Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nanny State's arthritic grip contains common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 December 2015
    15 Comments

    A cyclist since my youth, I was intensely annoyed when campaigners first tried to enforce cycle helmets. I loved the wind rushing through my hair, and believed my safety could be left to my responsibility. Others might have wondered if I overestimated my sense of responsibility. It was hardly compatible with the practice of never applying the brakes when going down hills on country roads, or with the view that traffic rules applied only to cars. Later, I came to see that individual freedom must be considered in its context of human relationships.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What led to the trashing of Christmas Island

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 November 2015
    6 Comments

    Questions remain regarding the recent death and disturbance on Christmas Island, posed by the responses by New Zealand and Australian government ministers to the unrest. New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne compared the Christmas Island regime to Guantanamo Bay. Australian Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton emphasised the $10 million damage to property. Both responses were partial. At a deeper level the riot was the predictable outcome of a brutal government policy.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    What separates us from IS

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 November 2015
    19 Comments

    The mass murder of unarmed civilians in Paris last weekend was appalling. Whether considered as an act of war or of terror, it was indefensible. The themes of war against terrorism and victory have dominated commentary on the killings. In light of the fact that the war against terror was the seedbed in which IS grew, they demand serious reflection. We should ask precisely what our enemy is attacking, what therefore must be defended, and what will be the signs of victory or defeat.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Turnbull twist tests common good in Murray-Darling Plan

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 November 2015
    8 Comments

    In recent reflection on the future path of Australia the common good has made a welcome return. At the same time the Turnbull Government has transferred responsibility for water resources, including the Murray-Darling Basin, from the Department of the Environment to the Department of Trade. The two things seem to be unrelated. But the concept of the common good has been embodied robustly in the Murray-Darling Basin plan and survives in the midst of continuing conflict.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pocock and Goodes are the role models Australia needs

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 November 2015
    10 Comments

    What are spectators to make of Adam Goodes' challenge to racial prejudice? What are they to make of David Pocock's outspoken defence of the environment and criticism of coal mining, or of his and his partner's refusal to marry in solidarity with LBGT couples? They make space for us to reflect on our own response to large human questions. But that space also invites us to judge our own integrity. The opprobrium such role models meet may arise out of discomfort with unwelcome self-questioning.

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  • RELIGION

    Betting on the Synod

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 October 2015
    6 Comments

    The journalist Claud Cockburn once said that Catholics could never bet on the election of a pope because they believed it was all up to the Holy Spirit. He was mistaken — many Catholics then and now would place a bet on anything and everything. His reasoning also overlooked the Catholic understanding that human beings cooperate with the Holy Spirit. But his association of God's action with the election and actions of popes provides a lens for looking at the recently concluded Synod on the Family.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kids need care not cruelty to avoid radicalisation

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 October 2015
    4 Comments

    A particular issue in Australia is the age of criminal responsibility, which varies in different states between ten and 12. Research into brain development suggests that people cannot fully take responsibility for their actions until they are 15 years old. Responsible policy must respect the human development of the child and ensure that the response to their wrongdoing takes into account their age and does not place them in processes they can neither understand nor properly participate in.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The church must be a poor church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 October 2015
    23 Comments

    The image of the body of Aylan Kurdi cradled in the arms of a Turkish soldier jarred with our sense that poverty is simply the deprivation of material goods — there is no greater poverty than death, and no greater deprivation than that of a child stripped of life. Francis speaks powerfully of the need to address poverty. He insists that the church must move out of its comfortable centre to the margins where the poor live. To address poverty we must know people who live in poverty as our brothers and sisters.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Banning repugnant figures reflects a harsh, fearful society

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 October 2015
    25 Comments

    Banning people from entering countries has become the flavour of the month. Two US citizens, hip-hop artist Chris Brown and anti-abortion advocate Troy Newman, were banned from entering Australia. It is sometimes right to exclude people. But unless the processes are transparent and the need clearly demonstrated, such exclusion has costly consequences for the life of the community. It privileges power over reflection, and suggests character is defined unchangeably by past behaviour.

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  • RELIGION

    Third World issues illuminate Synod's first world problems

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 September 2015
    14 Comments

    Although important to respond to generously, divorced and homosexual Catholics will not be the only people who make a claim on the Synod on the Family in Rome, with bishops of the Third World to want a focus on the life and death issues that face families in their region. But divorced and homosexual Catholics are important, and the divisions between bishops are both real, and generally misread by the media.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reflect and connect to give peace a chance

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 September 2015
    3 Comments

    This year's International Day of Peace comes amid much war-making. Those with a feel for history may see it as an echo of an idealistic age that had experienced years of war and was determined to shape a better world. To those caught in fear and violence, and promised another ten years of the same, it will come as an insinuating hope against hope; a reproach to a world that stirs rather than douses wars.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian Citizenship Day with an edge

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 September 2015
    8 Comments

    This is traditionally a soft occasion, with ceremonies to welcome those becoming Australian citizens, in the presence of the local mayor, and the presentation of a small tree as a symbol of their own grafting on to the Australian vine. But this year the day has deeper meaning, in the wake of the Australian Government's introduction of anti-terrorism legislation designed strip citizenship from certain individuals with dual nationality.

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