Michael Brand’s plan for the Art Gallery of NSW is about money, not art

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Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand has spent most of his term of office constructing a gigantic spoof against the civic core of Sydney’s most public and important open space – the Domain and Botanic Gardens. The Sydney Morning Herald – Paul Keating * Brand wishes to construct a vast function centre and observation platform – a megaplex made feasible only by appropriating open space across an expressway and on land belonging to the Botanic Gardens. And the aim of this land ... Read More »

Is a life sentence justified for assisted dying?

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In 1997, Kevin Andrews succeeded in pushing a private member’s bill through Federal Parliament. It overturned the first legislation permitting assisted suicide in Australia, enacted in the Northern Territory. OnLineOpinion – By David Leyonhjelm Since then, not only does assisting someone to commit suicide remain a serious crime in all States, it is also a crime in the Territories. Three states have life imprisonment as the maximum penalty, while in others the maximum penalty varies from 5 to 25 years. ... Read More »

The refugee crisis must not be used as a vehicle for Turkey to assert sovereignty in the Aegean Sea

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“Greece has only de facto, and also temporary, rule over EGAYDAAK and its administration there does not invalidate the fact that those islands are the territory of the Republic of Turkey,” *Turkish Minister of Defence, İsmet Yılmaz, (Statement made in March 2015) “I suggested, and came across with strong reactions, Greeks and Turks to form together a coastguard which will patrol the sea areas between Turkey and the Greek islands. Turks agree, Greeks don’t,…should we fight over for a sea ... Read More »

World unites in colour over violence against women

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WEDNESDAY, November 25, cities around the world will turn orange to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA – The Advertiser In Melbourne, iconic buildings, such as the Victorian Arts Centre and State Parliament, will be lit orange to draw attention to the issue. Landmarks across the world, including the Sphinx, the Pyramids of Giza, the Empire State Building and the Peace Palace in The Hague, have all gone orange previously. Colours are ... Read More »

Breda O’Brien: What happened to Pat Carey was a long time in the making

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Religious have long been subjected to similar treatment by media and the Church The Irish Times Breda O’Brien It is amazing that commentators are declaring that the publication of allegations against Pat Carey marks a new low in journalism. Does no one remember a priest being doorstepped after a First Holy Communion and being asked on camera about allegations he had raped and impregnated a young woman? Those allegations were broadcast on RTÉ’s now infamous Mission to Prey programme, even ... Read More »

Religious study in schools can play a vital role in countering violent extremism

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Our young people should be taught about the role of religion in society. The Age – Anthony Bergin and Clare Murphy After the horrific terror attacks in Paris, Australian security and law enforcement agencies will be re-examining how we might respond to a simultaneous, co-ordinated mass-casualty attack and the tactics used when hostages are taken. We should also be focused on the prevention of future attacks by considering our counter-extremism response, including undermining the Islamist ideology that’s fuelling jihadism. Our ... Read More »

More Mexico migrants leaving US than arriving – study

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More Mexicans are leaving the US than migrating there, reversing a longstanding flow, a study has found. BBC More than one million Mexicans and their families, including US-born children, returned to Mexico from 2009 to 2014 after living in the US, the report by Pew Research Center found. Meanwhile, only 870,000 Mexicans moved in to US during the same time period, creating a net loss of 140,000 people. An uneven economic recovery in the US was cited as a reason ... Read More »

Islamophobia should not be included in the Racial Discrimination Act

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Opinion It’s true that the bigoted fringe of Australia’s media and society is exacerbating the fault lines in our community. That’s a terrible shame, but shutting it down by force of law is not the answer. We need more freedom of speech, not less, writes Michael Bradley. ABC – TheDRUM – By Michael Bradley “France is at war.” French President Francois Hollande has been very clear about this since the terrorist attacks on Paris. The question is, with whom, or ... Read More »

Seven minutes of meditation can reduce racial prejudice, study finds

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A popular meditation technique that’s intended to create feelings of kindness can also reduce prejudice, according to new University of Sussex research. EurekAlert! AAAS – University of Sussex The study, published online in the journal Motivation and Emotion, found that just seven minutes of Loving-kindness meditation (LKM), a Buddhist practise that promotes unconditional kindness towards oneself and others, is effective at reducing racial bias. Lead researcher Alexander Stell, a Doctoral student in Psychology, said: “This indicates that some meditation techniques ... Read More »

Paris attacks: France and the world should answer terror with liberty

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Opinion In bombing IS in Syria and suspending rights at home, France is testing the boundaries of international law. More human rights, not fewer, was the world’s answer to the greatest atrocities the world has ever witnessed in World War II. We need to hold our nerve, writes Ben Saul. ABC – By Ben Saul  The terrorist attack on Paris raises some hard legal questions. Is it an international crime? Is it an armed attack giving France a right of ... Read More »

East Timor belongs in ASEAN

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The impending launch of the ASEAN Economic Community is being marked this week at a summit in Kuala 
Lumpur. It is a time to showcase ASEAN’s commitment to a region made prosperous through economic cooperation and integration. The Phnom Penh Post – Shane Rosenthal It should also be the time for ASEAN to consider opening the door to a new member. East Timor is Asia’s youngest country – a stable democracy positioned at the crossroads of Southeast Asia and the ... Read More »

Do we have religious freedom anymore?

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The first test of religious freedom is underway in Tasmania and everyone – not just the faithful among us – has a stake in how it plays out. OnLineOpinion – By Mike Bird Earlier this year the Catholic Church of Tasmania distributed a booklet called “Don’t Mess with Marriage” to the parents of children attending Catholic schools. The booklet sets out the Catholic Church’s view of marriage and family and describes the rationale for their opposition to same sex marriage. ... Read More »

Talking Point: Magna Carta still underpins our civil rights

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THE Magna Carta (Latin for “great charter”) was a defining legal document consisting of a preamble and 63 clauses, which came about as a result of King John — who, in the early 13th century, was deeply unpopular throughout his kingdom — losing power as his barons were unhappy with his tyrannical rule. JADE FLETCHER From: Mercury  In a bid to maintain the throne, the king met his barons and signed an agreement that would allow him to keep his ... Read More »

Terrorism can be beaten — but not by fighting

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When it comes to “fighting terrorism”, it seems to me that we, in the West, almost always get things exactly wrong. Independent Australia – David Donovan I mean, even the term “fighting terrorism” ‒ which we sometimes call the “War on Terror” ‒ is an oxymoron. Because as soon as we start fighting – or warring – then terror will inevitably ensue. And so, in the wake of the terrifying Paris attacks, you can hear the the drumroll of fear and ... Read More »

 France Should Stop Listening to Saudi Arabia on Syria

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ISIS is the most urgent threat to the West stemming from the Syrian war and must be destroyed. Assad’s murderous dictatorship can be dealt with next. The Nation – By Juan ColeTwitter The West should take the horrific occasion of the Paris attacks to reconsider its acquiescence in Saudi priorities for Syria and the Middle East. From the vantage point of Riyadh, the great danger emanating from the Middle East is the spread of Iranian influence. But from a European ... Read More »

The Paris attacks change everything

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Everything has changed. It is impossible now, as the Paris attacks are still fresh, to imagine a Ben Carson in the White House. The Washington Post – By Richard Cohen  It is impossible to envision such a man, bereft of foreign policy experience, acting as commander in chief. It is just as impossible to think of Donald Trump in the Oval Office. It is horrifying to imagine him sitting there, thinking of the world as a board game — real estate, ... Read More »