JOSEPH MARTOS. Can laypeople lead a parish? Look to Louisville for a thriving example.

In his recent book Worship as Community Drama, sociologist Pierre Hegy described an unusual Catholic parish whose identity he hid under the name Church of the Resurrection. When the book was published earlier this year and we read the chapter titled “A Lay-Run Parish: Consensus Without a Central Authority,” we could tell that it was about us.

I asked Hegy about possibly revealing the facts behind the chapter. He replied that sociological protocols had to be followed in the book, but these would not apply to an article in a newspaper. OK, here goes.

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JACK WATERFORD. When loyalty and duty are in conflict

How the new AFP chief juggled his role during an investigation that compromised his own superior

Reece Kershaw, the new Australian Federal Police Commissioner deserved to get the appointment via an open and independent appeal process. He might well have won it, and, assuming that he did, would be walking into the job in a few months confident that he was not facing the jealousies, innuendo and sabotage from colleagues who believe their merits were not considered, or that the selection was contaminated by “politics.” Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. How good is Scott Morrison?

By any standard, Scott Morrison’s Government has a very threadbare policy agenda. Furthermore, the Government seems resistant to new ideas, whether they are from its backbench or the public service. According to Scott Morrison the role of the public service is limited to implementing government policy, which may help explain the thinness of his Government’s policy agenda. Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Labor accepts ritual humiliation.

One, two, three, four
Keeping faith’s a dreadful bore.
Five, six, seven, eight
Tap the mat, capitulate.

This, it appears, is Labor’s new tribal chant. And needless to say, it is less
of a battle cry than a muted whimper. Continue reading

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Speaking out loud for the silenced

Scott M. has a new group of faves. It used to be that “hard working Australians” were top of his pops, along with those who benefit from the hard work of others through tax, negative gearing,“canny investments” and superannuation perks. They are still cherished and protected but even closer to Mr Morrison’s heart are “Quiet Australians”: people who feel no need to speak up, protest, argue, or even point to facts when there are issues harming not the quiet Australians but the silenced ones. Continue reading

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PETER DAVIDSON. Multiplication’s the name of the game: infrastructure and Newstart trump tax cuts as an economic stimulus

When growth is slowing and interest rates are falling, the evidence indicates that a timely investment in social housing and an increase in Newstart are more likely to boost growth in jobs and incomes and provide better value than tax cuts, especially those going to high income-earners. Every dollar invested in social housing and Newstart not only improves lives, it also increases GDP by $1.20-1.30.

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MASSIMO FAGGIOLI. The rise of ‘devout schismatics’ in the Catholic Church. {La Croix International”, 16.7.2019)

“If Matteo Salvini becomes prime minister, Italy will have a government led by a Catholic who is devout but schismatic.” So said Sergio Romano, a former Italian ambassador to NATO and the ex-Soviet Union, in a recent opinion piece in the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera. Continue reading

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DAVID POPE on ‘The Freudenberg’. (Canberra Times 27.7.2019)

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ALLAN PATIENCE. How to advance Australia.

In his important new book How to Defend Australia, Hugh White has placed before us a very clear picture of the contemporary security challenges now confronting Australia. First and foremost is China’s re-emergence as a (or maybe the) major power in the Western Pacific. This challenge for Australia is heightened by the Trump administration’s confusing responses to Beijing’s assertiveness across the region. Moreover, the United States may not be all that interested in guaranteeing Australia’s security into the next three or four decades. And even if it were so inclined, will its military capabilities be able to easily counter those of a risen China? Continue reading

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JOHN MCCARTHY. Enter, Boris.

Engaging in meetings and over dinner in London recently with British figures observing or involved in the Brexit process brought home that, while Australians follow the Brexit drama, we know little of its detail. We enjoy the sport, but try explaining the Irish Backstop in your local pub. Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM.  Cultural warriors caught in conflict of loathing.

Once again, the cultural warriors of the right are caught in a conflict of loathing. They would love to see Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne embarrassed and humiliated – they were supporters of the arch fiend Turnbull, renegades from the Miraculous Morrison and his band of angels. They deserve to be cast into the nethermost pit, along with the other unbelievers and blasphemers. Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER -Failed regulation in health.

When I was much younger I often dipped into Ripley’s “Believe it or not” for a laugh, amazement and even enlightenment. I had a look at their website recently as I prepared to tell you a story that would fit well into their library and found that “Ripley’s” is alive and well, daily producing their remarkable vignettes; Frederic Baur, creator of Pringle’s chips had his ashes buried inside one of his cans, the common Swift can stay in the air for 10 months without landing, men only blink half as often as women, cats can be allergic to humans! Well, here is a serious story that is certainly hard to believe but, regrettably, is true. Continue reading

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JAMES LAURENCESON. The efficacy of being very vocal: Australia and human rights in China (ACRI)

Last week’s news that the Australian Dr Yang Hengjun was being moved to a criminal facility in China was, to use Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s words, “deeply disappointing” to say the least. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Human Rights, International Affairs | 2 Comments

PAUL MOSES. Putting Church above Children. The Vatican Fails to Comply with a UN Treaty

One way Pope Francis could move ahead with his aim of curbing clergy sex abuse in the worldwide Catholic Church would be to insist that the Holy See comply with the international human-rights treaty it signed to protect the rights of the child. Since nearly every country in the world (other than the United States) has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1989 treaty sets a clear international standard for Catholic bishops everywhere.

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 28 July 2019

Hunger is on the increase again and the world will need yet more food over the next three decades. How can we properly feed 10 billion people and save the planet? Do the solutions lie in technology, behaviour change or socio-economic change? While the Australian government continues to ignore climate change, state, territory and local governments, of both political persuasions, are getting on with the job in multiple ways. As is Kenya, but not without some policy contradictions. Feral cats kill millions of Australian native animals every day. Endangered species are being released into feral predator-free compounds.

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A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media Continue reading

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THE HON BOB CARR. Tribute to Graham Freudenberg.

The speech arrived on the Premier’s desk already clipped into the black leather folder. Did my staff realise that coming from the pen of the master and being a speech of welcome to a US President I would be disinclined to change a word? If so, their instincts were right. Two weeks after Bill Clinton in 1996 had been re-elected as President he and Hillary were in Sydney and without effort or fanfare- or even a word with me- Graham Freudenberg served up eight paragraphs that met the occasion of an official welcome speech with grace and historical resonance.  Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Vale Graham Freudenberg

A dear friend and colleague, Graham Freudenberg, died this morning at the Redcliffe Hospital.  He was admired and will be mourned by many people who knew him personally and a great number of people who knew him in public recognition of his work.

Throughout his long illness, he remained courageous and concerned for people around him, and particularly for the Labor Party that he loved.  As he physically declined, the strength of his inner life became even more apparent.  He was delighted that, in his last week of life he could see again ‘The Scribe’ on ABC TV.

His close friends and family, and Australians generally, have been privileged to know Graham Freudenberg.

John Menadue

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CAROL SUMMERHAYES. Vale Graham Freudenberg.

Graham revealed in his memoir that he wrote his first speech in Brisbane in May 1945, aged 10, at the time of VE Day, and delivered it to his mother. In 1946 he scored a job with ABC Radio reading scripts of school broadcasts – “I learned a lot about the use of English written to be spoken”. He didn’t know then that this experience would be life-forming: his speeches over the years stand out as words meant to be heard as well as to be read, a different sort of writing altogether.  

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SUSAN RYAN. Vale Graham Freudenberg.

Anyone who has heard of Graham Freudenberg, and most aware Australians have, think of him not so much as an individual , but in association with  the great men, the massive political personalities whom he served.

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ERIC WALSH. Vale Graham Freudenberg .

The family of Graham Freudenberg, his influential political contacts, his many friends and admirers, the Australian Labor Party and Australia itself are diminished by his passing after a long illness. Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI: Government Responds to Dutton’s Visa Chaos on Asylum Seekers

The Government has at last responded to the chaos in our visa system. In response to a question from Senator Keneally, Senator Linda Reynolds has suggested the bridging visa backlog is apparently due to an unexpected surge in visa applications that caught Home Affairs off-guard. Also, in 2018-19 there has been a 12 percent fall in on-shore asylum applications. So does that mean all is now well? Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM. Joko Widodo is no Lee Kuan Yew

Even read in English it’s a stirring speech with hints of John F Kennedy’s inaugural address: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country’.  By the standards of Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo, a normally awkward public performer, it was well delivered, calling on voters to move on from the hates of the 17 April election campaign and embrace Pancasila.

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GEOFF EBBS Interminable Conversations: Rolling up our progressive sleeves

Progressives are unsuccessfully pleading with voters to logically approach the major challenges of our time. The problem, though, is not a lack of understanding, it is a lack of actionable alternatives. Continue reading

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MICHELLE PINI. Newstart, wage theft and big fat ducks​​​​​​​ (Independent Australia)

“Having a go” just to put food on the table? Unless you’re a well-fed restaurateur or politician, it’s unlikely that you’ll “get a go” from this Government. Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Ministers and public servants

Geoff Gallop offers up eleven theses on Australian politics to provide public servants with a ‘nuanced understanding of politics’. His theses are more than a little condescending and simplistic. The theses seem directed at middle level or junior public servants, or maybe new entrants to the service. However, the nature of the relationship between senior public servants with policy responsibilities and minsters is increasingly an important and fraught issue.

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MOHAMMED AYOOB. An ally, a partner and American unilateralism: on the U.S. response to Turkey’s S-400 deal with Russia (The Hindu)

There are major differences but also similarities in the U.S.’ response to Russia’s S-400 deals with Turkey and India Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS Britannia Quo Vadis ?

Boris Johnson could hardly have chosen a more inauspicious moment to take over the reins in London with Whitehall in the death throes of a Prime Minister, the seemingly inevitable surge to a “no deal” Brexit plus the disrobing of Britannia by the Iranians and the likely accelerated pace of Beijing’s control over Hong Kong which inevitably will dog UK:China relations for some years ahead. All of which will be confused by President Trump’s graceless embrace which not only claimed Johnson as his acolyte but deliberately emphasised that he was his “man”! As Johnson himself noted, he will certainly need a better mojo than DUD but will he regret Americanising it into DUDE?

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NOEL TURNBULL. Aquariums, indigenous achievement and climate denialism

Cairns in Far North Queensland is a remarkable place where remarkable things – excellent, good, bad and odd – occur.

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MICHAEL GRACEY. Closing that Aboriginal Health Gap

The persisting poor health of Aboriginal people over decades is an embarrassing stain on our national reputation and one that seems obstinately difficult to erase. How can this situation be effectively managed? Continue reading

Posted in Health, Indigenous affairs | 2 Comments