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Happy International Women’s Day!

 In a world marked by on-going gender discrimination, today we hold up the dignity, rights and achievements of women.  In Australia we have largely achieved formal equality before the law, so it is tempting to think the struggle for equality has been won.  However the structures, processes and institutions of our society continue to under value women and girls and treat us less favourably than men and boys.  Everyone is demeaned by this.  As part of the preparation for the meeting on trafficking that I attended in Kuala Lumpur I had to answer a number of questions about the situation of… Read More »Happy International Women’s Day!

Vale Blazie Dog

I have held my grief privately.  It is a disturbing, embarrassing, unseemly grief.  One which feels inappropriate in my current context.  And yet it is so. I’m heartbroken that my little dog has passed on and I wasn’t able to be there with him and my husband.  Blaze had cancer and had reached a point where he was in significant pain. It was time for us to let him go. But I was unable to make that last trip to the vet with Blaze and Geoff because I am in Kuala Lumpur. Blaze ate more regularly than many of the people served… Read More »Vale Blazie Dog

Accountability for Deaths in Custody

At last it seems there may be some accountability concerning the tragically avoidable death of Mr Ward.  Report: Visit the blog of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Council for Indigenous perspectives on this, and other issues.

Christmas Island & Advent

Each day my commute begins with a trip on the Manly ferry. It’s a great way to start the day – coffee, reflection, and a chance to contemplate one of the world’s great harbours.  Tourists who travel for pleasure love only the blue sky, sunny, calm water days, but seasoned ferry commuters learn to love the more subtlle, less flashy moods of the harbor.  The Emerald City can be wearer-of-the-black serious. The quiet introspection of drizzly grey days on the harbor have their place in the ryhthmn of our lives. So too the wild days and slightly perverse delight in picking… Read More »Christmas Island & Advent

End of the Decade

In the December ACSJC Briefing John Ferguson, National Executive Officer of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, reflects on the end of the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace and the World Council of Churches Decade for Overcoming Violence.  I even get a mention. Read it at

Remembering the dead – or why I hate Halloween

I’m not the only one who gets annoyed at the way in which so many traditional celebrations are now crassly commercialised, or at the general coca colonialisation of Australian culture.  Not that I am a traditionalist, wanting to freeze frame life “back in the day”.  Cultures are dynamic, living things, and in fact I work for social transformation.  I acknowledge that feeling miffed at the paganisation of Christian feasts is somewhat ironic – the way in which ‘Christmas’ is treated in popular culture could be seen as fair return for the Christian appropriation of the pagan spring festival at Easter.  Yet… Read More »Remembering the dead – or why I hate Halloween

Chilean Miners Rise Together

My husband –  a hard Yorkshireman – is in tears as each miner emerges, and my journalist friend who covered the liberation struggle in South Africa wrote this remarkable article. The story is still unfolding. I am reminded of Leonard Cohen’s lyric – it’s a cold and a broken hallelujah.

Pigeon Platters, Alienation & Ethics

The other day while eating chicken for lunch I recalled the horrified response of a colleague to a platter of pigeons served for lunch at a meeting in Java. “Arghh I’m not eating that – look at the heads! Look at the beaks!” Indeed, the entire little birds, complete with heads, beaks, eyes and feet, were laid out in rows like casualties. I regret to say that my response was somewhat dismissive of my colleague’s dismay: “They kill the whole animal in order for us to eat them you know – not just the legs and wings”. It is easy… Read More »Pigeon Platters, Alienation & Ethics