Evan Ellis | 07 March 2014
My tutor in Kunming was deeply shaken by the mass stabbings last weekend that left 29 civilians dead. When Chinese authorities put out a request for blood donors in the city, giving blood was all she wanted to do. The city's blood banks have struggled to accommodate the throng of willing donors, the upturned arms of ordinary citizens replacing some of the blood spilt by the long knives. This strikes me as profoundly Eucharistic.
Andrew Hamilton | 06 March 2014
To call someone a bleeding heart is an insult, not a description. It has no meaning but does have connotations. Those who call advocates for asylum seekers bleeding hearts usually dismiss ethical arguments. Although they may accept in the case of personal relationships that it would be wrong to inflict pain on people in order to deter others, they usually claim without supporting argument that governments are not bound by this ethical principle.
Tony Thompson | 05 March 2014
The museum traces the civil rights protests right up to the game-changing Bloody Sunday killings of 1972. As I looked at the photographs of the terrible day, a man who worked at the museum stood beside me and asked if I recognised the building. I looked again to realise it was the museum itself. 'That's my brother,' he said, pointing to the badly injured young man in the photo. The young man had died ten feet from where we were standing.
Tony Kevin | 05 March 2014
Tony Abbott's 'We warn the Czar' statements were ludicrously over-the-top, though clearly he was responding to a Washington appeal to friendly allies to say something. I hope Australia will not continue to overplay its hand in the Security Council. There is no point in gratuitously offending Moscow on an issue that is outside our strategic area of interest and raises no human rights concerns whatsoever.
John Warhurst | 04 March 2014
The general lessons from the conflict of interest that claimed Alastair Furnival, chief of staff to Assistant Health Minister Senator Fiona Nash, are about the often-hidden world of political insiders. The numbers of Coalition aligned lobbyists has grown greatly, and include many former senior Howard Government ministers. But Labor supporters should not feel smug. There are plenty of examples on that side of politics, too.
Michael Mullins | 03 March 2014
In the face of the Federal Government's resolve to be unemotional in its attitude to financial assistance for Qantas, we have Bill Shorten warning us against 'waving goodbye to an Australian icon'. Underlying mention of Qantas as an 'Australian icon' could be the sentiment associated with the 1990s resurgence of nationalism and its racist undertones associated with Pauline Hanson.
Lyn Bender | 03 March 2014
I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and have spent years in therapy coming to terms with the murder of my relatives and the destruction my parents' world. I now find myself confronting a future potential holocaust of gigantic proportions. Al Gore has warned us of the danger of moving from denial to despair, while omitting hopeful or determined action. Our only hope is to face the reality.
Nik Tan | 28 February 2014
This week China criticised Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. The criticism, raised at a bilateral human rights dialogue, is good politics: China is using Australia's cruel and inhumane asylum policy as diplomatic leverage. Nevertheless, it is astounding hypocrisy from a country that returns refugees to danger, including to North Korea, a state infamous for its widespread violations of human rights.
Brian Matthews | 28 February 2014
Joe Hockey's idea of an age of entitlement is shallow and facile. Announcing the end of an 'age' is just another way of obscuring the truth that you haven't the faintest idea what the hell is going on, or that you suspect what's going on but not how to influence, redirect or stop it. So you fall back on this persuasive notion of a great shift in the times. The next 'age' for those whose entitlement is disappearing will be marked by unpleasantness.
Tony Kevin | 28 February 2014
Over the past week of Parliament, we have seen the strange and distressing spectacle of Labor timidly criticising the Government's handling of the events on Manus Island. If it were brave enough, Labor could use these events as a trigger for policy change. To call for the Manus centre to close, and for detention and processing centres in Australia to reopen, would be the moral policy for Labor at this point.
Andrew Hamilton | 27 February 2014
Augustine wrote of the Roman Empire, 'Without justice, states are robber bands.' His mordant comment aimed to strip away the self-congratulatory rhetoric of empire from the reality of a Rome concerned purely with asking how to achieve desired goals uncontrolled by respect for human dignity. If we appreciate how robber bands work we can better understand what states do, including Australia.