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Articles Archive for October 2009

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[31 Oct 2009 | One Comment | 4,269 views ]

IN our society, significant pressure is often applied to those who need to remain abstinent from alcohol and other drugs to stay alive.
This also applies in our prisons, where 80 per cent of inmates have significant problems with alcohol and other drugs.
Yet even within our prison population there is strong pressure from psychologists and other professionals to advocate so-called harm minimisation as opposed to the goal of total abstinence.
In common and often professional usage, the notion of harm minimisation conflates two very different ideas. Only one of these do I …

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[30 Oct 2009 | No Comment | 1,224 views ]

THE great mystery of Australian politics is why Kevin Rudd’s approval rating remains so high.
It seems that the only people who don’t like him are those who actually know him: journalists like Annabel Crabb, for example, who has just called him a ‘faux-moralist fraud’ and colleagues like Mark Latham (no slouch at nastiness himself) who once called him a ‘real piece of work’. For everyone who’s never had to deal with the Prime Minister, though, it seems that he’s the slightly nerdy, deeply Christian magician who’s saved Australia from the …

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[24 Oct 2009 | No Comment | 1,144 views ]

ANNA Bligh recently returned from her first overseas trip since being elected Queensland Premier in her own right on March 21.  She visited India, the Middle East and Russia.
The worst world economic crisis since the Depression has led to the loss of Queensland’s AAA credit rating, rising unemployment and the government’s unpopular decision to sell off public assets such as ports, rail and timber.
Yet Bligh did not visit Queensland’s main trading partners: Japan, South Korea and China. It was the loss of coal royalties that reduced government revenue and in …

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[18 Oct 2009 | No Comment | 2,359 views ]

Shortly after my wife and I moved from Brisbane to Redfern in May 2005, Edmund Campion, author of ‘Rockchoppers: Growing Up Catholic in Australia’, penned a fine obituary for that feisty priest of St Vincent’s church in Redfern, Ted Kennedy.
Redfern’s Father Ted had a lot in common with the people he helped.
Stressing Kennedy’s love for the broken and beaten, the dissolute and dispossessed, the ostracized and the lonely, Campion’s essay reminded me of Father Peter Kennedy, the renegade priest from South Brisbane, who – although now …

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[10 Oct 2009 | No Comment | 1,636 views ]

“NEVER use the R-word,” insists a character in Sydney-based writer Michael Wilding’s new novel Superfluous Men, published by Arcadia in Melbourne.
“No point in letting people think we’re finished. Once they think you’re finished you’re out of the game.”
The R-word is retirement; the game is life, what’s left of it. Courtesy of Wayne Swan, retirement has been pushed back a couple of years to 67 for most people. But moving the goalposts does not alter the demographics. The baby boomers are entering retirement. Early retirement, maybe. But still retirement. And they …

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[9 Oct 2009 | No Comment | 1,320 views ]

Imagine that, when John Howard was proposing a goods and services tax, all the media focus had been on Kim Beazley and Labor’s mixed views on the merits and politics of a GST.
It’s almost inconceivable that the opposition has managed to make itself the issue when it’s actually the government that is proposing a new carbon tax to cascade through the entire economy. But that’s what Malcolm Turnbull has achieved.
Turnbull is a highly intelligent, articulate man who has succeeded in a series of highly competitive fields. It’s a credit to …

Columns »

[2 Oct 2009 | 3 Comments | 10,250 views ]

Here’s a thought. Peter Costello resigns his seat of Higgins and links up with his old National Party buddy, John Anderson.
Then with the backing of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and Pete’s brother, the Rev Tim, they form the Queen Mary of religious politics, the Australian Christian Party. Putting aside the obvious battle over the name with the Revd Fred Nile, this scenario may not be so far-fetched as it seems.
Everyone knows we’re living in the ‘end times’ , well, the end times for religion, anyway. Science is quietly leading …