Vol 29 No 24

01 December 2019


 

  • INTERNATIONAL

    The 'ugly boredom' of a very Brexit election

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 13 December 2019

    Tired and world weary, the British electorate went to the polls. Rarely in history can there have been such an assemblage of unelectable or disappointing types standing for office or trying to remain in it. It proved to be an ugly boredom, though it was uglier for some than others.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dickens and Christmas as we grow older

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 13 December 2019

    Dickens was a prolific writer, and one of patchy quality: the threat of sentimentality was never far away, so that this brief work is not one of his best. But in this consumer age it is salutary to have his definition of the Christmas spirit, which is one 'of active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge of duty, kindness and forbearance'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Allies keeping faith despite Medevac blow

    • Carolina Gottardo and Nishadh Rego
    • 12 December 2019
    2 Comments

    Outside, a Martian-red haze kisses the windows. An ode to the future perhaps. Most of the people present are already aware of the Medevac repeal decision. The room is heavy with silence, the mood is sombre, but far from resigned. We want change, and are willing to have a crack at demanding it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Disability RC must reckon with education

    • Jane Britt
    • 12 December 2019
    3 Comments

    From the minute we enter the education system, we experience barriers. We are segregated when we arrive at primary school, placed in 'special' units or classes. Here our needs are subsumed into the collective needs of the group. From the outset our educational outcomes are at the whim of the people who are in the position of power.

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  • RELIGION

    Movement for Church renewal keeps growing

    • John Warhurst
    • 11 December 2019
    22 Comments

    What's going on within the Catholic Church always matters more widely given its size and power. Lay participation in leadership, especially of women, is a major social issue. Observers of social trends should watch this space for its wider public policy implications.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The arts as a human right

    • Bree Alexander
    • 11 December 2019
    4 Comments

    While we can only speculate on what it means for the future of funding beyond the current budget, alarm bells are ringing for many of us who recognise the symbolic power of rendering the arts invisible at a federal level. A strong, vibrant arts sector is essential to a thriving democracy.

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  • CARTOON

    Naughty and nice?

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 10 December 2019

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Greta Thunberg for person of the year

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 December 2019
    14 Comments

    To nominate Greta Thunberg the most significant person of 2019 is not to canonise her, still less to say that her way of pressing for action to address climate change is the only way. But her intransigence and single-minded focus are needed to mobilise the support necessary to make politicians act responsibly.

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  • EDUCATION

    Teachers earn and deserve their holidays

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 10 December 2019
    6 Comments

    It's that time again, when exhausted teachers are wondering whether they'll make the distance and finish the school year with their sanity more or less intact. It's also the time when they have to endure snide remarks about 'a really cushy job' and 'all those holidays'. But it's not a cushy job. I know: my brother and I were third-generation teachers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    This delicious failure of common names

    • Paul Hetherington
    • 09 December 2019
    2 Comments

    You don't know the word for butter, so you spend seconds miming the way it froths in the pan. The owner of the shop says nothing. You want to buy their famous pesto, but it's nowhere on display. You speak to other customers, who nod and frown. Eventually you point at fragrant cheese and a melon that smells of ripest green.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dancing in the dark of western culture

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 09 December 2019
    4 Comments

    Politicians love to remind minorities to integrate. Minority kids by and large resent these calls, because they are desperate to integrate. South Asian kids like me and journalist Sarfraz Manzoor were among those wishing to be Australian or British. Our idols were Bruce Springsteen and Jim Kerr, not Abu Bakr Baghdadi or Osama bin Ladin.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Climate crisis spawns clowns not statesmen

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 09 December 2019
    27 Comments

    If the dark days of 1940 provided an opportunity for a chancer and publicity hound like Winston Churchill to emerge as an inspirational leader and reputed giant of the 20th century, why hasn't the catastrophic breakdown of the natural world done something similar for the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Scott Morrison?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2019 Christmas Raffle winners

    • Staff
    • 09 December 2019

    The Society of Jesus in Victoria, Jesuit Communications Christmas Raffle 2019 Drawn on Thursday 5 December 2019 (Permit No 10590/19). Congratulations to the winners: 1st prize: L. Daphne, VIC; 2nd prize: A. Curran, Qld; 3rd prize: D. Sasse, Vic. All winners have been notified directly.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Just do something about NT homelessness

    • Mike Bowden
    • 06 December 2019
    7 Comments

    The stats are chilling. The rate of homelessness in the Northern Territory is 12 times the national average. Six per cent of all Territorians are experiencing homelessness. More than 16 per cent of Territorians under 16 are homeless. Twenty per cent of Aboriginal people in the NT are homeless. It's time to do something.

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  • MEDIA

    The killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 05 December 2019
    5 Comments

    In Malta, shudders are being felt through the media and political establishment. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has announced his intention to resign. Other officials are doing the same. Malta's equivalent of the accusing ghost of Banquo is that of the slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed by a car bomb in October 2017.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Tuesday tsunami of whiteness

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 05 December 2019
    5 Comments

    Whiteness — some days it's like a light mist constantly hanging around yet going mainly unnoticed as it stealthily seeps into one's pores. Other days, it hits you like a cascade, or a tsunami of whiteness. Tuesday, observing the news, felt more like one of the latter.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Shaking faith: the Taylor and Westpac scandals

    • Joe Zabar
    • 04 December 2019
    4 Comments

    In light of the banking royal commission and the government's work in developing a plethora of transparency and integrity measures, it beggars belief how Brian Hartzer and Angus Taylor could bring upon themselves and their respective institutions so much unwanted publicity.

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  • CARTOON

    Dutton doomsayer

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 03 December 2019
    2 Comments

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Common ground amid polarised China debate

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 December 2019
    5 Comments

    If China spies upon Australia, Australia spied on East Timor. If China detains Uighurs in harsh conditions, so has Australia detained people in brutal and demeaning conditions on Manus Island. If China lays out money to nations on our region to secure its national interests, so does Australia, most notably to Nauru and PNG.

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  • RELIGION

    Altyerre-Catholicism's sacred dancing ground

    • Mike Bowden
    • 03 December 2019
    11 Comments

    This would not be accepted by the extremist Catholics who threw an Amazonian indigenous icon of a pregnant indigenous woman into the Tiber River. But the Pope is right to honour the prior religious practises of the Amazonians, just as the Bishop of Darwin supports a process that has seen the development of Altyerre-Catholicism.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Two elegies for a vanished farm

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 02 December 2019

    After spirit-lamps were doused the house drew in upon itself; its clutch of dreamers moaned and tossed in stifling mosquito nets — each isolating sac of mesh a Magellanic cloud.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government tries to turn 'Aboriginal' into 'alien'

    • Kate Galloway
    • 02 December 2019
    17 Comments

    Two Aboriginal men are currently being held in immigration detention under threat of deportation because they are not Australian citizens. The case raises far-reaching implications concerning the status of the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and the state.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Break the man box to halt gendered violence

    • Matt Tyler
    • 02 December 2019
    9 Comments

    Dominant ideals of masculinity do not materialise out of thin air. They are produced and reproduced by people, institutions, policies and other social forces, and there are places in Australia where efforts to promote or defend traditional ideals of masculinity seem particularly energetic.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Clive James' poetry of memento mori

    • Philip Harvey
    • 29 November 2019
    12 Comments

    Obituarists sharpened their quills in 2014 when word had it the death of Clive James was imminent. Since then we have witnessed a late flowering of poetry, reviews and articles tinged with mortality that revealed to the last his Twainian flair for journalistic self-promotion, albeit in the internet age. Now the quills are out in earnest.

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  • FAITH DOING JUSTICE

    Wrestling Morrison's brand of Christianity

    • Toni Hassan
    • 29 November 2019
    30 Comments

    His government continues to support, with massive subsidies, extractive and exploitative industries that undeniably warm the planet and threaten the natural environment. How can this be a legitimate perspective as a publicly-confessing Christian? Why would this shepherd not want to move all of us to safer ground?

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