I found the following article interesting after all the ill-informed (dare I say – biased) stuff in the papers recently:  Published: 08 March 2018

Has debate around the Catholic Church become so polarised that it is moving towards irrational extremes, asks Joel Hodge. Source: ABC Religion and Ethics.

By no means am I advocating that the Church be exempt from robust public scrutiny. I am also not wishing to divert attention from historical abuse and grievous cover-ups in the Church. I firmly express support for the survivors who have bravely stood up to seek justice and healing.Rather, I want to avoid prejudicial scrutiny that only leads to misdirected blame. This misdirection allows all parties to avoid proper accountability.

Take the recent six-month investigation by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald into the properties of the Church. The investigation sought to highlight issues around the transparency and accountability of the Catholic hierarchy.Yet, despite the purported aims of the investigation, there were some obvious flaws. These flaws highlight how resources and attention are being irrationally misdirected against the Church and could be better deployed.

For example, the Church was treated as one entity by the investigation, whereas, in fact, it is many different entities in Australia – dioceses, religious congregations, parishes, schools, hospitals, aged care, social services and so on. To lump all these agencies together – like lumping all the assets and agencies of the federal, state and local governments – is misleading.  Without quibbling about the actual valuations given by the newspapers, much of the reported property cannot be liquidated for obvious reasons. There are churches, hospitals, schools, aged care and social services facilities on these properties. They could not easily be liquidated without a significant social cost and, in some cases, political negotiation.

One is left wondering, then, what was the real point of the investigation?  The Age claimed it wished to highlight the Church’s treatment of claims made by survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as question the tax-free status of the Church.
There seems to be a view that, by highlighting the Church’s wealth, it will be embarrassed and pressured into giving more compensation and support to survivors. But it is the federal government that has set the limit on compensation, not the Church.

– Joel Hodge is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University.


Hair “styling”

Is there any sign on the horizon of a change in hair “styling” – I mean the current look where the wearer appears to have climbed straight out of bed, perhaps  a shower, then off to work or play.  No comb appears to have touched most of the wearer’s heads, no brush.
I don’t want the structured look of a few years back but, please, could we have styles that aren’t a tangle of uncombed, rats-tails.  Could we have some style that is shiny and healthy and shows some care.
There are one or two or three women on TV who could show the way to an attractive head of hair, with an individual look and they still can look feminine .
And girls pulling two handfuls of hair forward on one or both sides, and so unnatural – does not make a good look.

Increase in wages – 2.4%

Eryk Bagshaw – SMH 22 Feb – please tell me if the 2.4% increase in wages for the year particularly in the “booming” healthcare industry represents an increase agitated for quite some time ago because healthcare workers were so badly  underpaid compared to other industries.   I really would like to know because there doesn’t seem to be a ban on huge increases for top level executives…who seem to score even when their companies go belly-up.


Privacy for parliamentarians

Newspaper contributors, radio contributors and TV presenters ask “why does it (private life such as affairs) apply in Parliament” (SMH 26 Feb).  Very simply – it applies because Barnaby and all Parliamentarians are paid by the public purse and as such owe us, the taxpayer for all the privileges they get.
They owe us a good job of work and Barnaby and other parliamentarians who allow their private lives to divert/intrude into their work/office must expect what they get…loss of privacy being one result.
If they want privacy for their activities – perhaps they should go into the private sector…the Royals are a good example of  responsibilities when on the public purse.

Media errors

Yawn…yawn..boring… It’s the start of a new school year and it’s on again – the public vs private schools issue. When is my (once an independent) SMH going to get someone like Ross Gittins to write a calm piece about the relative costs of shutting down the non-public school system and all students going to public schools vs paying less per student in non-public schools.
Elizabeth Farrelly spilled the beans when she said “a quarter of all school funding goes to private schools which educate roughly a third of the populace” and then went on to claim (erroneously) that   “private school students….were sucking almost two thirds as much as each public school student”.
If SMH were required to be as even handed in this perennial argument as in politics we would be told that the govt funding for each student in the non-public school system is much, much less than for public school students. Add in the costs of acquiring/building the schools for the intake of non-public school students if they crossed over in their numbers, extra administrative costs for a quarter of the school population, teachers, etc. and even some of the contributors who rail against the non-public school system, would have to realise that the state is on a good thing with so many students going non-public.

Free Speech

Reading Letters to the Editor SMH 16 Jan about the Margaret Court episode…What comes through to me is that most contributors and Margaret Court should, indeed are entitled to, right to free speech – BUT only when it conforms to their requirements/views in public speeches.  Raises the question- is this free speech.

Billie Jean King and opinions

So it has already come to this – King urges renaming of Margaret Court Arena – SMH 13 Jan.   Apparently King feels that if you are not with “them” you are against them and should be stripped of any honours you were awarded for your previous (tennis) skills.
Billie Jean King, I would remind you that this is Australia, not USA, and so far we have the right to express an opinion even if it goes against the common grain. Captains of Commerce, Sport, etc. should have  expressed THEIR opinions on the recent same-sex plebiscite as just that – THEIR opinions fuelled often by their own sexual orientation (as with King) and not presumed to speak for their constituencies.
I did point this out in contributions to the media at the time but where did my views go against the highly emotional tide of the moment and the best advertising campaign I have ever seen…nowhere.