keywords: Disadvantage

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The manor and the workhouse in modern Australia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 July 2017
    17 Comments

    A regular feature in Australian politics is the attempt to save money by penalising people who are struggling with life. It is usually accompanied by disparagement of the groups who are targeted. The strategy has a long history that provides a context. In 19th century England, a system was established that would encourage people to seek work by deterring them from seeking help. Central to this was the establishment of workhouses where the conditions would be more unpleasant than in any form of work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Health gap widens as wage growth falls

    • Amy Coopes
    • 26 June 2017
    7 Comments

    Universal health care is an ostensibly bipartisan prerogative, but what it actually means and how it's achieved is a somewhat moveable feast. Spending, we are told, is unsustainable as the population ages and we move toward ever-more personalised and technologically-advanced treatment paradigms. The objective of this rhetoric is to rationalise the privatisation of our health system by stealth. The latest wages figures are something of an inconvenient truth in this 'unsustainable spending' fiction.

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  • EDUCATION

    Hanson's autism comments miss the value of diversity

    • Madeleine Hamilton
    • 22 June 2017
    19 Comments

    The mood was subdued at the gates of our small Catholic primary school at 3:30pm on Wednesday. Ten per cent of our school's students have an autism diagnosis, and for their parents who had read Pauline Hanson's comments to the Senate that afternoon, those familiar feelings - dismay at the ignorance and lack of empathy of some people, worry for the future, and defiant pride in their diverse children - had been activated yet again.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Puritanical citizenship changes promote less inclusive Australia

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 19 June 2017
    16 Comments

    While ideally all Australian should have some reasonable ability to communicate in English, it is unreasonable to expect it at such a high level. Consider parents sponsored to Australia who live here and provide care for their grandchildren while their own children work. I have heard of small businesses in western Sydney owned by Chinese Australians, who have learnt Assyrian, because most of their customers speak Assyrian, not English. They are not having trouble in 'economic participation'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Our addiction to connection is centuries old

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 15 June 2017
    4 Comments

    On a recent tour of Vaucluse House in Sydney's east, I couldn't help but notice, in every bedroom, a writing desk. I imagined Sarah Wentworth scribbling away with inkpot and pen 180 years ago. I wonder if the Wentworths went straight to their writing desks first thing in the morning, the way some people check their phones? The desire to receive news from someone somewhere else is century's old. In 1850 Tasmania had 11 newspapers, for a population of 70,000.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cashless Cards and other salvos in the war on the poor

    • Michele Madigan
    • 06 June 2017
    11 Comments

    In 1978 Kaurna/Narungga woman, Georgina Williams, said to me that Aboriginal people tend to be first on the receiving end of governmental oppressive practices and, when that works, the practices are extended to other poor Australians. Thirty-nine years later, almost every day brings new evidence of a relentless campaign against the poor, of which Cashless Cards are but one particularly vindictive example.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    On Aboriginal land: seeking a place at the table

    • Frank Brennan
    • 31 May 2017
    6 Comments

    Indigenous leaders this last week have called for the creation of two new legal entities. They want a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission set up by legislation. The Makarrata Commission would supervise agreement making between governments and First Nations and engage in truth telling about history. The envisaged destination is a national Makarrata (or treaty). So the immediate constitutional issue is the creation of the First Nations Voice. There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of Indigenous Australia. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the voting public.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Building social justice through shareholder advocacy

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 26 May 2017
    4 Comments

    Wealth inequality in Australia is flourishing. The top one per cent of household wealth in Australia is moving toward being 20 per cent of total wealth, and the country is a preferred destination for millionaires. With a government that prefers to impoverish and vilify the disadvantaged and spend big on coal mines, this does not look likely to shift. But there are always other paths to social justice, and in Australia one may be through the millionaires - or at least the companies on which their fortunes are built.

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  • EDUCATION

    Gonski in an age of budget repair

    • Frank Brennan
    • 24 May 2017
    20 Comments

    The level of consultation prior to the announced changes was appalling. But that is water under the bridge. It's time to enunciate some clear principles, and for respectful consultations to take place investigating how those principles can be best applied. This must be done within the realistic political environment in which we find ourselves. At the same time the Catholic system should ensure its schools are more available to the poor, enacting Pope Francis's desire for 'a Church which is poor and for the poor'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Still fighting for our rights 50 years after the referendum

    • Dani Larkin
    • 22 May 2017
    5 Comments

    An interesting aspect was the shift in the mindset and understanding among non-indigenous Australians regarding Aboriginal rights. To note the way in which one dominating western culture moved toward recognising the rights of another culture that was oppressed by it is quite remarkable. We should consider those aspects of the mentality shift (from both cultures and their understanding of what the 1967 referendum meant) if we are ever to revisit that type of federal movement again.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Children's flourishing inside and outside the nuclear family

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 May 2017
    3 Comments

    Public celebrations of family life such as the International Day of Families should be uncontroversial. But they sometimes focus on the definition of the family, with the claims of the stable nuclear family of father, mother and children set against the claims of other kinds of family groupings. These discussions should not distract from such larger questions as: why are families of any description important, and what qualities are needed if they are to be effective?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Labor-lite' budget's social welfare report card

    • Julie Edwards
    • 10 May 2017
    5 Comments

    'Labor-lite' or not, there are many investments contained in the budget which will work towards a more just society, including the securing of funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme by raising the Medicare levy, and the needs-based approach to school funding, dubbed 'Gonski 2.0'. But among these commitments that seek to create a more equitable Australia, this budget again seeks to vilify welfare recipients, among the most vulnerable members of our community.

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