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Articles Archive for May 2013

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[25 May 2013 | No Comment | 1,332 views ]

WHEN Julia Gillard launched the Labor government’s response to the Gonski report she said her centrepiece was an “an extra $14.5 billion in public investment over the next six years”.
Whether the Prime Minister actually plans on spending this money or not is largely becoming irrelevant – chances are that both she and her loyal deputy, Wayne Swan, will be looking for new jobs come September 15.

According to opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, the promise of “extra” funding was essentially “a slipshod attempt to bribe more Australians into voting for a …

Reviews »

[18 May 2013 | One Comment | 2,089 views ]

What makes a human life worth living? Now there’s a question that would, to quote the short poem ‘Days’ by English writer Philip Larkin (1922-1985), bring ”the priest and the doctor / in their long coats / running over the fields”.
In ‘The Good Life’, the prolific social researcher Hugh Mackay usefully focuses our attention on this crucial question. Although in some ways Mackay’s most recent book is familiar territory, he nevertheless creatively explores how incorporating into our lives the Golden Rule (treat others as we would like others to treat …

Reviews »

[18 May 2013 | No Comment | 1,038 views ]

SEVENTY years on from the Black Friday catastrophe of 1939, 173 Victorians died as the result of rampaging fire on the afternoon of February 7, 2009. Ten of these victims of Black Saturday perished in Steels Creek, a small and intimate community on the outskirts of Melbourne.
It is with the multifaceted effects on this close-knit community that this deeply moving and insightful book primarily deals.

As a military-social historian, Peter Stanley has long been fascinated by the ways in which bushfires resemble battles. As he explains, “both are chaotic, traumatic events; …

Columns »

[18 May 2013 | No Comment | 1,912 views ]

MEDICINAL use of cannabis should be permitted in Australia.
In 2013, we should not still be merely discussing this possibility. On Wednesday, a NSW parliamentary committee, chaired by Nationals upper house MP Sarah Mitchell, unanimously recommended that medicinal cannabis be permitted for some people with certain terminal conditions.

At present, 18 states in the US allow medical marijuana and a further 10 are considering it. Apart from providing genuine alternatives to existing medicines, this approach has kick-started a plethora of scientific research on cannabis by an industry that has until recently been …

Columns »

[11 May 2013 | No Comment | 3,420 views ]

JULIA Gillard is desperately searching for a legacy to establish her place in history beyond the fact that she is the first woman to hold the prime ministership.
As matters stand, she is destined to be remembered as the Labor leader who knifed a popular but flawed leader in Kevin Rudd, lost Labor’s majority at the 2010 election and then (if current polls are any indication) led Labor to its worst ever loss at the 2013 election.

The deterioration in the nation’s finances under Gillard’s watch and her failure to balance the …