keywords: The Lost Art Of Sleep

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  • RELIGION

    Easter memory loss makes plastic of the present

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 April 2014
    16 Comments

    Both the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter are exercises in memory. The Jewish child who asks why this day is remembered is told a story of slavery in Egypt followed by deliverance by God. He stands in line with other children who asked the same question during the Holocaust. The devaluation of history and memory has a deeply corrosive effect on society. In our society we can see this in our treatment of asylum seekers.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Rise of the right in Japan

    • Walter Hamilton
    • 24 February 2014
    4 Comments

    Tony Abbott has described Japan as Australia's 'best friend in Asia'. When he journeys to Japan in April and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe reciprocates in July, the two leaders will move to cement a new 'normal' in the relationship between their nations, including closer defence cooperation. As a correspondent in Japan in the '80s and '90s, I believed Japan's extreme right to be noisy but irrelevant. I'm now coming around to a different view.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Devil in the detail of asylum seeker directive

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 February 2014
    23 Comments

    In the clamour of Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, an almost unnoticed government direction struck a revelatory chord. It affects people who came to Australia by boat and have been found to be refugees and have protection visas, stating that any applications they have made to bring family members to Australia must remain at the bottom of the pile. The brevity of the direction belies its enormous effects on the people affected by it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2013: NDIS helps the common good

    • Moira Byrne Garton
    • 17 January 2014
    3 Comments

    Dr Maurice Newman, chairman of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council, last week cautioned the Government against listening to certain interests at the expense of the common good. His criticism of the former Government as 'reckless' for establishing and funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme reveals an upsetting indifference and a lack of awareness of the benefits of such a scheme both to individuals and to society as a whole.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2013: Losing Chavez the indispensable

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 08 January 2014
    2 Comments

    With Hugo Chavez's death Latin America has arguably lost the most influential political leader of the last two decades. Chavez was one of those men that Bertolt Brecht called the 'indispensible ones'. He has been the champion of the socially and economically marginalised since he came to power in 1999.

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  • RELIGION

    Church plays part of Christmas villain

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 December 2013
    14 Comments

    Christmas tells the story of a God who entrusted Christ as a baby safely to the care of Mary and Joseph in a markedly hostile secular environment. The stories told at the Royal Commission are of parents who entrusted their children unsafely to the care of representatives of the Church. The face of Herod in our day is not that of a persecutor who threatens the church from without. It is that of a minister of the church who betrays from within.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    US gun lobbyists miss the logic of feeling

    • Fatima Measham
    • 13 December 2013
    14 Comments

    I woke up to the news on a Saturday morning. One year ago tomorrow, a man walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire. In the aftermath, gun lobbyists seethed with high indignation that President Barack Obama was politicising a tragedy. It goes to show that the ones who complain about the politicisation of tragedy tend to be the ones who do not want to do anything about it.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Thoughts in the key of Oxford

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 29 November 2013
    5 Comments

    The woman at the canteen yells 'Urrry up! Speed up! Who dropped that?' A 30 second washing detergent ad prefaces a video you want to watch on YouTube. A homeless man talks to his dog over a sandwich: 'Get lost Chance! It's mine, you've 'ad yours!' Everyday speech tells stories and offers glimpses of things not yet understood, to resurface later alongside other words and verses, fully invested with meaning.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    JFK and the myth of American innocence

    • Ray Cassin
    • 22 November 2013
    10 Comments

    The assassination of John F. Kennedy 50 years ago elicited a particular quality of grief. It was not only a matter of mourning the violent death of a world leader who, at the time, was much admired. The notion also stuck that something called innocence had been lost because of what had happened in Dallas. That sense has withered under reassessments of Kennedy's character and record in office but it has never been extinguished entirely.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Near the far-sighted eyeball of God

    • Carolyn Masel
    • 29 October 2013
    2 Comments

    A French philosopher went up the Tower to spurn the matchless view. In principle. New York City sparkled at his feet. How to convince them of their value down there: the spontaneity of life on the street — its chaos, brio, democratic lack of vista ... While up here, perilously near the far-sighted eyeball of God (that insatiable, designing orb), you could forget it all, and just hang like a planet, while the lights went out ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A lost civilisation of toast crumbs

    • Various
    • 22 October 2013
    1 Comment

    Cigarette smoke curls in the air like the Buddha's eyelashes. Dishes collect in the sink like a shipwreck. Black ants trail like a gang from changhi. Sunshine like butter in honey ... A thought grows like ivy, scratches the skin.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Which party really has the economic smarts?

    • David James
    • 13 August 2013
    3 Comments

    As the China boom fades Australia is experiencing a delayed version of the GFC, without the banking crisis. Until now we've been reasonably well served by both sides of politics, in terms of macro-economic strategy. Now we require a way of dealing with more mundane economic issues like productivity and efficiency. Neither side has many good ideas about how to achieve the required structural shifts.

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