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Is there an Asian Australian culture?

10 July 2017 | Tseen Khoo

Asian AustraliansThe short answer is 'no'. There is no single Asian Australian culture, just as there is no single 'Australian culture'. As well as an unfortunate tendency to flatten differences, trying to talk about particular groups can serve a broader political and cultural project. I run a research network focused on Asian Australian Studies. The topics we cover strive to give depth and detail to otherwise stereotyped, shallow representations of Asians and Asian Australians that surround us.

Winter Raffle 2017 Winners

05 July 2017 | Staff

The Society of Jesus in Victoria, Jesuit Communications Winter Raffle 2017. Drawn on Thursday 6 July 2017 (Permit No 10156/17 issued 20 February, 2017). Congratulations to the winners: 1st prize: R Durick, NSW; 2nd prize: C Whybrow, NSW; 3rd prize: C Smyth, VIC; 4th prize: C Johnson, NSW. Thank you to everyone who supported our Winter raffle. If you missed the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets but would like to support us financially, please consider making a donation.

Data, distrust, and the disastrous My Health Record

05 July 2017 | Amy Coopes

Doctor and patientPlagued by sluggish uptake, clinician reticence and a substantial privacy backlash, the $1.2 billion My Health Record has proven, thus far, something of a lemon. The putative benefits of an electronic health record have been expounded at length by the government. But for success there must be buy-in, and for buy-in, there must be trust, according to the Productivity Commission. Both are lacking, and it is important to consider why.

Draconian citizenship mindset means no one's safe

05 July 2017 | Fatima Measham

Peter DuttonThe Guardian has revealed that two men holding dual Australian citizenship were sent to Christmas Island under section 501 of the Migration Act. The law enables the minister to detain or deport non-citizens who fail the 'character test'. The detention of these citizens was without question unlawful. The error was identified and they were released. It looks like a happy ending, but you'd have to squint hard.

Libraries adapt to the age of free information

05 July 2017 | Neve Mahoney

Public libraryI often visit my local library. I tend to go in the after-school hours, so there are children everywhere. I can see mothers guiding young, chubby hands across picture book pages. I think of Mem Fox's advice about how children should hear a thousand stories before learning to read. With the internet and ebooks, the free information that made a library unique is no longer exclusive. Classic literature can be found with a Google search. So what do brick and mortar libraries offer that Amazon can't?

The manor and the workhouse in modern Australia

04 July 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Etching of the poor in Dickensian EnglandA 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.

Awaiting the Referendum Council in NAIDOC Week

03 July 2017 | Frank Brennan

NAIDOC Week 2017 posterIt is no disrespect to those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders gathered at Uluru to say that now is the time for the report of the Referendum Council to be scrutinised by our national politicians, and that our elected leaders should pay special heed to the observations of those Indigenous members of the federal parliament who have offered considered reflections on the way forward. In particular, our elected representatives should have regard to the views of Patrick Dodson who is now Bill Shorten's Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Despite census results we dismiss religion at our peril

29 June 2017 | Christine Burke

Crowd aerial viewThe origins of hospitals, schools and social services can be traced back to the efforts of people of faith. Much poetry, art, drama and literature grapples with the deeper meaning of life in dialogue with a larger vision found through the everyday challenges of our lives. This religious urge can re-emerge as nationalism, racism, greed, or narcissism, and these have no inherent counter force to question their authenticity. The truths at the base of great religions reorient us towards love, peace and justice.

NAIDOC: Languages matter because people matter

29 June 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

NAIDOC Week logoThe 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.

RIP David Passi, last surviving Mabo plaintiff

25 June 2017 | Frank Brennan

David Passi on Thursday IslandAnglican priest, traditional landowner and land rights campaigner David Passi has died. He was the last surviving plaintiff in the historic Mabo decision. A year after the Mabo decision I travelled to the Torres Strait and met James Rice and Passi, the two successful litigants in the case. Returning by boat to the mainland from the island of Mer in the Murray Islands, the waters of the Torres Strait were exceedingly calm.

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