Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's low road to the Security State

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 April 2015
    33 Comments

    Only extremists regard Muslims as enemies. But if a populist and incompetent government were to scapegoat them and declare them to be enemies, as was done to asylum seekers, it would be a short step to build on the laws already introduced with further discriminatory legislation. That in turn would lessen the protections under the law that other groups would enjoy. Of course, this could never happen in Australia. But that is what they once said in Germany, Chile and South Africa.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A wedding and an execution

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 April 2015
    19 Comments

    The last days of Andrew Chan spoke more powerfully than words can about the meaning of execution. On Monday he married Febyanti Herewila. On Tuesday he was taken out and shot. In the wedding service he may have heard the words, 'What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.' A few hours later men had sundered man from both wife and life.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turning the Anzac Myth to society's good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 April 2015
    15 Comments

    Anzac Day is special but limited in its depiction of Australian virtues. A deeper manifestation lies in the housing cooperative members of former Pay Corps members who used their military schooling in planning and organisation to launch a housing cooperative north of Melbourne. It was open to everyone, regardless of religion or race, and reflected the veterans' determination to make Australia a better place free from the class divide and unfairness of the Depression.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The burning of a tainted church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 April 2015
    75 Comments

    The burning of a church offers possibilities. It would be a bold and noble gesture, exactly measured to the destruction done to the Catholic Church by priests' sexual abuse, to leave the ruined walls of St James as a shrine to the victims, a record of the evil that was done, and a pledge that never again will children be unprotected in the Catholic Church.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Can speech be free in the Catholic Church?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 April 2015
    32 Comments

    Recently priests in England drafted a letter about this year's Synod on the Family. They invited other priests to sign it and made it public. In turn, Cardinal Vincent Nichols rebuked them even though Pope Francis has insisted participants in the Synod are free to express opinions. Free speech has long been tendentious topic for discussion in the Church. 60 year ago German theologian Karl Rahner was daring in the approach he took in his pamphlet Free Speech in the Church.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Easter's April Fools

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 April 2015
    8 Comments

    Jokes are also part of the story of Jesus’ killing. They are not harmless, but are bitter mockery. After Jesus is sentenced he is mocked by the bored soldiers guarding him. As he hangs writhing on the cross, the bystanders and the local authorities also mock him because he claimed to be the Son of God. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mannix, master conjurer in the cause of the underdog

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 March 2015
    15 Comments

    Daniel Mannix, who was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63, knew how to control an audience and shift the perception of events. He argued fiercely against conscription in the 1917 Referendum, and railed against the exploitation of struggling workers. On finishing his new biography, I imagined a meeting between him and Pope Francis, both masters of public symbols with a disdain for church clericalism and sanctimonious speech.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Confessions of a grumpy old man

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 March 2015
    18 Comments

    It is becoming common to describe people who offer political, economic and cultural comment in the mainstream media as Grumpy Old Men. It is a nice insult that warms the hearts of those of us whose commentary is confined to the fringe media. 'But, wait a moment', my inner self interrupts, 'Are you really so very different?' To blot out the sound of silent scepticism, I rush on, 'There is Grumpy and grumpy. There is surely a difference ...'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Medicare co-payment failed to understand illness as a relationship

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 March 2015
    8 Comments

    The Medicare co-payment was not accepted because it was seen as an altogether naked attempt by the Government to control health expenditure without concern for people and their relationships. Chronically ill people move from ordinary human society into the impersonal world of medical science and health bureaucracy, and their condition involves testing changes in relationships, both at a personal level and with institutions.  

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Intergenerational fairness goes beyond economic competition

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 March 2015
    14 Comments

    'Intergenerational' goings on are stirring public consciousness. On Thursday, Federal Treasury publishes its five-yearly Intergenerational Report. It provides a framework within which legitimate questions about winners and losers can be addressed, by including action on climate and narrowing wealth and international cooperation, rather than viewing society as merely the playground of competing individuals.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What drives young Australian Muslims to join IS

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 February 2015
    41 Comments

    I fear for those Muslim young people driven into the arms of ideological extremists so unnecessarily. I'm prompted to recall my school years, when Soviet troops were invading Hungary to put down the brief revolution. I wondered uneasily whether it was not perhaps my duty to go to Hungary to fight for freedom there. For an idealistic young man whose Catholicism was tightly intertwined with anti-communism, the thought was natural.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Allow Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumuran to flourish

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 February 2015
    21 Comments

    While people are alive there is the possibility, admittedly sometimes remote, that they will respond by reflecting on their lives, becoming deeper and more generous as human beings, making connections with others and contributing even in small ways to the happiness of others and to society. Capital punishment brutally excludes possibility and leaves all of us the smaller for it.

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