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Australian Society

Submitted by Roger Fedyk on April 21, 2006 - 7:13am.
Review of Prime Minister's Body Guard, Dead Man Talking, by John McArdle

"Some books I love from page one, some books I hate just as quickly. John McArdle's book is in neither category. It is a ripping good yarn and it is true." Roger Fedyk.

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Submitted by Daemon Singer on April 20, 2006 - 12:05pm.
The Intrinsic Value of Humanity

"Do we add value to our lives as a Nation and as individuals by not making our shores a safe refuge from the repression of Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma and any other country with a mind to manage its Nationals by the gun? Do we improve our status in the eyes of the rest of the world (except the gun-toting country these PEOPLE are running and hiding from), by rejecting out of hand, the upturned face of a frightened child, running to escape his own countries guns?" Daemon Singer

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Submitted by Roslyn Ross on April 14, 2006 - 10:01pm.
Fear at work in the world

"Fear is probably the first human emotion that we experience and sadly, for some, if not many, it is also the last. And while Fear has always been a part of the human condition, there are times when it becomes most of what we are instead of a  very small part of what we can be." Roslyn Ross

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Submitted by Roslyn Ross on April 6, 2006 - 7:11am.
There's nothing fair in love and war

"We already know that the greater freedom and equality a woman has then the better the society functions. Education is often the first benefit that women receive when they are recognised as equals and that translates into fewer babies, better health, improved diet and increased incomes for families. Everyone wins in a world where females get the same opportunities and benefits as males." Roslyn Ross

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Submitted by Alison Broinowski on April 1, 2006 - 7:11am.
A fascist Australia?

"Fascism can be defeated by rational argument (that’s why fascists hate intellectuals), by genuine democracy (that’s why they despise civil libertarians), by legal principle (that’s why they criticise independent judges), and by international conventions (that’s why they fulminate about the United Nations). They claim they are defending our way of life, or our civilisation, even while they are undermining its fundamental principles. All civilisations have tried to raise people above fascism, but the fight has to be had over and over again." Alison Broinowski

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on March 31, 2006 - 11:36am.
A court hearing

"A criminal lawyer friend tells me it is not uncommon for police statements to have the same punctuation mistakes. Everyone is supposed to turn a blind eye to this or perhaps place it with the crop circle mystery again." Jim Dowling

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Submitted by Roslyn Ross on March 23, 2006 - 12:37pm.
There's meaning in why we are "meaner"

"The Japanese are six times as rich as they were in 1950 and they aren’t any happier and neither are Americans who are twice as rich as they were in the 1970’s. Across the world it seems clear that instead of getting happier as they become better off people become more frightened. Expectations are raised at the same pace as incomes and happiness is always just a little out of reach." Roslyn Ross

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on March 21, 2006 - 11:16am.
Culture Jamming – faking the fake

"The Left may be criticized for missing a sense of humour. Well, Richard Neville’s recent culture jamming of John Howard’s website has proven to be one of the best japes in years. Jammin’ may refer to dancing in Jamaican patois, but our own brand of creative jamming is in the spirit of another Marley line – “forget your troubles and dance!” Whatever your jammin’, diving into the media fray to rock the system from within has a lot to recommend it." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by George Matafonov on March 18, 2006 - 8:07am.
Towards Restoring Australian Values

"The calls for unity around Australian values following the Cronulla riots highlighted, once again, an uncomfortable reality: no one seems quite sure what are Australian values. And this provides a strong clue to where we should look for answers to much of the social unrest we are experiencing today." George Matafonov

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on March 16, 2006 - 11:26am.
Allegedly Halal Thoughts II

"Rather than condemn media personalities, it is time for Aussie Mossies to talk with them face-to-face, to open up a dialogue with them in good faith. For this reason, I’ve decided to invite Alan Jones to join a select group of Australians of Muslim background as we share food for our stomachs as well as for thought." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by Roslyn Ross on March 6, 2006 - 11:06am.
Is religious belief ever 'child abuse'?

"The Government may have acted quickly last year to quash any backbench discussion about banning headscarves from public schools but it is an issue that needs to be discussed in depth, not only for the sake of the children involved, but for the sake of our society in general." Roslyn Ross

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Submitted by Chris Saliba on March 5, 2006 - 1:46pm.
Rule of law denied

"Peter Costello is right. If you can’t commit to Australian values, we should put you on a boat and send you out to sea you later. Democratic beliefs, respect for the rights and liberty of others, and respect for the rule of law are our core beliefs "Those who are outside this compact threaten the rights and liberties of others," the Treasurer warned at his speech to the Sydney Institute. Amen to that." Chris Saliba

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on March 3, 2006 - 9:54pm.
Howard, riot police and an injured old man: am I in another country?

"It was when the young policeman started twisting the wrist of the old man lying on the ground that I started asking the question yesterday: am I in another country?" Donna Mulhearn

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Submitted by Roslyn Ross on March 1, 2006 - 11:03am.
Time to ‘tell it like it is’ for the sake of Aboriginal culture

"Aborigines, like many indigenous peoples in the world, have become something akin to insects ‘pinned’ into a specimen box. The community at large feels ‘guilty’ about the fact that our ancestors conquered and dispossessed them and so we try to make amends by believing that the best thing we can do is ‘help’ them to hold on to their culture; to ‘pin’ them into a place that diminishes our guilt and supposedly helps to ‘right the wrongs’ of the past." Roslyn Ross

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on February 27, 2006 - 8:56am.
It’s a mad world – the rise of middle class angst

"As John Howard would have us believe, “We’ve drawn back from being too obsessed with diversity to a point where Australians are now better able to appreciate the enduring values of the national character.” Thus Kerry Packer was really “a sentimental bloke” and his state funeral a celebration of our core values. Howard’s message rests on: “Australia’s greatness – our sense of balance.” Of course ‘balance’ is a relative term. But as the PM is quick to tell us, it is not to imply a nation at rest. Rather, balance “is the handmaiden of national growth and renewal”. (Even the ‘war on terror’ has now found a sense of balance in the form of ‘the long war’.) But in shifting to the desired position might there be a risk that some ‘tipping point’ will disrupt the balance? If so, we shall argue here that any such imbalance is most likely to be tipped by the middle classes." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on February 24, 2006 - 7:51pm.
Sharia for complete bankers – Part 2

"If you wanted to be a top class European jurist, you had to study Arabic. You would then study the great works of Muslim jurists, philosophers and doctors. Much of what you studied had little to do with Islamic theology, but it was certainly studied through Spanish Muslim-coloured glasses." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by John Richardson on February 16, 2006 - 9:09pm.
Danna's Numbers

"With Howard, Abbott and their ilk convincingly defeated on the future regulation of RU486 today, it’s worth taking a minute to reflect on the disgusting racial and religious bigotry implicit in Danna Vale’s comments this week, particularly given that they are indicative of an increasingly common mindset in our country, consistently encouraged by the Howard government." John Richardson

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Submitted by Hamish Alcorn on February 14, 2006 - 11:56am.
Politicised science

"Claims that the fossil fuel industry had unprecedented access to confidential Commonwealth government processes and the silencing of senior climate change scientists require an independent investigation." Greens Senator Christine Milne, in response to last night's 4-Corners program, "The Greenhouse Mafia."

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on February 13, 2006 - 3:07pm.
On Valentines and Half-Requited Love

"I seriously hope reading Van’s story doesn’t spoil your Valentines Day. Most of us find love in more conventional ways. But as Van’s story and Brokeback Mountain powerfully illustrate, unconventional love can be just as real even if the pressures of society and circumstance don’t allow it to be fully requited." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by Sue Hoffman on February 12, 2006 - 3:47pm.
Race from a Jewish perspective

"When I was last in Israel, I stayed in a Jewish village in the north of the country. The children from the nearby Arab town attended the village kindy and the Jewish farmers sold produce to shopkeepers in the town. Security was always a consideration – the village was surrounded by a fence which the men of the village patrolled every and all night – but generally there was no problem." Sue Hoffman

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on February 10, 2006 - 4:31am.
Why Xenophobia is Never Kosher or Halal

"When you fight with the rels, it tends to be nasty. What makes it worse is that you often can’t help ending up feeling the pain you joyously inflict on them. It’s a bit like scratching your face to squash a mosquito sucking the blood from your cheek." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by Andrew Bartlett on February 9, 2006 - 9:58am.
RU486

"For political history buffs, I believe this is the first Private Senators Bill in the names of 4 Senators from four different parties (all of whom also happen to be women)." Senator Andrew Bartlett on the RU486 legislation being debated in the Senate today.

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on February 3, 2006 - 8:36pm.
Boycotting the Slip Inn?

"That’s it. I’ve decided once and for all. In a show of Islamic solidarity, I will not drink at the Slip Inn. After all, a Danish newspaper published 12 nasty and offensive cartoons. As a result, I refuse to drink at a pub which has anything to do with Denmark." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on January 31, 2006 - 3:09pm.
Jetlagged analysis on upcoming 60 minutes show

"I’ve been on some forums with Muslim “leaders” before. I remember a forum on Channel 9’s Today Show which took place some 20 days after the London bombing. I was on there with Sheik Fehmi, one of the few imams who can speak English. There was also a lady from the Muslim Women’s National Network of Australia (MWNNA) who sadly didn’t get much of a chance to speak. The rest of the crowd were an embarrassment." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by Gus Leonisky on January 27, 2006 - 4:34pm.
Keeping in touch with the common man
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Submitted by Dale Mills on January 27, 2006 - 4:24am.
Has the police state arrived?

"A close-circuit video camera in every bank, on every shop front, every shopping mall, every train station, every local government camera, any private business with a camera – from David Jones to the corner shop - centrally linked with live feeds to police command – not science fiction or a left-wing paranoia, but a reality in New South Wales." Dale Mills

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Submitted by Dale Mills on January 23, 2006 - 5:03pm.
Fallout from Australia’s Cronulla beach riots continues

"The fall out from the riots on Sydney’s beaches continues amid accusations that the State government and police have ‘gone soft’ on Australians from Lebanese backgrounds." Dale Mills

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Submitted by Stephen Smith on December 15, 2005 - 11:17am.
Fear and loathing in Cronulla

"News footage of the swarming White militants in Cronulla has provided some of the most disturbing scenes of racism on our streets. What we saw was racist slogans daubed on placards, bodies and tee shirts. One tee shirt proclaimed “ethnic cleansing unit”. Mind-blowing. Yet one lesson we learn from this is that many actions were pre-meditated and not simply the result of a drunken mob out of control." Stephen Smith

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Submitted by Craig Rowley on December 13, 2005 - 4:45am.
Show us your true colours: An adventure into the sea of Australian humanity

"Last week I set sail on this journey of a lifetime, an adventure into the sea of Australian humanity. My sights are set on discovering its true colours.  I see our island nation, Australia, my country of birth and that of my family lines running back near two hundred years, now culturally and linguistically diverse. At minimum one in five of the people on our island today were born overseas, and another had at least one parent born overseas. You can see it and you can hear it. Between us we speak nearly 200 different languages. It's a treasure, the wealth of opportunity that comes with diversity and you don't even need to search hard to find how enriched we all could be. You just have to open your eyes, your ears, your mind." Craig Rowley

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Submitted by Phil Uebergang on October 19, 2005 - 1:59am.
How healthy is Australia's secularism?

"Australian society takes its benign secularism for granted, but it didn't occur by accident. It's an end result of centuries of political and social struggle and while Australians blithely go about their daily business in this safe and unified nation, few thoughts are spared for the sequence of events that have brought us to this fortunate situation." Phil Uebergang

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Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of Webdiary Pty Ltd.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.

Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

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