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17 May 2017 |
I was 16 and playing senior football for my local team the first time I doubted whether it was the sport for me. At training, the men's talk turned to the various ways they liked to 'take' their wives. They spoke as if the women in their lives were of a different species. I looked at my friend. We had girlfriends and had never spoken to each other about them in this way. That was in 1984. The abuse of Marc Murphy's wife in the Carlton vs St Kilda match last Saturday shows not much has changed.
15 May 2017 |
I have never felt as uneasy in Australia as I do now. It extends through many areas of my life, from listening to the low level of our national debate about migration and refugees, to my long daily commute and the many high-profile incidents of racist incidents on public transport. The fact that 'micro parties' with overtly racist agendas are influencing major party messages, such as in Labor's recent 'Employ Australians First' advertisement, is concerning because it points to these parties' success.
14 May 2017 |
Next year marks four decades since promulgation of the seminal Declaration of Alma Ata, which declared health to be a fundamental human right and laid the foundations for what are now widely championed as the social determinants of health. Without action on the social determinants, health policy can be a little like that joke about the cyclopean orthopod who, when confronted with a patient suffering fatal internal bleeding, is interested only in fixing their broken leg. So it is with last week's Budget.
11 May 2017 |
Public celebrations of family life such as the International Day of Families should be uncontroversial. But they sometimes focus on the definition of the family, with the claims of the stable nuclear family of father, mother and children set against the claims of other kinds of family groupings. These discussions should not distract from such larger questions as: why are families of any description important, and what qualities are needed if they are to be effective?
11 May 2017 |
On 15 May, Palestinians and our allies all over the world commemorate the Nakba. In Arabic, Nakba means 'catastrophe', and it refers to the violent displacement of Palestinians that began in 1948. Growing up in Palestine, I know that while the Nakba started in 1948, Palestinians have been living under a continuous Nakba since then: the Nakba didn't end, it's ongoing. For me, the Nakba is when a foreign regime determines my and my family's movements on a land we lived on for generations.
10 May 2017 |
References to Watergate are flying thick and fast - again. Earlier this week, Donald Trump abruptly dismissed FBI director James Comey in the middle of a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. It is difficult to overstate how bad this move is, and how much it has rattled political and bureaucratic firmaments. There are differences, however, between then and now. Trump is not Nixon, for one thing. Perhaps we can be thankful for that, in that infantile impetuosity is not paired with a much more cunning mind.
09 May 2017 |
'Labor-lite' or not, there are many investments contained in the budget which will work towards a more just society, including the securing of funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme by raising the Medicare levy, and the needs-based approach to school funding, dubbed 'Gonski 2.0'. But among these commitments that seek to create a more equitable Australia, this budget again seeks to vilify welfare recipients, among the most vulnerable members of our community.
09 May 2017 |
It would be nice to believe, as the Treasurer wants us to, that better times are around the corner. But while wages stagnate and company profits surge, inequality is at its highest since the 1950s. This is not going to get any better any time soon. By 2019, the highest income earners will have received an effective tax cut of 1.5 per cent compared to all other taxpayers who will be paying an extra 0.5 per cent. For young people especially, Budget 2017 boosts inequality instead of building a better future.
07 May 2017 |
In Australian public life we are becalmed in a sea where the trade winds of political will, imagination, ability to agree, trust and firm direction do not blow. We search for portents in the US skies and hope for wind from the budget. The challenge facing the serious person on the ship is to avoid responding to each rumour and proclamation and focus on what matters. What is needed is to sustain the spirits of the crew and to plan the continuation of the journey when the wind again fills the sails.
06 May 2017 |
Part of the cost of the double dissolution election last July has been the creation of a Senate with the largest, most diverse group of crossbenchers ever. This will make the passage of any new contested Budget measures difficult, particularly given the Prime Minister’s vulnerability on his right flank, and the Labor Party's propensity to mimic the Opposition tactics adopted previously by Tony Abbott. The government needs to create a clear narrative as to how it will achieve equitable and sustainable growth through this Budget.
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