CategoryAustralia

It’s time. Our intransigence on Newstart shames us

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How would you fare if you had to live on Newstart (the dole)? I ran the Centrelink income calculator and discovered that if Sandy & I were unable to find work we would be eligible for $630.00 per week. That’s made up of the Newstart allowance, Family Tax Benefit (we have two children living at home with us), and an energy supplement. Could our family live on that? At first glance I...

Truth, Lies & the Stories We Tell

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Our lives are defined by the stories we tell. Stories give meaning to our experiences, our relationships and our places. Many of these stories are personal. They’re my story, not yours. But we all have stories that define “us”, whether the “us” be a family, a community group, a nation, humanity, or all creation. Australia has at least five great stories (each with...

Reconciliation Can Change Us All for the Better

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I am 52 years old. In the half century of my life there have been dramatic shifts in the relationship between non-indigenous and indigenous Australians: the 1967 referendum to include indigenous peoples in the census and grant to government power to make decisions that positively discriminated towards indigenous people; recognition of land rights; Keating’s Redfern speech; the Mabo...

Don’t let today’s most important news story be overshadowed by the cricket

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Today’s most important news is going to be overshadowed by the exposure of cheating in the Australian cricket team.  I love my cricket and I am extraordinarily disappointed that our team has been caught cheating. Like people all over the country I will follow the story and share my outrage with friends and colleagues, But I don’t want to miss the most important news story for the day:...

Why don’t we simply change the date?

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Australia Day is, for the vast majority of Australians, a day to celebrate the nation we have become. Yet the date on which it is celebrated, January 26, is odd, and to some, odious. Most of our national holiday/celebration days are celebrated on a day that has historical significance that is relevant to the celebration. Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Christmas are related to significant events...

The Decline of Religion in Australia.

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The census data is out and one of the headlines has been the rise of people indicating they have “no religion” and the corresponding decline in those who indicate an affiliation with Christianity. The census data, of course, only tells us about people’s nominal affiliation with a religious tradition. It doesn’t tell us much about people’s practise of religion. The...

my first citizenship ceremony

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Last Friday I attended the citizenship ceremony for a friend from my church. It was a profoundly moving experience. Just on 100 people were becoming citizens and what a marvellously diverse bunch they were. They came from 30 countries and every inhabited continent. They aged from the young to the old. They included a buddhist monk, a Catholic nun, at least one Muslim, and two Sikhs. The majority...

From all the lands on earth we come…

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I was on a train recently and found myself surrounded by groups of people speaking languages I didn’t understand. There was a time when I would have felt uncomfortable about this, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself grinning and feeling joyful. I couldn’t understand the words people were saying but I could grasp the tone. For some there was excitement, for others laughter...

Five Facts About Australia’s Immigration Program That Might Surprise You

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The Productivity Commission recently completed a report on Australia’s migration program. It contained some surprising results. 1. Australia receives around 1,000,000 migrants each year Every year around a million visas are granted to  allow migration into Australia. This consists of close to 800,000 temporary visas granted to students, working holidaymakers and temporary workers, and...

Rust Red Earth & An Inviting Silence.

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The earth out here is rust red. I am in the Pilbara. Vast flat plains are punctuated by hills comprised of angular slices of rock that share the hues of the soil. They look man made but nature is their only artisan. Termite mounds, some as tall as a human adult, dot the plains. Spinifex clumps rise from the ground, brought to life by recent and rare rainfall. As surely as the hills rise from the...

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