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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The power of gift-giving without the waste

    • Cristy Clark
    • 21 November 2019
    3 Comments

    As we pare back more and more, I have started to realise that there is a risk in taking things too far. The consumer orgy of the past may have been unsightly, but gift giving itself also serves a valuable social function, and we may be at risk of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    A view from Africa of Australia burning

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 14 November 2019
    10 Comments

    As fires obliterated large swathes of Australia, I was largely oblivious to the news — though tenuously connected to events as I travelled through oven-hot, tinder-dry national parks in Southern Africa. It was only when I reached the airport in Johannesburg that the extent of the catastrophe became apparent to me.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate clues beyond the four seasons myth

    • Katherine Wilson
    • 08 November 2019
    9 Comments

    Any Australian who believes in four seasons is engaged in a form of climate denial. Spring, summer, autumn and winter are colonial constructs, not an objective truth. I recently visited a school which has the largest Indigenous student population in Melbourne. The kids made a mural depicting the eight seasons of greater Melbourne.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Stories about the Russia you thought you knew

    • Justin Glyn
    • 06 November 2019
    8 Comments

    A casual reader, picking up Tony Kevin's book without much background knowledge on the events which it covers, might assume that the work was alarmist conspiracy theory, so wildly is it at odds with the standard fare which one reads in the papers about Russia and contemporary politics in general. Frighteningly, it is not.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Hong Kong Church silent as the people sing

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 04 November 2019
    12 Comments

    That the Catholic Church in Hong Kong has not only chosen to remain silent, but also enforce this silence through the banning of a song, is itself a political act. Considerations as to whether this silence is a consequence of the Vatican's recent agreement with the PRC about the appointment of bishops within China do seem to have merit.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Slaying Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 28 October 2019
    13 Comments

    Here, al-Baghdadi seemed to reprise a previous villainous role: that played by Osama bin Laden, the recognisable face of Al-Qaeda. It was similar in another respect: slaying the symbolic head might provide some form of catharsis, but it would hardly redress the logistic realities on the ground.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nazi fable's modern resonance

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 22 October 2019
    8 Comments

    A major part of Martin's so-called patriotism is anti-Semitism, and Martin soon uses the well-worn trope in which the prejudiced person makes an exception of an individual. After declaring that the Jewish race is 'a sore spot', Martin tells Max he has loved him not because of his race but in spite of it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Borders blur at Australia's northern tip

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 October 2019
    10 Comments

    It's the final outpost, symbolically, demarcating Australia from its closest neighbour, PNG. The islands beyond it are a link to the cultures and geologies that lie to the north, giant stepping stones that guide Australia's Torres Straight Islanders home. For white Australians, they're the barrier marking the country's fiercely-held border.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Paul Kelly and the lighthouse in the sky

    • Julie Perrin
    • 14 October 2019
    7 Comments

    The musicians stepped forward, heads close around one microphone. The words of the 23rd Psalm were familiar and re-cast all at once. They met us in hope and in despair in 'the middle of the air'. There was a space of yearning there; the space where artists, songwriters and psalmists send us. That is the place we can be met.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Headland daydreaming

    • Peter Ramm
    • 30 September 2019
    2 Comments

    This place is new to my son, who doesn't know that satin bowerbirds pilfer the brush ... He's busy tracing each scribble in each gum, and my hands are full of his hands, faintly heavy — faintly delicate. A towering deciduous fig hangs over us; its branches are neural pathways, thin at their tips the way memories thin in time.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australian unis failing Hong Kong students

    • Sangeetha Thanapal
    • 14 September 2019
    5 Comments

    The students might not have many rights back home, but they do in the western democracies in which they live. The violence against peaceful protestors not just in Hong Kong but in countries where Hong Kong students are exercising their basic rights is unsettling. Yet the response by unis all over Australia has been taciturn at best.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's true relationship with Timor-Leste

    • Sophie Raynor
    • 09 September 2019
    13 Comments

    Australia’s priority is clear: self-protection at all costs, no matter the sacrifice required of Timor-Leste. And it’s a theme that continues today: Australia’s neighbourly relationship with Timor-Leste remains one of taking anything it can, not of sharing like friends.  

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