Australasia

Banks need to show more than mea culpas and committees

“We never want to go through an experience like that again,” Brian Hartzer told the House of Representatives economics committee in Canberra on Friday. Adele Ferguson WAtoday The Westpac boss was of course referring to the banking royal commission, which he described as “a sad indictment on the financial services industry”. It certainly was an indictment on a sector that has been riddled with scandals for years that were fobbed off as sideshows caused by a few bad apples. Hartzer ... Read More »

A Man of Good Hope is no tale of triumph over adversity, but it is the story of many

In a world where so many are escaping brutality, war, persecution, and loss of land, is it possible to tell the story of just one displaced person, and in so doing, tell the story of many? William Peterson The Conversation With A Man of Good Hope, a theatrical adaptation of a biography of the same name by Jonny Steinberg, the Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble suggests the answer is yes. An energetic cast of over 20 actor-singer-dancer-musicians are shaped by director ... Read More »

After years of vicious culture wars, hope may yet triumph over hate in Australian politics

For a generation, politics has been wearying for those of good heart and outright damaging to those targeted in the culture wars unleashed in the 1990s. How this happened, and whether it will continue, are… Chris Wallace The Conversation The traditional post-war political struggle pitted class and concerns about inequality, opportunity and redistribution against capital and concerns about profits, property rights and the shoring up of… Over the past two decades, the moorings of this “left” versus “right” paradigm of ... Read More »

Michelle Bachelet has urged Australia to adopt “more humane policies” towards refugees.

The United Nations’ leading voice on human rights has criticised Australia’s refugee policies, specifically condemning plans to reopen Christmas Island detention centre. SBS UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet used an address on Wednesday to highlight rights abuses around the world, with Australia making the list. “The office has raised concern with Australia about the imminent transfer of migrants on Manus Island and Nauru to new detention centres,” the… “These people have been suffering for more than… Michelle ... Read More »

Vital conversations: older women have their say about the challenges of life in a city like Melbourne

Who decides what matters in the lives of voters? In the run-up to the 2018 Victorian state election, media focused on a few potential big issues of concern or interest. Harriet Radermacher The Conversation Newspapers featured pieces on the consequences of uncapped population growth in Victoria, particularly suburban housing sprawl and unaffordability. Public transport and the growing economic divide between communities also attracted media attention. Against this background, and in light of concerns raised by previous research, we wanted to engage with older women ... Read More »

All about juries: why do we actually need them and can they get it ‘wrong’?

There has been some debate over the recent conviction of George Pell, whose first trial ended with a hung jury, and the second a unanimous guilty verdict. Jacqui Horan The Conversation People are questioning our justice system, the potential bias of the jury, and whether the initial hung verdict invalidates the second, unanimous one. So, why should Australians trust 12 inexperienced people to sit in judgment on our most serious criminal trials, and get the verdict right? The importance of ... Read More »

Burnside: why I have decided to stand at the next election

I’ve always said I wouldn’t go into politics. “Don’t wrestle with a pig,” the saying goes, “because you both get covered in mud and the pig loves it.” Julian Burnside The Canberra Times But I am breaking that vow because our political system is broken. I have been a critic for too long: it’s time to throw my hat in the ring. Representative democracy depends on our parliamentarians actually representing us. Unfortunately, that’s just not happening at the moment. Far ... Read More »

Former NAB boss’ chief of staff charged over alleged fraud

A former senior executive at the National Australia Bank has been arrested and charged after travelling from Melbourne to Sydney to be interviewed by police over an alleged $40 million fraud engulfing the bank. Lucy Cormack The Age Rosemary Rogers, the former chief of staff to former NAB boss Andrew Thorburn, presented herself at Surry Hills police station about 11am on Tuesday, after flying of her own accord to Sydney. Shortly before 3pm on Tuesday the 43-year-old was charged with ... Read More »

Aged care’s new front line: our own homes

From untrained and unfamiliar staff to high costs, poor transparency and confusion, the dream of ageing at home is, for some, turning into a nightmare under a privatised, partly for-profit system. By Farrah Tomazin and Michael Bachelard The Age For Peter Roxburgh, the last straw in dealing with Australia’s privatised home-care system for the elderly was a simple, $100 toilet frame. His mother, Joyce, is 89, has severe dementia, and lives at home, where he cares for her. The Commonwealth ... Read More »

Tough times for shining light into dark corners

These are difficult times for people who want to shine light into dark corners, hold the powerful to account and, more specifically, exercise freedom of journalistic expression. James Chessell The Canberra Times The threats to an independent press are most acute in places such as China, Turkey and Egypt where journalists are now detained (and worse) in record numbers for doing their jobs. From Syria to Myanmar to Venezuela despotic administrations trot out the term “fake news” to dismiss legitimate ... Read More »

The sounds of Speechless, where words are superfluous

Speechless is the new opera by award-winning composer Cat Hope, co-commissioned by the Perth Festival and Tura New Music. Stephen Chinna The Conversation This is Hope’s powerful response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report into children in immigration detention. Hope created what she describes as a “graphic score” derived from drawings and graphics extracted from the Report. This system of “animated graphic notation” is explained by Tura as “the representation of music through the use of visual symbols ... Read More »

How the next Australian government can balance security and compassion for asylum seekers

This is part of a major series called Advancing Australia, in which leading academics examine the key issues facing Australia in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election and beyond. Read the other pieces in the series here. Alex Reilly The Conversation With a rapidly changing climate and increased instability in the world order, patterns of people movement are likely to change dramatically in the future. It is not a tenable response to isolate Australia from the… Sadly, the politicisation ... Read More »

Andrew Bolt, please stop implying that you know all the facts about George Pell

Clare Linane, whose husband Peter Blenkiron is a survivor of clerical child abuse, writes in response to Andrew Bolt’s defence of George Pell Clare Linane The Guardian I am a Ballarat local who has been living with the aftermath of child sexual abuse for many years. My husband, Peter Blenkiron, is a survivor of clergy abuse at 11-years-old. You met him whilst in Rome three years ago. I am compelled to write to you after you expressed your opinion that ... Read More »

The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront

Special report: Shootings, poisonings and children driven off cliffs – this is a record of state-sanctioned slaughter • A massacre map of Australia’s frontier wars – interactive Lorena Allam and Nick Evershed The Guardian The truth of Australia’s history has long been hiding in plain sight. The stories of “the killing times” are the ones we have heard in secret, or told in hushed tones. They are not the stories that appear in our history books yet they refuse to go away. ... Read More »

My anger with George Pell has been replaced by immense sadness

I don’t see a monster. I see all the women and children and men and nuns and priests destroyed by shame, fear and lies Christos Tsiolkas The Guardian I  have been angry with Cardinal George Pell for a long time. That anger was first stirred by his absolute disdain for extending compassion to people living with Aids, and also by his refusal to accept queer people into Catholic fellowship. I was also made furious by his perverting of the teachings ... Read More »

It took scientists seven days and a ‘global collaboration’ to figure out what fish this is

A rare hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore at a Californian beach left scientists baffled when they could not identify it. Alexis Moran ABC An intern at the University of California had spotted the 2.1-metre fish at the Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve. Researchers turned to social media for help to identify the creature through a series of photos posted on the Coal Oil Point Facebook page in late February. It was there that the sunfish was identified by marine scientist ... Read More »