keywords: Building Community

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  • RELIGION

    Australian bishops gather in the light of the royal commission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 May 2017
    51 Comments

    The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values. The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display: the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics bishops. The question Australians ask is whether the bishops and other public representatives of the Catholic Church have the stomach for the changes in governance needed to address the factors that led to child abuse.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Job-sharing could make for a more inclusive parliament

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 March 2017
    3 Comments

    The announcement by Kate Ellis, the 39 year old federal Labor MP for Adelaide, of her retirement at the next election to be with her young son came as a surprise. Several Fairfax journalists were dismayed. Stephanie Peatling issued a challenge: 'It's not people who should have to change to make their lives fit politics as we know it. It's politics as we know it that should change.' The immediate issue is gender balance, but the wider context is all types of diversity in parliament.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    No rest for Borneo's indigenous rights warriors

    • Fiona McAlpine
    • 17 March 2017
    6 Comments

    One year ago, a remarkable win for indigenous rights took place in a little-reported corner of Asia. On the island of Borneo, rainforest communities won a long fight against a hydroelectric dam that was to be built on their land. After more than two years of muddy resistance, the dam plans were shelved, and land rights were restored to the indigenous population. This was a landmark win, in more ways than one.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A pause to reflect in the wake of the youth justice storm

    • Julie Edwards
    • 15 March 2017
    6 Comments

    At present the tornado that has raged in youth justice has abated. Disturbing images from Don Dale led to a royal commission in the Northern Territory. In Melbourne, public fears about gang violence, carjackings, robberies and youth detention centre riots were followed by the placing of many young people in an adult facility and a pledge to build a new prison for young offenders. This pause offers time for reflection on the human reality and needs of children who are involved in the justice system.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Netanyahu visit drives the Palestine wedge deeper

    • Andra Jackson
    • 22 February 2017
    15 Comments

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia this week is having precisely the opposite impact to what he no doubt intended. Instead of shoring up support for Israel's flagrant disregard for United Nations resolutions condemning its continual annexation of Palestinian land, it is driving a deep wedge into what was previously unflagging bipartisan Australian political party support for Israel. Australia's connection with Palestine actually predates the creation of the state of Israel.

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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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Uprooting toxic inequality

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 February 2017
    19 Comments

    In itself inequality is not harmful. It is part of the diversity proper in any human society. But the inequality that is now in question is toxic because it is extreme when measured by any scale, and because it is programmed to increase. It is self-perpetuating and self-intensifying. The increase of wealth of the few entails the marginalisation and impoverishment of others. Inequality is the enduring root and not the transient blossom of the plant of social division.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Entitlements saga asks what is legitimate political work

    • John Warhurst
    • 31 January 2017
    7 Comments

    The question of proper parliamentary and government work expenses remains unresolved. Whether rural MPs should use charter flights rather than commercial airlines is the latest aspect. Every element of political work expenses is now under sceptical public scrutiny. The recent case of former Minister for Health Sussan Ley is just one of many questionable instances. The central question is what is a legitimate work expense for politicians. The matter of who should then pay is secondary.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The problem of privilege in Australia Day billboard furore

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 24 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The removal of an Australia Day billboard featuring two girls in hijabs prompted a swell of support against Islamophobia. Alongside this was a backlash from those who read the action as forcing Muslim Australians to be complicit in the oppression of Indigenous peoples. My unease came from seeing intra-community tension manifest as dismissal and denigration of those who were considered not 'woke' enough to the politics and embedded racism surrounding invocations of Australian identity.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Ethical reflections on seeking sustainable development for India

    • Frank Brennan
    • 28 November 2016

    'No matter what the economic, political and legal problems confronted by modern day India, our response can be improved by an application of the key principles and norms developed in the international law of trade and human rights, helping to enunciate the realm of law, regulation and political accountability, enhancing public scrutiny providing the right environment for doing business.' Frank Brennan presents the 25th JRD Tata Oration, Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, India, 26 November 2016.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Solidarity and self-interest in the future of unionism

    • Tim Lyons
    • 14 November 2016
    7 Comments

    Just as the 'wealth management' industry is based on the lie that anyone can be wealthy if they are prepared to take enough individual risk, the modern lie about work is that your place depends on vicious competition with those around you. This sort of sociopathic individualism denies the collective project, where even the team resembles more a gangster faction than a collective. Success is said to be a function of your own efforts, rendering solidarity not just foreign but inimical to your interests.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Already died

    • John Falzon
    • 14 November 2016
    6 Comments

    I talked to no one, let no one catch on, ate nothing, never got wet in the sea, or from the sea in the sky. I did nothing wrong except everything. But even so I never turned away from the poem, even when I shaved off little bits to sharpen my sense of the poem, or the unseen warfare in the world.

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