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  • EDUCATION

    The English teacher's drink of choice

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 05 July 2017
    2 Comments

    Paddy was a mediocre teacher, even if that is the unreliable opinion of a colleague who has great sympathy for what must go on in an English class. He had a weakness not uncommon among the literati and which may well have been a reaction to the rigid pieties of his Tory background. In his case, the consumption of alcohol caused him to become tiresomely scrupulous, seeming to lose the capacity for dissimulation and verbal artifice that are necessary qualities for life in the modern world.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Black clown's 'house slave' awakening

    • Megan Graham
    • 04 July 2017

    Malcolm X famously delineated two types of slave: the 'house Negro' and the 'field Negro'. Although a 'house slave' is closer to their oppressor and receives special privileges, they are still a slave. Chocolat in his role as the clown Auguste seems to be just another kind of house slave. Despite his success he is still maligned and at the mercy of masters. While rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, he is routinely denigrated. Attention, he learns, is not the same as respect.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The manor and the workhouse in modern Australia

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 July 2017
    17 Comments

    A regular feature in Australian politics is the attempt to save money by penalising people who are struggling with life. It is usually accompanied by disparagement of the groups who are targeted. The strategy has a long history that provides a context. In 19th century England, a system was established that would encourage people to seek work by deterring them from seeking help. Central to this was the establishment of workhouses where the conditions would be more unpleasant than in any form of work.

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  • PODCAST

    ChatterSquare: Cardinal Luis Tagle on contemporary life and politics

    • Podcast
    • 04 July 2017

    Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is the Archbishop of Manila and president of Caritas International. He is associated with Pope Francis in terms of pastoral sensibility. In this episode of ChatterSquare, he tackles some of the uneasy questions of our time. What does leadership look like in polarised and violent places? How do we hold together diversity within the Catholic Church? How can religious wisdom be brought to bear on public life without crossing the line between church and state?

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  • RELIGION

    Ghosts of ministers past

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 July 2017
    6 Comments

    When I was a small child, Presbyterians ministers, including my great-uncle Jack, seemed to be everywhere. They march through memory: soberly suited, dog-collared, determinedly cheerful and often dull, although Old Jack preached a fiery sermon, and could well have taken to the stage instead of the pulpit. They were eventually replaced in my life by a procession of Greek Orthodox priests. They would extend their hands to be kissed in a gesture my nonconformist soul found quite shocking.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Awaiting the Referendum Council in NAIDOC Week

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 July 2017
    6 Comments

    It is no disrespect to those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders gathered at Uluru to say that now is the time for the report of the Referendum Council to be scrutinised by our national politicians, and that our elected leaders should pay special heed to the observations of those Indigenous members of the federal parliament who have offered considered reflections on the way forward. In particular, our elected representatives should have regard to the views of Patrick Dodson who is now Bill Shorten's Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    You beaut country

    • Tony London
    • 02 July 2017

    His baseline is country, ridges, lakes, breakaways, songlines, and we are taken along the skylines of his imagination which shoulders its way through the streamers of the players race, colours askew, bursting out into the field of play where we are invited into his game, his rules, goal posts he moves forever, we engage with the master gamer.

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  • RELIGION

    NAIDOC Week homily

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 July 2017

    There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of you, the First Australians. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the overwhelming majority of the voting public, regardless of when they or their ancestors first arrived in Australia. Given that you Indigenous Australians have spoken strongly through your representatives at Uluru in support of a First Nations Voice, it is now for the Referendum Council to recommend to government a timetable for constitutional change with maximum prospects of a 'Yes' vote.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    NAIDOC: Languages matter because people matter

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 June 2017
    11 Comments

    The theme of the week is 'Our Languages matter'. It lies at the heart of the Uluru statement. It also poses questions about the way in which we conceive our identity as a nation. In Australia we communicate in many languages. English is the language of business and public life, but many other languages, both Indigenous and introduced, are the primary languages of groups of Australians. Language is much more than a means of communication. It is an emblem of our tribe. It shapes how we interact.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Despite census results we dismiss religion at our peril

    • Christine Burke
    • 29 June 2017
    29 Comments

    The origins of hospitals, schools and social services can be traced back to the efforts of people of faith. Much poetry, art, drama and literature grapples with the deeper meaning of life in dialogue with a larger vision found through the everyday challenges of our lives. This religious urge can re-emerge as nationalism, racism, greed, or narcissism, and these have no inherent counter force to question their authenticity. The truths at the base of great religions reorient us towards love, peace and justice.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Bitcoin revolution is a matter of trust

    • David James
    • 29 June 2017
    2 Comments

    One of the more interesting recent developments in finance has been the creation of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. They are being touted as a revolution in how we think and use money. Alternately, there are many who want to go in the opposite direction, back to the gold standard. Both sides have a common enemy: money whose value is determined by government dictate. Allowing governments to dictate in this way, they argue, is the core of the problem. To a significant extent, they are wrong.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A sensitive view of high school gay romance

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 28 June 2017
    1 Comment

    Some films seem custom made for the high school English curriculum. First Girl I Loved should be essential viewing and a conversation starter for teenagers and their parents, for its sensitive and authentic exploration of the lived experiences of young people coming to terms with their sexuality in a high school context.

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