CategoryGovernment

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...

A Budget is a Values Statement

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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 we choose one thing rather than another we reveal the...

Some Things, Like Greed and Self Interest, Never Change.

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The Commission of Audit report released yesterday proves one thing: you can always trust the rich and powerful to defend their own interests at the expense of the disadvantaged and vulnerable. If the report’s recommendations are followed, which thankfully most of them won’t be, the minimum wage would be reduced from $622.20  to $488.87 and a single pensioner getting by on $421 per...

Pursing the Common Good. Where Christians are Getting It Wrong and How They Can Get it Right

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In the last few years I’ve noticed a shift in the language of politically engaged Christians. Increasingly rare is talk of Australia as a “Christian” nation whose heritage must be preserved and increasingly common is talk of “the common good”, with Christians asking how they can contribute to it This is a welcome change. I don’t think it’s possible for a...

Backward Steps on Climate

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Hot on the heels of the appointment of a businessman who doesn’t think climate change is induced by humans to head up a review of the Renewable Energy Targets (Gee, I wonder where that might go?), comes the Abbott Government’s redefining of Australia’s objectives for international climate negotiations. This is what the 2013-4 budget portfolio statement said when the previous...

Australia Day. A Time to Laugh and a Time to Cry

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I find myself conflicted this Australia Day. Do I laugh or cry? On the one hand I am a proud Australian. I love this country. I love the fact that I can go to a footy match, sit beside supporters of my opponents, and feel perfectly safe. I love our self deprecating sense of humour, that calling a mate a “silly bastard” can be a compliment. I love the cultural diversity of our nation...

Five Wishes for the New Government

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So, we have a new Prime Minister and a new government (or at least will have once they are sworn in). Now the rancour of electioneering has passed, here’s what I am hoping.   That Tony Abbott rises to the challenge of high office to be a good, or even great, Prime Minister. For me the measure of this will be the degree to which he leads the country into being more connected, equitable...

Global Citizenship. Putting the National Interest in its Place

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When it comes to sport I am an unabashed nationalist. There is something delicious about beating the English in cricket, the All Blacks at rugby and the US at anything- not that we’ve been doing much of that lately. But there lies the problem with nationalism. While it may be relatively harmless when applied to sport it is not so benign in other ways. Nationalism is part of identity. Who am...

A Bigger Vision for Who We Can Be

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It seems that the major parties are leading us into a time of turning our backs upon our global neighbours. We are witnessing a race to the bottom on asylum seekers, both parties are pulling back on their previous commitments to increasing aid, and there is fading resolve to lead on combating climate change. Given both major parties are led by committed Christians this is tragic. In the Gospels...

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