Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

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Slavery: it exists today, and it's an affront to God (Part 1)

05 Jul 2019  |  Author: Toni Hassan  | Theme: Civil society and politics; Public theology and ethics

Australia’s first Modern Slavery Act, which was passed last year after years of advocacy by church and civil society groups, represented a milestone in the fight against the scourge of modern slavery. Toni Hassan, who is on the board of STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia, recently took part in an exposure tour of south-east Asia to see examples of what slavery looks like today – and the good work being done to combat it. In the first article in a two-part series, she looks at exploitation in the seafood industry.
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Victoria should make the ACT think about its headlong rush into screens in schools

05 Jul 2019  |  Author: Toni Hassan  | Theme: Civil society and politics; The Arts, Sciences and Culture

The Victorian Government ought to be congratulated. From next year it will ban the use of smartphones during school in all state schools. Schools are where we expect our children to be safe, to develop co-operative and pro-social skills, and to grow their capacity to focus and become critical thinkers. Smartphones blunt those skills. They are (in the main) a tool for distraction and a weapon for online-bullying. Social media is fueling anxiety and a mental health crisis.
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Wyatt and the way ahead with fewer divides

31 May 2019  |  Author: Toni Hassan  | Theme: Indigenous reconciliation; Civil society and politics

What a Reconciliation Week. Not only were we reconciling differences after a bruising election, but a respected Indigenous man was appointed Minister for Indigenous Australians, the first Indigenous Australian to be given that responsibility. Ken Wyatt was subjected to racist taunts during his campaign for the West Australian seat of Hasluck in 2010. After his narrow win for the Liberals, some people who voted for him complained they didn't realise he was Aboriginal.
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The question of religious freedom in a post-secular society

31 May 2019  |  Author: Stephen Pickard  | Theme: Public theology and ethics; Civil society and politics

The issue of religious freedom in Australian society is a matter of significant moment. But the question of freedom of religion is never a simple, stand-alone issue. It connects with a range of matters relevant to our life and well-being as people of Australia. In one sense, the matter of freedom of religion is a window onto a whole range of contemporary issues. These include freedom of speech and practice; the place and value of religion in society; notions of equality, human dignity and discrimination; the rights of minorities; the impact of an influential and pervasive populism; the unexamined beliefs and prejudices of a particular kind of secularism; and questions about what it means to respect the rights, values, and freedoms of a nation that is richly multicultural, religiously diverse and increasingly stridently secular.
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The one thing we have to fear is fear itself

30 May 2019  |  Author: Toni Hassan  | Theme: Civil society and politics; Public theology and ethics

The government’s trying to scare us, which is odd because the one thing that is truly frightening it keeps trying to tell us isn’t a problem - calamitous climate change. There’s Medivac. Scary stuff! Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said our hospital waiting lists will be bumped out by refugees evacuated from offshore detention camps. Then there was the problem of violence by African-Australians in Melbourne, also pointed to by Dutton and ministers including Greg Hunt. Never mind that you are much more likely to be attacked (and killed if you are Melbourne woman) by someone who is not African. In fact, every week in Australia, a woman is killed by a current or former partner.
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