section: Australia

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Count the human cost of Australia's overseas mining interests

    • Fatima Measham
    • 07 March 2016
    3 Comments

    In 2012, a pregnant woman and two of her children were killed in their own home in Tampakan, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Tampakan is the site of a new mine with Australian interests. The woman was the wife of a B'laan tribal leader agitating against the mine. Over recent years indigenous peoples of Mindanao been harassed, displaced and killed by militias, some allegedly with the imprimatur of the Philippine army. Much of this has passed without notice in Australia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abuse survivor reflects on Cardinal Pell's 'sad story'

    • Paul Coghlan
    • 07 March 2016
    42 Comments

    'It was a sad story and it wasn't of much interest to me.' Pell's brutal response to a question from the royal commission has provided an important point of organisational, personal and cultural reflection. As a survivor of child sexual abuse I understand the disbelief, shock and outrage that such a comment has provoked. And having conducted many organisational reviews, I know that in trying to find the origins of such responses, our understanding of how the world works expands exponentially.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Apology from a baby boomer to generations X and Y

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 04 March 2016
    2 Comments

    At present, there is an argument between the two sides of politics about negative gearing. According to one side, changing the rules would reduce the cost of housing - and this is their strongest argument against such a change. A member of Gen X or Gen Y - someone in their 20s or 30s, not long out of education and in a first or second job, saving in the hope of one day being able to afford a home of their own - might not read it the same way. No wonder they are looking for a Messiah.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cardinal Pell, Safe Schools and the personhood of children

    • Moira Rayner
    • 04 March 2016
    40 Comments

    A feeding frenzy is afoot over the review of Safe Schools program. At the same time poor old George Pell is under attack for failing to observe that his Ballarat colleagues were prolifically enabling Ridsdale and other pedophiles to sexually abuse little boys. The prurient desire to control the sexual interests of others on the one hand, and on the other the gross failures by institutions to protect vulnerable children in their care, are sadly linked to an unwillingness to face the truth about human sexuality.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Diagnosing the great Australian sickness

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 March 2016
    9 Comments

    Who better to consult than Dr Hippocrates and his humours? Before Tony Abbott's deposition the choleric element dominated in Australia, full of sound and fury. This has been followed by the preponderance of the sanguine humour, expressing itself in that sunny optimism that makes light of problems. But more recent events suggest that the humours are again in chronic imbalance. The core weakness in the Australian constitution has not been removed with the accession of Malcolm Turnbull.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Down to The Wire: How SIBs can save social programs

    • Gabriela D'Souza
    • 02 March 2016
    5 Comments

    Social impact bonds are a type of impact investing: investing for results. A community service provider who wants to pilot or scale up an existing program can use SIBs to finance their projects. A bond issuer makes the SIBs available to private investors, who will receive the principal with interest if the program attains a predetermined success rate. While modified versions of this model are being trialled in NSW, the heartbreaking fourth season of HBO's The Wire sheds light on how they might work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No justice in rushing senate voting reforms

    • John Warhurst
    • 01 March 2016
    11 Comments

    The government, the Greens, and Senator Nick Xenophon want to keep the debate about electoral justice as narrow as possible because they are offering some technical improvements. But they shouldn't be allowed to rush their reforms, which must be separated from the idea of a double dissolution election driven by a determination to cut short the terms of sitting micro-party senators. The anti-major party feeling among a significant minority of voters cannot just be condemned as mere populism.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The baby Asha problem in Australia's refugee policy

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 24 February 2016
    3 Comments

    On Sunday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton seemingly relented, allowing the child to be released into community detention rather than carting her off to Nauru. It has, however, been made clear that this is no prelude to settlement in Australia. Dutton's line goes to evenness in policy: 'We are going to have a consistency approach here ... intelligence out of Indonesia recently was that people smugglers were reporting ... there was going to be a change in policy.' None of these arguments passes muster.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Baby Asha and the pyramid of suffering

    • Kate Galloway
    • 24 February 2016
    4 Comments

    It is right and good that the outpouring of community and professional goodwill has at least delayed the return of baby Asha to what are reported to be the terrible conditions of the detention centre on Nauru. But Australia's asylum seeker laws involve unresolved systemic issues that such wins cannot by themselves resolve. Widespread community focus on individual cases such as that of baby Asha may in fact prevent action on the deeper issues from gaining traction.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Self-care as political warfare

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 24 February 2016
    4 Comments

    Feminist writer Audre Lorde wrote that 'Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.' In medical professions, the term 'self-care' originated in reference to the self-management of illness. Self-care, however, also exists in the context of social justice, extending beyond physical wellness to cater for a holistic approach that includes emotional, mental and spiritual fulfilment. The need for this is rooted in the burden of oppression.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Shedding light on elder abuse

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 23 February 2016
    7 Comments

    Elder abuse resembles child abuse in its iceberg qualities: both have received little attention until comparatively recently. In the case of elder abuse, very few cases ever come to court: old people are as helpless as children, similarly unable to plead their own cases, and afraid to: they have little power. The Yiddish proverb springs to mind: If you can't bite, don't show your teeth. The most consistent offenders, sad to say, are family members, who are often adept at exploiting the fear that is part of ageing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ending family violence in culturally diverse Australia

    • Jasmeet Sahi
    • 22 February 2016
    8 Comments

    All cultures have different ways of addressing family violence. What might be suitable for an Anglo population may not be appropriate for other groups. I was raised in India, where women learn early in life that it is paramount to maintain calm and peace in a family home - nobody wants to be that family that airs its dirty laundry in public. Local community-based programs can provide solutions tailored to diverse cultural groups. Sadly many such programs are badly under-resourced.

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