Vol 27 No 14

16 July 2017

 Cartoon by Chris Johnston


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ARTS AND CULTURE

Finding life in the obits

3 Comments
29 July 2017 | Daniel Rose

Obituaries pageI read the obituaries every Sunday. Maybe as a writer I enjoy the stories people leave behind. I think too, that in this age of fake news, angry politics and incessant streams of information, the obits offer a slice of realism. One small headshot and a two inch long bio. That is all that remains of us in the end. You might think that perusing the obituaries would be depressing. But for me, it's invigorating. It's energising. It renews my faith in humanity.


ECONOMICS

Where is money headed?

2 Comments
29 July 2017 | David James

Obituaries pageThe daily fluctuations of financial markets and the fractious debates over economic policy are concealing something deeper and much more disturbing. The future of money itself is in question. A decade after world banking almost collapsed in the global financial crisis, the questions raised have not been answered.


AUSTRALIA

Elijah Doughty decision shows there is rarely justice for aboriginal victims

37 Comments
27 July 2017 | Celeste Liddle

Obituaries pageAs the news came through that the man who had run down young Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie last year had escaped a manslaughter conviction and instead had been sentenced for three years for the charge of reckless driving causing death, I saw Aboriginal community members dissolve. Many expressed grief for Elijah's family and community. Others set about highlighting how there is rarely any justice in this system for Aboriginal people.


MEDIA

Why having a female Dr Who matters

12 Comments
26 July 2017 | Neve Mahoney

xxxxxIt was recently announced that the thirteenth iteration of the main character in Doctor Who will be played by Jodie Whittaker. A woman. In 2017, the casting of a white woman in a major TV role is hardly revolutionary, except that the role is the Doctor, a regenerative alien who can take on the appearance of anyone, but has for 12 iterations tended towards the persona of a quirky British white man.


ARTS AND CULTURE

The thin line between apes and humans

9 Comments
25 July 2017 | Megan Graham

xxxxxI came to the Planet of the Apes films a little late, thinking it was just a bit too far on the silly side for my tastes. But with time to kill on a holiday in 2014, I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and found myself surprisingly invested in the emotions of the characters. Released in Australia today is the latest episode: War for the Planet of the Apes.


Finding the high way

11 Comments
25 July 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

xxxxxIn our society ethical questions such as those to do with marriage, crime and punishment, the beginnings and endings of life, and freedom of speech are often highway issues. Protagonists establish in advance the right way to go, keep their foot down and their eyes on the road without noticing the terrain the highway traverses. Road signs indicating another destinations or alternative routes are ignored and towns by-passed. Certainty is gained; understanding of country is sacrificed.


Non-ants and animal whimdom

2 Comments
23 July 2017 | Barry Gittins

xxxxxants don’t sleep elephants weep presidents creep oolong teas steep and we observe. dictators serve goosekillers swerve ignorance hits curve art shows verve and we obsess. rabbits stress tortoises press paedophiles confess corporations bless and we object


INTERNATIONAL

Obamacare not in 'death spiral' because people value it

6 Comments
22 July 2017 | Lesley Russell

xxxxxObamacare, although imperfect, was soundly constructed and thoughtfully implemented. It has withstood constitutional challenges and survived endless Congressional votes to repeal and amend it. Republicans talk only about its problems and the Trump Administration has worked hard to sabotage it further, but the fact is that Obamacare is not in a 'death spiral'. It is working surprisingly well.


RELIGION

Respecting Australian law is key to religious freedom

12 Comments
20 July 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

xxxxxBecause we are a multicultural and multi-religious society, we do not impose a singular moral or religious code on everyone. Believers can follow their faith’s code of living voluntarily. But if they choose to enter public debate about legislation on questions that affect everybody, they must construct their arguments based on reasoning acceptable to non-believers.


AUSTRALIA

Dual citizenship should be a plus in modern Australia

38 Comments
20 July 2017 | Fatima Measham

Greens Senator Larissa WatersThere are layers of frustration around the resignation of Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters due to dual citizenship. The immediate loss of two of Australia's better parliamentary performers - on any side of politics - is unfortunate. For no one in their orbit and nothing in the AEC nomination process to have caught something so fundamental is unsettling, but perhaps not that odd. Presumptions of Australian-ness are more or less adjudicated on a certain kind of look and surname.


ENVIRONMENT

Electricity market for dummies (i.e. politicians)

11 Comments
19 July 2017 | Greg Foyster

Wind farmAfter months of very silly debate about clean energy, one thing is abundantly clear: the electricity market is evolving much faster than most politicians and commentators can understand it. The story underneath all the distraction is that wind and solar have already changed the game. As that big Finkel report no one read made clear, 'there is no going back from the massive industrial, technological and economic changes facing our electricity system'.


INTERNATIONAL

Judaism and dissent

20 Comments
19 July 2017 | Na'ama Carlin

xxxxxSpeak out against Israeli policies towards Palestinians and you are betraying fellow Jews. This narrative is common, and we see it today in relation to human rights organisations in Israel. It is not new. The same thing occured decades ago, when scholar Gershom Scholem accused Hannah Arendt, the author of Eichmann in Jerusalem, of lacking 'love of the Jewish people'.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Civil War gender power games

18 July 2017 | Tim Kroenert

This is a deliberate subversion of typical, destructive Western tropes by Coppola, in which it is the male character who is objectified by the female gaze. In this she probes how this particular man either thrives under or is stymied by such objectification. John is more than aware of the sexual and romantic stirrings he has aroused among his new companions. But in his assumption that his objectification is empowering, he has utterly underestimated the emotional and psychic complexities of those doing the objectifying.


AUSTRALIA

What fuelled the crisis in the West?

21 Comments
18 July 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Thomas Cole's 'The Fall of Rome'Paul Kelly in the Australian makes the case that the decline in Christian faith made evident in the recent Census is in large measure responsible for the widespread loss of trust in the political system throughout the West. There are inevitable limitations to such broad brush arguments. Lack of trust in politics and institutions is not new. From the Roman Empire to contemporary China authorities who do not ensure an adequate supply of bread to their citizens can expect to meet distrust, unrest and replacement.


Senator Ludlam's crime and punishment

11 Comments
17 July 2017 | John Warhurst

Senator Scott LudlumLudlam's departure means that the Senate has now had three senators, including Bob Day, the Family First leader, from South Australia, and Rod Culleton of the One Nation Party, who was also from Western Australia, declared ineligible to sit in the Parliament in the 12 months since the last election. One is an accident but three is an epidemic. This is a disturbing turn of events.


Sexual harassment in Australia and the US

10 Comments
17 July 2017 | Sara Vukojevic

Woman on city streetI couldn't believe it. It was the most obvious example of street harassment ever. Builders? Check. Cheesy pickup lines? Check. Innuendos? Check. Trying to prevent a woman from moving away? Check. It could've been a lot worse. Something worse happened to me in California. But this situation got my heart beating. It's six, large, capable men. They can do anything they want to me. I can't prevent it from happening if they decide they need to do more than look.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Spider music

1 Comment
16 July 2017 | Chris Jackson

Spider webI am, of course, a spider: my obstinacy, a viola; my gossamer back-and-forthing, woven ruminations of a violin. Watch me, busy always to continue a spider's life. All things love the little kingdom they inherit. This is home, intricate with fetched fidget, this scratchy bow-flight is a busy cello urging me to tracery, all tossed about in winds of orchestra.


INTERNATIONAL

Victory claimed in Mosul, but other battles loom

2 Comments
13 July 2017 | William Gourlay

An operation to retake western Mosul, 6 March 2017With ongoing celebrations in Baghdad and scenes of devastation in Mosul, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the 'liberation' of Iraq's second-largest city from ISIS. This moment, after an umbrella force of military units fought for nine months to relieve Mosul of the ISIS yoke, represents a victory for the people and government of Iraq. However, many challenges loom, among them reconciling conflicting interests amongst Iraq's peoples and restoring the ravaged landscape.


MEDIA

Encryption and liberties on the 'ungovernable' internet

6 Comments
13 July 2017 | Binoy Kampmark

WhatsApp and Facebook iconsTurnbull's attitude echoes the fear all autocracies have: that control is slipping away, and that citizens cannot be trusted to behave in a modern communications environment without government intrusions. Arguments are repeatedly made that such enlarged powers are never abused - a charmingly naive assumption - and that law enforcement authorities merely need the 'capacity' to have them. These can either abate, or be extended, after a review. The reality tends to be different.


Stock images strengthen chronic fatigue stigma

4 Comments
13 July 2017 | Evan Young

Silhouette in mistIf used without thought, stock images can misrepresent and trivialise serious issues. I have the displeasure of living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a hugely misunderstood and devastating condition. When I see an article on CFS, it is almost always beneath a stock photo of somebody yawning or with head in hands. These images contribute to society's misapprehension that CFS is exclusively related to sleep, making it even tougher for patients to live in a world already hard enough to live in.