keywords: Disadvantage

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis and the age of automation

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 20 January 2017
    7 Comments

    Many have called for the automated Centrelink debt collection system to be scrapped, but the government is standing by it. One of the reasons for this may be that the system is doing just what it's designed to do - trying to force people away from welfare reliance by making it more onerous. Pope Francis argues that far from a 'neutral' tool, technology creates a framework which conditions people and limits their possible options along lines dictated by the most economically and politically powerful.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama's shining light in sombre times

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 January 2017
    12 Comments

    In an otherwise sombre start to the year Barack Obama's final speech has been a shining light. He celebrated what he saw as the successes of his administration without sneering at his political opponents. He spoke graciously and decently, and evoked hope for the future. Obama is right in insisting that empathy is the necessary starting point for reconstructing a broken economic framework. It enables a global perspective from which the good of individuals and groups is set within the flourishing of the whole community, and especially the most disadvantaged.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Timorese have had a win but could still lose big-time

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 January 2017
    17 Comments

    Without any media fanfare, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop published a statement on 9 January 2017 announcing that Australia and Timor Leste had agreed to terminate the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea. This news is more welcome to the Timorese government than to the Australian government. But the uncertainty created by this Timorese win might in time impact more adversely on Timor than on Australia. Only time will tell.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Financial literacy programs need to get real

    • Rachel Kurzyp
    • 16 December 2016
    8 Comments

    Studies have found that in Australia, groups with the poorest financial awareness and skills are those under 25, those with no formal post-secondary education, those on low incomes and working 'blue collar occupations', and women. While it makes sense to provide these groups with financial information on home loans and super, this wouldn't have helped my mother when she had to decide between, say, buying groceries for the week or getting the car serviced.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Christmas blighted by child detention obscenity

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 December 2016
    7 Comments

    This year International Migrants Day has called for children to be released from detention. It is appropriate that an event held in the shadow of Christmas should advocate for children. For they lie at the heart of Christmas. The insistence in the Gospel stories on the obligation to respect and nurture children is not exclusive to Christians. It is echoed in the attention to children and concern for their growth into responsible adults shared by other religions and cultures.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Moderates must realise whiteness rests on oppression

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 14 December 2016
    7 Comments

    If the political trash-fire of 2016 has taught us anything, it's that white moderates are more than willing to throw minorities under the bus in order to preserve the status quo. It comes out in their tone policing. It comes out in calls for 'respectful' dialogue without considering how socio-political power structures mean minorities are always at a disadvantage in those kinds of conversations. Whiteness has always been a moving target and has more to do with power and privilege than skin colour.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How class shapes art in 21st century Australia

    • Ellena Savage
    • 09 December 2016
    4 Comments

    To be in the running for a scholarship, a student must have had their abilities or potential acknowledged and rewarded within an ideological education system. Where the money comes from - and whom it is given to - informs what kinds of artwork thrives. As Didier Eribon says, 'art, culture and education are part of the mechanisms of differentiation between social classes'. And the institutional frameworks underpinning the production of artwork can lead to pernicious political outcomes.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The unique labour conditions of millennials

    • Sonia Nair
    • 28 November 2016
    11 Comments

    Belonging to a generation where I was constantly told I could do anything I set my mind to, I was carted off to every class imaginable as a young child - art class, violin class, music theory class, English literature tutoring and so forth. But the advent of unparalleled choices that was constantly peddled to me did not coincide with an increase in the spaces that are available for young people to excel, or much less be employed, in the fields of their choice.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trust or bust after shattering US election campaign

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 November 2016
    21 Comments

    The US election, to no one's regret, is now over. It remains to wish Donald Trump well as he prepares to take up the office of president. It is tempting to see Hillary Clinton as Humpty Dumpty and ask how she can pick up the pieces of her life, when tarnished and wearied by a campaign so full of personal abuse, revelations of tawdry behaviour and a lack of grace. Yet it is not Clinton that lies broken at the foot of the wall. It is the polity of the US, shown to be bereft of the trust necessary for national wellbeing.

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  • RELIGION

    New Jesuit General's feeling for the political periphery

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 November 2016
    6 Comments

    Ordinarily I wouldn't dare to say political leaders have anything to learn from Jesuits. But these are the kind of extraordinary times of anxiety and flux that led ancient rulers to consult oracles, read tea leaves and look at the flight of birds. People fret because their future and pockets rise and fall on the tide of of would-be presidents. In the sour slurry of discontent and puzzlement the election of a Venezuelan political scientist as international leader of the Jesuits provides material for broader reflection.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Middle class privilege is more than material

    • Sonia Nair
    • 24 October 2016
    15 Comments

    Social theorist Pierre Bourdieu posited the disturbing finding that academic underperformance in lower-class students could be traced back to their lack of cultural capital, defined as 'familiarity with the dominant culture in a society, and especially the ability to understand and use 'educated' language''. According to Bourdieu, the mainstream education system assumes a certain level of cultural capital and as a result, educators speak in a manner that is only understood by a privileged few.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    There's room at the table for the poor if we make it

    • Julie Edwards
    • 17 October 2016
    17 Comments

    One of the most misused passages of Christian scripture tells us we shall always have the poor with us. It is often repeated by those who are not poor in order to dismiss any project that involves public expenditure or private generosity to people who are poor. When we do not focus on the good or bad conscience of the observer but on the lives of the people who are poor, we can see that the statement is not a justification for a modern society that allows people to live in poverty. It is an indictment.

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