keywords: Australian Of The Year

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dawn of Australian domestic violence

    • Brian Matthews
    • 11 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Interviewed before the screening of Hitting Home, her program on domestic violence, Sarah Ferguson pointed out that the statistics had scarcely altered in a couple of decades. How far back into our history does this dismal phenomenon reach? 'We could quickly fill the largest building in Sydney with women and children who now, for the sake of food and shelter, but more for the sake of what is called their "good name", are bearing blows, insults, servitude and degradation,' wrote Louisa Lawson in 1889.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis and the face of mercy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 December 2015
    2 Comments

    'I joined the Jesuits in 1975 just as the previous 32nd General Congregation (GC32) was concluding. Pedro Arrupe was at the height of his powers. That Congregation asked the question: 'What is it to be a companion of Jesus today?' and answered unequivocally, 'It is to engage, under the standard of the Cross, in the crucial struggle of our time: the struggle for faith and that struggle for justice which it includes.' I have always regarded myself as a GC32 Jesuit. Many of those who gathered for GC33 thought that the GC32 mission was a little too one-dimensional. I suspect Bergoglio was one of those.' Frank Brennan on the eve of the Catholic Church's Jubilee Year of Mercy.

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  • RELIGION

    'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2015
    1 Comment

    'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The changing face of racism

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 30 November 2015
    10 Comments

    It is naive to equate racism with individual acts of bigotry. The current anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment for instance goes deeper than sporadic attacks against individuals. Australian jobseekers with Middle-Eastern sounding surnames must submit up to 64 per cent more resumes than someone with an Anglo name in order to secure an interview. People may not actively engage in racist displays against Arabs, but that doesn't mean they are willing to spend time in close proximity to them.

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What led to the trashing of Christmas Island

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 November 2015
    6 Comments

    Questions remain regarding the recent death and disturbance on Christmas Island, posed by the responses by New Zealand and Australian government ministers to the unrest. New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne compared the Christmas Island regime to Guantanamo Bay. Australian Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton emphasised the $10 million damage to property. Both responses were partial. At a deeper level the riot was the predictable outcome of a brutal government policy.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Serpents dispersed by the Greek art of distraction

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 04 November 2015
    7 Comments

    In the midst of hard times Greeks are good at practising what I call the Noble Art of Distraction. Nina and I were walking one night when our attention was caught by impromptu music. 'That's Cretan,' announced Nina. It transpired that one of the young men of the neighbourhood was to get married, and had turned up in order to have his prenuptial close shave and a haircut. The barber and his mates had decided that the occasion could not go unmarked, and so the modest festivities began.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Zones of sacrifice in the Western Downs gasfield

    • Mark Copland
    • 02 November 2015
    10 Comments

    When Chinchilla farmer George Bender took his own life, it ended a ten year struggle with the coal seam gas industry that has wreaked havoc on his property and that of his neighbours. Despite mountains of paper regulations, despite a well-resourced Gasfield Commission and Gasfield Compliance Unit, people in the region feel abandoned. It seems that government bodies are enablers and facilitators of the industry rather than regulators and protectors of the people, the soil and the water.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Known unknowns of the facial recognition capability

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 02 November 2015
    9 Comments

    In May, the Federal Justice Minister announced a plan to work toward a National Facial Biometric Matching Capability, due to start operating in mid-2016. The lead agency is the Attorney-General's Department, the same department frustrating telcos with its implementation of data retention. The lack of transparency around the project is concerning, as it has privacy implications for nearly all Australians. If you have a passport or driver's licence, your facial image is relevant.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pity abandoned on the banks of the Parramatta

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 21 October 2015
    6 Comments

    A young man introduces himself: Ashley. He has sandy blond hair, a lithe body and an ease and grace with the kids. The lessons are free, but my daughter doesn't wait to for this explanation; she's already picked up a unicycle. 'You need a helmet first,' Ashley explains, and I tap my daughter's arm and sign, 'Helmet'. 'Does she read lips?' he asks. 'If you could just look at her when you're talking,' I say. 'Okay,' he says with the slightest trepidation. 'She's d-d-deaf and I have a stutter.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Contours and prospects for Indigenous recognition in the Australian constitution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 October 2015
    2 Comments

    I acknowledge those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who insist that they have never ceded their sovereignty to the rest of us. I join with those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who hope for better days when they are recognised in the Australian Constitution. As an advocate for modest constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, I respect those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who question the utility of such recognition. But I do take heart from President Obama's line in his Charleston eulogy for the late Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney: 'Justice grows out of recognition'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ode to the demise of hard rubbish

    • Sally Cloke
    • 23 September 2015
    11 Comments

    Our local council has announced the end of hard rubbish. As an adult, my enthusiasm for what the council calls 'scavenging' has become the source of many beautiful and useful items. But my objections are philosophical as well as practical. Ugliness has its place, and at clean out time, we literally bring to our doorsteps what we would rather put of sight and mind. Hard rubbish symbolises the costs of our throw-away consumer society while going a small way towards recouping some of them.

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