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John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

GARRY EVERETT. Sex Only??

The recent Hollywood movie, On the basis of sex, tells the story of the first successful court case argued by Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 9th Circuit Court. The subject matter was discrimination by the Federal Tax Laws, against a … Continue reading

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CHAS W. FREEMAN JR. After the trade war, a real war with China

[T]he greatest danger of a [real] Sino-American war is Taiwan. Taiwan is a former Chinese province that was recovered from its Japanese occupiers by Nationalist China at the end of World War II. In 1949, having been defeated everywhere else … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

STEPHEN de WEGER. Clerical sexual abuse of adults. Another blind spot.

In 2013, after working as a research assistant project into clergy sexual abuse of children, I decided to undertake an exploratory study into clergy sexual misconduct against adults. During this study I came across what I believe should be a … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 11 Comments

FRANCIS SULLIVAN. Pell conviction blows apart bishops’ mantra

Yesterday’s announcement of the conviction of Cardinal George Pell has been shattering for many and a relief for others. The fact that the most senior cleric in Australia has been found guilty is devastating on many levels. Not the least … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 9 Comments

BARNEY ZWARTZ. George Pell has fallen, but the cardinal’s legacy casts a long shadow

So Cardinal George Pell – by far Australia’s best-known church leader of the past 25 years, the highest-ranked Australian ever at the Vatican, a confidant of prime ministers – faces a jail sentence for child sexual abuse. The dispenser of … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

GEORGE MONBIOT. Dark money is pushing for a no-deal Brexit. Who is behind it?

Modern governments respond to only two varieties of emergency: those whose solution is bombs and bullets, and those whose solution is bailouts for the banks. But what if they decided to take other threats as seriously?

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

DEMETRI SEVASTOPULO AND DAVID BOND . UK National Cyber Security Centre says Huawei is manageable risk to 5G( Financial Times London 18.2.2019

British intelligence has concluded that it is possible to mitigate the risk from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks, in a serious blow to US efforts to persuade allies to ban the Chinese supplier from high-speed telecommunications systems.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

MARILYN HATTON. Pray and light a candle for our church in crisis.

For years a small but expanding number of Catholics in Australia have beenappealing for church reform and have struggled to gain attention from our bishops. Our prayers and entreaties for change in the clerical, male-dominated cloisters have fallen on unattentive … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

RUTH ADLER. Brexit uncertainties fuel speculation on Irish unification referendum

With weeks remaining until the 29 March deadline for a deal on Brexit, there is speculation that failure to reach agreement will result in increased momentum for a referendum on Irish unification under the Good Friday Agreement. Several Cabinet Ministers … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

LIZ HANNA. A warming Australia spells serious trouble for human health

Climate change. Global warming. A hotter planet. A hotter Australia. Yet few are asking the difficult question of ‘how hot is too hot?’. We have so many elephants in the room at present that ‘the room’ is getting pretty crowded, … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health | Comments Off on LIZ HANNA. A warming Australia spells serious trouble for human health

GERARD O’CONNELL. Before arriving in U.A.E., pope challenges his hosts to help end Yemen crisis

   Pope Francis made a powerful appeal to “the interested parties” and “to the international community” to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen in which some 10 million people risk starvation.

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CLAIRE GIANGRAVE. UN panel probes Italy’s role in Church’s child abuse scandals

A United Nations Committee for the protection of minors questioned the Italian government last week about clerical sexual abuse in the country, expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

IAN AND TIM ROBINSON. A Sad Excuse for a National Day

A National Day should be the anniversary of a central event in the life of the nation, a day when we all come together and celebrate our nation’s shared values – a celebration of the start of our nation’s journey, … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

CIARA MORRIS. Seeing China Through a Washington Lens

Balancing relations between China and the US is arguably Australia’s greatest foreign policy challenge in the 21st century. But is Australia getting it right?

Posted in World Affairs | 5 Comments

LYNDSAY CONNORS – CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER. The Marketing of Private Schools

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER. The Marketing of Private Schools In its recent newspaper advertisement for a Director of Advancement, a long-established Sydney private school for Catholic boys described itself as “an inclusive, non-selective, school, with students attending from all walks of … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 6 Comments

PATSY MCGARRY. Church response to modern abuse scandals ‘same as 30 years ago.’

Marie Collins claims lessons of abuse in Ireland not being used to change policy elsewhere ‘The church reaction is a mirror image of what we were hearing here in Ireland 30 years ago.’  

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

SANG JIEJA. Tibetans get home decor order: Hang Xi, Mao portrait

Dalai Lama images removed from temples, monasteries as Party reinforces iconography of its ‘heroes’; households next

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RICHARD KINGSFORD. The catastrophic fish kill on the Darling River– decades in the making

The plight of the Darling River shocked the nation last week, when up to a million fish were killed by lack of oxygen, accompanying the disruption of a blue-green algal bloom on a forty kilometre stretch of the river near … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 5 Comments

‘CHRIS HARRINGTON. Care? The scourge of the ward station’

The professionalism in hospitals may have contributed greatly to better data collection and use of technology, but after a visit to a hospice and an ICU unit recently, I wondered what has happened to care. Our system is failing us.

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

JEFFREY SACHS and others.- Fully Filling the Global Fund.

  In a world divided by conflict and greed, the Global Fund’s fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria is a matter of enlightened self-interest and a reminder of how much humanity can accomplish when we cooperate to save lives. For … Continue reading

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JONATHAN WEISMAN. American Jews and Israeli Jews break up

The events of the past year brought American and Israeli Jews closer to a breaking point. President Trump, beloved in Israel and decidedly unloved by a majority of American Jews, moved the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

PETER WOODRUFF. What Matters at the Show and in the Church.

I spent my childhood and youth in Tasmanian towns, never had any desire to live on a farm but always enjoyed going to what I knew as ‘the show’, which was in fact an agricultural show. The show offered two … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

GARRY EVERETT. A Legal Leap of Faith?

GARRY EVERETT. A Legal Leap of Faith? In the Weekend Australian (5/6 Jan.’19), Professor Greg Graven wrote an article entitled Taking a Legal Leap of Faith. In essence it is an examination of the key issues involved in trying to … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 5 Comments

CHRISTOPHER LAMB. Pope Francis comes out in support of Macron and Merkel in warning against the resurgence of Nationalism.

The Pope said the ‘resurgence of nationalistic tendencies’ is at odds with the ‘vocation’ of international bodies The Tablet 08 January 2019. Pope Francis leads an annual meeting to exchange greetings for the new year with diplomats accredited to the … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

MARTYN LLOYD JONES, PAUL KOMESAROFF. Here’s why doctors are backing pill testing at music festivals across Australia

For many years experts in the field of drug policy in Australia have known existing policies are failing. Crude messages (calls for total abstinence: “just say no to drugs”) and even cruder enforcement strategies (harsher penalties, criminalisation of drug users) … Continue reading

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STEWART FIRTH. China, Samoa and debt-for-equity swaps- East Asia Forum Jan. 3 2019

Last year, Australia discovered the debt owed to Chinese banks by Pacific island countries. As the debate over China’s intentions in the region grew, commentators pointed to the possibility that Pacific countries might be compelled to accept debt-for-equity swaps if … Continue reading

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KELLIE MERRITT. Stepping up to the war crease.

Unaccountable spin and double standards are the stuff of “good bloke” politicians. It’s a skilful charade that perpetuates unchecked executive power and distances the parliament and public. Kellie Merritt’s husband Paul was killed “whilst on operational duty” in Iraq. She … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

JOE ROACH. Inequality-A case of wood and trees.

Economists love data. For some it is a case of the more the merrier….or, at the least, the more data the more articles than can be published. Whether this contributes much to the overall good is doubtful. When it misleads … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 1 Comment

NICK DEANE. Armistice Day

On ‘Remembrance Day’ we should not forget that the majority of war’s casualties are actually non-combatant civilians. We should also remember that the original day was a day of great joy, as warring came to an end. Peace is the … Continue reading

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JOHN HANNON. Complexities of Catholic marriage.

As Brendan Byrne SJ, scripture scholar, comments on today’s Gospel( 7 October 2018): “Any pastor would be aware that no Sunday Gospel read throughout the year… will require more careful handling than this one… To simply read out the rulings … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 2 Comments