True Blue Aussies

True Blue Aussies

There are numerous groups working to assist the homeless in Sydney. Most nights you can find a food van behind St. Mary’s Cathedral or in Wentworth Park. There’s people who beg on the streets daily and others sleeping rough in doorways or alleys, all dependent on the compassion of those more fortunate for a meal each day. Australian Muslim Youth (AMY) are one group trying to address the needs of ...

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Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

The German artist Daniel Nikolaus Chodwiecki was renowned for his etchings. Born in an age in which critical thought was encouraged and the power of hierarchical institutions such as the Catholic Church were questioned, Chodwiecki expressed his own appreciation of “toleration” through his work “Minerva als Symbol der Toleranz”. Toleration is not quite the same as tolerance. The former requires only that one allow that which he or she disapproves ...

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A mile in his shoes - learning from Monet

A mile in his shoes – learning from Monet

Chocolate is the panacea of woe, but in more recent years, I’ve found my palette appreciating much more of the citrus tones that cleanse and refresh, even if some do bite. Perhaps orange is a symbol, a marker of age. When glaucoma takes hold, the vision can develop an orange tinge; same too with cataracts. Perception of the world changes and we see with, in the most literal sense, different ...

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Impossible dream and a not so imaginary foe

Impossible dream and a not so imaginary foe

The day began with a comfortably low temperature of 17oC before rising to a high of 28oC. In the crushing crowd outside the Lincoln Memorial, it would seem unbearably hot to many. But fevers were raised by more than the beat of sun and thirsts were quenched by words more invigorating that the water of the Reflecting Pool on August 28, 1963. And on the very day that Martin Luther ...

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Start as you mean to continue

Start as you mean to continue

Sunshine in Melbourne’s west has seen all manner of refugees in the past half century. The current mix includes a significant proportion of men, women and children from African nations. Many of these people will have suffered extreme abuse and seen horrors most people of Australian heritage would struggle to imagine. They have turned to the western world in search of respite and a better life, a chance to live ...

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Life on the street - no fixed address

Life on the street – no fixed address

I trudged a well worn path from Melbourne’s La Trobe Street to Flinders Street in my youth. Sydney has its fabulous Harbour, but Melbourne had arcades that drew me in and wide streets that seemed full of life, people, buskers, fruit sellers. I could browse the wares and stay under the cover almost the full distance, with never thought for the rain. Melbourne’s arcades still draw me, my favourite being ...

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There is a dream dreaming us

There is a dream dreaming us

Actually, the natural man in Africa is a truly spiritual man. He has so much of the spiritual that he is overflowing with it. He has so much of it that he gets entangled with the outside world. He sees it in things that really cannot contain it. He sees it in the trees, he sees it in all the objects which surround him. The tragedy is that we walked ...

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R. v. Ipeelee: Aboriginal sentencing and overrepresentation in the prison population

R. v. Ipeelee: Aboriginal sentencing and overrepresentation in the prison population

On Friday, The Australian Institute of Criminology (“AIC”) realest its Australian crime: Facts & figures: 2012 report, which provides sober reading for all those concerned about the on-going silent genocide of Indigenous Australia. Among other highlights, the report notes that there have been a further 325 indigenous deaths in custody since The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (“RCIADIC”) released its list of recommendations in 1991. The #RCIADIC, which ...

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Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes

Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes

Whatever you say, don’t say it tice If you find your ideas in anyone else, disown them The man who hasn’t signed anything, who has left no picture Who was not there, who said nothing: How can they catch him? Cover your tracts. (My emphasis) Bertolt Brecht, “Handbook for City-Dwellers” Many readers of Blak and Black will recognise the heading for this post as being the most frequently paraphrased statements ...

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The blind juggler: Aboriginal offending and sentencing

The blind juggler: Aboriginal offending and sentencing

Jim Jim where is our party? where all members’re held equal an’vow t’infiltrate that thought among the people it hopes t’serve an’sets a respected road for all those like me. These words were written by Bod Dylan in response to the speech given by John Lewis on behalf of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on the afternoon of August 28, 1963 in Washington D.C. during the 200,000 strong march for ...

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Penny Wong and the Christian lobby – what is prejudice?

Penny Wong and the Christian lobby – what is prejudice?

For myself, earth-bound and fettered to the scene of my activities, I confess that I do feel the differences of mankind, national and individual…I am, in plainer words, a bundle of prejudice – made up of likings and disliking’s – the veriest thrall to sympathies, apathies, antipathies. Charles Lamb Flicking through todays offerings by the ‘free’ press in the world’s two great democracies – #Australia and #Russia – I was ...

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The Bugmy family, Dada and a Quiche in the face

The Bugmy family, Dada and a Quiche in the face

“Dada is a virgin microbe / Dada is against life so dear / Dada / Corporation exploiting ideas / Dada has 391 different attitudes and colours, depending on the President’s sex / It transforms itself – asserts – says exactly the opposite at the same time – no importance – cries – goes fishing / Dada is the chameleon of rapid, self-interested change / Dada is against the future, Dada ...

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There are 869 different forms of lying

There are 869 different forms of lying

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmet’s to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now ...

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Cradle to grave #racism - it's not just Sydney

Cradle to grave #racism – it’s not just Sydney

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. Desmond Tutu Jeremy Fernandez, I’m sorry your two year old daughter learned, so early, that the colour palette is not always one with which she may paint azure ...

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#Indigenous self determination and alcohol

#Indigenous self determination and alcohol

The news of the week in #Indigenous Affairs is the annual report card on Closing the Gap. Julia Gillard states that she is disappointed with the progress is addressing #indigenous disadvantage; I’m certain that anyone who shares their life with an #indigenous person or organization will disagree with those sentiments. But who is to the blame for this lack of progress? Successive governments have failed to place positive actions in ...

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El-Masri v The Former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia

El-Masri v The Former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia

With the Inauguration of President Obama for his second term fast approaching (20 January, 2013) it is worth considering just how far the United States and indeed the West has fallen from the lofty ideals that underpin the West’s claim to moral, if no longer financial and technological, supremacy. This West’s claim to moral superiority has again been put to the test and has again been found wanting. I’m referring ...

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Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – but, only if you’re white

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – but, only if you’re white

Liberté, égalité, fraternité; the national motto of France, indeed the emphasis on Fraternité during the French Revolution led Olympe de Gouges, a contemporary French playwright, political activist and journalist, to write the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen shortly after the French constitution of 1791 was created. She was alarmed that the constitution, which was to promote equal suffrage, did not address, nor even consider, women’s ...

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Promises and passages - it's all an illusion

Promises and passages – it’s all an illusion

  Promises and passage, that what’s they were sold. A truth not realized, the loss of all that was family and home. The South Sea Islanders who came to Australia in the 1800s and early 1900s were referred to as Kanakas. Many were kidnapped by ‘blackbirders’. As the descendents of Anglo-Celtic migrants, those sugar-cane farmers in Queensland may well have listened and danced to tunes such as Sharon Shannon’s jig ...

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The Medusa – the price we all pay for political corruption

The Medusa – the price we all pay for political corruption

Let us venture to advance another truth, a truth useful to the Minister himself. There exists among the officers of the Marine, an intractable esprit de corps, a pretended point of honour, equally false and arrogant, which leads them to consider as an insult to the whole navy, the discovery of one guilty individual. This inadmissible principle, which is useful only to insignificance, to intrigue, to people the least worthy ...

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Destroy the Joint, schmoozing and the hypocrites

Destroy the Joint, schmoozing and the hypocrites

The announcement of a Royal Commission into child abuse by clergy is as big an issue as was the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption, if not bigger. This is no ordinary review of process or legality, but a direct attack on the primacy of religious and canon law over that of the state. Such a thing would never have happened a century ago, because the place of the church ...

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