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Daily Archives: June 13, 2008

Moving up despite the "death of civilisation" merchants

Quietly and without fanfare, not noted in the subsequent drama of The Night of the Iguana**, the NSW Parliament supported another step on the long road to justice for all humans in the state with the passing of the unexcitingly titled Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Bill 2008 earlier this month. Trevor Khan, National Party MLC, was one of those who spoke for the Bill.

This is a most important bill. In June 2007, shortly after entering this place, I was obliged to consider the Cloning and Other Prohibited Practices Amendment Bill 2007. That bill caused me much inner turmoil and, as many will remember, I opposed the legislation. My reason for opposing that legislation was based on the humanist traditions that I choose to espouse. I again seek to use those same humanist principles to explain the position I come to in respect of this bill. To explain my reasoning I refer to some of the affirmations of humanism adopted by the Society for Secular Humanism.

The society’s statement of principles includes the following expressions of belief: A belief in an open and pluralist society in which democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities; a concern for securing justice and fairness in society and eliminating discrimination and intolerance; an intention to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity; a belief in the cultivation of moral excellence; a respect for the right to privacy; a belief in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness and responsibility; and, finally, a belief in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality…

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Australian poem 2008 series # 16: cheating slightly…

… because it is actually a classic Chinese poem! However, it has been translated by an Australian — by me in fact, with much help — and my view is that what you have here is an Australian poem that in some respects parallels a Chinese poem which can’t really be translated. As Robert Frost once said, poetry is what is lost in translation. Nonetheless as an Australian poem it is at least passable. I hope.

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Posted by on June 13, 2008 in Australia and Australian, Chinese and China, OzLit, peace, personal, poets and poetry

 

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Relevance of Canada’s Apology to Australia’s

I could well relate to the feelings Canadians must have experienced as they witnesses the Apology to their Native Peoples, video posted in the VodPod on the right. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports: ‘We are sorry’.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had yet to utter a single word of Canada’s apology to former Indian residential schools students when the cheering began. Native drumming and shouts turned into loud, simultaneous clapping. Raw emotion bursting for an apology decades overdue. There were many smiles.
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Posted by on June 13, 2008 in Brendan Nelson, Canada, current affairs, events, human rights, humanity, Indigenous Australians, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, pluralism, Political, politics, Reconciliation