CategoryAustralia

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...

How shall we honour those who fought for freedom? A reflection on Anzac Day 2016

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Each Anzac Day I find myself struggling between a desire to honour the sacrifice made by those who went to war and the desire to dissociate myself from the idealisation of our soldiers as beyond critique and above reproach. I want to affirm the day is one on which we remember the horrors of war, yet am perplexed by the way such a memory is cast by surrounding ourselves with all things military...

Australia.A Work in Progress. Australia Day 2016.

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It’s Australia Day 2016 and I am sitting in the Fly cafe at Melbourne airport waiting for my flight home to Newcastle. It has been a quick, overnight trip, but in the last 18 hours I have experienced everything that makes Australia a great country. Mum, my son and my brother are in Melbourne to watch the Australian Open tennis. We shared breakfast this morning. We laughed at remembrances of silly...

The pain of the first peoples. When will enough be enough?

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Pain inhabits her words, her tone, her posture. Raw. Visceral. Some pain is intense but short-lived, but not hers. This is a deep sorrow decades in the making. The pain of one who has been terribly wronged, whose loss has been incalculable, but whose pleas for redress fall upon deaf ears. There is also anger, pain’s erstwhile companion. An anger that cuts like a knife but in her case is righteous...

Are we the world’s stingiest nation?

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Never before has an Australian government made cuts to the international aid program like those made by the Abbott government. The argument goes that we can’t afford to borrow money in order to give it away. We first need to deal with our debt crisis, and then we can afford to give more. A friend of mine, Gershon Nimbalker, put together the chart below. It shows the aid budgets of the...

Joe Hockey ends the idea that Australia can help make poverty history

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Yesterday Treasurer Joe hockey announced that next year’s international aid budget would be slashed by $1 billion. This decision marked much more than the cutting of the aid budget. It marked the end of the idea that Australia could play a significant role in bringing extreme poverty to a halt. In the last decade a revolution occurred in the Australian aid program. Inspired by the...

Enough of the hate. It’s time for love.

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I’ve had enough of people who say they are followers of Jesus yet act with hate. This week brought the distressing news that the Westboro Baptist church plans to picket Robin Williams funeral. Believe it or not, the church’s website address is godhatesfags.com. The homepage includes a list of “sister” sites: GodhatesIslam.com; Godhatesthemedia.com; and Godhatestheworld.com...

Is Australia Being Islamicised?

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One of the objections I commonly hear to both taking in asylum seekers and our wider immigration program is a fear that we are being  Islamicised. This reflects a worry that most Muslims, if they had the chance, would vote to see sharia law imposed on the Australian population; that Muslims bring with them a violent culture; and/or that Muslim people simply won’t integrate into Australian...

Julie Bishop’s tortuous logic on foreign aid

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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 the Coalition coming to power there...

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

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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 the institution is inherently un-Australian. It is elitist – only...