LGBTQIA Inclusion in the Catholic Church

Yes, the Pope influences millions of Catholics. And yes, he should be praised for making a change, if and when he actually makes that change.

This is not that time. He did not change the doctrine, he has not changed his stance on supporting the Church’s teachings, and he is excommunicating a pro-gay Australian priest for supporting women in becoming ordained. And now, since The Advocate award, it has been reported that he is ‘shocked’ by the thought of civil unions and gay adoption – news that isn’t shocking to me at all. Continue reading LGBTQIA Inclusion in the Catholic Church

Bernardi Clashes with Turnbull on Marriage

Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi says fellow Liberal Malcolm Turnbull should stop speaking in support of gay marriage. Bernardi is a right wing Christian who last year linked bestiality with homosexuality. Bernadi says gay marriage is a “fringe issue” for the party. Turnbull has been critical of Australia’s laws which prohibit same gender marriage, but he stops short of co-sponsoring deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek’s gay marriage bill.

Via SBS News.

Indigenous Mental Health

Indigenous culture has for a long time had a holistic understanding of mental health. Within this are concepts of the cultural importance of the connection between the mind and body as well as the land, ancestors and other spiritual connections…. What I admire most in my family and all the communities is Aboriginal people’s great resilience and generosity of spirit, not only to their own people but to everyone. Despite a terrible history that is still very close for Australia’s Indigenous people, this spirit of generosity and resilience are something to celebrate and acknowledge.

Prof Pat Dudgeon, National Mental Health Commissioner.

Political Change in Australia

In the Howard years Australia became a much meaner and more self-interested country … We are the richest people per capita in the world, if you just look in material terms, and we are the richest people ever to live on the Earth… Yet there’s this air of dissatisfaction and a feeling that we are being cheated, and that is a cultural shift that came out of the Howard years and has been promoted mightily by the Murdoch media — and that flows on through the ABC and all the other radio shock jocks and so on….

People voted for that with their eyes wide open [on the removal of environmental policies]. And I might add to that, that they voted for $4 billion dollars in foreign aid to be not spent.

International Responsibility on LGBTQI Rights

The Hon Michael Kirby speaks about the need for Australia to contribute towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) rights on a global scale. Kirby is now working with The Kaleidoscope Trust, a not-for-profit international organisation fighting against LGBTQI human rights abuses. Kirby will contribute to law reform on LGBTQI issues in the Asia-Pacific.

Commonwealth nations have some of the most oppressive and homophobic laws in the world. Kirby argues that Australia must be a leader in our region by improving our laws and by taking an active role to challenge injustice around the world.

Kirby is the former Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996 to 2009). He publicly identified himself as gay in 1999 and has campaigned actively about the human rights of LGBTQI Australians. He was awarded a human rights medal in 1991. In May this year, he was appointed to lead an United Nations inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea.

Same Sex Marriages in the Australian Capital Territory

Same sex marriages have been talking place in the Australian Capital Territory,  the first Australian state or territory to legalise non-heterosexual marriage. This new law had been contentious and it is being challenged by the federal Government led by the ultra  conservative Liberal Party. This coming Thursday The High Court of Australia will decide whether this new state law is constitutional so the law is currently precarious.

Challenges of the PhD

As a researcher I find that the challenges are more straightforward than music because they’re more within my control. Academia in Australia is highly competitive, yes, but there also lots of opportunities. The PhD is like an apprenticeship and there are transparent and logical rewards for your efforts – pretty much the opposite of the music industry. The first challenge of research would be self-management. I’ve put in many all-nighters and have many times felt on the brink of insanity trying to solve some tiny but all-powerful problem in a huge pile of data and code. A lot of research work is very boring and difficult and you have to keep yourself motivated through the troughs. A second challenge with research is writing and keeping up output when you have a lot of different things half-cooked.

A third challenge with research is cynicism. Right now I’m in a good place now and enjoy my topic, research, and writing. But with time the academic ladder will no doubt get more slippery and more fraught. Academics inevitably get more critical over time, partly because they are open to ever more criticism. My Mum once came to a PhD completion presentation I did and was traumatised by the questions at the end – no-one handles you with kid gloves like in school or something. For me that was just how things work. But maybe I will get tired of becoming thick skinned, so for now I am just taking it as it comes and seeing how much I deliver on this post doctoral project. In general I enjoy going to work and could honestly say I’d still do it, or something much like it, even if I didn’t have to financially.

Dr. Elizabeth Taylor is an Australian scholar, working as an Urban Studies Post-doctoral Research Fellow. She is also a blogger, musician and Radio Broadcaster with 3 RRR program, “The Urbanists.” Here she discusses the difficulties of academia in comparison to the work of being a musician. The interview is conducted by Australian sociologist Dr Sheree Gregory.

Read the whole post.

Jimblah on Indigenous Hip Hop

Jimblah (AKA James Alberts) is a South Australian Indigenous hip hop artist who has been an outspoken and creative critic of racism in Australia. While hip hop is very popular in Australia, the hip hop played by mainstream channels is predominantly American. Australian hip hop forums are dominated by white Anglo males who are both racist and sexist. This means that hip hop in Australia is exclusionary on several fronts: first in the type of artists that are given an audience by mainstream media; second by the exclusionary set up of the hip hop community online; and third by specifically marginalising Indigenous hip hop artists. Continue reading Jimblah on Indigenous Hip Hop

Buunji – National Indigenous Education Conference

NITV news reported from Buunji, the National Indigenous Education Conference in early November.

Organiser Lillian Gordan says they are promoting Indigenous identity, Indigenous diversity and Indigenous sustainability and an improved delivery of education in a way that won’t interfere with traditional culture.

It’s about bringing everybody together. Buunji is a Wiradjuri word meaning ‘to share,’ that everyone is coming together pretty much from all across the nation, what they’ve done and what they’ve seen and what their hopes are into the future for Aboriginal education.

Continue reading Buunji – National Indigenous Education Conference

Colonisation: 99 Year Township Lease

This is another invasion; this is another colonisation, another approach of taking over everything. You know you cannot sell land for something, the land is so precious you cannot do that.

– Reverend Gondarra, respected Arnhem Land elder.

Gondarra is fighting the Government’s push to take control of Indigenous communities through a “99 year township lease.” Gondarra evokes a critique of Australia’s colonial laws, which dispossessed the traditional landowners for much of Australia’s history (and which continues in various ways to this day). Continue reading Colonisation: 99 Year Township Lease