AUSTRALIA


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The joyful duty of giving blood

3 Comments
31 May 2017 | Neve Mahoney

Giving bloodI'm pretty close to an ideal donor. I have a willing arm and good blood pressure. I'm glad I could help and now know my own blood type, but this is a system that works best when everyone who can pitches in. Giving blood is simple to do, feels good and is desperately needed. Though the blood service estimates that nine million Australians are eligible to give blood, only 500,000 are currently doing so. There must be other ideal donors out there waiting.


Uluru: take time to get this right

18 Comments
30 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

Frank Brennan with Lowitja O'DonoghueThe consultations conducted in Indigenous communities under the auspices and with the financial support of the Referendum Council have yielded a constant message that Indigenous Australians want substantive constitutional change and not just symbolic or minimalist change. The question is: How much should we attempt to put in the Constitution now, and how much should we place outside the Constitution, or delay for constitutional inclusion until another day?


On Aboriginal land: seeking a place at the table

3 Comments
30 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

Indigenous leaders this last week have called for the creation of two new legal entities. They want a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission set up by legislation. The Makarrata Commission would supervise agreement making between governments and First Nations and engage in truth telling about history. The envisaged destination is a national Makarrata (or treaty). So the immediate constitutional issue is the creation of the First Nations Voice. There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of Indigenous Australia. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the voting public.


Uluru Statement has lit a fuse that cannot go out

10 Comments
29 May 2017 | Kate Galloway

2010, we need practical, not symbolic reconciliation. 2017, can we think of something more symbolic than the Ulurua Statement? Cartoon by Fiona KatauskasPolitical response has been ambivalent at best, and ambivalence sounds a death knell for mainstream engagement by a tentative public. Turnbull pointed out that any claim must be acceptable to the general public to succeed. In the next breath he discussed the success of the 1967 Referendum. This was disingenuous given the political reality of 67, where there was no case presented for a no vote. After the Uluru Statement, it is now not possible to ignore substantive constitutional reform, or treaty.


Ramadan: the fast and the flatulent

12 Comments
28 May 2017 | Irfan Yusuf

Ramadan prayerYou need not believe everything you read in the Herald Sun or an ISIS press release. Islam isn't just about armed jihad and violence against infant genitalia. Islam does have a spiritual side, and Ramadan is inherently spiritual, full of prayer and fasting and hardly any horizontal bedtime action. The theory behind all this deprivation is that if you're hungry and thirsty and sex-deprived between sunrise and sunset for an entire month, you'll gain a spiritual high that should last you the rest of the year.


Building social justice through shareholder advocacy

4 Comments
25 May 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Concerned citizens build a 'voting bloc' out of the shares of wealthy companies. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonWealth inequality in Australia is flourishing. The top one per cent of household wealth in Australia is moving toward being 20 per cent of total wealth, and the country is a preferred destination for millionaires. With a government that prefers to impoverish and vilify the disadvantaged and spend big on coal mines, this does not look likely to shift. But there are always other paths to social justice, and in Australia one may be through the millionaires - or at least the companies on which their fortunes are built.


Preserving and pillaging privacy

7 Comments
24 May 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Padlock computer keyIn each of us is a personal centre able to reflect, to wonder, to explore the world and to evaluate it, to long and to love, to make decisions, and to engage freely with other human beings. Privacy is the gate that allows us to leave and others to enter the garden of our deepest selves. If it is torn off its hinges we shall live on a shallow level, preoccupied with defending ourselves. That is why the invasion of our privacy by governments and corporations in order to control our lives is unjustifiable.


Philippines coming full, sordid circle

3 Comments
24 May 2017 | Fatima Measham

DuterteNone of what continues to unravel in the Philippines is a shock. In August last year, barely more than a month from inauguration, Duterte mentioned the prospect of martial law in relation to his drug war. Duterte is the sixth president since the 1986 People Power revolution that overthrew Marcos. He is a close associate of the dictator's children. Martial law was long in play before the incidents in Marawi this week, and is in character for an ex-mayor with alleged links to 'death squads'.


Don't turn away from dire child abuse stats

7 Comments
24 May 2017 | Barry Gittins

Child on wet footpathAustralian kids are being bashed, raped, starved, scorned and otherwise treated with no dignity or kindness. The study states it is not simply a case of one-off abuse, noting that 'research has demonstrated that maltreatment sub-types seldom occur in isolation (e.g. sexual abuse is often accompanied by psychological maltreatment or physical abuse)'. That is difficult reading. It makes me sick to write it. But the paper should, in a just society, serve as a catalyst for a national conversation.


Still fighting for our rights 50 years after the referendum

5 Comments
21 May 2017 | Dani Larkin

Protestors march for Aboriginal citizenship rightsAn interesting aspect was the shift in the mindset and understanding among non-indigenous Australians regarding Aboriginal rights. To note the way in which one dominating western culture moved toward recognising the rights of another culture that was oppressed by it is quite remarkable. We should consider those aspects of the mentality shift (from both cultures and their understanding of what the 1967 referendum meant) if we are ever to revisit that type of federal movement again.


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