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19 February 2017 |
The presidency of Donald Trump should bring a renewed focus on the dangers of unbridled capitalism. The Catholic Church has a rich trove of teachings on the subject that have been missing in action for the past 30 years. Now is the time for a well-articulated Christian message addressing such issues as widening wealth inequality fuelled by stagnant wage growth, the privatisation of public services, the financialisation of the economy (which fuels both of those trends), and tax justice.
16 February 2017 |
This is not the beginning of the normalisation of Hanson and One Nation: it's the end. In a piece for The Monthly, Dominic Kelly highlighted how large swaths of the rightwing commentariat have embraced the 'more mature', 'disciplined' and 'principled' Hanson 2.0. Despite this rhetoric, for the Right, appeasing One Nation has always been a balancing act. They're guided by one question: How much racism is permissible before it has to be condemned?
15 February 2017 |
There's not enough jobs because foreigners are stealing them. Wages aren't going up because foreigners drag them down. Graduates aren't finding positions because skilled worker visas are being given out too easily. Such answers are potent in pockets of Australian society that would rather blame outsiders than demand their government create new jobs, lift the minimum wage, improve work conditions and training, and mediate skills transfers from industries that are contracting, such as mining.
13 February 2017 |
The Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Indigenous incarceration in Australia recognises and validates widely held concerns. On the other hand, it also represents the abject failure of successive governments around the country to pay heed to what we do know about the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, including the failure to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
13 February 2017 |
In itself inequality is not harmful. It is part of the diversity proper in any human society. But the inequality that is now in question is toxic because it is extreme when measured by any scale, and because it is programmed to increase. It is self-perpetuating and self-intensifying. The increase of wealth of the few entails the marginalisation and impoverishment of others. Inequality is the enduring root and not the transient blossom of the plant of social division.
09 February 2017 |
In my mid-20s, I sectioned under the Mental Health Act into the public inpatient system. The experience is so etched in my mind that it wasn't until recently, half a decade on, that I finally managed to shake the residual anxiety. A single admission to the public mental health system saw me crippled by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. By contrast, I've never had an inpatient admission to a private psychiatric hospital where I haven't been discharged in comparative good health.
07 February 2017 |
Last year, I attended the AFL Pride Match with the LGBTI youth group Minus18. As I walked to Etihad Stadium, there was something profoundly emotional about seeing rainbows mix with football colours. A huge part of my childhood was no longer alienated from my lived reality. Yet as the game went on like any other, the whole experience recast itself. I felt more and more conspicuous, and I wondered how safe I'd feel if I were watching alone, waving a rainbow flag.
05 February 2017 |
The recent viral footage of 'alt-right' spokesperson Richard Spencer taking a punch to the chops caused considerable debate. There is no doubting the moral clarity that non-violent resistance achieved in the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King and the Indian independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, and the real result of justice for African American and Indian people. When it comes to the odd individual act of public pushing and shoving, though, asking 'Is it okay?' is a red herring.
02 February 2017 |
Centrelink's new policy of automated online debt collection has been subject to conflicting reports. The Minister and the department head are sticking to the assertion that everything is working fine. Yet there is another version of the truth, seen in the growing list of people talking publicly about the distress caused to them by being falsely tageted. One difficulty with the process is that the adversarial manner that it set up is unlikely to allow Centrelink to learn from the cases it reviews.
01 February 2017 |
It strikes me as odd that we have mostly withstood anti-establishment agitation, as seen in the Philippines and the UK. It is not like our political class have not earned similar scorn. What if the optimism bias that kept most of us from anticipating the results of the Brexit referendum and the US election are now also in play in Australia? How long will current welfare architecture and the incompetence of nativists keep at bay the destabilising forces that have laid America so low?
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