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24 May 2017 |
In 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.
24 May 2017 |
None 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'.
24 May 2017 |
Australian 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.
21 May 2017 |
An 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.
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.
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