keywords: The Death And Life Of Otto Bloom

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Unity on the lamb in the ethnocracy of Australia

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 20 January 2017
    12 Comments

    Like all authorised generalisations, this luminous, unified vision of Australia contains truth, exaggerations, and lies. As well as being a globally known story, it's also the story Australia most likes to tell itself; it sings through ideas like the lucky country, the land of the fair go, the land of the long weekend. Social research on Australia tells a more complex story. Australia is in fact an ethnocracy - a state that is formed in the image and for the benefit of a dominant ethnic group.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We are links in the chain of asylum seeker cruelty

    • Rod Grant
    • 18 November 2016
    18 Comments

    Having a sense of something as right or wrong, good or bad, is the essence of humanity. We get it from home, from education, religion, friends, the media. It's the sniff test or the pub test or the gut feeling or the Bible or Quran or Torah. We all have it. And just as people have a sense of right and wrong, we also have a very good humbug detector, and it's clanging loudly when politicians unctuously claim all their 'stop the boats' strategies are driven by desire to prevent drownings at sea.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Count the cost of Apple's September sell

    • Megan Graham
    • 19 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Apple has been in hot water for years about the ethics of the manufacture of their devices. Yet iPhone fans gleefully fork out more money every September when the next version is ceremoniously revealed. This circus has become so normalised, most of us hardly blink an eye. How many people ask themselves whether the upgrades in the technology are worth getting a new phone every year? More importantly, how many people question the real-world costs that their purchase entails?

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  • ECONOMICS

    The bad business of privatisation

    • David James
    • 13 September 2016
    18 Comments

    The argument that putting government operations into private hands ensures that things will run better and society will benefit is not merely a stretch; it is in many respects patently false. The argument is based on the claim that the market always produces superior price signals. Yet one area where private enterprise definitely fails is long term stability. If there is an expectation that a privatised service should last in the long term, and usually there is, then selling it to business is a bad choice.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Valuing the lives of people with disability

    • Joan Hume
    • 08 September 2016
    15 Comments

    On 26 July this year of 19 severely disabled residents were massacred as they slept in their beds at a residential care facility in Sagamihara, Japan. A further 26 were wounded. The perpetrator, Satoshi Uematsu, a former employee sacked for his disturbing views about the residents, later boasted of his 'achievements': 'It is better that disabled people disappear.' Isn't there an ever present probability that without an inclusive and accepting community, without believing in our possibilities rather than seeing only our limitations, we will spawn the likes of another Satoshi Uematsu here?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Anger in the face of despair in Kalgoorlie

    • Kate Galloway
    • 06 September 2016
    5 Comments

    This is the scandalous state of Indigenous affairs in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities literally face a life and death struggle against the state itself. These are not isolated incidents. They represent the intrinsic failure of our society to heed the concerns of communities themselves, and to engage with fellow citizens in a dignified and respectful way. The failure is so grave that state treatment meted out to Indigenous Australians is actively harmful on a large scale.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Frank Brennan on John Molony's Don Luigi Sturzo: The Father of Social Democracy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 July 2016
    3 Comments

    John traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The changing face of the law across generations

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 July 2016
    7 Comments

    Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the amendment to the Constitution which took out the adverse references to Aborigines. Following our recent election, we are assured at least six, and possibly seven, members of our national parliament who proudly claim an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage. They are represented in all parties and none. How good it would be if our elected Aboriginal politicians could come together across party lines and propose an amendment to the Constitution which recognises them.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Prisoners of their own stories

    • Brian Matthews
    • 25 July 2016
    10 Comments

    Holocaust survivor Primo Levi wrote If This is a Man to carry out what he saw as the critical task of bearing witness, and he became one of the greatest writers of the 20th century as he continued to bear witness one way and another in later books. Some day, one of Australia's asylum seekers will, like Levi and with the same sense of dread and horror, tell his or her story to ensure that someone bears witness; and to confirm that all of us are implicated.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Rumours of thylacines and distant barbarians

    • Shane McCauley
    • 24 May 2016

    Here in this weather-beleaguered outpost there are so many rumours - thylacines, panthers, wagyls even that in the distant east are barbarians ... But separating deserts might as well be galaxies, and we are self-contained, and even like those theoretical others have our contentments - blue sky, blue sea, and even now the sun's great wintery eye. Hidden as we are however we hold our heads high, perhaps would not be ashamed one day to be discovered ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The tyranny of the clock

    • Darby Hudson
    • 13 April 2016
    3 Comments

    Thinking my jadedness of the nine-to-five was vindicated, I crossed the road at lunchtime where this tow-truck was waiting its turn at the lights. The trucker had 'Born on the Bayou' by Credence blasting through open windows. Thought he had an amazing sound system. Then realised he had a drum-kit set up on his dash and was going for it with his sticks in time to the tune. He made his day job look easy — and all of a sudden I felt like a small little angry man. He made my week.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Life beyond Brussels and Paris terror

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 04 April 2016
    2 Comments

    When suicide bombers struck Brussels, I was travelling far from home, in southern Italy. The news evoked in me a sense of vulnerability, for within days I would board a series of flights from Reggio Calabria to Rome to Abu Dhabi and then Sydney. For a moment, it seemed the terrorists had achieved what they set out to do: spread fear and distrust far beyond the site of their attacks, across countries and continents and oceans so that eventually the whole world would be infected.

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