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  • AUSTRALIA

    The rise of global surveillance anxiety

    • Ray Cassin
    • 21 June 2013
    7 Comments

    Unease about the Australian Federal Police obtaining phone and internet records without a warrant coincided with a greater, global anxiety about the more troublesome surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency. The Obama administration's defence of the NSA has been as lame as Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus's defence of the AFP.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Africa's answer to militant feminism

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 08 March 2013
    17 Comments

    Western feminism rejects women who don't ascribe to certain rules, such as putting children in care, pursuing a career or even disliking men. Young women looking for an antidote to such aggressive, individualistic feminism may turn to Africa, where community-centric, gender-inclusive ideologies have been espoused for decades. 

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Does mining cost more than it's worth?

    • Justin Glyn
    • 12 February 2013
    15 Comments

    While mining is a source of great wealth for Australia, its socio-ecological benefits are mixed. Yet the sheer power of the industry means a balanced conversation on these issues is yet to start. Both major parties are beholden to the industry and fear the advertising power its money can buy. Two examples demonstrate the problem.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Back road encounter in the Italian countryside

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 31 October 2012
    3 Comments

    We drove up a narrow road, on the dubious instructions of the GPS. Suddenly the car became unbalanced and the front wheel spun above the side of the road, which had collapsed. We were stuck. We could hear dogs barking in the night. After a while a car approached from one direction, and then a utility from the other.

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  • RELIGION

    A feminist reading of the Koran

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 23 October 2012
    33 Comments

    For centuries, Muslim women have accepted the fallacy that they are inferior to men. Sadly, the jahaliyyah (ignorance and irascibility) Mohammed railed against is alive in the Muslim world, notably in the mentality that sees the Taliban try to justify shooting a 14-year-old child for supporting women's education. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Means test won't fix health funding

    • Michael Mullins
    • 13 February 2012
    12 Comments

    The current private health insurance subsidy has the poor paying for the wealthy. The proposed means test will make health funding a little fairer, but it won't do much to change inequities in the health system as a whole. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dreams of pulling Australia out of its slump

    • Ian C. Smith
    • 31 January 2012

    Although most are probably long dead, they seem happy, even excited. Perhaps they will toss triumphant hats. The wind might favour their team, even steal tossed hats, but not hope.

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  • MEDIA

    Weighing Wikipedia

    • Philip Harvey
    • 16 January 2012
    12 Comments

    Somedays it looks like the most extravagant love letter to the humanist project, other days like the biggest ragbag of unsorted intellectual capital. The sheer scale of information is truly amazing. But as a reference, the time has come for Wikipedia to up its game.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Afghan terror past and present

    • Jan Forrester
    • 05 December 2011
    8 Comments

    In Afghanistan, the past isn't the past yet. The last 150 years bear directly on its present perilous state. Now that the US is leaving, some US lobbyists and Afghan women wonder what will happen if the Taliban return. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hooked on monogamy

    • Jen Vuk
    • 10 August 2011
    6 Comments

    New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said recently that  sanctioning gay marriage could lead to demands for the legalisation of polygamy. US author Sidney Callahan argues that, gay or straight, we all strive for 'pair bonding that contributes to equality and unity'.

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  • MEDIA

    Getting the media we deserve

    • Justin Glyn
    • 21 July 2011
    8 Comments

    It is easy to wring our hands and blame the media for bias and shoddy practices. But the truth is we like our fix of gossip and outrage, viewed through our favourite political spectacles, and are not always concerned how we get it. That is why tabloids sell.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Admiring the homeless

    • John Falzon
    • 14 June 2011
    8 Comments

    Far from being demonised, people living rough on the streets should be respected and admired for their tenacity and inventiveness. This week a group of business and community leaders will seek to learn from the people who live in the guts of our greatest social problem.

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