keywords: State Schools

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  • RELIGION

    Religious freedom in an age of equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 September 2016
    18 Comments

    'No good will be served by a royal commission auspiced by the state telling a Church how it judges or complies with its theological doctrines and distinctive moral teachings. By all means, set universal standards of practice expected of all institutions dealing with children, but do not trespass on the holy ground of religious belief and practice.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ addresses the Freedom for Faith Conference in Melbourne, 23 September 2016.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hoarding and its discontents

    • Brian Matthews
    • 19 September 2016
    7 Comments

    When the skip arrived and a young bloke named Troy backed it into our driveway with insolent ease, I knew the game was up. Months of sporadic, amiable discussions had now reached a suddenly irrevocable conclusion. Our agenda - what to do with 'hoarded' papers and notes, drawers of never-to-be-worn-again clothes, children's picture books and abandoned Lego, decades old back copies of magazines - was called to order by a higher power and my filibustering and equivocations abruptly ended.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pauline's peddling the hate again

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 16 September 2016
    24 Comments

    Invisible to Hanson and her ilk are the hundreds of thousands of Aussies whose understanding of Islam allows them to enjoy and promote the separation of religion and state, live happily and peacefully alongside their non-Muslim neighbours, and have no long-term plans to impose their beliefs on anyone. Why should anyone delegitimise their Islam? Pauline Hanson may do it for the votes, but if we listen to her and follow her suggestions, we run the risk of destroying the very social cohesion she mistakenly thinks is threatened by multiculturalism.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Australian churches off the pace on clean energy switch

    • Thea Ormerod
    • 09 September 2016
    10 Comments

    With the grip of climate change tightening, few seem to understand the urgency of the crisis. This is why the announcement of over 3500 churches in the UK switching to clean power is so significant. At last, a solution presented by religious communities that matches the scale of the problem. They are providing the kind of leadership for the needed transition to an ecologically sustainable future. Unfortunately, one reason why it is so exciting is that we're nowhere near this in Australia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A society that forgives wins

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 August 2016
    11 Comments

    Almost all public conversation quickly turns to transgressors. Olympic competitors growled about proven and suspect drug users. Many wanted people found to have used drugs shamed and shunned. This insistence that transgressors should definitively lose their good name and the right to participate is not confined to sport. If inflexibility and exclusion become the rule in dealing with aberrant speech or behaviour we find unacceptable, they will impose heavy burdens on individuals and society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Girls are not to blame for their own exploitation

    • Madeleine Hamilton
    • 24 August 2016
    14 Comments

    The response from police and others in authority to recent cases involving the abuse or exploitation of adolescent female sexuality is depressingly reminiscent of attitudes held more than 50 years ago. While it was no defence to argue that the girl had consented, if it could be proven she had had consensual intercourse with other men previously, the offender could be acquitted. Consequently, in carnal knowledge trials, girls were frequently accused of having rich histories of sexual activity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Census scepticism as privacy comes under threat

    • Kate Galloway
    • 01 August 2016
    18 Comments

    Government wishes to capitalise on our data using new data mining technologies. The ABS uses the language of efficiency and public interest in justifying the changes. It even implies that the new online census is environmentally friendly. It may well be that collecting and retaining our names along with our personal information is efficient, but that does not address the foundation question of whether we as citizens retain the privacy that constitutes us as members of a liberal democratic society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Operation Proactive Citizen: Tales of a first-time voter

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 29 June 2016
    18 Comments

    Honestly, I could talk all day about how growing up with Rudd/Gillard/Rudd followed by Abbott/Turnbull turned a generation away from politics. I could talk even longer about how seeing (mostly) white, (mostly) male politicians is its own form of alienation. But if I'm going to be the possible swing vote, the homogenous 'youth vote', I'm going to make it count. I know that I can't afford to disconnect; if for nothing else, I need to vote for the people who can't.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kicking corruption in church and police 'closed systems'

    • Paul Coghlan
    • 05 May 2016
    10 Comments

    Having worked in closed organisational systems like Victoria Police and various government departments, I have often reflected on how and at what point organisations and their employees become comfortable with the belief that their ideas and attitudes are better informed than those of the general populous - and that their survival is more important. A very stark example of this are the recent court decisions relating to the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in 1989, where 96 people were killed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being popular is not the same as leadership

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 May 2016
    3 Comments

    In democracies, public sentiment is meant to be taken seriously. Describing something as populist is a refusal to engage with the sentiment, including its source and complications, usually because we find it disagreeable. The subtext is: people are wrong about the things they care about. They are not being rational or realistic. It is a brave thing to say these days about support for a royal commission into banks, or softening public attitudes toward detention-bound children.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Budget for a post trickle down theory world

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 April 2016
    10 Comments

    People are sensitised to government-enabled corporate excess and doubt elected officials are capable and willing to serve their interests. The lesson from the 2014 federal budget is that there are non-negotiables around the function of government: to provide the conditions that ensure the flourishing of all citizens. Yet in terms of future-proofing living standards, the Coalition has so far presided over an ideas bust rather than boom, unless boom is the sound of something spontaneously combusting.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Queer experience is not limited to trauma

    • Ellena Savage
    • 18 March 2016
    24 Comments

    'Coming out' is a gesture specifically, politically required of queer people but not of straight people. Another statement demanded of queer people is that they are injured and traumatised by the fact of their sexuality or gender. But why call on individuals to testify when the statistics are heartbreaking enough? This demand on queers to continually deliver narratives of oppression limits their social roles, and even invalidates their voices on matters other than their sexualities and genders.

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