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Indigenous Australia

First Contact: Poverty, porn and trauma TV with bonus celebrities
In this series, Aboriginal people are portrayed as people who have bad things happen to them. They are seen as shallow caricatures to which non-Aboriginal people can glean ‘experience’. Trauma of both the past and the present is a pit stop on the ‘journey of discovery’... . There is no further discussion of why there is a prevalence of suicide, just as there is only limited discussion of the trauma that underlies alcohol and drug addiction. They cry, but they move on, because this is just one stage in their journey, writes Amy McQuire for New Matilda

See also
Aboriginal workers still slipping through the gaps

Human Rights

Churches slam government over treatment of young offenders
Melbourne's Catholic and Anglican archbishops have condemned the Andrews government's imprisonment of teenagers in "the harshest of adult prison settings", warning that teen offenders' welfare and chances of rehabilitation are at risk, writes Richard Willingham for The Age.  

NZ minister defends record on institutional child abuse
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley will make no universal apology for the abuse of children in state care saying there is no evidence it was systemic.
There would be no independent inquiry either, she told Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill, arguing it would only retraumatise victims.  

But does the state know how to look after children?
The children who are now adults point out that, by ignoring key recommendations from the confidential listening service into the abuse, the Government is not attending to ‘what works’ for them, writes science researcher Jess Berentson-Shaw.  

Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Australia seeks to join international leaders on human rights
Foreign minister Julie Bishop declared in a speech to the UN General Assembly that Australia would bring a "principled and pragmatic" approach when serving on the Human Rights Council. Yet, principled and pragmatic approaches to asylum seekers are not evident in government policy, writes Alexandra Lancaster in the Sydney Morning Herald.  

How we came to be so cruel to asylum seekers
Our current uniquely harsh anti-asylum seeker policy is grounded in the absolutist ambitions that can, in my view, best be explained by Australia’s long term migration history and its associated culture of control. It has become entrenched because of the force of bureaucratic inertia ... And it is presently maintained by an irrational but consensual mindset: the conviction that even one concession to human kindness will send a message to the people smugglers and bring the whole system crashing down, writes Robert Manne of La Trobe University.  


Laudato Si’ calls for us to get intimate with the natural world
The care for all creation including the earth is now seen as a vital part of Christian faith, the Irish theologian Sean McDonagh told audiences throughout Australia last month. Fr McDonagh who writes and speaks of the theology of the environment, was a key part of the team which developed the latest encyclical, Laudato Si’. In this excerpt he speaks of new Catholic social teaching in the Pope’s call for a new focus on how we look at all creation.  

The Political Community

Pakistani bishops denounce "chaos" after protests
Catholic bishops in Pakistan are dismayed by a situation that has lead the Supreme Court to hear petitions seeking to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for having dodgy offshore investments.  

Clarke and Dawe: The Nativity Play – does it send the wrong message?
Christopher Pine on the end of the parliamentary year.  

From the editor

Pope Francis’ words in Laudato Si’ have never been more timely with the election of Donald Trump to the American presidency. Now more than ever the principles of Catholic social teaching must inform our lives. The Catholic newspaper NCR is calling on Americans to write to their local representatives in the Congress quoting the papal encyclical and asking that they vote to maintain laws that President-elect Trump has vowed to overturn – actions which would relax controls on the production of the country's shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal energy reserves and undermine hard won international agreements on climate change.  

Cecily McNeill

Quote of the month

"Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change. We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone... A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal"

Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ #202.

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