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The Political Community

Don’t succumb to election apathy
This election campaign, like many others throughout the democratic world, has been notable for a pervasive undertow of apathy and alienation. Many people believe that political dysfunction and its consequences are so intractable in Australia that they cannot be alleviated by the casting of votes and by election results. But there's another way to look at it, writes Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ.
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See also Catholic bishops deliver election year ethical wedge  

See also The moral conundrum of casting a vote on 2 July  

Indigenous Australia

Reconciling with first peoples
At the beginning of June Australia marked National Reconciliation week which highlighted a number of issues. While much goodwill and support for reconciliation is growing across the Australian community, racism, denial of rights, and a lack of willingness to come to terms with its history continue to overshadow the nation’s progress towards reconciliation, writes Brian Bond in the Edmund Rice Justice Bulletin.
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Weather is predictable but are we paying attention
Footage of recent storm damage on Australia's East Coast suggests a 'serious disconnect' — we need to start paying attention to the signs since ignorance, like disrespect, claims its victims, writes Dr Lawrence Keim.
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Is Hazelwood, the world’s most polluting, coal-fired power station closing?
French energy giant Engie, under a new renewable energy savvy chief executive, has flagged the potential closure of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley – widely recognised as the most polluting power plant in the world, writes Giles Parkinson for Renew Energy.
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Canada’s water crisis: indigenous families at risk
Canada has abundant water, yet water in many indigenous communities in Ontario is not safe to drink. The water on which many of Canada’s First Nations communities depend, is contaminated, hard to access, or at risk due to faulty treatment systems.
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World heritage icons at risk from climate change
Climate change is fast becoming one of the most significant risks for World Heritage sites, according to the report “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate”, a new United Nations report shows.
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Refugees and Migrants

How Australia should deal with asylum seekers
Australia accepts 190,000 new immigrants each year. Last year just 14,000 (7.5 per cent) of them were refugees. In the biggest year of so-called "unauthorised" boat arrivals, 2012-13, just 25,000 people arrived by boat – only about 13 per cent of our overall migration intake, write Eva Orner and Steven Glass in The Age.
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Human Rights

A row over the removal of British schoolgirl's prizewinning pro-Palestine speech
The organisers of a public speaking competition in the UK have been criticised for removing the video of a British-Palestinian schoolgirl giving an impassioned call for Palestinian rights in her entry, writes Jamie Merrill for Middle East Eye.
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Muhammed Ali: rumble in heaven as you did on earth
He is the most famous Muslim American ever, and indeed, a black man whose commitment to anti-racism led him to Islam – Before his first pro bout, Ali took on long-reigning heavyweight "Jim Crow" and the racial segregation that denied a gold medallist – who represented the US at the Olympic Games – dignity at home.
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Faith-based group members win bail for libel raps
“This case will not keep us from working even better to serve the vulnerable communities, urban and rural areas who are faced with development aggression," said Yolanda Esguerra, national coordinator of PMPI and one of the accused in the case.
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Use It

As Australians, we are all here, woven into this country.
As part of our reconciliation journey, there are truths to tell, stories to celebrate, and relationships to grow.
Reconciliation is at the heart of our nations’ future.
Join us on our nation’s reconciliation journey.
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Improving impoverished lives
Barefoot College, a rural college, harnesses local knowledge and experience in training women from impoverished communities from different countries to implement solar power projects in their own villages. Barefoot College founder Bunker Roy speaks further about the genesis and aim of the college in a separate video…
Watch here  

From the editor

The Australian Catholic bishops are calling on voters across the country on July 2 to use their vote with the “voiceless” in mind. In a four-page document entitled A Vote for the Voiceless they warn against placing the economy at the centre of government thus creating a false god.  

Cecily McNeill

Quote of the month

Any society is ultimately judged not on how well it manages the economy but on how well it treats thrown-away people.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference A Vote for the Voiceless May 2016

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