keywords: Work Practices

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    Labor's negative gearing heroics alone won't save us

    • David James
    • 26 February 2016

    It is not often that federal political parties exhibit courage. Labor's decision to change the rules on negative gearing is a rare instance. It targets what is most dangerous and unfair in our financial system. Expect howls of protests from powerful lobby groups if it ever looks like becoming policy. But these changes alone won't be enough to deal with the ills of the financial system. While they are designed to target the bias away from productive investment, they won't remove the attraction towards property.


    Men must stand with women to end family violence

    • Donella Johnston
    • 17 February 2016

    The movement to end violence against women needs men in positions of influence, such as Australian of the Year David Morrison, to add their voices to those of the women spearheading the campaign. Male religious leaders can play an important role, but must first confront an important question: if one of the key causes of family violence is gender inequality, can they speak with authority if they are part of an institution that has no women episcopal decision-makers or leaders?


    Don't be disheartened by dismal Close the Gap reports

    • Myrna Tonkinson
    • 16 February 2016

    Last week, Malcolm Turnbull presented the eighth annual Prime Minister's Report on the government's Close the Gap campaign. The Close the Gap Campaign steering committee also released its 2016 progress and priorities report. While the reports identify modest gains, overall the gaps remain wide the words 'target not met' recur throughout. The results are disheartening but should strengthen the resolve of all concerned to set realistic goals, with consultation at local levels.


    There's no cheap path to harmony

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 February 2016

    Of the United Nations Days and Weeks, World Interfaith Harmony Week is one of the most recent and perhaps the most modestly celebrated. It may also be the most needed. But the conversation cannot be confined to the churches and to those with religious faith. Its claim needs to extend beyond religious faiths to secular views of the world. The obstacle to such conversation is the religious settlement in Australia and Western nations, which can be described as negative tolerance.


    The time to look away from abuse crisis has gone

    • Richard Leonard
    • 28 January 2016

    This is one of the angriest films you will ever see. In the Bible we hear about righteous anger, where God or humanity realises something is so wrong and sinful that 'holy anger' is the first and right response. At its best in the scriptures this anger leads to justice, making things right. Spotlight is an occasion for holy, righteous anger and every adult Catholic should see it.


    Corrupt churches need women leaders

    • Moira Rayner
    • 14 December 2015

    There is a culture of brotherhood in the upper echelons of the Church. There is also a natural urge to homosocial reproduction in its instrumentalities. If I have learned anything from my work with companies and organisations on cultural change, it is that these comfortable cultures need to be broken up, because they are readily corrupted. The best way to change a culture is to start giving women positions of real influence and respect. They are outsiders, and outsiders see what insiders cannot.


    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.


    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.


    Housing fantasy quashed by culture of entitlement

    • Ellena Savage
    • 06 November 2015

    When I was a child, the house I longed for in my adult future was blonde-bricked, double-storied, concrete-paved, white-carpeted. Now I am older, and renting a room in such a house is possible, if I share the place with six other paying adults. Because it is 2015, I live in Melbourne (the sixth-least affordable city to live in in the world), and am not a merchant banker. No concrete plot will ever by mine, I say in tune with the million other people my age who have just assimilated that knowledge.


    Why Pope Francis is not an anti-Capitalist greenie

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 October 2015

    Francis knows there are all sorts of issues inside and outside the Church where for too long people with power have tried to keep the lid on, in the hope that the problems and complexities will go away, often by parodying those who see the problems or complexities as small 'l' liberals or cafeteria Catholics. He delights in being joyful and troubled while contemplating big problems, calling people of good will to the table of deliberation reminding them of the kernel of the Christian gospels. He has the faith and hope needed to lift the lid without fear and without knowing the answers prior to the dialogue occurring.

  • Francis, theological education and the public square

    • Jenny Te Paa
    • 09 October 2015

    Thank you Francis, for although you have not spoken at any length about theological education per se — any more than you have spoken about the status of women per se — in spite of these somewhat startling omissions, this indigenous lay woman theological educator feels no less inspired, comforted, reassured, blessed, beyond imagining by your gentle, wise, insistent and prophetic urgings.


    US gun law change can't come soon enough

    • Jim McDermott
    • 07 October 2015

    In July, an NRA article entitled 'Australia: There Will be Blood' described Australia's gun buyback as a 'mass confiscation' that left guns in the hands of criminals and everyone else defenceless. Meanwhile, America has experienced more than one mass shooting per day so far this year. My hope is that we are in that time of unsustainable stasis Malcolm Gladwell talks about, during which nothing seems to be changing, while beneath the surface stability is being eroded, leading to sudden, permanent change.



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