Overall, from the vantage point of April 2021, Australians are in a self-congratulatory mood about the national response to COVID-19.
Are we being realistic, or a touch hubristic? Infection rates have been kept very low, but then, we had a lot going for us – Australia is an island, our settlement pattern is relatively low-density, and the population is younger and healthier than in many European countries.
I was walking home from the shops the other day, when I encountered a man using a leaf blower to eject leaves from his driveway onto the road. The leaf blower was an electric one, so at least the noise was not as deafening as the petrol-driven ones produce.
While the ACT has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic well, it is unusual for a week to go by without the ACT’s most prominent health institution, the Canberra Hospital, being in the news. The headlines are often negative: costs are higher than in other jurisdictions, emergency waiting times have proved hard to bring down, there are […]
As a nation with interests but not much power, Australia has produced many strategic assessments, both official and unofficial, over the years. Until relatively recently, the working assumption behind these analyses was that Australia faced no direct threat to its interests, at least none that could not be handled through our alliance with the United States.
As we walked in Namadgi National Park towards the end of last year, the terrifying dryness of the bush was everywhere apparent. Everyone in the group was thinking the same thing – please, may there not be a fire.
The remarkable thing about the COVID-19 pandemic was not that it happened, but that no country on earth, with the possible exception of Taiwan, was prepared for it. This was despite the fact that medical scientists and public health professionals had been telling us for a long time that a pandemic was on the way.
It’s time to take the environment seriously, and I don’t mean climate change. Climate change is a significant threat, but it can be tackled only at the global level, with each country contributing its agreed share of emissions reductions.
It’s said that every generation has misgivings about the next. I know I do. It’s probably a natural part of growing older. Not only do the young seem younger than ever before, but those in charge, those now in their forties and fifties, seem, in ways both mysterious and self-evident, to be not quite up […]
At about the same time, in 1992, the government’s inquiry into ecologically sustainable development (ESD) released its final reports. The ESD inquiry, while wide-ranging, was focused on specific economic sectors. Despite the previous work of the National Population Council, population rated only a brief overview as one of a number of ‘inter-sectoral’ issues
Christianity is for believers, right? This is certainly the message that Christians send to those outside the church. Christians of all denominations project their faith through liturgy, song and prayer. The message, whether stated through the recitation of creedal liturgies or not, is unmistakable: ‘I believe, I believe, I believe’. So walking through the door, […]
You can be an atheist, or a believer. But what if you are neither? What if you want spiritual growth, but jib at the idea of organised religion? What if, like so many, you are a religious battler? (A battler, for those who do not know the term, refers to someone who persists doggedly at a task, or in a role, for which they feel total commitment, but have no real talent).
This little book is Jenny’s attempt at both, from the perspective of an aspiring Christian. Seeking a spiritual home that so many others have left is in some ways the hardest path of all to tread. We are told we should be casting Christianity to the past, yet how can we? Our yearning might just be weakness in the face of the big questions, or it might be a kind of strength. All that is needed is to suspend disbelief, put our fear aside, and take the first steps.
Available on Amazon.com
The relationship between church and state has always been uneasy. In the policy world, there are many points of intersection and, often, friction between secular and religious values. As Western societies become progressively more liberal, we can expect this friction to increase, as we see in the current conflict between anti-discrimination law and religious freedom. […]
While many have questioned her leadership skills, few can doubt Theresa May’s Prime Ministerial fortitude. In the strange schemozzle that is Britain’s exit from the European Union, she, at least, is determined to ‘make a success of it’ – if her party lets her stay the course.
Not really, but we do need think carefully about how to harness, and regulate, machine intelligence.
Despite greatly increased effort in recent years, the policies of Australian governments towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders continue to fail on many levels. According to the latestClosing the Gap report, while there have been advances that promise much, particularly in early-childhood education, there has been little progress in other areas. School attendance, life expectancy, literacy and […]
On the face of it, the Murray-Darling basin plan has all the hallmarks of a “good policy”. It has a clear objective: to cap extractions from the river system, so as to ensure the basin’s long-term ecological, social and economic sustainability. It’s backed by scientific evidence and has considerable public support, both in cities and […]
One of my most esteemed teachers, the late L. J. “Len” Hume, said to me once that he enjoyed his job, “provided they leave me alone”. He was referring to the freedom academics then had (in the 1980s) to develop their own style of teaching, scholarship and research, free of managerial or administrative oversight. Hume […]