Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • ECONOMICS

    Of murderers, bastards and inequality: neo-liberalism's failure

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 August 2017
    18 Comments

    Cometh the hour, cometh the third murderer. So now inequality is in the spotlight and is being booed off the stage. It is blamed for the rise of populist politics, and more fundamentally for economic stagnation. The economic neo-liberal orthodoxy, that so implausibly claimed that economic competition unfettered by government regulation would benefit all of the citizens, has produced the gross inequality that hinders economic growth. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The empty moral calculus of Turnbull and Trump

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 August 2017
    17 Comments

    The Turnbull-Trump tapes took one back. For some, it was back to the Watergate Tapes and the innocent years of Richard Nixon. For those of us of a certain age and faith, it was back to the primitive and unenlightened world of Abraham.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The evils of the weapons industry

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 August 2017
    14 Comments

    Defence Minister Christopher Pyne recently called for an expansion of the Australian weapons industry. It would enable Australia to join the United States and Britain as a major exporter of weapons and further Australia’s strategic goals. The move has a logic: if you want weapons it is cheaper to make them than buy them; if you make them it is more profitable to sell them to others than to keep them all for yourself; if you sell them it is best to sell them to your friends.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding the high way

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 July 2017
    11 Comments

    In our society ethical questions such as those to do with marriage, crime and punishment, the beginnings and endings of life, and freedom of speech are often highway issues. Protagonists establish in advance the right way to go, keep their foot down and their eyes on the road without noticing the terrain the highway traverses. Road signs indicating another destinations or alternative routes are ignored and towns by-passed. Certainty is gained; understanding of country is sacrificed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What fuelled the crisis in the West?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 July 2017
    21 Comments

    Paul Kelly in the Australian makes the case that the decline in Christian faith made evident in the recent Census is in large measure responsible for the widespread loss of trust in the political system throughout the West. There are inevitable limitations to such broad brush arguments. Lack of trust in politics and institutions is not new. From the Roman Empire to contemporary China authorities who do not ensure an adequate supply of bread to their citizens can expect to meet distrust, unrest and replacement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bookending Australia's history

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 July 2017
    9 Comments

    Modern Australian history is bookended by the arrival of white settlers in which Indigenous Australians were expelled to the margins, and by the arrival of people seeking protection who were also expelled to the margins. Between these bookends lie the events, the people, the relationships, the enterprises and the experiences that compose the story of Australia. The bookends, though, are a bit shonky: not ideal for supporting proudly the heft of the history that lies between them. They need fixing.

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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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  • 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

    Justice is weakened when the court of public opinion reigns

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 June 2017
    1 Comment

    The presumption of innocence has recently been in the dock, notably in the curious affair of the three federal Ministers and the Victorian Court of Appeal. Other cases have raised the question whether in our society the presumption that those accused of crimes are innocent until found guilty is yielding. Is it now the case that people who have been found guilty in the court of public opinion have to prove their innocence, and that courts will be judged to have failed unless they ratify the guilty verdict?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Remembering, dismembering on World Refugee Day

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 June 2017
    3 Comments

    World Refugee Day is a time for remembering. We remember we live in a world of millions of refugees, and that many of our fellow citizens arrived as or are the children of refugees. We may remember refugees, but in their own lives they are dismembered. The tiles we take for granted in the mosaic of our ordinary lives have been hacked out of refugees' lives. Many people lost parents, siblings and children in the persecution and terrors they endured. With each loss part of themselves also died.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    When cricket, work and Catholic teaching collide

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 June 2017
    5 Comments

    To consider cricket as work would strike many people as odd. They would see it as a hobby, a recreation, a game or a calling. Professional sportspersons receive little attention in Catholic social thought, which is a pity because a Catholic understanding of work provides a helpful perspective. Its crucial insight is that work is a human activity, and that each human being is precious, unique and needs to be respected. Neither people nor work can be seen as means to an economic end, or as expendable.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Pope calls for intellectual conversion over climate

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 June 2017
    10 Comments

    The strident public debate about global warming and the threat it poses has died down. Few knowledgeable people deny its reality. At the same time, powerful interest groups and politicians appeal to the need for economic growth in order to weaken any international commitment. At such a time it is worth returning to Laudato Si, Pope Francis' passionate exhortation to care for the environment. Its most significant insight is that the environment is not something outside ourselves. We are part of it.

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