section: Australia

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  • AUSTRALIA

    There's no cheap path to harmony

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 February 2016
    10 Comments

    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.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What is a brown body worth?

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 03 February 2016
    6 Comments

    A perception of Muslims as 'savage' and antithetical to peace accounts for incidents where overtly racist people can rejoice easily at the loss of human life, to little negative reaction. When a person is deemed unworthy or bereft of humanity, their death becomes gruesomely welcome. While Islamophobia itself does not define racism, Muslim people exemplify ideas of a cardinal threat against the Anglocentric West, which laterally affects how brown non-Muslim minority groups are treated.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Republican Turnbull must lead, not wait

    • John Warhurst
    • 02 February 2016
    22 Comments

    It is understandable that Turnbull sees no benefit in a second heroic failure caused by moving too soon. But political leaders who wait for overwhelming popular support are self-serving, because top-down support is needed for success. While January brought unprecedented approval from political leaders and the support of the Australian of the Year, the Australian Republican Movement must continue to be energetic and ambitious, and meet Turnbull's challenge to become still larger and more popular.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Downsizing numbers can't silence Indigenous protests

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 01 February 2016
    27 Comments

    On the day of the Invasion Day rally in Melbourne, I was abused for wearing a pro-Aboriginal rights t-shirt. I wasn't shocked. Indeed, I even expected it. It is not the first time I have been abused as an Indigenous activist on Australia Day. What did shock me were the media reports on the rally. When I read that the densely packed, energetic, noisy crowd consisted of only 150 people, I was surprised, to say the least. I and other seasoned protesters estimated the crowd at around 3-5000.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian of the Year's strong case for empathy

    • Justin Glyn
    • 01 February 2016
    9 Comments

    Australia woke on 26 January to the news that David Morrison had been named Australian of the Year. One of the most striking features he displays is empathy. It is a quality in vanishingly short supply in public discourse, yet is fundamental. Unless we can put the individual on a broader canvass, our world view is incomplete. I am important, but unless you are recognised as being just as important as I, then you are just a plaything for me. My rights are bounded by your rights, your value as a person.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ordinary heroes shine on suffering

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 29 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer often made his characters ask the eternal questions, chiefly Why do we suffer? I can't profess to have any answers to this, except that it is obvious that 'time and chance happeneth to all'. Two examples of such happenings are the huge numbers of ill-fated refugees fleeing Syria and other trouble spots, and the needless death of young Sarah Paino of Hobart, wife and mother, who was killed when a speeding stolen car crashed into hers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Alice Springs is still a contested space

    • Mike Bowden
    • 29 January 2016
    9 Comments

    The Northern Territory News and the ABC reported this month that the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company had been unsuccessful in its tender for continuing tenancy services to the Town Camps of Alice Springs. Despite being a product of the Intervention, CAAHC had developed a powerful model of community housing and had the support of the Central Land Council and the wider Aboriginal community. It appears that these are not attributes the NT government admires.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Friendlier Ghosts of Australia Days Future

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 January 2016
    4 Comments

    The two major challenges facing the world have to do with kindness to strangers and care for the natural world. If the image of the beginnings of Australia is of a boatload of powerful Europeans coming to exploit the land occupied by a primitive people, a better image of future Australia Days might be of Australia sending parties to Indigenous settlements and other nations to discover how to cooperate in the great projects of reconciliation between people and people with nature.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Our unfinished business with the First Nations

    • Brian McCoy
    • 26 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Every time I cross Sydney Harbour by train heading to the North Shore I look for the Aboriginal flag that flies from the top of the Jesuits' St Aloysius' College at Milsons Point. It was first raised on 25 January 1988, on the eve of the Australian Bicentenary, to mark the final day, 200 years previously, that Aboriginal people had complete freedom to their lands and customs before the arrival of the First Fleet.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mixed loyalties don't negate Australianness

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 25 January 2016
    11 Comments

    I arrived in Australia at the ripe old age of five months. I learned Australian values by a process of gentle osmosis. Many Indigenous Australians learned these values in a less gentle fashion. Today, many Australian Jews show a strong loyalty to the world's only Jewish state. Others combine loyalties with other ancestral homelands. Australian Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists and Hindus have similar broadened loyalties. Exactly how such loyalties make them any less Australian beats me.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Life in procrastination nation

    • Ellena Savage
    • 22 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Where does this need for punctuality, performance and productivity arise? I don't believe it is rooted so much in 'western culture' as it is in capitalism. There is, after all, time for many kinds of dithering in the literature that charts western society. Socrates could barely tie his own sandals — he'd never make his job network meeting on time. Hamlet is entirely premised on the drama of procrastination: some things, like killing one's paternal uncle who is also the king, seem better fit for tomorrow.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Whose Australia Day?

    • Fatima Measham
    • 22 January 2016
    18 Comments

    Last November I was on a panel at the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council conference, musing about postmodern identities, whether 'ethnics' were mainstream and not peripheral, and whether 'Aussie values' are in fact universal. I enjoyed the discussion, but part of me felt worn. It seemed to me that black and brown folks like us are less concerned about what it means to be Australian than how Australian we would have to be, to be as Australian as everyone else.

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