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Punitive truth behind Dutton's 'sham marriage' furphy

10 November 2016 | Kerry Murphy

Peter Dutton'We're not going to allow people who have sought to come by boat to come to Australia through a backdoor and we are not going to allow sham marriages to facilitate that,' said Peter Dutton. Given all the existing checks and hurdles, why have a ban? It would only affect about 2000 people; the other 35,000 who came by boat before 19 July 2013 or were not sent to Nauru and Manus Island are not affected. The true intention is to further punish the people we dumped on our Pacific neighbours.

Mooted boat ban ignores history and humanity

07 November 2016 | Gillian Bouras

Port Adelaide 1869-1889It would be interesting to know how many of our forbears were illegal immigrants. One of my great-great-grandfathers was. From County Down in Ulster, he was only 16 when he used his thumb print to sign on as a seaman; it was 1847, midway through the Great Famine. Throughout the long journey he was persistently bullied by a petty officer. One morning he snapped, and clobbered the bully with a deckscrubber. Convinced he had killed the man, my ancestor jumped overboard.

Innovating for a jobless society

06 November 2016 | Rick Measham

Ford factory GeelongGrowing up in Geelong, many friends worked at Ford, or Alcoa, Pilkington or any of the other allied suppliers. As each of these stopped manufacturing in Victoria's second city, employers and governments promised retraining. But where are the jobs? Factories are quickly moving to a 'lights out' operation, with no lights, no air conditioning — and no humans. Modelling suggests nearly 5000 Geelong residents will lose their jobs to the decline in manufacturing before the end of 2017, and 200,000 nationwide. Can we find new-economy jobs for every one of them?

Turnbull's boat ban is crazy and cruel

02 November 2016 | Kerry Murphy

Malcolm Turnbull on Sky News'Will this affect my case?' Hassan was worried about the survey that said nearly 50 per cent of Australians wanted to ban Muslims from migrating to Australia. I was working on his protection visa. He had a strong case. 'No,' I replied. Like any large religion, in Islam there are many variations in practice and beliefs, influenced by cultural and historical events. To simply ban them all is a crazy option. You do not ban everyone just because a minority are involved in criminal activity. Or so I thought.

Tweeting our way back to the Middle Ages

02 November 2016 | Brian Matthews

Detail from cover of Johan Huizinga's The Autumn of The Middle AgesCuriously, while privacy continues to be valued and sought in the 21st century perhaps more strenuously than ever before, its milieu is once again the furious turmoil of aggressively public revelation, exhortation and threat that distinguished Johan Huizinga's scarifying portrait of the medieval world, in his book The Autumn of The Middle Ages. In our age, 'all things in life' once again have 'about them something glitteringly and cruelly public'. Or to put it another way, we have social media.

Seven warnings for Queensland as it considers a human rights act

30 October 2016 | Frank Brennan

'First warning: if you're going to be serious about a Human Rights Act, make sure that your government departments are sufficiently resourced and encouraged to produce meaningful statements of compatibility. Second warning, especially in a unicameral legislature: make sure that your parliamentary committee on human rights has sufficient muscle and status to arrest the progress of any bill until it has been thoroughly scrutinised for human rights compliance.' Frank Brennan's remarks at the Fringe Conference of the 2016 Queensland ALP Convention.

Greens could learn a thing or two from larrikin Nationals

30 October 2016 | John Warhurst

Barnaby JoyceThe Nationals are the under-rated story within the Turnbull government. From the moment the party negotiated its binding agreement with Malcolm Turnbull, it has stood strong and determined. After about 30 years the Greens are still finding their way and learning their trade. They remain the outsiders looking in, whereas the Nationals are the ultimate insiders. Perhaps the Greens try too hard to be responsible, and would benefit from a dose of some of the larrikinism which the Nationals offer.

Human rights acts after Brexit

27 October 2016 | Frank Brennan

Diverse AustraliansEven prior to Brexit, the Conservatives were wanting to replace the UK Human Rights Act with weaker legislation. They have been worried about what they perceive to be a loss of sovereignty. But even the British Conservatives remain committed to some form of human rights act. I commend the Queensland parliament for undertaking its present inquiry, and sound a cautious note of optimism about the modest gains which might be made by the enactment of a human rights act in Australia.

Reimagining manhood after ABC's Man Up

27 October 2016 | Adolfo Aranjuez

Chris Johnston cartoonAfter sending me to live in Australia, my father tasked my then brother-in-law (a true-blue 'bloke') with teaching me to 'be a man'. He failed, but here was evidence of hegemonic masculinity's perpetuation. My father and I were born into a masculine culture that, unlike Australia's stoicism, is characterised by braggadocious chest-puffing. Yet underpinning both Australia's and the Philippines' conceptions of masculinity is the masking of vulnerability: emotions hide behind silence and bravado.

How the working class became white

26 October 2016 | Evan Smith

7 Eleven storeWhile the White Australia Policy attempted to prevent non-white workers from living and working in Australia, people from across the globe continued to do both, although often at the margins of white Australian society. The Australian Labor Party and the trade unions were complicit in maintaining this racial divide. In Australia today, a new wave of migrants is working in convenience stores, driving taxis or cleaning buildings. They are part of the Australian working class, but are often not considered such.

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