keywords: Refugee Art Project


    Ruddock appointment thumbs nose at human rights

    • Justin Glyn
    • 15 February 2016

    If Phillip Ruddock's appointment as Australia's first special envoy to the United Nations on Human Rights is about demonstrating the worthlessness of current international human rights protection structures (and the consequent hollowness of their criticisms of Australia), it is a rather short sighted one. Appointing a person with a weak record of upholding human rights in the area where Australia itself is weakest sends the unmistakable signal that Australia is no longer committed to the human rights project.


    #LetThemStay reveals the political capital of compassion

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 12 February 2016

    Since the first churches offered sanctuary to the refugees facing deportation to Nauru, a steady stream of voices have joined the call for compassion. As a political language, compassion is itself a reclamation of power. Extending safety, resources, or even a mere welcome to people in need proves that we have something to give. Strength is embodied by a capacity to aid and assist, rather than in cruelty. Empathy, care and compassion appeal to us on a level of emotion that runs deeper than mere rhetoric.


    Hope lies beyond latest climate shock therapy

    • Lyn Bender
    • 09 February 2016

    News about climate change can be depressing. But it was downright shocking to learn that budget cuts to CSIRO have led to the decimation of the agency's climate science. Australia is one of the worst global emitters, yet Australian citizens have outsourced responsibility for climate protection, as they have for refugees. The ease of bipartisan agreement on such crucial dilemmas confirms the point. A dormant electorate creates a negligent, sleeping, self-satisfied and corrupt government.


    Whose Australia Day?

    • Fatima Measham
    • 22 January 2016

    Last November I was on a panel at the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council conference, musing about postmodern identities, whether 'ethnics' were mainstream and not peripheral, and whether 'Aussie values' are in fact universal. I enjoyed the discussion, but part of me felt worn. It seemed to me that black and brown folks like us are less concerned about what it means to be Australian than how Australian we would have to be, to be as Australian as everyone else.


    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2015

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.


    Countering ISIS by going off-script

    • Fatima Measham
    • 20 November 2015

    It is tempting to view the aftermath of terrorist attacks such as those in Paris as a well-rehearsed script. There are condemnation of the killings, sympathy for the families of victims, resolve to seek and punish perpetrators, expressions of solidarity across nations. Also, assaults targeting Muslims on the street and in policy. This time a few things have gone off-script. 'Hugs and hashtags' won't stop ISIS, but there is strength in refusing to cede control over our language and behaviour to terrorists.

  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 September 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

  • Maintaining the humanity of the public square

    • Greg O'Kelly
    • 01 July 2015

    The phrase 'the public square' is peppered throughout Frank Brennan's work. The 1988 film Cinema Paradiso depicts the public square in a Sicilian village over 30 or so years, and its slow and subtle change from a place where human beings gather to laugh, play and discuss. Billboards and garish signs appear and it becomes a car park bereft of its humanity.


    Joe Hockey's 'better bang' foreign aid cut delusion

    • Michael Mullins
    • 18 May 2015

    As a nation, we have demonstrated to the world that we have no shame when it comes to the treatment of asylum seekers. Now it's as if the aid cuts are being worn as a badge of honour. Joe Hockey talks about the 'targeted outcomes' philosophy of the cuts, 'build[iing] the prosperity and assist[ing] with poverty alleviation in our region', in order to get 'better bang for our buck in foreign aid'. But leading aid economist Stephen Howse argues the opposite.


    Anzac Day a jarring experience for migrant Australians

    • Fatima Measham
    • 20 April 2015

    Since John Howard promoted the memory of 25 April 2015 in the years after 9/11, it has become entrenched in the public imagination as the definitive Australian moment. I look upon it from a distance, in awe, and as the deification of the white male soldier continues apace, with a deeper sense of alienation. As a non-white Australian who migrated to this country from the Philippines, I did try to make it relevant for myself for a while.


    Neoliberal versus Christian notions of the public good

    • Peter Kirkwood
    • 15 April 2015

    Last week corporate heavyweights including Google, Apple and Microsoft were grilled about the practice of moving profits from Australia to lower tax jurisdictions. Rev Elenie Poulos, director of UnitingJustice, speaks about the public interest and social good as defined by neo-liberals, and how this is opposed to the Christian notion of the common good.


    Mannix, master conjurer in the cause of the underdog

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 March 2015

    Daniel Mannix, who was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63, knew how to control an audience and shift the perception of events. He argued fiercely against conscription in the 1917 Referendum, and railed against the exploitation of struggling workers. On finishing his new biography, I imagined a meeting between him and Pope Francis, both masters of public symbols with a disdain for church clericalism and sanctimonious speech.



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