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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A Himalayan miracle to carry into the New Year

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 December 2019
    4 Comments

    Stopping along a ridge, we beheld the Garhwal Himalaya range as it came into view: a tumble of mountains crowned on the horizon by an irregular, saw-toothed range ... In that brief moment between sunrise and daylight, when a once-secretive world would be illuminated, our wonder at the world was multiplied many times over.

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  • RELIGION

    Christmas in a time of fire

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 December 2019
    15 Comments

    This year the contrast between the original story of Christmas and its Australian circumstances has cut even deeper. Bushfires have taken lives, destroyed properties and spread smoke and ash over cities. If the theme of the first Christmas was one of hope and joy, behind the bushfires this year lurks anxiety about the future of the world.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Notre Dame de Paris

    • Marlene Marburg, Grant Fraser
    • 16 December 2019
    3 Comments

    It rose in its tall verticals from the grace and welcome of the earth, / That swooned far, far below, / As canny masons hefted the limestone / Into vast beatitudes of grace; / Shipwrights inverted their minds to groom the oak, / So that it would soar, / As if a celtic monk had charmed a serpent into a holy phrase.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Coming to terms with Christmas grief

    • Katherine Richardson
    • 16 December 2019
    10 Comments

    Now that I'm grown I've realised that while Christmas felt that way for me, it isn't magical for everyone. For many people Christmas is a hollow reminder that there is someone missing from the table, and no matter whether it's the first year or the 50th, that chair will always remain empty.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    It's Christmas and I'll dance if I want to

    • Barry Gittins
    • 16 December 2019
    5 Comments

    Dance and music are as innate as breathing. Babies dance while in the womb, and the Yuletide can be prime time for 'playing music, singing and dancing [as a] healthy outlet for their emotions'. As William Stafford observed, kids dance 'before they learn there is anything that isn't music'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The 'ugly boredom' of a very Brexit election

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 13 December 2019
    16 Comments

    Tired and world weary, the British electorate went to the polls. Rarely in history can there have been such an assemblage of unelectable or disappointing types standing for office or trying to remain in it. It proved to be an ugly boredom, though it was uglier for some than others.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dickens and Christmas as we grow older

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 13 December 2019
    5 Comments

    Dickens was a prolific writer, and one of patchy quality: the threat of sentimentality was never far away, so that this brief work is not one of his best. But in this consumer age it is salutary to have his definition of the Christmas spirit, which is one 'of active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge of duty, kindness and forbearance'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Allies keeping faith despite Medevac blow

    • Carolina Gottardo and Nishadh Rego
    • 12 December 2019
    6 Comments

    Outside, a Martian-red haze kisses the windows. An ode to the future perhaps. Most of the people present are already aware of the Medevac repeal decision. The room is heavy with silence, the mood is sombre, but far from resigned. We want change, and are willing to have a crack at demanding it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Disability RC must reckon with education

    • Jane Britt
    • 12 December 2019
    4 Comments

    From the minute we enter the education system, we experience barriers. We are segregated when we arrive at primary school, placed in 'special' units or classes. Here our needs are subsumed into the collective needs of the group. From the outset our educational outcomes are at the whim of the people who are in the position of power.

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  • RELIGION

    Movement for Church renewal keeps growing

    • John Warhurst
    • 11 December 2019
    50 Comments

    What's going on within the Catholic Church always matters more widely given its size and power. Lay participation in leadership, especially of women, is a major social issue. Observers of social trends should watch this space for its wider public policy implications.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The arts as a human right

    • Bree Alexander
    • 11 December 2019
    4 Comments

    While we can only speculate on what it means for the future of funding beyond the current budget, alarm bells are ringing for many of us who recognise the symbolic power of rendering the arts invisible at a federal level. A strong, vibrant arts sector is essential to a thriving democracy.

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  • CARTOON

    Naughty and nice?

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 10 December 2019

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