Vol 22 No 24

02 December 2012


 

  • AUSTRALIA

    Hearing the unheard at Christmas

    • John Falzon
    • 20 December 2012
    17 Comments

    The greatest power for progressive social change lies with the forming of connections between the excluded. This Christmas I invite you to join me in saluting the people who experience exclusion and who are best placed to teach all of us how best to change society for the better. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Coming to terms with Christmas

    • Ellena Savage
    • 20 December 2012
    2 Comments

    My most vivid childhood Christmas memories have little to do with Christmas. In one, I'm rifling through the antique wooden bowl beside my grandmother's fireplace, finding hundreds of ancient marbles. They glow in the amber light that spills through the hand-crafted lead-glass lights. I don't even remember the presents I got that year.  

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  • RELIGION

    Moving on from a soiled 2012

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 20 December 2012
    12 Comments

    We might associate the world events of 2012 with the worsening threat of global warming and continuing misery of Syria; Australian politics with the misery inflicted on asylum seekers; the Church through the lens of sex abuse. That is why in New Year celebrations the old year is ritually banished and the new welcomed. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Stories about people who want to do better

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 19 December 2012
    3 Comments

    One man suffers the shame of sex addiction. For another, a quadriplegic, sex is a matter of dignity. Two couples meet for a civilised discussion about their children's behaviour, but civility collapses. An antihero embraces violence as a solution to exploitative American media. Eureka Street counts down its essential films of 2012.

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  • EDUCATION

    Gillard's education pipedream

    • Dean Ashenden
    • 19 December 2012
    16 Comments

    In setting a target of Australia reaching the OECD's top five school systems by 2025 the Prime Minister has made a rod for her own back. It is difficult to see our present way of organising, funding and governing schooling getting us anywhere near that target. But what kind of system might?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    After a lifetime of empty Christmases

    • Cassandra Golds
    • 18 December 2012
    16 Comments

    It started with a fight. By the time the fight happened, my mother and grandmother were the sole survivors of a small, intense and insular family, and I was almost grown up. Things were said, their partial estrangement began, and increased, and our many years of bad Christmases began.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Border protection word games

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 December 2012
    19 Comments

    On Saturday Scott Morrison's border asylum meter registered the arrival of the 150th boat since Julia Gillard's announcement of the Pacific Solution Mark II in August. If the 'no advantage' principle is coherent and workable, the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers and Gillard have very different understandings of its operation.

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  • CARTOON

    Happy new election year

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 18 December 2012

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Island Christmas

    • Various
    • 17 December 2012

    Ceilings creep upward in silent communion. Porcelain hands like the soft robes of Jesus, reach across a domed fresco from Bethlehem to Nazareth ... When darkness settles on rocks and stones, old churches shrug back into themselves, back into their timber rafters that squeak a thousand Amens.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    US gun law reform is biblical

    • Evan Ellis
    • 17 December 2012
    10 Comments

    Following the latest school massacre US President Obama cited Psalm 147, invoking God to 'heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds', and renewed a call for 'meaningful action'. He'll be judged not on his words, but on how he defines and delivers said 'action'. He'd do well to first revisit Psalm 147 in its entirety. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A global perspective on American child deaths

    • Donna Mulhearn
    • 17 December 2012
    15 Comments

    'You come from a culture where it is okay to kill children,' the Iraqi woman said. We were sheltering against the wall of a building in Fallujah while the city was under attack by US forces. What could I say? There were several little bodies at my feet, bloodied remains laid out on the footpath and covered with thin sheets.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Lesson from South Africa for US gun owners

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 16 December 2012
    13 Comments

    Our gun was not some inanimate piece of metal; it was an object designed with malignant intent, one swiftly transformed into an instrument of violence. The day we handed it in was one of the happiest of my life. It takes a mature society to handle weapons responsibly, and a truly liberated one to relinquish them altogether.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The media and the vulnerable in 2012

    • Michael Mullins
    • 16 December 2012
    3 Comments

    Browsing the highlights and lowlights of the year, media treatment of vulnerable people has been a constant. The regrettable circumstances surrounding the suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha come to mind, but there are surprising moments when journalists have distinguished themselves with investigative reporting for the common good.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate view from a nation doomed to drown

    • Paul Collins
    • 13 December 2012
    15 Comments

    Kiribati, situated in the central Pacific Ocean and home to 101,998 people — more than half of them Catholic — will be the first country to be drowned by global warming. While we wring our hands and climate sceptics pretend there is no problem, on Kiribati people are already in the midst of a climate change disaster. 

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  • EUREKA STREET TV

    Nuns, gurus and rebels: the best of Eureka Street TV

    • Peter Kirkwood
    • 13 December 2012

    For the past three years video consultant Peter Kirkwood has produced a fortnightly series featuring some of the world's leading figures of faith and spirituality. We take a look back at some of his best Eureka Street TV interviews, including Hans Kung, Anwar Ibrahim, Peter Kennedy and more.

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  • EUREKA STREET TV

    Nuns, gurus and rebels: the best of Eureka Street TV

    • Peter Kirkwood
    • 12 December 2012

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Grace and intimacy in Les Miserables

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 12 December 2012
    5 Comments

    Valjean betrays a priest who has been kind to him, and the persistence of that man's mercy despite this betrayal sets the tone for Valjean's journey. The compassion and generosity to which he aspires contrasts with the Old Testament sternness of Javert, who is both driven and tortured by a dedication to divinely ordered justice.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Practical solutions to climate despair

    • Lyn Bender
    • 12 December 2012
    21 Comments

    The Doha climate talks have come and gone, and it is all business as usual. Actually, it is full steam ahead with coal, despite dire warnings from the World Bank that if we don't turn down the heat we face clear threats to our great god, The Economy. While denial and despair are tempting options at this point, there are healthier ways to respond.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tintin's rocket and Mauritian moon memories

    • Bernard Appassamy
    • 11 December 2012
    11 Comments

    I saw the toy shop out of the corner of my eye and glazed over rows of plastic toys behind the window display. They looked cheap, mass-produced and sad, seemingly anticipating a more vibrant future than gathering dust. One item practically screamed at me and stopped me in my tracks.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Gloomy forecast for Aboriginal super

    • David James
    • 11 December 2012
    6 Comments

    Superannuation is not generally available before the age of 55. For most of the population of Australia this is scarcely a problem, as they are likely to live well into their 80s. But the average life span of Aboriginal Australians is much lower. Many will not live long enough to derive financial advantage from their super.

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  • CARTOON

    What Santa thinks of climate change scepticism

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 11 December 2012

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Empathy and irony in post-Howard Australia

    • Barry Gittins
    • 10 December 2012
    1 Comment

    Becalmed, bereft, besieged by race memory and hip pocket absorption, a nation of travellers and seafarers swallow leaders' sleight-of-hand, as they conjure pirates from refugees, demons from daughters, sons and lovers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We all lose when governments trash the law

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 December 2012
    15 Comments

    Evidence about the persecution of returned Sri Lankan asylum seekers calls into question the justice of summary repatriation. And the actions of the Australian Government have thrown doubt on its legality. The rule of law is a delicate web of relationships that protects the weak from the tyranny of the great, and we are all weaker when it is broken. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Royal Prank blood is on everybody's hands

    • Michael Mullins
    • 09 December 2012
    53 Comments

    Following the 2DAY FM impersonation of the Queen and Prince Charles, the behaviour of the social and mass media lynch mob was no less shocking and shameful than that of the pranksters themselves. Even the CEO of the hospital shares the blame for accepting a royal patient without giving his staff adequate media training.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    My brush with Israeli militarism

    • Lyn Bender
    • 09 December 2012
    14 Comments

    Aged 18, during a period of great personal confusion, I considered volunteering for the Israeli Army. I had been indoctrinated within a community of holocaust survivors who had latched onto militant Zionism as a means to reclaim Jewish pride and safety. In the early adulthood when the brain is not fully matured, youth is particularly vulnerable to being captivated by idealism.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Minority Government stands the test of time

    • John Warhurst
    • 06 December 2012
    13 Comments

    Whatever happens now there will be no election until March 2013 at the earliest. This means the Gillard Labor Government will go almost full term despite relentless pressure from the Opposition, a hung parliament and a raft of controversies. But survival is not the same as victory. It has come at a cost.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Retirement home bureaucracy comes unstuck

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 December 2012
    8 Comments

    Pam, 90, returned to her room to discover that three family photos had been removed from her wall by order of the new manager. Blu-Tack, it seemed, was expressly forbidden. Her complaints were met with a promise that the manager would consider alternatives. A few days later he came up with a 'solution'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sad stories of teenage trauma

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 05 December 2012
    3 Comments

    As an introvert and writer Charlie is deeply empathetic. He sees in others sad stories that reflect his own. His sister is in an abusive relationship, and his gay friend is having a secret affair with a closeted peer. In being so deeply introspective Charlie misses the destructive consequences of his own actions.

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  • RELIGION

    Sexual abuse is a social sin

    • Sandie Cornish
    • 05 December 2012
    30 Comments

    The organisational cultures and policies of some Church entities in particular times and places put the reputation of the Church ahead of the wellbeing of children. These can surely be called structures of sin just like the 'all-consuming desire for profit' or 'the thirst for power' which Pope John Paul II identified as such.

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  • RELIGION

    Preaching on divorce

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 December 2012
    42 Comments

    Many Catholic preachers groan when it comes to preaching on Jesus' strong judgment on divorce. But this text is not primarily about sex but about justice in relationships. It calls into question the use of power and law on Nauru and Manus Island as much as in the family home.

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  • CARTOON

    Global cooling

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 04 December 2012

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Flying sofas in the Great Australian Dystopia

    • Barry Gittins
    • 04 December 2012
    4 Comments

    Hindrance Day was conceived as a means of commemorating the millions of acts of self-indulgence that marked the First Gillard-Abbott war on unAustralians. The concept of two minutes' ignorance was popularly adopted across what was left of the civilised world and became a key ritual of the annual celebrations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Labor stops short on migration and disability reform

    • Moira Byrne Garton
    • 04 December 2012
    8 Comments

    In 2001, a Pakistani man granted refugee status set himself on fire outside the Australian Parliament House. Visas for his wife and three daughters had been rejected because one daughter had cerebral palsy. While immigration policy has since become less discriminatory towards people experiencing disability, important barriers still remain.

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  • MEDIA

    Stifling media inquiries in Australia and the UK

    • Ray Cassin
    • 03 December 2012
    8 Comments

    Australian journalists' tendency to conflate the UK Leveson inquiry's recommendations with those of Australia's Finkelstein inquiry is ill-informed. This blurring in the minds of journalists, publishers and the wider public is a reminder of the anger that spawned the inquiries, and a broad hint about their likely consequences.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A keyboard or a drone

    • Various
    • 03 December 2012
    4 Comments

    Have this photograph ... In the body strewn pavement see the cardboard huts. Digitally processed. Glossy finish. As I rattle my tin, may it rattle your conscience? 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pro-business governments reversing Eureka Stockade achievement

    • Michael Mullins
    • 02 December 2012
    10 Comments

    Today is the 158th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade rebellion, often seen as the source of our ‘fair go’ ethos. Wealthy landowners and businessmen controlled the government, as they do today. Governments anxious for private sector investment give free reign to James Packer and others, at cost to the common good.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia proves a soft touch at UN over toxic warfare

    • Donna Mulhearn
    • 02 December 2012
    13 Comments

    Four new studies on the health crisis in Fallujah have been released in the last three months. The studies suggest babies are dying of wounds from a war they never saw. Australia has already breached its admirable 'Australian Agenda' at the UN, succumbing to US pressure to abstain from a vote on depleted uranium weapons.

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