Are Crime Rates Higher Among Migrants, Including Refugees?

Are Crime Rates Higher Among Migrants, Including Refugees?

Whenever I find myself in a conversation about refugees it’s not long until somebody brings up the question of refugees and crime. They worry that migrants, including refugees, are more prone to crime than established Australian communities, and can usually cite some anecdotal evidence to support their fear. So what do the crime statistics say?Continue Reading

Julie Bishop’s tortuous logic on foreign aid

Julie Bishop’s tortuous logic on foreign aid

There it was again last night. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Channel 10′s The Project program offering up the Coalition’s tortuous logic on foreign aid: “We can’t borrow money from overseas, just to send back overseas again”. The 2014 – 2015 aid budget stands at $5,031.9 million, equal to 0.32% of our national income. Prior to theContinue Reading

In Search of a Slogan. A Refugee Week Reflection

In Search of a Slogan. A Refugee Week Reflection

I think we need a slogan. John Howard had one when he said “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances under which they come”. Tony Abbot’s was even simpler: “stop the boats”. It’s clever, even if despicable, politics. Slogans take complex issues and reduce them to a single bite-size chunk whichContinue Reading

Why I am a Republican. A Queen’s Birthday holiday reflection

Why I am a Republican. A Queen’s Birthday holiday reflection

Today is the Queen’s Birthday holiday. Yet I suspect that not many of my fellow Australians will give much thought to the Queen nor her birthday. For most today is just another public holiday. Nonetheless, this public holiday always arouses my republican inclinations. I find it odd that Australians have a foreign monarch, for theContinue Reading

The Shocking Stories We Tell

The Shocking Stories We Tell

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald led with a gut wrenching story about the remains of 800 children found in a sewerage pit in Ireland. These were children who died while institutionalised at ‘the Home’, a place to which unmarried women who fell pregnant were sent in the 1920s-1950s. A journalist whose research broke the story commented:Continue Reading

A new chapter in my life

A new chapter in my life

Last week marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. After 8.5 years on staff at Baptist World Aid I have finished as an employee and taken on two new projects. The first sees me returning to BWAA in a consultancy role three days a week. I’ll work with the organisation on its theologicalContinue Reading

Thank goodness for all that debt!

There’s a lot of angst in our community about the levels of debt we acquired during the global financial crisis. Yes Australia invested a lot of money stimulating the economy. What if we hadn’t? Listen to what happened elsewhere. Joe Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winning economist writes in the book The Price of Inequality The 2007-08 financial crisisContinue Reading

On the occasion of Sandy’s birthday

On the occasion of Sandy’s birthday

Today is my wife’s birthday, and it causes me to reflect on the extraordinary people we get to share life with. Sandy and I have been together since we were eighteen years old. She is without doubt the great love of my life, and I am humbled by the fact that she chooses to spendContinue Reading

A Budget is a Values Statement

A Budget is a Values Statement

As the nation prepares itself for what is predicted to be a particularly tough budget, I find it worthwhile remembering something I learnt at theological college, that a budget is a values statement. Whether a church budget or a national budget, we can never reduce budgets to simply being financial statements. Budgets require choices, and when weContinue Reading

A Jesus I Can Follow #4. Teacher of Subversive Wisdom

What does it take to live successfully? What does a life well lived look like? These questions have occupied human beings throughout history. Some centuries before Christ there was an international movement dedicated to these questions. We meet some members of this movement in Old Testament books such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. Commonly describedContinue Reading