Jena Woodhouse | 25 November 2014
What they thought could not be read in faces pinched with need. They plodded on, a ragged band of hungry, thirsty refugees, hoping for a crust of bread ... Perhaps tomorrow, there'd be grapes and oranges awaiting them; farmers who would pay in kind for harvesting.
Michael Mullins | 24 November 2014
Thanks to Senators Jacqui Lambie and Ricky Muir, we can once again trust our financial advisers. There are some things that are worth paying for. If somebody else pays for something, it's likely that we will get what they want, not what we need.
Kerry Murphy | 24 November 2014
I recently received a letter for Ali in which he was referred to only by his boat number and the term 'illegal maritime arrival (IMA)'. He was worn down by the long process of winning his case and being accepted as a refugee. His self-esteem was destroyed by a long period in immigration detention. His identity is now also gone.
Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk | 21 November 2014
Winning the prestigious Man Booker prize has given Richard Flanagan's 2013 novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North precious new shelf life. I've long considered Flanagan an alchemist - giving everyday words an unmistakable verve and turning a phrase until it takes flight. But he's also a proud Tasmanian storyteller who now has the world's ear.
Binoy Kampmark | 21 November 2014
Governments are tempted to use budgetary accountability as a neat cover for corporatisation of public utilities. As public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS do not inhabit the same philosophical territory as Sky News or Channel 7. The ABC's cuts are based on an efficiency report prepared by a financial officer from the commercial media. It does not seem relevant that balanced budgets do not deliver educated audiences.
Tim Kroenert | 20 November 2014
The three recently reunited sisters are immersed in whispered conversation, during the second day of mourning at the house. In the next room, older men in ceremonial garb chant a mourning ritual. Suddenly, the sisters get the giggles, only to be angrily shushed by one of the men in the next room. But grief can't be stage managed, and it seems only natural that the process should be guided by normal human interaction.
Andrew Hamilton | 20 November 2014
Last week the Pope's almsgiver installed showers in St Peter's Square, for people who are homeless. This followed his meeting a homeless man, discovering it was his 50th birthday, and inviting him to dinner in a local restaurant, only for the man to decline on the grounds he smelled. The gesture was seen to have Pope Francis’ finger prints all over it, and it illuminates the differences of perspective between him and other church leaders.
Shira Sebban | 19 November 2014
People of faith seem able to find an opportunity for growth, spirituality and meaning in every good deed they do, apparently experiencing true happiness along the way. By way of contrast, emotional happiness is often dismissed as selfish, elusive and unpredictable. But focusing on 'what works for us', and connection through family, friendship and community, also allows us to find purpose, and to savour many happy moments along the way.
David James | 19 November 2014
Investing capital in the production of goods and services may create jobs, but it's not the best way to make money. It's more profitable to manipulate the financial system to create more money from money, which is why the finance sector does so well. The polarisation of wealth is less extreme in Australia, but we have our own capital-driven Ponzi scheme - the residential property market, which has become an exercise in making money out of money.
Tony Kevin | 18 November 2014
Abbott's best G20 moment was his closing media conference, where he gave an outlined the meeting's achievement of a 2.1 per cent global economic growth plan over the next few years. But on two important matters – climate change and Ebola - the dynamic of the meeting got out of his control and produced outcomes clearly not to his liking. Abbott's counter-strategy – quite successful in retrospect – was to set media hounds running to the side-drama of Vladimir Putin.
Andrew Hamilton | 30 October 2014
When the ANU sold its shares in coal companies recently, it received a mixed response. Critics said investment decisions should be made solely on financial grounds. But investing is done by human beings, who should be guided by their effects of their investment on other human beings, not simply by the profit it brings them.