Vol 27 No 17

27 August 2017

 Cartoon by Chris Johnston


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RELIGION

The government should stop marrying people

32 Comments
06 September 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

Gay weddingThe state doesn't have an opinion on whether God approves of the union because theocracy went out of fashion in the West, along with the Divine Right of Kings. These days in Australia, the state doesn't even care to enforce sexual exclusivity of partners, although once upon a time that was a major element of marital law. Divorce is all about distribution of assets and establishing proper care of the kids. So why the brouhaha over marriage for gay people?


Child protection, compliance and conversion

5 Comments
06 September 2017 | John Honner

Woman and childIn the Christian gospels the child is the exemplar, par excellence, of what God's world is meant to look like. In social policy, on the other hand, the child tends to be portrayed as a powerless innocent. In recent years, the Catholic Church has failed the standards of both gospel and society: on the one hand by discounting the importance of children and not listening to children, and on the other hand by not having appropriate practices and policies to ensure the safety of children.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Magpies must listen to Lumumba and respond

10 Comments
05 September 2017 | Tim Kroenert

Heritier LumumbaInspired by the exploits of Aboriginal AFL stars, the young Lumumba quickly recognised football as an arena in which a black man could flourish. This fact makes his treatment at the Collingwood Football Club years later all the more galling. The club so far has failed to Lumumba's comments in any meaningful way. He deserves better, and so do we.


RELIGION

Bishops call for an economy that serves all

11 Comments
05 September 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Australian dollarsThe general argument of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Statement on the economy is that Australia is a wealthy economy in which too many people are marginalised. In response to the litany of neglect and abuse that it details, the statement calls for a new view of the economy as the servant of people, and not vice versa.


CARTOON

Severe weather warning

04 September 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


ARTS AND CULTURE

Kindness is still everything

19 Comments
04 September 2017 | Gillian Bouras

Kalamata ambulanceThe old grey mare she ain't what she used to be: so the song says. Well, I'm definitely grey, but thought I was trotting along satisfactorily on the sands of time until about a month ago, when I was calmly crossing a Kalamata street. I remember stepping on to the pavement, and then nothing more until a passerby was helping me up and dabbing rather ineffectually at my face and shirtfront. There was blood everywhere.


MEDIA

Storming the pixels: New frontiers of race activism

5 Comments
04 September 2017 | Tseen Khoo

Toppled Confederate statueThere's storming the barricades, and there's storming the pixels. Critical race activism in the 21st century can take on fascinating forms. A great recent example of this is the destruction of Confederate monuments in the United States, and the debates and actions surrounding these events. They generated larger conversations about culture wars and re-ignited the cycle of argument around historical authenticity, heroism and - dare anyone say it these days? - truth.


ARTS AND CULTURE

A poem for Agnes Bojaxhiu

7 Comments
03 September 2017 | Grant Fraser

Mother TeresaRecently published letters have revealed that although Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent many years in her inspiring ministry, she felt, during much of that time, a profound spiritual emptiness.


INTERNATIONAL

Nuclear North Korea and the dangers of panic

8 Comments
03 September 2017 | Binoy Kampmark

Mushroom cloudIn Australia, the reactions have been far from mild. Malcolm Turnbull was less than reassuring, suggesting the un-testable notion that the Korean peninsula was closer to conflict than at any time since the Korean War. The converse, if counter-intuitive argument can be made: that the peninsula is being made safe from war through this aggressive pursuit of nuclear arms. This is not a view deemed acceptable to officials in Washington and Canberra but is entirely realistic given Pyongyang's aims.


AUSTRALIA

Anti-communism in the Liberal Party from Menzies to Turnbull

12 Comments
31 August 2017 | Evan Smith

Cartoon by Chris JohnstonEarlier this year, Turnbull made a speech in London where he called for the Liberal Party to return to its ideological base as laid out by Sir Robert Menzies. Turnbull suggested that the Liberal Party under Menzies was the socially conservative party that many on the LNP's right wish it to be, but it seems that what the Liberals have taken from the Menzies era is a revival of anti-communist rhetoric.


Marriage equality postal vote further erodes democracy

20 Comments
31 August 2017 | Hayley Conway

Australia Post boxThe intended postal plebiscite is profoundly undemocratic. It will be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the hope that it will be considered a 'gathering of statistics', not an electoral matter requiring oversight by the Australian Electoral Commission and an appropriation of funds by the parliament. The federal government is circumventing the will of the parliament. This is part of a broader trend to attack, undermine, defund, and erode the democratic institutions we rely on.


Lawyers the last line of defence for dumped refugees

7 Comments
30 August 2017 | Kate Galloway

Peter Dutton in shadowIt is true that lawyers, in doing their work, have interrupted the government's agenda of attempting to deny the humanity of asylum seekers. However, it goes to the heart of our system of governance that power is exercised within lawful boundaries. It is therefore ironic that the Minister, whose own powers are circumscribed by the Australian Constitution, and who is looking for an easy workaround, should criticise lawyers for being 'tricky'.


ARTS AND CULTURE

Crude beauty of a Yorkshire shepherd's gay awakening

4 Comments
30 August 2017 | Megan Graham

Josh O'Connor and Alec Secareanu in In God's CountryThe UK's Yorkshire moors seem like an ideal setting for a crude yet beautiful film about two shepherds falling in love. What's even better is a director bringing to the film his own history of such a place, adding the depth of familiarity with both the land and those who live off it. Such is the case with one-time Yorkshire farm boy Francis Lee's directorial debut, God's Own Country.


AUSTRALIA

A credibly Christian church would respect gay employees

47 Comments
29 August 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Rainbow flagA threat reportedly made, and later denied, by some church leaders was to dismiss from employment in Catholic organisations people who contract same-sex marriages. The argument is that Catholic organisations must uphold the teaching of the church, and that upholding church teaching implies living in a way consistent with it. Whatever the abstract merits of this argument and its applicability to dismissal in limit cases, its general use belongs to a past age.


Inside the 'glass closet' of a gay Catholic teacher

49 Comments
29 August 2017 | Alex Ryan

Man covering face with transparent handsBeing both gay and Catholic leads to a somewhat fraught existence. On one hand, we have our Catholic peers who, frequently, have trouble empathising with what it means to be 'intrinsically disordered'. On the other, we have our queer friends who are, understandably, sceptical of our allegiance to an organisation that has a deep history of discrimination towards people like us. This existence is further complicated for those of us who choose to partake in ministry that sees us employed by the Church.


ENVIRONMENT

Community torn over Kimba nuclear plan

12 Comments
28 August 2017 | Michele Madigan

Kimba farmer Tom HarrisOn Saturday 19 August at a gathering in Port Adelaide, two modern beleaguered groups, one Aboriginal, one non-Aboriginal, shared their current experiences in striving to protect their own lands and ways of life. Like the Gurindji, their struggle is with the federal government and, indirectly, with another big business: the nuclear industry. In contrast to the Gurindji struggle however, modern day communities and even families are being torn apart by enticements and pressures.


CARTOON

Kind to be cruel

1 Comment
28 August 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

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


AUSTRALIA

Compulsory drug testing is no silver bullet

10 Comments
28 August 2017 | Frank Brennan

iceIn an age of 'budget repair' when both sides of politics are trying to contain the welfare budget, the search for savings and silver bullets is relentless. If Ministers Porter and Tudge are really seeking 'a way of assisting people to get off drugs and back into work', they should convince their cabinet colleagues of the need to increase the Newstart and Youth Allowance so that it might provide a real start for assisting people to survive with dignity while preparing for and getting back into work.


ARTS AND CULTURE

The maestro and the war-scarred boy

5 Comments
27 August 2017 | Jena Woodhouse

Maxim VengerovHe takes his flawless artistry to children traumatised by war, and plays for them this old violin, his oracle of everything. One lad has improvised an instrument: two strings, a stick as bow; and thrown away the rifle he was issued with to maim, destroy. Together they make music ...


AUSTRALIA

Countering Graham Richardson's Balgo claims

20 Comments
27 August 2017 | Brian McCoy

BalgoIn a column for the Australian, Graham Richardson wrote that during a visit to the remote community of Balgo, 'The real shock was that the women could not leave the children at home with the men because sexual assault was so common.' Community members find it very difficult to discuss publicly issues of shame involving others with whom they closely live. It takes time to build up trust and rarely will this ever occur within community meetings, much less in the presence of people they don't know.


MEDIA

How political correctness kills language freedoms

21 Comments
24 August 2017 | David James

xxxxxThe push for politically correct language may be well intentioned enough, but its consequences are often appalling. It can rob us of one of the most important of all human freedoms: the right to use words to mean what we want them to mean.


INTERNATIONAL

Immigration and the baby shortfall

8 Comments
24 August 2017 | Sean Cowan

ABC logoIt seems like immigration hasn’t been seen in a positive light of late. Control over immigration has been a central theme in the successful Brexit bid in the United Kingdom. America elected a president who suggests tougher laws and screening for immigrants. Syrian refugees were welcomed by the thousands into Canada (46,700 in 2016 alone to be exact) not without considerable controversy.