keywords: How I Ended This Summer

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  • RELIGION

    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Indonesia shows its ugly side with regressive executions

    • Pat Walsh
    • 29 April 2015
    16 Comments

    Indonesia is a country of great promise with a significant, maybe crucial, contribution to make to our troubled world. As a very large, pluralist, Muslim-majority democracy it offers a template for other societies in transition. President SBY was acutely aware of this opportunity and through his democracy forums and other initiatives did much to re-brand Indonesia in this positive light. All this good work is being undone by the anal, small-town thinking the executions represent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How super hurts the poor and middle income earners

    • Brian Toohey
    • 27 March 2015
    6 Comments

    Although the age pension will cost about $49 billion in 2017-18, it is means tested. In contrast, superannuation concessions are heavily biased in favour of high income earners. Both sides of politics pander to the wealthy and the cosseted finance sector, which want certainty that nothing will stand in the way of their super bonanza.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The contours of an extended child abuse royal commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 July 2014
    17 Comments

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses of Child Sexual Abuse has asked the Abbott Government for a two-year extension until December 2017 to complete its task. The good news is that the victims' groups seem to think they can wait that long, as anything sooner would be rushed.  The bad news is that we will all be waiting another three and a half years for answers about how to restructure institutions ensuring the better protection of children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Morrison's law of intended consequences

    • Tony Kevin
    • 21 February 2014
    36 Comments

    Manus is not subject to Australian law and public accountability safeguards, or only very imperfectly. Cover-up of atrocity is a lot easier in Manus than it would be in an Australian detention centre. And this of course is what was intended. Manus is part of the asylum-seeker deterrent system. The fear of death at sea, and the fear of death by security force brutalisation at Manus, are intended to deter asylum-seeker voyages. To stop the boats.

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  • RELIGION

    This time in the Church

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 November 2013
    5 Comments

    'Having thrown off the shackles of compulsion endured by pre-Vatican II Catholics, we relish that we come to the table not because we are forced, not because of social expectations, not because of the mindset of the mob, but because we are graciously called and freely responding.' Frank Brennan's Camino Address, Parish of Our Lady of the Way North Sydney, 12 November 2013

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  • RELIGION

    Show some respect when talking with homosexuals

    • Frank Brennan
    • 19 August 2013
    28 Comments

    During part of the conversation that was recorded by SBS but not aired, I told Penny Wong I thought her homosexuality was as natural, complex and mystical as my heterosexuality. It is time we dropped the unhelpful, judgmental language of intrinsic and objective disorder when respectfully trying to determine appropriate laws and policies for all people who want to support and nurture each other and their children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How Labor lost its moral edge

    • Tony Kevin
    • 21 July 2013
    13 Comments

    We will now tell damaged, fearful people who try to come here: Go to PNG. Wait in fever-ridden tent camps for years to be processed. We have used our economic power over a small impoverished and fairly unstable country to say to its political class: we will bribe your country to accept as future citizens groups of people who have no affinity with or respect for you, and for whom you have no affinity or respect.

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  • RELIGION

    How can the Catholic Church contribute to a better culture for life?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 March 2013
    3 Comments

    Change is upon the Church. Just recall the scene when the new pope emerged on the Vatican balcony. He appeared with none of the papal trimmings of office, and did not once did he refer to the papacy. Could something of this new papal style help Catholics engage more creatively with their fellow citizens? Text from Frank Brennan's lecture 'How Can the Catholic Church Contribute to a Better Culture for Life?'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Empathy and irony in post-Howard Australia

    • Barry Gittins
    • 11 December 2012
    1 Comment

    Becalmed, bereft, besieged by race memory and hip pocket absorption, a nation of travellers and seafarers swallow leaders' sleight-of-hand, as they conjure pirates from refugees, demons from daughters, sons and lovers.

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  • MEDIA

    Putting the soul back in the media carnival sideshow

    • Caroline Zielinski
    • 16 November 2012
    1 Comment

    Speed was a huge factor in the BBC debacle: the story about a senior Tory 'rapist' began on Twitter and went viral. The Australian's associate editor Cameron Stewart recently argued that journalism courses focus too much on 'critical assessment of the media' rather than 'the nuts and bolts of reporting'. But the lack of deep cognitive understanding of the role of the media is precisely the problem.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    No apologies for Howard's unjust war

    • Bruce Duncan
    • 20 December 2010
    7 Comments

    With no hint of regret or apology, John Howard has defended his decision to join the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He gives no consideration to the just war criteria. This is not surprising, as on all these principles the case for a just war fails.

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