Andrew Hamilton | 12 December 2013
The Declaration of Human Rights exists as a standard by which we can judge our national life and priorities. By these criteria Australian public life displays grounds for concern. In the case of asylum seekers, prisoners and bikies, governments spend more effort on seeking to evade the claims of human rights than to uphold them. In the 'nonsense on stilts' stakes the unfettered appeal to national interest walks far taller than advocacy of human rights.
Gillian Bouras | 11 December 2013
I knew nothing about Kavafis until I came to Greece, but his presence in my mental and literary life is one of the many presents migration has given me. He was part of the cultivated Greek diaspora in Alexandria, where he spent most of his life working at his day jobs: those of journalist and civil servant. He was a relentless perfectionist who polished and reworked his 154 poems, which were read initially only by his friends.
Jane Anderson | 11 December 2013
Last week I went to the Royal Commission and had a private session, which means, in short, that I am a victim of sexual abuse. That history spanned nearly three decades. My encounters with one perpetrator prepared me for more harrowing experiences during adolescence, and later in a marriage that turned violent. While I commend the Royal Commission process for its sensitivity and professionalism, I would like to offer some alternative thinking.
David James | 10 December 2013
It is hard not to smile over Woolworths' and Coles' 'voluntary' adoption of a code of conduct. Now that the duopoly has decided to mend its ways, it seems it can occupy the moral high ground and preach to everyone else. The Western world has been subject to a quarter of a century of propaganda about the virtues of deregulation. A closer consideration of the supermarket giants' promise to do the right thing offers little reason for confidence.
Kerry Murphy | 10 December 2013
Last week asylum seekers had a small win only to have it snatched away, and then were confronted by a more serious attack. Those working with asylum seekers have learned to expect abuse and derision from governments directed against asylum seekers and those helping them. Labor is only moderately better than the Coalition, but at least they occasionally made positive decisions. However these recent events have reached a new nadir.
Various | 10 December 2013
I was brought up to become a Scottish Protestant boy in exile from the country that was my father's homeland. You grew up to be at home in your history and tongue; my father banned your accent, set me to elocution, as if your speech was my speech-defect. Our history lay elsewhere, even as we were living it.
Catherine Marshall | 09 December 2013
I said my own private goodbye almost two years ago, when I visited Robben Island on a trip back to my homeland of South Africa. That journey across Table Bay, towards the tiny green cell in which you lived for much of your 27-year incarceration, took me not so much to an outpost of apartheid as to the birthplace of democratic South Africa.
Michael Mullins | 09 December 2013
No patriotic Australian wants to see Qantas go out of business. But the principles of both good business and social inclusion demand the government not thwart competition from Virgin and its cashed up foreign shareholders. In two decades, competition has lowered fares and made it possible for less privileged Australians to fly.
Justin Glyn | 06 December 2013
The recent revelations that ASIO raided the offices of Timor Leste's lawyers and detained its star witness just before its case against Australia highlights, once again, the question of the linkage between national and commercial interests. ASIO's governing statute does not permit it to engage in economic espionage. Unfortunately, the distinction between government and commercial interests is growing increasingly hard to draw.
Brian Matthews | 06 December 2013
Is there a spirit of place, a kind of psychological imprint that endows a particular location? There are spots along the Coorong in South Australia where, as twilight deepens, you could swear that wraith-like, dark figures are moving through the dunes. Recent events made me wonder if the legendary William Buckley lives on in that way on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula, where he lived for 32 years among the local Wataurong people.
Georgina Laidlaw | 06 December 2013
Mental illness begets mental illness. One glance at the reportage on the Royal Commission into child sex abuse proves that. We won't discuss loved ones' mental health because to do so feels like a betrayal. We won't talk about our own mental health because what right do we have to be unhappy? But ill heath is not a right. Suffering is not indulgence. If you're telling yourself that, shut the hell up.