AUSTRALIA


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Hope, not nihilism, is the antidote to bleak times

3 Comments
14 September 2016 | Fatima Measham

12-year-old boy stares down anti-LGBTQ protest in MexicoIn Mexico, a 12-year old boy walked onto the road to stare down an 11,000-strong anti-LGBTQ protest. In Italy, a small town has been revived by the arrival of refugees and migrants. In the US, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has pulled the issue of police brutality into apolitical spaces, using symbolic gestures to draw out the history of racialised oppression. As Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine puts it, 'If you want to be right, be a pessimist, if you want to do right, be an optimist.'


Fat facts lay waste to sugar's sins

3 Comments
14 September 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Sugary lolliesAccording to the New York Times, historical documents show that in the 1960s the sugar industry paid scientists to downplay the link between heart disease and sugar consumption, and to pin the blame on saturated fat instead. The consequences of this unethical behaviour are scandalous: five decades of nutrition research tainted by the sugar industry's interference. I'd already reached my own conclusion about the dangers of sugar when my then-17-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.


Growing up with Baryulgil's asbestos genocide

9 Comments
13 September 2016 | Dani Larkin

Ffloyd Laurie and wifeOn 8 September the ABC's 7:30 revealed yet another heartbreaking story of just another person who has contracted an asbestos-related disease. Ffloyd Laurie is a Bunjalung man from the Aboriginal community of Baryulgil, NSW - my home town. Like the rest of the Baryulgil community, including my mother, uncles, nan and pop, Ffloyde worked and lived with no idea of the consequences and health risks caused by that asbestos. Those consequences have proven to be fatal already for my pop.


Treaty holds the key to robust environmental law

17 Comments
08 September 2016 | Bronwyn Lay

Tony Abbott and John HowardWhen I read this week that Tony Abbott and John Howard will hear no talk of a Treaty with Aboriginal Australia, my first thought was 'Who listens to these blokes from ancient political history?' Abbott conceded that it is important to recognise Indigenous Australians were here first, 'But once it goes beyond that I think you open up all sorts of other things.' That is true, and those other things to be opened up are incredibly legally exciting and relevant to our times.


Valuing the lives of people with disability

15 Comments
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

3 Comments
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

5 Comments
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

5 Comments
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

4 Comments
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

28 Comments
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.


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