Author Archives: John Menadue

TONY SMITH. Pre-dawn raids find a ready place in our nasty political culture

There are many precedents for the thuggish pre-dawn raid in Biloela to remove a harmless Sri Lankan couple from their home and support base. While the incident has shocked fair minded Australians such heartless behaviour has become increasingly normalised as … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. Democracy and its discontents

Much of the fevered discussion on the future and failings of democracy is based on misconceptions, particularly the fact that some see democratic discontent and growing authoritarianism as a re-run of the 1930s – something possible but extremely unlikely.

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NICHOLAS KRISTOF. What religion would Jesus belong to?

ONE puzzle of the world is that religions often don’t resemble their founders. Jesus never mentioned gays or abortion but focused on the sick and the poor, yet some Christian leaders have prospered by demonizing gays. Muhammad raised the status … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. On the blindness of politicians

The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee has generated one of the great jargon infested documents of recent times. The introduction to The Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy Discussion paperreveals much about what is wrong with politics … Continue reading

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MARK DIESENDORF and RICHARD BROINOWSKI – A Push for Nuclear Weapons?

A recent push for nuclear power in Australia has been promoted by the usual public advocates and amplified by the Murdoch press.

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Powerful men vs. Powerless Children: A worse than unequal “battle”

As I write this, from the safety of my inner-city home, two little Australian-born girls are held on Christmas Island with their Sri Lankan-born parents, desperately awaiting some flicker of insight, common sense, common decency, act of mercy that’s most … Continue reading

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NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER. Editorial: Those who dismiss Pell verdict ignore integrity of legal process

The response in certain circles to the Aug. 21 court decision upholding Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s was as swift as it was irrational.

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Eric Hodgens. Pastoral Care of Victim and Offender – The Pell Case Dilemma.

The church is called to offer pastoral care to both offender and victim. A dilemma arises when the offender is an official of the church. Like it, or not, the victim must come first.

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Pernicious Secrets

Brian Toohey begins his new book Secret with a deliciously revealing quote from Harold Thorby, Australian Minister for Defence in 1938: ‘We the Government have vital information which we cannot disclose. It is upon this knowledge that we make decisions. … Continue reading

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HÉCTOR ABAD FACIOLINCE. Gifts of Quebradona

The Colombian wilderness has been protected from mining by the 50 years civil war with the FARC guerrillas. No investor was prepared to take the risk of its infostructure being blown up and its personnel assassinated. Now that the civil … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Cardinal Pell’s guilty verdict is deeply troubling

In 2017, Cardinal George Pell became the highest ranking Catholic Church official to be charged with sex offences as Archbishop of Melbourne (1996–2001). His first trial produced a 10-2 hung jury in favour of acquittal. In the second trial, on … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. NSW arts policy officially in ruins

Arm’s length funding of the arts is the hallmark of a government attempting to work in the interests of the people. It prevents the arts being used as a political football, and together with peer assessment fosters the development of … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Tongue firmly in cheek: Does the world have a responsibility to protect American victims of atrocities?

George Mickhail did us all a great service by noting the vast disparity in forceful response to protestors by the police forces of France against the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests), and those of Hong Kong against the anti-China protestors. The … Continue reading

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JERRY ROBERTS-State and federal issues upset WA Labor State Conference

A long-running dispute within the West Australian Labor Party about the future of Fremantle Harbour was the issue behind the rocky start to Labor’s State Conference but the fight between Anthony Albanese and union leader John Setka added spice to … Continue reading

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KELLIE TRANTER. Defence exports – what are we subsidising?

Last month Australian defence company, Electro Optic Systems (EOS), again denied its weapons system was being used in the Yemen war when photographs surfaced of four consignments of its Remote Weapons System for export in June and July to the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 1 Comment

CHRISTOPHER LAMB. Cardinal Pell analysis: What happens next? The Pell case has become something of a litmus te st for the church’s handling of abuse

The Vatican is holding off from issuing any disciplinary measures against Cardinal George Pell until the Australian prelate has exhausted all legal avenues in trying to overturn his convictions for the sexual abuse of children.

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GEORGE MICKHAIL. There is no freedom in a society, if there is no public order!

The French Police’s brutal force against the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protesters since November 2018 did not attract the same ‘international’ media outrage as that directed at the Hong Kong SAR police force despite being a lot less violent than … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 7 Comments

NOEL TURNBULL. Tim Fischer and the Battle of Coral-Balmoral

Tim Fischer’s death reminds us that the Australians fought an even bigger, longer and more deadly battle in Vietnam than Long Tan – the Battle of Coral- Balmoral – at which he was wounded.

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CHRIS LOWNEY. How Pope Francis Can Revitalize a Church in Crisis

Pope Francis’s foremost priority should be top-to-bottom culture change in the Catholic Church, specifically: fostering a spirit of urgency, bringing new talent to all decision-making tables, and creating openness to radically new ideas.Without this thoroughgoing cultural transformation, a Church now … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Time to revisit Agent Orange

The recently deceased former Nationals Leader Tim Fischer was widely respected for his sincerity and integrity, two qualities in short supply in parliament today. He always behaved with dignity and self-control. While some of that self-discipline might be attributable to … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Hong Kong and the ghost of Tiananmen

Michael Shoebridge  of  the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has artfully given the appearance of logic to a melding of fact, supposition and obsession in order to reach the conclusion that it is ‘time for the international community to step up … Continue reading

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TIM WOODRUFF. Private Health Insurance: Where To Now?

Much has been written about the problems of the Private Health Insurance (PHI) industry. Desperate attempts to make an inherently inefficient product less inefficient have been proposed. Such suggestions do nothing for the inherent unfairness of taxpayer subsidised PHI. But … Continue reading

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BILL CLEMENTS. Grain silos and war memorials

In 2008, archaeologists from the University of Chicago discovered ancient grain storage silos in Southern Egypt. Made from mud brick, they were there when Jacob’s sons, in a time of famine, came seeking grain. We are fortunate that these silos … Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS. Where to from here?

One persistent question that has been asked since the failure of Cardinal George Pell’s appeal last Wednesday has been: Why isn’t the Vatican acting to force him from the College of Cardinals and expel him from the priesthood? They moved … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Battles, campaigns, and wars

The United States Studies Centre’s latest publication, Averting Crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific, contrary to its title, offers up a path to crisis. While the report draws attention to the fading of the previously … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 7 Comments

SR PATTY FAWKNER SGS. The Church – to include or not to include?

Boston’s gain has been Australia’s loss. Richard Lennan, a priest of the Maitland Diocese taught Theology at the Catholic Institute of Sydney for fifteen years before transferring to Boston College in 2008 where he now serves as Professor of Systematic … Continue reading

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PETER WILKINSON. Witness of truth wins justice in Pell appeal

 On Wednesday, 21 August 2019, a majority of the appeal judges who reviewed all the evidence in the trial of Cardinal George Pell for historic child sexual abuse, and in which he was convicted on five charges, have concluded that … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. They did what they were trained to

They did what they were trained to do, a friend and fellow Vietnam veteran said about the new film, Danger Close, when we caught up this week. This was not to denigrate in any way the sacrifice and bravery of … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Raising the racist flag

The ironies were stark and troubling. On 17 August most Indonesians joyfully commemorated their nation’s proclamation of independence from the Netherlands 74 years ago. A few weren’t having fun. Next afternoon young Papuans studying in East Java and who are … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SEAN WINTERS. The Pell verdict: Various shades of justice | National Catholic Reporter

A three-judge panel in Australia has upheld the guilty verdict against Cardinal George Pell. On two of the claims put forward by Pell for overturning the verdict, the three judges were unanimous. On the third claim — the key issue … Continue reading

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