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Columnists & Opinion

Gathering to activate ‘quiet Australians’ raises questions

Conservatism American style came to Australia recently when Sydney played host to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Fashioned on the American model of gatherings of conservative politicians, activists, media pundits, Christian adherents and ‘free speech warriors’, the conference was billed as the largest gathering of conservatives in Australia. Several American conservative politicians jetted in to speak, along with pro-Brexiteer Nigel Farage, right-wing British activist Raheem Kassam, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a brace…

Redemption story: That didn’t take long did it?

Eighteen months have not quite passed since the event described at the time as the “darkest day in Australian cricket” occurred – the captain and vice-captain of the Australian cricket team bringing the hallowed institution of cricket into disrepute by sanctioning cheating during a match in South Africa. Scarcely moments after the scandal broke, whilst Cricket Australia management were lamenting the damage to their media rights, the media were calling for the protagonists to be…

Public entitled to its outrage at parliamentary entitlement

The word “entitlement” sprang to public notice in early 2014 when then Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey declared the “the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun”. Of course, the word entitlement means different things to different people. From a basic humanity viewpoint, it means access to clean water, clean air, food, health care, age care and education – the essentials of a healthy society in which government should have…

Unholy row for the “game they play in heaven”

Rugby Union is known as the game played in heaven. Star player Israel Folau continues to bring both the game and the venue into disrepute, as well as fuelling another debate in this country about free speech and religious freedom. The musings of overpaid sportspeople usually don’t get my attention, but Folau’s Instagram post could not be ignored, especially as the post embodied the intersection of two cults of personality – religion and elite sport.…

Our ‘un-Australian’ anthem is girt by controversy

Is ‘un-Australian’ the most misused and falsely appropriated word in our national dialect? I think it is, and I use the recent controversy around our national anthem to argue my point. Indigenous rapper/comedian/writer/actor Adam Briggs (known as Briggs) used his performance on the ABC television show The Weekly to dissect Advance Australia Fair and highlight its offense to Indigenous Australians. His performance pushed all the outrage buttons for the free speech warriors of the right…

January 26 – the date of no meaning

AUSTRALIA DAY is upon us again, and so is the now inevitable uproar in the press and on social media about the date of Australia Day. The mere hint of changing from January 26 is met with social media outrage and accusations of being Un-Australian. A mention of the suffering and injustice this date represents to Aboriginal Australians is met with both outright hostility and a command to ‘just get over it’. This was experienced…

2018: The Winners & The Losers

2018 is now thankfully drawing to a close. The usual events, such as a change of Prime Minister and shambolic national energy policy, shared centre stage with severe climatic events and stagnant wage growth. It has been a long and exhausting year that we can now put behind us. But not before the annual Dubbo Weekender Awards! This year the Awards have been spilt into two categories – Winners and Losers – and the judges…

To our American brothers... How to vote better

Australia has a kinship with the United States of America, we often use the saying ‘when America sneezes, Australia catches a cold’. When something happens ‘in the States’, it is not long before we have the same experience on our side of the Pacific Ocean, be it a popular culture high or a stock market low. We see your patriotic declarations of freedom, democratic process and global leadership; and have long admired your courage and…

Trumping Journalism: A danger to democracy

Three years into Donald Trump’s ultimate vanity project, the daily barrage of his atrocities against decency, ethics and the English language continue ad nauseum. Trump is used to getting his own way. His business empire and the Trump ‘brand’ was built around his name and his image – the image of a top negotiator who always came out a winner. Like a true narcissist, this image was carefully stage managed, continually ‘on message’ and not…

Pakistan, Cricket, Morrison: Priority check needed

The Summer of Cricket is off to a chaotic start with the Australian cricket team humiliated by Pakistan in a series played in the United Arab Emirates, meanwhile the games’ administrators are mired in the fallout from the ethics enquiry. Cricket Australia was found to have a culture that treated the game as a business commodity, with a win-at-all costs culture. This culture has infected the players to the point that successive teams have engaged…

Wentworth bites back against government chaos

On the same day Australia welcomed members of the English royal family to our shores to begin a fortnight of celebrating Anglo-Saxon heritage and hereditary monarchy, Australia’s Bigot-in-Chief Pauline Hanson moved the following motion in the upper house of our Nations’ parliament: To move that the Senate acknowledges: 1. The deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western Civilisation, 2. That it is OK to be white. That the motion even made it to…

Morrison the Evangelical

In his maiden speech to Parliament in 2008, Scott Morrison declared “growing up in a Christian home, I made a commitment to my faith at an early age, my personal faith in Jesus Christ is not a political agenda”. “In recent times it has become fashionable to negatively stereotype those who profess their Christian faith in public life as ‘extreme’ and to suggest that such faith has no place in the political debate of this…