Vol 27 No 10

21 May 2017

 Cartoon by Chris Johnston


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AUSTRALIA

The joyful duty of giving blood

3 Comments
31 May 2017 | Neve Mahoney

Giving bloodI'm pretty close to an ideal donor. I have a willing arm and good blood pressure. I'm glad I could help and now know my own blood type, but this is a system that works best when everyone who can pitches in. Giving blood is simple to do, feels good and is desperately needed. Though the blood service estimates that nine million Australians are eligible to give blood, only 500,000 are currently doing so. There must be other ideal donors out there waiting.


MEDIA

ABC devalues religion reporting at its peril

28 Comments
31 May 2017 | Rohan Salmond

ABC logoReports that the ABC will no longer require the head of the religion unit to be a religion specialist are more than a little surprising. The ABC has a commitment in its charter to 'reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community'. Without religion reporting from people with specialist journalistic backgrounds, the ABC jeopardises its ability to fulfil its ongoing functions and responsibilities. Like it or not, religion still plays a huge part in public life in Australia, which affects the lives of everyone.


AUSTRALIA

Uluru: take time to get this right

19 Comments
30 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

Frank Brennan with Lowitja O'DonoghueThe consultations conducted in Indigenous communities under the auspices and with the financial support of the Referendum Council have yielded a constant message that Indigenous Australians want substantive constitutional change and not just symbolic or minimalist change. The question is: How much should we attempt to put in the Constitution now, and how much should we place outside the Constitution, or delay for constitutional inclusion until another day?


ARTS AND CULTURE

At an angle to the universe: Remembering Brian Doyle

14 Comments
29 May 2017 | Gillian Bouras

Brian DoyleBrian's work was notable for its firm yet subtle control, the great tumbling yet disciplined lists of adjectives, the elevation of the quotidian, the appreciation of the natural world and its creatures, the sheer love of life. Re-reading one recent piece I find the references to the 'lovely bride' and 'the house wolf' almost unbearably touching. One reader wrote he was not initiated into Brian's 'grand mysteries', but that the joy and awe conveyed rang out with love and goodwill. How very true.


CARTOON

Say it like you mean it

5 Comments
29 May 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Can you believe these people? We go to all the trouble of making an apology and then they expect us to mean it! Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


AUSTRALIA

Uluru Statement has lit a fuse that cannot go out

10 Comments
29 May 2017 | Kate Galloway

2010, we need practical, not symbolic reconciliation. 2017, can we think of something more symbolic than the Ulurua Statement? Cartoon by Fiona KatauskasPolitical response has been ambivalent at best, and ambivalence sounds a death knell for mainstream engagement by a tentative public. Turnbull pointed out that any claim must be acceptable to the general public to succeed. In the next breath he discussed the success of the 1967 Referendum. This was disingenuous given the political reality of 67, where there was no case presented for a no vote. After the Uluru Statement, it is now not possible to ignore substantive constitutional reform, or treaty.


ARTS AND CULTURE

The Storycatcher - 17 of the best of Brian Doyle

3 Comments
29 May 2017 | Brian Doyle

Brian DoyleBrian Doyle was the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, the author most recently of the essay collection Grace Notes, and a long time contributor to Eureka Street. Brian died early Saturday morning 27 May 2017 following complications related to a cancerous brain tumour, at the age of 60. Here we present a collection of some of Brian's best pieces from the past 12 years.


RELIGION

Muslim feminists have their work cut out for them

9 Comments
28 May 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

t-shirt This is what a Muslim feminist looks likeI used to have a t-shirt that read 'this is what a radical Muslim feminist looks like' and I got my fair share of raised eyebrows and challenging questions. The most obvious group that thinks Muslim feminism is oxymoronic are those who we've started to call the 'alt-right'. This group salivates over images of burqa-clad Muslim women scuttling in fear from their bearded oppressors. It is not that they want to free Muslim women so much as it is they don't want the Brown Man ruling.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Pay fierce attention to the holy of everything

15 Comments
28 May 2017 | Brian Doyle

Baby examining leaves and grassWe talk about how there are all sorts of illuminated beings in every sort of context, and how some beings serve their fellows by being great listeners, and others have healing hands, and others are good at getting everyone to come to a disgruntled agreement, and how some are lucky to discover that their skill, their gift, the thing they love to do and do really well, is to pay fierce attention to the holy of everything, to notice the flourish and song of holy and the awful of bruised and broken holy, and report on this to their brothers and sisters, which is, of course, everyone.


AUSTRALIA

Ramadan: the fast and the flatulent

12 Comments
28 May 2017 | Irfan Yusuf

Ramadan prayerYou need not believe everything you read in the Herald Sun or an ISIS press release. Islam isn't just about armed jihad and violence against infant genitalia. Islam does have a spiritual side, and Ramadan is inherently spiritual, full of prayer and fasting and hardly any horizontal bedtime action. The theory behind all this deprivation is that if you're hungry and thirsty and sex-deprived between sunrise and sunset for an entire month, you'll gain a spiritual high that should last you the rest of the year.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Finding my grandfather

2 Comments
28 May 2017 | Wally Swist

DNA strandThere is the photograph of my father's father in military uniform, an Austrian, serving in the Polish cavalry in WWI, standing ramrod straight. It is he whom I think of when I find myself dowsing my genome for answers regarding my origin, the deep pull that draws me to the late symphonies of Mozart, Rilke's angelic mysticism, and, as a child, to Krapfen and Apfelstrudel ... That grandfather died shortly after returning to his farm from the results of having been a victim of a mustard gas attack in the war.


ENVIRONMENT

Getting off gas not so easy for renters

4 Comments
25 May 2017 | Greg Foyster

Gas burnerStandard electric heaters turn roughly one unit of electricity into one unit of heat. A reverse cycle air conditioner, however, uses electricity to 'pump' heat from one place to another and is incredibly efficient. Using electricity from the grid creates more pollution than burning gas, but the electric reverse cycle air conditioner is so efficient it's still less damaging overall. That's great news for households with air con, but galling for anyone who can't afford one, or isn't allowed to install it.


AUSTRALIA

Building social justice through shareholder advocacy

4 Comments
25 May 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Concerned citizens build a 'voting bloc' out of the shares of wealthy companies. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonWealth inequality in Australia is flourishing. The top one per cent of household wealth in Australia is moving toward being 20 per cent of total wealth, and the country is a preferred destination for millionaires. With a government that prefers to impoverish and vilify the disadvantaged and spend big on coal mines, this does not look likely to shift. But there are always other paths to social justice, and in Australia one may be through the millionaires - or at least the companies on which their fortunes are built.


Preserving and pillaging privacy

7 Comments
24 May 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Padlock computer keyIn each of us is a personal centre able to reflect, to wonder, to explore the world and to evaluate it, to long and to love, to make decisions, and to engage freely with other human beings. Privacy is the gate that allows us to leave and others to enter the garden of our deepest selves. If it is torn off its hinges we shall live on a shallow level, preoccupied with defending ourselves. That is why the invasion of our privacy by governments and corporations in order to control our lives is unjustifiable.


Philippines coming full, sordid circle

3 Comments
24 May 2017 | Fatima Measham

DuterteNone of what continues to unravel in the Philippines is a shock. In August last year, barely more than a month from inauguration, Duterte mentioned the prospect of martial law in relation to his drug war. Duterte is the sixth president since the 1986 People Power revolution that overthrew Marcos. He is a close associate of the dictator's children. Martial law was long in play before the incidents in Marawi this week, and is in character for an ex-mayor with alleged links to 'death squads'.


EDUCATION

Gonski in an age of budget repair

18 Comments
23 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

Study notesThe level of consultation prior to the announced changes was appalling. But that is water under the bridge. It's time to enunciate some clear principles, and for respectful consultations to take place investigating how those principles can be best applied. This must be done within the realistic political environment in which we find ourselves. At the same time the Catholic system should ensure its schools are more available to the poor, enacting Pope Francis's desire for 'a Church which is poor and for the poor'.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Strong women heroes of grim abduction parables

1 Comment
23 May 2017 | Tim Kroenert

If two current Australian films are anything to go by, then one social issue weighing on local filmmakers in 2017 is the danger to women of emotionally and physically violent men. Neither film is a mere portrait of victimhood. The heroes of Cate Shortland's recent Berlin Syndrome and Ben Young's upcoming Hounds of Love - in the former, an Australian traveller in Europe, in the latter, a teenage school girl in suburban Perth - are ordinary women with both the will and capacity to fight back against their assailants.


CARTOON

Elementary

22 May 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Sherlock Holmes tries to discover which isn't fake: the refugee application form, the news according to Peter Dutton, or the ALP moral compass. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


RELIGION

Catholic citizens needed within the Church

54 Comments
22 May 2017 | John Warhurst

Kristina Keneally, Marilyn Hatton and Francis Sullivan presented at the public forum for Concerned Catholics of Canberra-Goulburn, and are pictured here with John Warhurst (far left).Catholics have a proud record of exercising their democratic rights within Australian democracy as voters, members of political parties and lobby groups, and as elected representatives. But within their own church they have been taught to leave their democratic rights at the door. Now is the time to challenge that norm in parishes, dioceses and the wider church. In responding to the royal commission the church needs an infusion of democratic values, including transparency and accountability.


ARTS AND CULTURE

If you vote for me

3 Comments
21 May 2017 | Bill Rush, Marlene Marburg, Maureen O'Brien, John Cranmer

CloudsCars will be turned into flutes; sheep graze in public parks. Trams will be lined with books; prisons, wisteria-walled. Politicians will sing in choirs; accountants taught to tango. The old will have honour and cake and a licence for practical jokes. The middle-aged will lie on grass and watch the procession of clouds. The young will be loved and learn that to live is to be slowly born.


INTERNATIONAL

Assange detention is far from over

7 Comments
21 May 2017 | Binoy Kampmark

Julian AssangeThe European Union, according to Assange, has been captivated by an unhealthy interest in indefinite detention: 'There is no time limit that someone can be detained without charge. That is not how we expect a civilised state to behave.' Prematurely, tabloid press and outlets were wondering if the latest developments meant the end of the drama. A statement from the Metropolitan Police dispelled any doubts about Assange's plight, should he wish to leave his narrow digs in Knightsbridge.


Mexican journalists say no to silence and yes to death

2 Comments
21 May 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Vigil for Javier ValdezLast Tuesday night in Mexico City I headed to a bar with some press colleagues. It was late and the bar was lit with candles for mood lighting. As we sat down to order drinks my friend Joan took the candle in front of her and said, 'I'll hold onto this for the next journalist to be murdered.' We had been at a vigil to mourn the murder of journalist Javier Valdez and to protest the ever-escalating number of journalist murders in the country in a legal and political climate of almost total impunity.


AUSTRALIA

Still fighting for our rights 50 years after the referendum

5 Comments
21 May 2017 | Dani Larkin

Protestors march for Aboriginal citizenship rightsAn interesting aspect was the shift in the mindset and understanding among non-indigenous Australians regarding Aboriginal rights. To note the way in which one dominating western culture moved toward recognising the rights of another culture that was oppressed by it is quite remarkable. We should consider those aspects of the mentality shift (from both cultures and their understanding of what the 1967 referendum meant) if we are ever to revisit that type of federal movement again.


RELIGION

The work of disobedience

14 Comments
18 May 2017 | Susan Leong

Cartoon by Chris Johnston shows modern works going against the grain of drone-like traditional workers.As adults we deal with KPIs every day at work, targets defined apparently for one's benefit so we all know what needs to be achieved if our jobs are to be secured. Sadly, they also determine what, how and where we focus our efforts as these targets are internalised over time. If there is to be a future for work, it is to be found in such disobedience, a rejection of the primacy of paid labour for work as 'pleasure in the exercise of our energies'.


ARTS AND CULTURE

The power of poetry in the age of Twitter

13 Comments
18 May 2017 | Gillian Bouras

Dover BeachDoes poetry still matter in our Twitter society? Such was the question that caught my eye during a random Google session. The answers consisted of some lugubrious comments to the effect that poetry, like the novel, is dying. It is hard to believe that poets were once considered celebrities, and that poetry was once a pre-eminent form of entertainment. We also generally refrain from mentioning poetry and politics in the same breath. 'Twas not always thus.