As house prices climb beyond the reach of more families and rents rise even faster, more and more Australians are experiencing housing stress. Instead of seeking solutions to this crisis, the NSW Government has turned its back on the problem in the vain hope that the markets will solve it. The markets have no interest in people in stress, low socio-economic groups and especially the homeless. The problems are set to get a whole lot worse.
Those who join the Australians for Affordable Housing campaign, would be struck by how broadly the issue of affordable housing has affected the community. Some of us are aware of the issues faced by pensioners and others on government payments, and the stress faced by those relying on private rental properties. But the breadth and number of people compelled to tell their stories of housing stress, and to have their stories shared, may well be a surprise.
On December 10, 1992, at Redfern Park, then Prime Minister Paul Keating gave the Australian launch of the International Year for the World’s Indigenous People with a speech that is now seen as a defining moment in Australian history. He spoke to a largely Indigenous audience, and at the time there was little press coverage of the speech. But its fame grew. In 2007, listeners to ABC Radio National voted the Redfern speech as their third most “unforgettable speech”, behind Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”, and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
I entered the room in which she sat motionless, just staring intently at her baby in the humidicrib. The woman in the pink dress did not turn to look at me, despite my odd appearance: white girl in oversized black abaya and untidy hijab juggling a camera and notebook. The woman’s baby girl was struggling to breathe. She had complex congenital heart defects, like so many babies born in Fallujah, a dusty, war-weary city, west of Baghdad, currently experiencing a dramatic increase in birth defects and miscarriages.
Is it a good idea to lock up teenagers who are charged with crimes? Except in rare cases – no. Do most kids charged with criminal offences get locked up? No. Do too many get locked up? Yes.
October is Mental Health Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues. The Sunflower Clinic is a specialist service tailored to the needs of people affected by psychosis, and their carers. Julia Jacklin spoke to Alexandra who works at the Burwood Clinic.
“It wasn’t until it happened to us that we realised what was really happening, what had been happening all along,” my friend, Mary [not her real name], says.
It is mid-afternoon on a cold Saturday in Sydney. We’re sitting in Mary and her husband’s hotel room. They both look drawn and tired. At first I thought it was the weather, after all, they live in Fiji, where the seasons are split into “Hot and Humid” and “Hot and Raining”. The chilly autumn air here in Sydney wasn’t something they were used to.
Nothing can prepare you for the magic of India. I listened to people’s stories, went to the doctor, read books, watched Bollywood films, ate a lot of curry and thought I was ready. I wasn’t. Everything they say is true. India is big, loud, colourful, smelly, a massive contradiction – amazing. Yet this means nothing until you are actually standing in the streets of Delhi surrounded by the chaos.
The Judaeo-Christian view of marriage is in the first place fundamentally a realist’s view. Our forebears knew people were going to have sex, no matter what, and so…
Dorothy McRae-McMahon is a minister-in-association at the church and the features editor. “When we began the paper around a decade ago, we felt that the mainstream media almost…