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Latest articles

  • Aerial view of South Tarawa, the capital and hub of the Republic of Kiribati and home to approximately half of Kiribati's population. (Government of Kiribati / Wikimedia Commons)
    international

    Kiribati: What makes a 'climate refugee'?

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 24 January 2020

    New Zealand's judicial channels found against the Kiribati national, claiming he did not satisfy the definition of refugee within international law. He was deported. This month, the UNHRC did not find the deportation unlawful, a move that former Fleet Street editor Damian Wilson said had 'piled on the misery in the climate change mess'.

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  • Smoke covers east Gippsland following devastating bushfires. (Photo by Chris Hopkins/Getty Images)
    australia

    This is not about the fires

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 22 January 2020
    8 Comments

    My dog I've had for 14 years dies, and I decide to spend two days in bed. I look online and see that more than a billion Australian animals have died in the fires. Guilt spirals on top of guilt. How gauche, to feel this private grief, when there is such public grief already.

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  • Koomurri dancers during the Arrival of Fire and Smoking Ceremony at Barangaroo on 26 January 2019 in Sydney. (Photo by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images)
    australia

    Australia Day as a day for humility

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 January 2020
    10 Comments

    Australia Day would be wasted if it were devoted simply to self-congratulation. In the wake of the catastrophic fires we need to ask questions about how Indigenous Australians before settlement managed the land and how our agricultural and economic practices have contributed to the perilous situation in which we now find ourselves.

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  • Desert lands near Zhob District in Balochistan. (Credit: Eesha Tariq / Wikimedia Commons)

    Hear the cry of the Baloch people

    • Tanmay Kadam
    • 22 January 2020
    1 Comment

    The annexation of eastern Balochistan by Pakistan after the withdrawal of the British from the Indian Subcontinent in 1948 gave rise to the Baloch independence struggle against Pakistani state. Since then, Baloch have fallen victim to forced disappearances and brutal killings by state forces and state sponsored militants.

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  • Passengers walk through a square at the Wuchang Railway Station at the conclusion of a past Chunyun. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

    The sacred secular in China's 'Spring travel'

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 17 January 2020

    More than three billion single trips are taken during the extended period of travel. It is to China's great credit that these journeys occur incredibly smoothly, and on the whole with a convivial spirit. There is too often a tendency to minimise any praise about China's achievements, to the anger of Chinese citizens at home and abroad.

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  • Locals in New Delhi protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019. (Credit: Sanjeev Yadav / Wikimedia Commons)

    Coal hard truths about Australia-India relations

    • Sundhya Pahuja
    • 16 January 2020
    8 Comments

    It is ironic for those of us who have long wished for a closer and more respectful relationship between India and Australia to be arguing now for caution. But perhaps the time has come for a relationship of political solidarity between the people of India and the people of Australia, rather than the economic expediency that seems to be on offer.

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  • Rural Fire Service firefighters views a flank of a fire on 11 January 2020 in Tumburumba, NSW. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

    A royal commission for the land

    • Kate Galloway
    • 20 January 2020
    14 Comments

    For our society to function responsively to what is now a dynamically changing context, we urgently need differently oriented governance. This will, no doubt, be unpalatable for some — both in government and in the general public. But without re-setting how we are governed, our land and our society will suffer further destruction.

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  • Black streaks on sand (Credit: Jose A. Bernat Bacete)

    Bushfire divisions etched in sand

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 January 2020
    12 Comments

    As the sea withdrew, the waves left curling black lines that crossed one another. The beach became a map in which territories were separated from one another. That image reflected the fires and the ways in which they were perceived. They were more than localised events. They affected relationships that spread far beyond the fire.

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  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison attend Question Time in December 2019, during the height the push to repeal the medevac bill. (Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

    Allies keeping faith despite Medevac blow

    • Carolina Gottardo and Nishadh Rego
    • 12 December 2019
    6 Comments

    Outside, a Martian-red haze kisses the windows. An ode to the future perhaps. Most of the people present are already aware of the Medevac repeal decision. The room is heavy with silence, the mood is sombre, but far from resigned. We want change, and are willing to have a crack at demanding it.

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  • A man looks pensively into the sky after writing philosophical graffiti on the wall of a dunny. Illustration by Chris Johnston

    Pondering God from the dunny

    • Sue Stevenson
    • 24 January 2020

    As I sat I noticed some graffiti: 'What you are seeking after is seeking after you. — Rumi.' A beautiful, soulful verse for the alienated children of late capitalism, right? An invitation to live in expectancy, as if you belong in the world. But underneath, someone had struck through What and written Who, and Rumi and written God.

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  • From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church by Cardinal Robert Sarah

    Aussie bishops can't shy from celibacy questions

    • Nick Brodie
    • 16 January 2020
    31 Comments

    Cardinal Sarah's scandal-causing book arguing against changes to the rule of mandatory celibacy was a transparent attempt to thwart proposals coming out of the Amazonian Synod of 2019. Whatever the fallout, it should not be allowed to scare Australia's bishops off from discussing the subject during Plenary Council 2020.

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  • Swirling smoke from extinguished candle on black background (Credit: neamov / Getty)

    New year epiphany in a burning world

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 15 January 2020
    7 Comments

    This New Year saw me becoming a Twitter tragic so that I could keep up with the news of disastrous fires in Australia, and fires of a different sort in the Middle East. It all seemed too much. On the day after Epiphany, a major feast day in the Orthodox Church, I found myself outside Kalamata's Church of the Archangels, and went in to light a candle.

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  • Koala in a tree on Kangaroo Island. (Photo by Catherine Marshall)

    Kangaroo Island paradise lost

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 22 January 2020
    1 Comment

    Turning off the main road, we burrowed now into a verdant tunnel; at the end of it stood one of Australia's flagship properties, Southern Ocean Lodge. Entering its vaulted, glass encased great room, I turned my head from the rolling waves on one side to the rolling bush on the other. Each was an ocean unto itself.

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  • Smoke from bushfires covers Melbourne's Docklands precinct on 15 January 2020. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    Air quality agony is the new reality

    • Megan Graham
    • 17 January 2020
    3 Comments

    It was my first time at this library. I'd come to escape the heavy smoke and my old draughty apartment. Approaching the service desk upon arrival, I admit to looking deliberately pathetic in the hopes of avoiding a laborious sign-up process to access the wi-fi. I only wanted somewhere I could work safely, breathing in non-toxic air.

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  • Firefighter stands on the edge of a burning Australia, displaying a sign reading 'climate change' to the rest of the world. Artwork by Chris Johnston

    Australia is the perfect size to lead on climate

    • Tim Hutton
    • 17 January 2020
    8 Comments

    Around 40 per cent of the world's carbon emissions are produced by countries with similar outputs to Australia. Collectively these countries can make a significant difference if each reduces their carbon emissions. While Australia can make a difference as part of a collective, our real ability to effect change actually lies elsewhere.

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  • Ormiston Gorge (Credit: Paul Balfe / Flickr)

    Ormiston Gorge revelation

    • James Orrock
    • 20 January 2020

    Rest in late afternoon silence, the vision quest in flight / Red ramparts attenuate to pink mauve in muted light; / Only gold could slake the Depression fever of Lewis Lasseter / Lead to an alchemy of empty jam tins and broken beer bottles / Fibula and femur disjoint, wrecked on iron pyrite reefs.

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  • A Rural Fire Service firefighter Trevor Stewart views a flank of a fire on 11 January 2020 in Tumburumba, NSW. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

    Fire poems

    • Bill Rush, Rory Harris, Collen Keating
    • 13 January 2020
    2 Comments

    It's as though it's suddenly turned winter, the way the earth is covered over and the grey stretch of ash is drawn up to its chin like a blanket. And though it's day, the bird-less quiet is a kind of night, and everything we ever thought we knew has been turned upside down, the first now last, and the last first.

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  • View of Himalayas and blue sky (Photo by Catherine Marshall)

    A Himalayan miracle to carry into the New Year

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 December 2019
    4 Comments

    Stopping along a ridge, we beheld the Garhwal Himalaya range as it came into view: a tumble of mountains crowned on the horizon by an irregular, saw-toothed range ... In that brief moment between sunrise and daylight, when a once-secretive world would be illuminated, our wonder at the world was multiplied many times over.

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