Vol 27 No 16

13 August 2017

 Cartoon by Chris Johnston



Too many words about same sex marriage

23 August 2017 | Neve Mahoney

xxxxxLots of words have already been said and typed about the subject of same sex marriage. Too many, frankly. But it seems that the marriage equality debate will not go away nor be resolved easily, though LGBTI advocates have said that the homophobic anti-same sex marriage campaign will be damaging to the mental health of LGBTI people. Of course, the very idea that civil rights should be put to a public vote is demoralising.


It seems Mother Teresa was a Mother Teresa after all

23 August 2017 | Tony Thompson

Simulated dyslexia fontI kept getting lost in Kolkata. North and south were somehow inverted in my head and I had to consciously avoid going the wrong way every time I stepped out of my hotel.

Do we ban the nun's veil next?

23 August 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

xxxxxFor an item of clothing that virtually no Australian Muslims wear, the burqa sure gets plenty of airtime. I've never seen the (usually blue) all-enveloping cloak with the small material grill for sale in any of the bricks-and-mortar Islamic clothing stores I've visited. Short of travelling to Afghanistan, the only place I can think where an anti-Islam protester might get one is by searching Halloween costume listings on eBay or Etsy.


We treat dogs better than the asylum seekers

22 August 2017 |

ABC logo

Last week I was rung to say my dog was missing. I finished at work as soon as I could, ringing the local council and neighbourhood vet on the way home. Neither had seen anything of him but suggested we post on social media. As my husband and I drove and walked the streets, the messages came in. People were concerned. He was missing from an enclosed yard. Some offered to look, others from further away, shared hope and the Facebook post. The post went everywhere, the last I saw was in Western Australia.



World trade is now America versus China (and Russia)

22 August 2017 | David James

xxxxxThe anti-Russian frenzy in the United States amounts to little more than a great deal of evidence that the intelligence community suspects there might be a great deal of evidence that the Russians have been meddling. It has to rank as one of the biggest, and most orchestrated, blind alleys of modern media coverage. When a journalist says an anonymous ‘respected source’ thinks the Russians are up to something, this writer is always left wondering: respected by whom? His dog?


The beloved countries are still crying

22 August 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

xxxxxSeventy years ago Alan Paton wrote Cry the Beloved Country. His novel opened many Australians’ eyes to the wounded South Africa that lay behind its colonial surface. His elegiac conclusion was prescient of the two generations that followed.


The citizenship conundrum

21 August 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


Tomatoes, harbour

1 Comment
21 August 2017 | Rory Harris



you fade into the hospital white

above your head a row of floral Hallmark cards

as a husband’s garden once filled every available

backyard space with colour

the glasshouse arrived after retirement


Being clear about orphans

21 August 2017 | Brian Lucas

In the Sydney Morning Herald on 17 August Lindsay Murdoch reported on the public hearing by the Australian Parliament’s Joint Committee investigating a Modern Slavery Act. The proposed legislation is broad but this article focused on one aspect—the institutionalisation of children. 


Why musicians are the canaries in the coal mine

20 August 2017 | Terry Noone

xxxxxTo get a good idea of where employment practices are headed, a good place to start is the music industry. Musicians have been the canary in the coalmine. The gradual removal of their work place rights, and even basic remuneration, points to what happens when there are no effective constraints on employers’ behaviour. Instead, they are being offered ‘exposure’—and, as one muso quips, ‘you can die of exposure.’


The twisted priorities of the same-sex marriage vote

20 August 2017 | Rohan Salmond

ABC logoSame-sex marriage, the government tells us, is not a first-order issue. And yet it has grown to become a controversy so monumental it has overshadowed even the prospect of nuclear war with North Korea.

Why the seal of the confessional will remain

19 August 2017 | Frank Brennan

xxxxxThe Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published a 2000-page three volume Criminal Justice Report. One of its recommendations is that the states and territories 'create a criminal offence of failure to report targeted at child sexual abuse in an institutional context'.

The lessons learned from charitable work

18 August 2017 | Mariana James-Techera

xxxxxWe students go to school to learn. But one of the best learning experiences for me has happened outside school: helping the less fortunate by serving them food at the Sacred Heart Mission and collecting food necessities for the charity.


The renewables debate is won, but we may still lose the war

16 August 2017 | Greg Foyster

xxxxxIn the last few years, vested interests have changed their strategy for opposing action on climate change. Where they once focused on denying the problem, they’re now putting their efforts into sabotaging the solutions. Instead of funding fake experts to say the ‘science isn’t settled’, fossil fuel companies and their political backers have been running a smear campaign against renewable energy technologies like wind turbines, solar panels and batteries.


Getting some perspective on Charlottesville

16 August 2017 | Fatima Measham


Instead of refining his initial remarks about a Nazi rally in Charlottesville, which brutally claimed the life of a counter-protester, Donald Trump has doubled down. At a heated news conference in New York, he demanded that journalists define 'alt-right', invoked the idea of an 'alt-left', and lay blame on 'both sides'.


Of murderers, bastards and inequality: neo-liberalism's failure

15 August 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

xxxxxCometh the hour, cometh the third murderer. So now inequality is in the spotlight and is being booed off the stage. It is blamed for the rise of populist politics, and more fundamentally for economic stagnation. The economic neo-liberal orthodoxy, that so implausibly claimed that economic competition unfettered by government regulation would benefit all of the citizens, has produced the gross inequality that hinders economic growth. 


David v Goliath in the beautiful British countryside

15 August 2017 | Megan Graham

xxxxxOne lone man daring to interfere with the evil plans of the rich and powerful: it’s not exactly a new angle, but there are a few scraps of satisfaction to be found in Joel Hopkin’s latest film Hampstead – just not in the realm of originality. It’s a sleepy story that meanders along with a mildly pleasant mediocrity.


The high political stakes of same sex marriage

15 August 2017 | John Warhurst

John CoatesThe same sex marriage postal plebiscite will be as intense as most referendum and election campaigns. Indeed, the special characteristics of this subject, advanced by the government as the reason for going beyond parliamentary means to resolve the issue, mean that the campaign may be more intense than most referendums have been.

What Philippines' president Duterte is telling us about China

15 August 2017 | Daniel Kleinsman


xxxxxReckless machoism is the trademark of President Rodrigo Duterte. He has vowed to stop at nothing in his bloody war against drugs and dissidents, and is unapologetic about increasing casualities incurred. Meanwhile, he demonstrates a terrifying disregard for anyone who opposes his agenda, and he delights in doing so.


The rationality of Kim Jong Un

14 August 2017 | Justin Glyn

xxxxxThe ongoing talk of war with North Korea and the threat of nuclear weapons has everybody dusting off their copies of Dr Strangelove and rewatching that classic black farce of innuendo, misunderstanding and paranoia in an age of Mutually Assured Destruction.


Solitaire and Some souls

14 August 2017 | Margaret Quigley and Edith Speers


Were I to call

Were I to stumble 

Or even fall 

Would you hear me? 

Would the constant babble 

Of texts and tweets and twitters 

Silence my helpless cry


Confessions of a literature addict

13 August 2017 | Gillian Bouras

xxxxxWas Harry Potter’s 20th birthday to blame? Or the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death? Or merely the ageing process? It’s hard to decide, but in a life quite possibly ruined by literature, I have started remembering some of the books I read in childhood.



Using ignorance to know if mandatory drug testing laws are sound

13 August 2017 | Daniel Fleming

xxxxxSometimes ignorance can be a virtue in political decision-making. The great 20th century political philosopher John Rawls had a thought experiment called the “Veil of Ignorance” which he suggested should be applied to any political decision to test whether or not it is just.