Author: Frank Brennan

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  • ECONOMICS

    Towards an economy that works for all

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 October 2017
    10 Comments

    The promise of riches from the trickle-down effect is at best patchy for many Australians, and non-existent for others. Continuing with the same economic and social policy settings will exacerbate the already growing divide between the rich and the poor and eventually damage the economy to such an extent that it has a detrimental effect on everyone.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Different country, different culture (or how different legal systems view deal-making)

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 October 2017

    In the 16th century it was the Dominican friars like Vitoria, Las Casas and Montesino in Salamanca who confronted the state and challenged public opinion about the rights of the indigenous peoples in Spain's newly colonised lands. Not even the most nostalgic and forgiving Jesuit would opine that the modern practitioners of Morality with a capital M challenging the powers of the market and the state would be found in a modern monastery.

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  • RELIGION

    The Catholic option for 'yes' or 'no'

    • Frank Brennan
    • 24 September 2017
    79 Comments

    For many Catholic voters, this has been a difficult issue because for the first time in their lives they have found themselves in the same position which our politicians find themselves every time they have to vote on contested moral and political questions in parliament. They don't find themselves getting all that much help from official church declarations. This is no criticism of our bishops. They are the custodians of a tradition which has been somewhat skewed on this issue for a long time.

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  • RELIGION

    Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 September 2017
    2 Comments

    The real call of Everyone's Business is to move beyond them and us to admitting that there is only us. If we are truly to build an inclusive and sustainable economy, it can't be just those in full time paid employment who are part of that economy. We take seriously the principles of neo-liberalism, letting the market decide. But we set limits on the market for the common good.

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  • RELIGION

    The Copenhagen breakthrough in the Timor Sea

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 September 2017

    It is very good news that the two governments have reached agreement on 'a pathway to the development of the resource, and the sharing of the resulting revenue'. Given the stand-off in the South China Sea, Timor's agent Agio Pereira is right to express pride and satisfaction that 'with our joint success at resolving our dispute through this conciliation process, Timor-Leste and Australia hope to have set a positive example for the international community at large'.

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  • RELIGION

    Catholics and the marriage equality plebiscite

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 September 2017
    7 Comments

    It is important for us to understand that a Catholic could vote 'yes' or 'no' in the forthcoming survey. It is not for me as a priest or for any bishop to tell you how to vote. I have been happy to tell people how I will be voting, but I have no interest in campaigning and urging my fellow Catholics or even my fellow citizens to vote a particular way. As with most public controversies arguments appealing to Catholics of good will can be made for either side in the dispute — as to what constitutes the common good, and as how best to respect the rights and entitlements of all persons, including children.

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  • RELIGION

    Citizenship and the Common Good

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 August 2017
    6 Comments

    'There was one controversy in which Lionel Bowen was involved that does provide good lessons for the contemporary Catholic considering the desirable law or social policy on a contested issue - lessons for the citizen weighing what is for the common good. Back in 1979 there was debate in the Parliament on a motion which was framed to stop Medicare funding of abortions. Bowen, a strict Catholic, was strongly opposed to the motion. He did not think the motion was about abortion. He thought it was about money.' Frank Brennan's 2017 Lionel Bowen Lecture

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Compulsory drug testing is no silver bullet

    • Frank Brennan
    • 28 August 2017
    10 Comments

    In 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.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why the seal of the confessional will remain

    • Frank Brennan
    • 19 August 2017
    22 Comments

    The 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'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The bi-partisanship shame of refugee policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 August 2017
    29 Comments

    What possessed Filippo Grandi, the relatively new United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to go public last week, having a go at Australia for our government’s treatment of unvisaed asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat? He repeated UNHCR’s demand that Australia terminate offshore processing of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island and that we not outsource our responsibilities to others.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Awaiting the Referendum Council in NAIDOC Week

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 July 2017
    6 Comments

    It is no disrespect to those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders gathered at Uluru to say that now is the time for the report of the Referendum Council to be scrutinised by our national politicians, and that our elected leaders should pay special heed to the observations of those Indigenous members of the federal parliament who have offered considered reflections on the way forward. In particular, our elected representatives should have regard to the views of Patrick Dodson who is now Bill Shorten's Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

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  • RELIGION

    NAIDOC Week homily

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 July 2017

    There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of you, the First Australians. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the overwhelming majority of the voting public, regardless of when they or their ancestors first arrived in Australia. Given that you Indigenous Australians have spoken strongly through your representatives at Uluru in support of a First Nations Voice, it is now for the Referendum Council to recommend to government a timetable for constitutional change with maximum prospects of a 'Yes' vote.

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