AUSTRALIA


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Maintaining children's rights amid youth detention crises

4 Comments
12 January 2017 | Kate Galloway

Dylan Jenkings is a former NT youth detainee who is part of a class action suing the Government.The Minister has committed to improving youth detention facilities, the appointment of 100 more staff, and revision of Victoria's youth detention policy. But in doing so, she has sheeted home blame to the former government, and has accused lawyers for the children of pandering to ideology. The government's discourse continues the tough-on-crime narrative rather than acknowledging the causes and contexts of juvenile offending and the consequences of appalling facilities on the youth who are detained.


Christmas story trumps the games that power plays

11 Comments
15 December 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Cover illustration for TS Elliot's 'Journey of the Magi'TS Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi' ends with the ambiguous line, 'I would be glad of another death'. If we set alongside one another the birth of a new and sour political order and the birth that is central to the first Christmas story, we are challenged to resolve the ambiguity. We may give up our hopes for a just and peaceful world, retire from it as gracefully as we can, and accept the victory of power and brutality. Or we can return to the Christmas story and to the hope that is central to it.


Moderates must realise whiteness rests on oppression

7 Comments
13 December 2016 | Neve Mahoney

Brown pawn faces array of white chess piecesIf the political trash-fire of 2016 has taught us anything, it's that white moderates are more than willing to throw minorities under the bus in order to preserve the status quo. It comes out in their tone policing. It comes out in calls for 'respectful' dialogue without considering how socio-political power structures mean minorities are always at a disadvantage in those kinds of conversations. Whiteness has always been a moving target and has more to do with power and privilege than skin colour.


Christmas blighted by child detention obscenity

7 Comments
13 December 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Children in detentionThis year International Migrants Day has called for children to be released from detention. It is appropriate that an event held in the shadow of Christmas should advocate for children. For they lie at the heart of Christmas. The insistence in the Gospel stories on the obligation to respect and nurture children is not exclusive to Christians. It is echoed in the attention to children and concern for their growth into responsible adults shared by other religions and cultures.


How class shapes art in 21st century Australia

4 Comments
08 December 2016 | Ellena Savage

Detail from Jackson Pollock paintingTo be in the running for a scholarship, a student must have had their abilities or potential acknowledged and rewarded within an ideological education system. Where the money comes from - and whom it is given to - informs what kinds of artwork thrives. As Didier Eribon says, 'art, culture and education are part of the mechanisms of differentiation between social classes'. And the institutional frameworks underpinning the production of artwork can lead to pernicious political outcomes.


Elderly tourists on border control hit list

22 Comments
07 December 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Old woman with suitcaseWhat does it take to secure room at Australia's inn? For the refugee, it's virtually impossible, with a fraction of the many millions of displaced people in the world granted entry into this privileged country each year. Those who immigrate here, like my own family did, must engage in an expensive and convoluted process. But the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has now subjected a third group of people to its program of suspicion and inhospitality: elderly tourists.


Bond notes bode ill for Zimbabwe's currency calamity

2 Comments
06 December 2016 | Tariro Ndoro

Zimbabwe currencyLast week, the much dreaded bond notes were released into the economy, in a move hoped to alleviate the cash crisis. Most citizens are negative about the move, with good reason - the last time Zimbabwe had its own currency was 2009, when inflation was so high the currency had to be dropped to salvage the economy. Most Zimbabweans remember that time well: every other month citizens had to drive to Botswana to put food on the table because the country's own shops were empty.


The wild, normal diversity of the modern family

6 Comments
05 December 2016 | Ann Deslandes

Still from Gayby BabyI'm a 36 year old white Australian who grew up middle class in suburban Adelaide. I can count on one hand the number of households in the streets I lived on which were always-already made up of a mum-dad-kids scenario. The research on children's attachment, development and resilience shows kids need meaningful, culturally appropriate relationships with caring and competent adults in order to thrive as human beings. These adults can be pretty much anyone as long as they fit that bill.


Watching the 'mixed bag' Senate cross bench at work

4 Comments
04 December 2016 | John Warhurst

Derryn HinchTo say the Senate cross bench is a mixed bag is an understatement. All that is really lacking is an extreme left senator unrestrained by Labor/Green discipline. Amid all the controversy I've grown comfortable with their place in the Senate and appreciative of their collective presence in an otherwise party dominated chamber. They each have their flaws, but they make a generally positive contribution to public discussion and to ultimate legislative outcomes. We are better off for their presence.


Aboriginal workers still slipping through the gaps

8 Comments
01 December 2016 | Celeste Liddle

Cartoon by Chris JohnstonIndigenous workers of previous generations struggled and undertook strike actions so that their descendants would not be exploited and abused in the same way that they had been. While we may have many more Aboriginal people achieving and attracting higher waged work than we did in the years gone by, the exploitation of the most vulnerable in our community continues. The years may have ticked over, but the government's attitude to the value of Indigenous workers has not.


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