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Valuing the lives of people with disability

07 September 2016 | Joan Hume

WheelchairOn 26 July this year of 19 severely disabled residents were massacred as they slept in their beds at a residential care facility in Sagamihara, Japan. A further 26 were wounded. The perpetrator, Satoshi Uematsu, a former employee sacked for his disturbing views about the residents, later boasted of his 'achievements': 'It is better that disabled people disappear.' Isn't there an ever present probability that without an inclusive and accepting community, without believing in our possibilities rather than seeing only our limitations, we will spawn the likes of another Satoshi Uematsu here?

Chinese Australians are no political wallflowers

06 September 2016 | Tseen Khoo

Say no to Pauline posterThe Chinese Australian Forum witnessed the traction that One Nation had regained, and the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson as senator. This spurred them to mobilise against the rising prevalence of racist hate-speech against Muslim communities. Informed by previous experiences of One Nation coming to prominence in the 1990s, the CFA launched a #saynotoPauline campaign. It is one example of inter-community collaboration that is crucial in building momentum for broader anti-racist activity.

Anger in the face of despair in Kalgoorlie

05 September 2016 | Kate Galloway

Elijah DoughtyThis is the scandalous state of Indigenous affairs in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities literally face a life and death struggle against the state itself. These are not isolated incidents. They represent the intrinsic failure of our society to heed the concerns of communities themselves, and to engage with fellow citizens in a dignified and respectful way. The failure is so grave that state treatment meted out to Indigenous Australians is actively harmful on a large scale.

Thoughts of an ambivalent feminist

04 September 2016 | Fatima Measham

have the confidence of a mediocre white manUnless feminism abandons its individualistic, secular, western framing of freedom, it cannot presume to liberate all women. Some of its recent concerns give away limitations: whether this politician identifies as feminist, whether child-raising is self-sabotage, whether women abandon autonomy when they take their husband's name. I wonder sometimes whether it is ever possible to talk about sexual exploitation of women in Asia without getting entangled in sex positivity and legal sex work.

AFL women's league may threaten not boost diversity

04 September 2016 | Erin Riley

Women's football promoThe lower wage for players in the AFL women's league has serious equity implications, beyond the clear discrepancy between men's and women's wages. In order to train three times a week, many players will be required to relocate closer to their clubs. This puts their day jobs in jeopardy, meaning only those who can afford to change jobs or take time off can afford to play. This has the potential to seriously skew the playing group towards those who are from higher socio-economic status.

Price of a plebiscite is too high for LGBTI young people

30 August 2016 | Neve Mahoney

xxxxxIf you're a cisgender straight person, the Irish vote 'no' poster, like 'Children need a mother and father', may not seem like a big deal. You may even agree with it. However, if you're a LGBTI young person who might be going through a process of denial and self-loathing about your sexual orientation or gender identity, it's just another reminder in your daily life that there are people who think you are wrong for being who you are. It's a sign that says you're not welcome or wanted here.

A common good argument for legalising same sex marriage

30 August 2016 | Alan Hogan

Wedding bandsWhen a traditional marriage breaks down, there is a substantial body of law that has been developed to deal with the consequences. A substantial number of people in the community have already entered into homosexual relationships, monogamous and intended to be permanent. Some will break down, and disputes will arise about matters such as property, maintenance, and access to children. Common law principles are inadequate for settling such disputes fairly and economically.

Plebiscite debate is pure politics

30 August 2016 | John Warhurst

Australia with rainbow filter and question markIf the plebiscite bill is defeated in parliament Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon will bear responsibility for not taking the opportunity offered even if it is in their view a second-best option. The government is already labelling them as same sex marriage wreckers. Yet if before too long a parliamentary alternative, such as a free vote, is found to advance the cause of same sex marriage then the rejection of the plebiscite option will come to be applauded as a master stroke.

The case for pill testing at music festivals

28 August 2016 | Susie Garrard

Music festival crowdAs tickets go on sale for this year's round of music festivals - Falls, Defqon, Bluefest, Lost Paradise, to name a few - organisers still have no means to counteract unsafe drug use. Recent years have seen an increase in drug related injuries and fatalities at festivals. The debate as to how to counteract this worrying trend is ongoing, and tricky to navigate due its subjective nature. Yet when zero tolerance policies clearly haven't worked, it's time to turn to harm minimisation measures.

Dickensian England lives on in Australia

25 August 2016 | Kate Galloway

Mark Lester in Oliver Twist filmOliver Twist is still used to aid understanding of the trauma arising from poverty, and the suffering of children at the hands of individuals and within institutional settings. In broader Australian society we assume Dickensian attitudes to children have evolved. Aligned with the sentiments behind child protection, society's image of children and childhood is idyllic. Yet beneath this veneer lies a substratum of deeply ambivalent, even malevolent, attitudes towards children with a distinctly Dickensian flavour.

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