being in the middle of an election campaign, I will not be making any partisan party political points. However being here in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, I will conclude with a critique of both major political parties, and with one piece of political advice for citizens of goodwill seeking a national asylum policy more in harmony with the ideals set out by our bishops in their social justice statement.' Yass Catholic Parish Potluck Dinner, 28 May 2016

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