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Negotiating climate deniers and plovers

26 February 2015 | Brian Matthews

PloverCall me paranoid if you like, but as I walked away, affecting a nonchalant strolling gait, I knew, I just knew, that she was a climate change denier and was daring me to argue the point. Had I hesitated one more moment, I would have been regaled with statistics about the mild coastal summer and other utterly benign climatological phenomena.

The case for defending children and their advocates

24 February 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Child in detention drawingChildren have always suffered and been exploited. Only recently have been regarded as being children at all, rather than mini-people. Reformers like Dickens raised consciousness beginning in the 19th century. Bombs are raining on children in Syria and elsewhere. Not so Australia, but many are being damaged nonetheless. The Australian Human Rights Commission is having to defend its report on Immigration Detention from critics that include the Prime Minister.

I am not ephemeral

23 February 2015 | Marjon Mossammaparast

Banyan tree, Siem Reap, CambodiaHow many times rooted are we to earth, though we would reach away from it, lifting our arms like trees? My stem, yielding to the fashioner’s knowing hand? I am not after all ephemeral. No petals of a flower.

Ciggie butt brains indict Aussie middle class elitism

19 February 2015 | Ellena Savage

Damo and Darren in Train StationWhen Damo and Darren's 'Train Station' — Michael Cusack's animation of an obscene 'part derro, part yobbo, part bogan' duo fighting over a lighter — was published on YouTube, it clocked 2 million views in its first month, and made people very happy. I showed it to a friend who had grown up in England's north under Margaret Thatcher. He was not amused. 'Why are Australians laughing at poor people?' he asked.

My mother often used to say

16 February 2015 | Geoff Page

Word ‘vote’ on cracked pavementAlthough a country atheist, my mother often used to say, she rather hoped there'd be a heaven, where one day I would have to pray, forgiveness for my voting record, my sell-out to the 'other side', by telling my large-looming grandpa, what made me cross the 'great divide'.

Lord A of Yarralumla

09 February 2015 | P.S. Cottier

Burnt sausagesSubtle as a ventriloquist, he clacks and grins ... But the beer is flat and the snags, the snags are burning to memory. Someone should give him a lap. Someone please give him a gong.

Avoiding the other 'F' word

03 February 2015 | Michael McVeigh

Asian Cup 2015 logoTo prevent arguments, I have given up using the word 'football' for any code. I now almost exclusively use the terms soccer, Aussie rules, rugby (union) or league. What matters is not the shape of the ball, but whether a sport can provide great stories and spectacles on the field. 


Sitting in a room with my mother and father

02 February 2015 | Diane Fahey

Cliff path, north-west TasmaniaThe wind a cool shadow felt at my back: when the sun’s blaze slams into my chest, I am held between them as if both would claim me, pass through me. So grief, with its heart-heat, its pressuring shadows, lays claim, passes into and through us.

Pop up shop of poetic pollie horrors

29 January 2015 | Brian Matthews

Joe Hockey smokes cigarWe all have these abruptly resurfacing images and references that pop up unannounced. For example, Treasurer Joe Hockey’s musings on the poor, who don’t drive very far – ‘O scathful harme, condition of povertie’ (Chaucer). And the rich, who are ‘lifters’. I was invaded mentally by Yeats’s ‘Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns.’ Without pain and with cigars and smirks of self-congratulation. 

Luther's flawed hardware decisions

27 January 2015 | Brian Doyle

Luther nailing 95 Theses to Wittenberg church doorMartin Luther was absolutely correct and right philosophically when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to a chapel door in Wittenberg. The Catholic Church was rife with greed and corruption and scandal and lies and theft and devious financial plots, as it still is, and probably always has been. But I maintain that Luther was utterly wrong and incorrect in his choice of tools.

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