Arts & Culture

NSW chooses timber over koalas, critics of habitat plan claim

The great bulk of new reserves set aside by the Berejiklian government for koala habitat offer no new protection for an animal whose numbers are plummeting in some regions of the state, new mapping analysis shows. Peter Hannam Brisbane Times The government last month hailed the release of its $45 million koala strategy as “the biggest commitment by any state” to protect the “national treasure”. But mapping details obtained by environmental groups show 82 per cent of the reserves being set aside ... Read More »

Catholics offer burial spaces to Muslims as Sydney cemeteries fill up

Muslim community leader Kazi Ali was distressed to see the nearly full Muslim section at Rookwood Cemetery that he helped transform 40 years ago from paddock to an oasis of palms. Julie Power The Sydney Morning Herald Many who helped Mr Ali build the cemetery in the 1980s are among the 6000 Muslims buried there now. A friend’s daughter was buried behind a white picket-style fence. Mr Ali pointed to a grave of his former teacher. “Our tradition is to ... Read More »

The Desperation to Keep Turkey Different

With an election looming, secularists are on the defensive to protect their way of life. Donna Abu-Nasr and Cagan Koc Bloomberg It’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but in Istanbul smokers huddle outside offices, couples sip beer and sex workers call out to young men from balconies. The contrast with some Arab countries that penalize people for publicly breaking the dawn-to-dusk abstention from food and drink couldn’t be more striking in and around the city’s central Taksim Square. And supporters of that Turkish way ... Read More »

In Praise of Extreme Moderation

Why does it seem like you can’t throw a paper airplane in some offices without hitting a person who is training for a marathon, planning a 10-day silent meditation retreat, or intending on scaling Kilimanjaro? Avivah Wittenberg-Cox Harvard Business Review On top of working 24/7 for a company that doesn’t pay overtime? Extremism is becoming the norm not only in our professional lives but increasingly in our personal lives as well, from politics and parenting to food and fitness. Extreme ... Read More »

Aboriginal reconciliation and what we can learn from a French philosopher

What can a French historian and philosopher tell us about reconciliation between black and white in Australia? More than a century ago, when in Australia it was still widely presumed that Aboriginal people were a dying race, Ernest Renan was grappling with the question, what is a nation? By Matter of Fact host Stan Grant ABC It remains one of the most profound and powerful statements of identity, written in 1882 in the shadows of the French Revolution. Renan sought to ... Read More »

Friday essay: how do you measure remorse?

The first court case I ever observed belonged to a woman guilty of murder. She had deliberately run over a young man with her car. Kate Rossmanith The Conversation I had followed news reports of the trial, for the story seemed so strange, and had seen grainy CCTV footage: the vehicle lunging at the 21-year-old who darts out of its way; the car reversing and charging once more, striking him, thrusting him underneath. Anyone can attend court. You scan the ... Read More »

In praise of doing nothing

In the 1950s, scholars worried that, thanks to technological innovations, Americans wouldn’t know what to do with all of their leisure time. Simon Gottschalk The Conversation Yet today, as sociologist Juliet Schor notes, Americans are overworked, putting in more hours than at any time since the Depression and more than in any other in Western society. It’s probably not unrelated to the fact that instant and constant access has become de rigueur, and our devices constantly expose us to a ... Read More »

Largest swordfish ever caught in Australia may miss out on record due to fishing association requirements

The largest swordfish ever caught in Australia — and the second-largest in the world — may miss out on the official record because it did not meet strict rules in the way it was caught. ABC Illawarra Nick McLaren The monster fish was caught off Mallacoota near the NSW Victorian border on Sunday afternoon by a crew from the Ulladulla Game Fishing Club. It weighed in at 436.2 kilograms, well above what is thought to be the current Australian record ... Read More »

Why ABC reacted so swiftly to Roseanne’s racist tweet

ABC Entertainment, which produced the revamped version of “Roseanne,” is the latest company to learn the challenge of doing business in an age when citizen activism is amplified by social media. Anjana Susarla The Conversation The network canceled the hit show after its star, Roseanne Barr, sent a racist tweet – since deleted – that prompted outrage and a potential ad boycott. Other networks have chosen to axe reruns of the original “Roseanne.” While ABC’s swift decision stunned observers, it ... Read More »

[CENSORED] was meant to celebrate freedom. Instead it exposes something darker

Sari Braithwaite watched all the scenes cut by Australian censors between 1958 and 1971. What she discovered was deeply disturbing Sari Braithwaite The Guardian n 1969 Australian government censors claimed a Swedish film playing at the Sydney film festival included an actual sex scene involving a heavily pregnant woman. The film could only play, they said, if the offending copulation were deleted. But the scene in question involved no sex whatsoever. The censors apparently couldn’t distinguish between an embrace and ... Read More »

5 Latino authors you should be reading now

You likely recognize that the depiction of Latin American immigrants in politics today – as a menacing mass of recalcitrant Spanish-speaking invaders – is overwhelmingly negative. Laura Lomas The Conversation What you may not know is that stereotypes suggesting that Latin Americans represent a threat to United States culture are not just morally repugnant – they’re also historically inaccurate. Spanish-language literature actually predates the Puritans’ writing in English by nearly a century. As my research reveals, many renowned Latin American ... Read More »

What’s it like to be young and from overseas in Australia?

The first ever census of young Australians from refugee and migrant backgrounds paints a mixed picture of optimism and belonging against a backdrop of ongoing discrimination By Professor Johanna Wyn, Dr Rimi Khan and Dr Babak Dadvand, University of Melbourne The majority of refugee and migrant young Australians feel strongly that they belong here, despite almost half experiencing some form of discrimination or unfair treatment in the past twelve months, the first Multicultural Youth Australia Census shows. Nearly 2,000 young ... Read More »

How your religion changes your views on the right to die

Rank-and-file Christians are at odds with religious leaders on euthanasia, with some denominations more supportive of voluntary assisted dying than others. Katie Burgess The Canberra Times As an ACT parliamentary inquiry into the end-of-life choices available to Canberrans continues, a survey of 1004 people has revealed how nearly half (48 per cent) of people with religious beliefs supported assisted dying laws. This is despite a hardline stance from some religious orders against legalising the practice. One of the report’s authors, Anthony ... Read More »

Universities need to do more to support refugee students

In the past two decades Australian universities and schools have received growing numbers of students from refugee backgrounds. This is in line with increasing numbers of people accepted through… Authors: The Conversation But there are concerns refugee students are denied access to equitable educational opportunities as a result of: the challenges of settlement competing demands on their time due to family responsibilities (both in Australia and back home) financial concerns and getting trapped in low-skilled jobs. In addition, transition is ... Read More »

How Shakespeare used music to tell stories

Today we fully expect film, television and theatre to use music to shape meaning. Simon Smith The Conversation The screeching violins of Psycho and the menacing Jaws theme, for instance, both depend upon a shared 20th-century dramatic language in which music indicates mood. Rewind 400 years and it may not seem like the same is true. Take Shakespearean drama. Many modern productions choose to avoid historical music altogether, preferring new compositions or pre-recorded popular songs that more obviously indicate mood ... Read More »