Michael Mullins | 01 December 2014
ABC presenter Quentin Dempster has referred to a 'nincompoop' in senior ABC management who was heard to comment on the need to get rid of the 'strangle-hold of specialisation'. Radio National is the home of specialisation at the ABC, and religion has been one of its signature specialisations, because of the public broadcaster's 'cultural diversity' charter obligation. Management is executing the emasculation of the ABC that Rupert Murdoch expects from the Abbott Government as a reward for his role in its 2013 election victory.
Andrew Hamilton | 01 December 2014
World AIDS Day encourages us also to think of Africa, the continent most afflicted by AIDS. Cultural and economic factors are also significant, including the need for men to live far away from home in order to find work, and women driven to sex work. It is an issue of fairness, making us ask people in wealthier nations owe to those in poorer nations.
Ellena Savage | 28 November 2014
The need for artists to exist inside an economy regulated by middle class tastes and preferences restricts the possibilities for their work. But when our present is rocked by the incredible injustices we are watching unravel in Ferguson, artists are called upon to drop their aspirations for class mobility that is tethered to the material, and instead draw light on the immaterial, Emerson's 'secret'.
Mike Bowden | 28 November 2014
Darwin has a group of homeless people who live rough in the vicinity of the beautiful and iconic Esplanade, close to the city centre. The Vinnies SOS van has been servicing their needs for many years, but the decision has been taken to move it several kilometres away, out of the sight of the residents and tourists. This contrasts with Pope Francis' installation of showers for the homeless on the edge of the tourist mecca of St Peter's Square.
Julie Edwards | 28 November 2014
Professor Ian Harper's Competition Policy Review could lead to radical change in the public services in which our governments invest over $184 billion (or 12.1 per cent of GDP) each year. Time-honoured public service values that include citizenship, fairness, justice, representation and participation, are threatened when services are seen as products that can be broken up and sold on the market.
Tim Kroenert | 27 November 2014
The 'intervention dilemma' is a perennial consideration for journalists and those who pay them and ought to be dictated by robust personal and institutional ethics. Louis Bloom is an example of what happens when ethics are stripped away and replaced with the bottom line. He raises himself from petty thief to the rank of nightcrawler — a cameraman who specialises in shooting the aftermath of accidents and crimes, and selling the footage to news networks.
Andrew Hamilton | 27 November 2014
President Obama stole the G20 show with his mesmerising Queensland University address, after having dominated APEC with Xi Jinping and their climate change agreement. Such unrelated events challenge the belief that agendas can be centrally controlled, and that good governance is constituted by discipline and sole ownership of the agenda. More recently, the Senate has managed to call the shots and give priority to human good over ideology.
Peter Kirkwood | 26 November 2014
Pope Francis is one of the most prominent international leaders at present. In our Skype conversation, US born Vatican watcher Robert Mickens shares his frank views on the relatively brief but highly significant, surprising and unsettling pontificate of Pope Francis, who has declared that almost anything is open for discussion.
Paul Begley | 26 November 2014
It's easy to be swayed in our assessment of people's professional competency by whether we find their private opinions and behaviour to our liking. Individuals like Sydney University Professor of English Barry Spurr and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper have had their reputations as professionals trashed even though their performance in their job has been rated highly.
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.
Tony Kevin | 25 November 2014
Jacqui Lambie has resigned from the Palmer United Party, apologising to the nation for weeks of acrimonious sniping and instability in parliament. We can understand the hostility of the major parties, and even the Greens, to independent and PUP senators who took office mid-year. But it is not in their self-interest to try to exploit differences and to weaken and destabilise the newbie senators.