Vol 27 No 6

26 March 2017

Migrant labourers chained to supermarket logos. Cartoon by Chris Johnston


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ENVIRONMENT

Racism and renewables in the developing world

1 Comment
05 April 2017 | Ketan Joshi

Detail from Bill Leak cartoon shows Indian man spreading mango chutney on shards of a solar panelA 2015 cartoon by Bill Leak depicts an Indian family squatting, smashing solar panels to pieces. A woman chews on a shattered piece of glass, and a man attempts to smear mango chutney onto glistening shards. The initial reaction centred around the racist depictions of Indians. But it also represents a broader and worrisome attitude towards global energy politics, that assumes idiocy in developing countries, combined with a push to burden them with the dangerous wares of a dying industry.


EDUCATION

Catholic schools can't neglect LGBTI students

20 Comments
05 April 2017 | Neve Mahoney

Rainbow flagRecently Gilbert Baker, the man who designed the rainbow pride flag, died. The flag was designed to be a symbol for the LGBTIQ movement, representing the diversity of the community. Within the same news cycle, it was reported that Catholic Notre Dame University in Sydney had had pride flag stickers torn down from its student association office. Schools' main concern should be the welfare of students, but that is difficult when they have an arm tied behind their backs in regards to LGBTIQ students.


AUSTRALIA

Marr withers 'White Queen' Pauline

16 Comments
04 April 2017 | Irfan Yusuf

Pauline Hanson on the cover of David Marr's Quarterly Essay The White QueenHanson doesn't pretend to be religious. Her anti-Islam agenda isn't inspired by some rightwing evangelical passion like Danny Nalliah's nor by a conservative moralistic Catholicism like Cory Bernardi's. But she clearly can feel the pulse of many in the electorate who worry about terrorism and national security. Hanson's politics really only work when there is a 'them' for 'us' to worry about. But where does she get this idea that Islam is not a religion but an ideology?


RELIGION

Labor Party reform through Catholic Social Teaching

5 Comments
04 April 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966, By Race MathewsIt can be disconcerting to hear our family history told by a sympathetic outsider. I found Race Matthews' new book that treats Catholic engagement in public social issues fascinating in that respect. Matthews' perspective is that of a member of the Labor Party who admires Catholic Social Teaching, especially its commendation of the communal ownership of business enterprises. He sees the possibilities this presents for the reform of Australian society, particularly if adopted by the Labor Party.


ECONOMICS

Deconstructing the privatisation scam

12 Comments
03 April 2017 | David James

Melbourne airport parking ticketIt is increasingly evident how pernicious the privatisation myth is. Two recent examples have underlined it: the failings in Australia's privatised energy grid and the usurious pricing in airport car parks. Both demonstrated that it is folly to expect a public benefit to inevitably emerge from private profit seeking. The purpose of government funded public infrastructure is not to make profits but to lower the cost of doing business, sometimes called the socialisation of the means of production.


CREATIVE

Letters from dystopia in these best and worst of times

6 Comments
03 April 2017 | Gillian Bouras

Splinterlands by John FefferSmall wonder there is a particular surge of interest in dystopian novels: many people feel times have never been so troubled or so complicated, although I remember my father pointing out that people felt the same when the longbow and later gunpowder were invented. Amazon recently reported that Orwell and Huxley are selling like hot cakes. This at a time when certain purveyors of doom are lamenting the fact that 26 per cent of Americans, for example, did not read a single book during 2016.


CARTOON

Going with the flow

3 Comments
03 April 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Malcolm Turnbull illustrates the 'trickle up' effect that sees welfare cuts going towards corporate tax cuts. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


CREATIVE

Mme. Blanchard hits the roof

02 April 2017 | Ian C. Smith

Sophie BlanchardRiding her gondola, a skimpy thing like herself, she sees her balloon ablaze, begins her descent, feathered hat lost, a rushed farewell performance. The house roof's pitch steep, her rigging tangled, fire almost out, burned, broken, she can't hang on, she who once remained aloft all night over Rome.


MEDIA

Wherefore art thou women on film?

3 Comments
02 April 2017 | Francine Crimmins

Emma Watson in Beauty and the BeastI can think of many films I saw in childhood which still resonate because of their morals and characters. The dark and dangerous fire swamp of The Princess Bride, where Westley must wrestle with rabid beasts to save the damsel in distress, taught me about bravery. The Harry Potter series shows a boy who has suffered a great loss but finds community and purpose during his time at Hogwarts. There's something all these movies have in common: they were all about men.


AUSTRALIA

Tackling wealth inequality through justice reinvestment

10 Comments
30 March 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Lady Justice gazes favourably upon restorative justice model. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonAustralia was rated as the top destination for millionaire migrants in 2016 for the second year in a row. Meanwhile the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveal high correlations between prison entrance and indicators of entrenched poverty and discrimination. If we want our system for justice to amount to something more than a mirror of our inability to distribute wealth and opportunity evenly, we need to address the undeniable role wealth inequality has in putting people in prison.


ENVIRONMENT

Climate pipe dreams

5 Comments
30 March 2017 | Greg Foyster

Injection well at the Otway ProjectAbout 40km from Warrnambool in south-western Victoria is Australia's first demonstration site for storing carbon dioxide pollution deep underground. In photos, it doesn't look like much - a few water tanks, sheds and pipes in a brown paddock - and yet plans to meet the internationally agreed climate change target are betting on the success of projects like this. This isn't a fringe strategy anymore. It is a big part of the mainstream, politically preferred approach to address global warming.


AUSTRALIA

Job-sharing could make for a more inclusive parliament

3 Comments
29 March 2017 | John Warhurst

Kate EllisThe announcement by Kate Ellis, the 39 year old federal Labor MP for Adelaide, of her retirement at the next election to be with her young son came as a surprise. Several Fairfax journalists were dismayed. Stephanie Peatling issued a challenge: 'It's not people who should have to change to make their lives fit politics as we know it. It's politics as we know it that should change.' The immediate issue is gender balance, but the wider context is all types of diversity in parliament.


REVIEWS

Life before suicide

1 Comment
29 March 2017 | Tim Kroenert

A film about a lonely widower who repeatedly attempts suicide seems like a grim proposition. Ove has suffered one too many blows in his life, the latest being the loss of his job. He finds himself at a loose end, if not purposeless. He is the self-appointed overseer of the gated community where he has lived for years, enforcing protocols of behaviour among his terrorised neighbours. Now he's had enough, and decides to join his beloved wife Sonja, in eternity. But dying doesn't come easily to Ove.


INTERNATIONAL

Trump's coal crusade will cost

5 Comments
29 March 2017 | Fatima Measham

Trump in miner's helmetThis week, Trump signed the Energy Independence executive order, which amounts to open slather for oil drilling and coal companies. It turns off policy settings made under Obama, including a moratorium on coal leases on federal land and methane emissions limits in oil and gas production. It's a colossal setback, though it could play well in coal country. While Trump may declare he is '(cancelling) job-killing regulations', people will eventually find it is not emissions-related regulation that is killing jobs.


RELIGION

Religious belief in a tempest tossed church

28 Comments
28 March 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

The Tempest-Tossed Church: Being a Catholic today  Gerard WindsorThe Tempest Tossed Church will invite some Catholics to ask how they should visualise and plan for the future of the church. The Catholic challenge will be to shape pockets in which religiously literate and radical communities are formed around the symbols of faith. Its contribution to a more humane society will be made by joining other small groups in keeping alive the sense of 'something more' and by passing on the craft of finding the words, symbols and silences that catch it.


INTERNATIONAL

People's stories animate the landscapes in which we travel

6 Comments
28 March 2017 | Catherine Marshall

Guide stands on the rocky outcrop upon which he was due to marry his fiancé.In the past two weeks I've met a man who crossed the Andes on foot, horse, bicycle, car and even rollerblades. I've trekked with a mountain guide to a rocky outcrop upon which he was due to marry his fiancé the following weekend, before abseiling down it with her. I've stood in a forest with a woman who came here in the hope of finding the perfect plot of land. Landscapes have a profound effect on the traveller, but it's their inhabitants who evoke for us the soul of a place far more effectively.


Palestinian water divide highlights discrimination

12 Comments
27 March 2017 | Na'ama Carlin

A home in al-Bireh contrasted with the settlement of Psagot in the background. Note the water tanks.Some things are invisible until pointed out. Take the water tanks that pepper the rooves of buildings and homes in the West Bank. 'That's how you tell between Palestinian villages and Israeli settlements,' a friend points out. 'The Palestinian homes need water tanks because of restricted water supply from Israel, whereas the settlements don't.' Access to clean water is a fundamental human right, and the water situation in Palestine reveals a cruel privileging of one group over another.


Keeping race hate at bay in South Africa

1 Comment
27 March 2017 | Munyaradzi Makoni

Mamelodi protestersLife is back to normal a month after residents of Mamelodi in South Africa marched from on the Home Affairs offices in protest over criminality among immigrants. Now, there are calls for closer re-examination of the action, which many see as threatening peace in one of Africa's biggest economies. 'If drugs and crime were really the issues, it should have been billed as an anti-drugs, anti-crime march, not an anti-foreigner march,' said Johan Viljoen of Jesuit Refugee Service.


CARTOON

The Amazing Adventures of FreeSpeechMan

2 Comments
27 March 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Malcolm Turnbull as Freespeechman protects racist from the accusations of someone he has offended. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


ENVIRONMENT

People power the solar revolution

14 Comments
26 March 2017 | Francine Crimmins

Tesla PowerwallEarlier this month Tesla launched the Powerwall 2. In the transition to renewable energy, it may be the biggest disruption to hit traditional energy companies yet. In fact, it's probably their worst nightmare. Our role in energy under this innovation has changed from us being consumers to possibly all being providers. Just as Uber disrupted taxis and Airbnb disrupted traditional hotel chains, so too will the Tesla battery change our relationships and transactions with energy.


CREATIVE

Daniel Berrigan's rebel spirit

1 Comment
26 March 2017 | Juan Garrido-Salgado

Daniel BerriganPain is a cold food like garbage left, no compassion ... Compassion, bread and old wine, waste in a temple to worship money and power. Mankind has lost its root system thirst for happiness. Our bread is autumn leaf tossed into the branches as the bird dies. They make wine from the waters of these rivers suffering bloodied by the blood of Syrian children. Wine is the blood of indifference on the streets of Palestine. The wine is the blood of cruelty in Nauru ... why are you silent?


AUSTRALIA

Rethinking and reconstructing youth justice

12 Comments
23 March 2017 | Terry Laidler

Silhouette of boy and barsMany of the kids in the juvenile justice system have been abused, come from dysfunctional families or state care, or have untreated behavioural or mental health problems. Warehousing them in punishing idleness and expecting passive compliance, let alone any recovery, is fanciful. I have begun to think about how we could respond to these kids in a holistic way, with a strong emphasis on prevention and diversion. These proposals relate to current the system in Victoria, but generalise easily.