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The case for defending children and their advocates

24 February 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Child in detention drawingChildren have always suffered and been exploited. Only recently have been regarded as being children at all, rather than mini-people. Reformers like Dickens raised consciousness beginning in the 19th century. Bombs are raining on children in Syria and elsewhere. Not so Australia, but many are being damaged nonetheless. The Australian Human Rights Commission is having to defend its report on Immigration Detention from critics that include the Prime Minister.

Aussie diggers' pen as mighty as their sword

16 December 2014 | Gillian Bouras

Cartoon from 'Aussie'A soldier's life is usually one of bursts of brief action followed by extended periods of drudgery and boredom, and never was this more true than during this dreadful war of attrition that dragged on apparently interminably between 1914 and 1918. A book titled Aussie was published in 1920 as a bound collection of AIF soldiers’ own paper of the battlefield, wholly written, illustrated and printed in the field. 

Homage to the king of herbs

02 December 2014 | Gillian Bouras

BasilIn pride of place on this feast day, a modest silver cross lies in a glass case. The cross is surrounded by leaves of basil, the plant that was supposedly found growing on the True Cross when it was discovered by St Helen in 326. The word basil means king, the plant is considered the king of herbs, and bunches of it are always used in the sprinkling of holy water.

How Pope Francis took the world by surprise

25 November 2014 | Peter Kirkwood

Pope Francis is one of the most prominent international leaders at present. In our Skype conversation, US born Vatican watcher Robert Mickens shares his frank views on the relatively brief but highly significant, surprising and unsettling pontificate of Pope Francis, who has declared that almost anything is open for discussion.

The wind blew through us

11 August 2014 | Kevin Gillam

Girl on windy beachWe were song that day, free on the stave, note then note, spume and a whiff and dried weed, lick and boom of waves, nudge of groyne. The wind blew through. We were sand that day, sand and salt and shell and curled.

He taught me how to somersault

14 July 2014 | Susan Fealy

SomersaultShamed me with his arithmetic, built me a balance beam... Let me practise, practise, practise:My body weighted all its edges, open to his eyes, the air, the sun.

Old men playing bocce

19 May 2014 | Shane McCauley

BocceMuffled exclamations send Italian syllables into the far pale blue... the small cannon balls bounce across the peaceful green... the men huddle convene for a verdict.

Human justice barometer

05 November 2013 | Peter Kirkwood

Blake PrizeIn the years after it began in 1951, the Blake religious art prize was dominated by conventional Christian themes and symbols. More recently its inclusion of images associated with human justice has reflected the increasing multifaith character of religion in Australia together with religious believers' concern for human peace and justice.

My brother's hat mourns his death

18 June 2013 | Brian Doyle

Old Irish capIf you were a familiar Irish cap, and had waited all night every night for 30 years for the blessing of the morning when he'd reach for you, knead you and fold you gently over his ungovernable hair, wouldn't you wonder where he was the first few days after he vanished, and feel something like a silent sadness?

Haiku for JNB

10 June 2013 | Joan Grant

Basho Sigh, white text on dark green backgroundYou planted gum trees / For every family member / Some grew, some faltered. You shuddered at crows / Their cawings a foretolling / Of endings to come. You smiled and whispered / 'I may be gone for some time' / Skin like polar ice ...

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