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Australian Catholic University (ACU) engages the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to bring a distinct perspective to higher education. We explore cultural, social, ethical and religious issues through the lens of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in our teaching, research and service.

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Pope Francis’ liberal approach to theology is aimed at reforming the church’s attitude towards issues. EPA/Alessandro Di Meo

Revitalising the Catholic Church: is Pope Francis proposing a new way forward?

Pope Francis has made headlines recently with comments about abortion, gay marriage, contraception, work and capitalism. Francis has said that he’s “not spoken much about these things [abortion, gay marriage…
Both sides of politics are in a race to the bottom in the mistreatment of asylum seekers. EPA/STR

Julian Burnside: Alienation to alien nation

I had a conversation with Tim Costello some years ago which significantly changed my way of seeing things. He told me of a time when he was running the Collins St Baptist Church. A guy who had been sleeping…
Prime minister-elect Tony Abbott has opted for experienced hands in naming his first Cabinet. AAP/Alan Porritt

Abbott’s new Cabinet: steady as she goes

Prime minister-elect Tony Abbott has announced his new Cabinet and ministerial line-up. In keeping with previous Coalition and Labor governments, there will be an inner Cabinet of senior ministers and…
The tail on Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party (PUP) certainly wagged at the ballot box on Saturday. AAP/Dave Hunt

How the Palmer United Party came out barking

A funny thing happened at the polls in Queensland over the weekend. To great surprise, the two right-of-centre minor parties - Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) and the recently-established Palmer United…
Everyone has views on the new prime minister, but who is the man behind the headlines? Dean Lewins/AAP

The Tony Abbott I know

As a public personality, our new prime minister is an involuntary paradox. On the one hand, Tony Abbott is one of the most discussed people in Australia. On the other, much of the discussion is so ill-informed…
The return of Kevin Rudd was aimed at denting the Coalition’s chances in Queensland, however it now appears that Teresa Gambaro will hold on to the marginal seat of Brisbane. AAP/Alan Porritt

Defying the Rudd revival: Brisbane is the real bellwether seat

If any seat is going to indicate whether all the pain that Kevin Rudd put the Labor Party through in regaining the prime ministership was worth it, it will be the inner-city seat of Brisbane. The seat…
Rather than mandatory detention of asylum seekers, Australia could save money by allowing more in and asking them to fill jobs in Australia that need doing. AAP/DIAC

Asylum Solutions: saving money with a more humane response

The major political parties in Australia are engaged in a competition to outdo each other in their promises to mistreat boat people. The theory is that this will deter others from seeking protection here…
Now that the Labor leadership issue has been resolved once and for all, the attention will soon turn to the opposition’s attempts to win government at the election. AAP/Alan Porritt

Back to the opposition: bring on the policies

With such unprecedented turmoil inside the Labor Party over leadership it is not surprising that we have all forgotten about the opposition. You know, the government-in-waiting, the other mob, the Coalition…
The states and the Gillard government both have a lot at stake at today’s COAG meeting. AAP Image/Julian Smith

COAG – the last throw of the dice for the Gillard government

Today’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting over the so called Gonski “reforms” to school funding, is the Prime-Minister’s last desperate throw of the dice to show she can deliver a big policy…
Australian cardinal George Pell will be part of the new global panel of advisers, the G8, to Pope Francis. AAP/Dean Lewins

Church reform: will Pope Francis’ G8 change the Catholic Church?

Pope Francis I’s weekend announcement of a new council, the Group of Eight (G8), to advise him on Catholic Church governance and reforming the Church’s central administration (the Roman Curia) has been…
The sensible thing for Tony Abbott to do would be make himself as small a target as possible as the election draws near - but sooner or later he will need to put forward some detailed policies. AAP/Lukas Coch

Never mind the leadership, what about the Opposition?

When Tony Abbott became leader of the Liberal Party by just one vote in December 2009 he saved the Liberal Party and non-Labor cause nationally from annihilation. Kevin Rudd as prime minister was riding…
A strong informal network is a key to being able to die in your own home. jairoagua/Flickr

Informal network essential for people who want to die at home

We know that most Australians would prefer to die at home, but we also know that most don’t. In fact, most of the people reading this article will eventually die in a hospital. A peaceful death at home…
The first group to arrive at Manus Island since facilities were reopened flew in on Wednesday. AAP/Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Four steps to more humane refugee processing

The latest announcements about boat-people involved heading further down the wrong track: a track marked out by the Howard government for political reasons, and sold to the public using dishonest rhetoric…
Chris Bowen’s new policy on bridging visas takes the Pacific Solution further in the wrong direction. AAP/Dean Lewins

Bridging visas send refugee policy further down the wrong track

It is clear enough that the Gillard government’s revived Pacific Solution has not stopped the boats: it has not even slowed them. In 2002, the boats stopped, some months after the Pacific Solution was…
A royal commission into institutionalised sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia has been announced. AAP/Dave Hunt

Royal commissions: how do they work?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a royal commission into child abuse in churches, schools and foster homes. The inquiry will include, but not be limited to, allegations of abuse in the Catholic…
The currently accepted blood lead goal – 10 micrograms per decilitre – needs updating. Tony Bibbs

Time to rethink blood lead goals to reduce risk to children’s health

Lead exposure continues to be an important public health issue for Australian children, with as many as 100,000 children under five years of age estimated to have blood lead levels high enough to cause…
Single mothers such as Michelle Daly have high aspirations for their children. Reducing their payments won’t help achieve them. AAP/Lukas Coch

Taking the big stick to single parents is not the answer

New legislation was passed last week to move single parents off the parenting payment, and onto the Newstart Allowance once their youngest child turns eight. Advocates for this change suggest that the…
There was absolutely no evidence that reading bad news led to immediate increases in stress responses for either sex. Dani/Flickr

Forgettable study sparks sexist headlines about women remembering

Attention women of the world: according to a flood of recent news headlines (78 at last count), it’s time to stop watching the news because negative news stories stress you out more than they do men. These…
State governments are looking at changing the way they deliver education. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

The policy and politics of education cuts

At a time when the Commonwealth sponsored Gonski Review of School Funding is recommending an increase of $5 billion a year plus for schools around Australia, it may seem odd that some state governments…
Social impact bonds - like other outcome-based contracts between governments and social services - can only work if the incentives are well defined. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Without the right incentives, social benefit bonds can leave us in a bind

The NSW Treasury’s current trial of social benefit bonds is attracting a lot of attention, including a session devoted to bonds and other social enterprise innovations at the Economic Society of Australia’s…

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