Amy Coopes | 26 June 2017
Universal health care is an ostensibly bipartisan prerogative, but what it actually means and how it's achieved is a somewhat moveable feast. Spending, we are told, is unsustainable as the population ages and we move toward ever-more personalised and technologically-advanced treatment paradigms. The objective of this rhetoric is to rationalise the privatisation of our health system by stealth. The latest wages figures are something of an inconvenient truth in this 'unsustainable spending' fiction.
Isabella Fels | 26 June 2017
Lying here in this hole, I try to feel whole, trying to do as I am told, making a few bold moves, as I swing out of bed, and hang onto my mobility devices - which I am getting the hang of, almost like learning how to drive a car - and showing lots of drive. In bed, not even well read, just eating bread, staring right ahead. As you help me pack up my things I no longer feel stuck in the same place, falling steadily in many different ways, no longer feeling the sun's rays ...
Susan Leong | 23 June 2017
When I wrote recently that the future of work lies in understanding work as 'pleasure in the exercise of our energies', one reader noted 'these discussions have little meaning when you are poor or dispossessed'. Spending your life doing what you are competent at pales into insignificance when set against the prospect of a life engrossed in one's passions. That is a decision that every worker has it within their power to make. And as it turns out, it should be a concern of the unemployed, too.
Kate Galloway | 23 June 2017
Three Commonwealth ministers faced the Victorian Court of Appeal on 16 June to make submissions as to why they shouldn't be charged with contempt of court. This extraordinary occurrence arose because the ministers made public comments about a sentencing matter still under deliberation. Andrew Hamilton has in these pages looked at how the ministers' comments might offend the presumption of innocence. However, there is a further issue at stake - a question of good government.
Greg Foyster | 22 June 2017
If politics is theatre, climate politics is a family drama. For the last decade we've watched two rival households having the same endless argument. Political journos call it the 'climate wars' and mostly focus on the lead actors standing in the spotlight - in the Western narrative tradition, characters drive events. Almost no one has noticed the scenery change. Stagehands dismantled the backdrop years ago, but politicians have carried on as if the same circumstances existed when they started this charade.
Andrew Hamilton | 22 June 2017
The presumption of innocence has recently been in the dock, notably in the curious affair of the three federal Ministers and the Victorian Court of Appeal. Other cases have raised the question whether in our society the presumption that those accused of crimes are innocent until found guilty is yielding. Is it now the case that people who have been found guilty in the court of public opinion have to prove their innocence, and that courts will be judged to have failed unless they ratify the guilty verdict?
Madeleine Hamilton | 22 June 2017
The mood was subdued at the gates of our small Catholic primary school at 3:30pm on Wednesday. Ten per cent of our school's students have an autism diagnosis, and for their parents who had read Pauline Hanson's comments to the Senate that afternoon, those familiar feelings - dismay at the ignorance and lack of empathy of some people, worry for the future, and defiant pride in their diverse children - had been activated yet again.
Fatima Measham | 21 June 2017
In the latest Essential poll, the primary vote for Pauline Hanson's One Nation lifted to 11 per cent. It does not bode well when competence is no longer the baseline; though in a leadership vacuum, 'someone else' holds a natural appeal. In any case, there can be worse things than incompetence. There is timidity. Mediocrity. Running up the cost of doing nothing at all. In so many ways, the Australian political class is holding us back. That is the crux of nearly every policy impasse over the past several years.
Tim Kroenert | 21 June 2017
Catherine arrives a new bride, with husband Alexander, to take up residence in his luxurious rural home. Quickly we get a sense of how little control she has over her destiny. Alexander demands she remain inside the house at all times; when one evening she wishes to go to bed early, her father-in-law orders her to remain awake for her husband. In the life of the household, she is merely an attractive object. Yet like her Shakespearean forebear, she is not averse to manipulation and violence in pursuit of her goals.