Leslie Cannold: Writer, Commentator, Ethicist, Researcher
WRITINGS

Protesting Oz Census 2016: What Legal Experts Say

I spoke to some people at Liberty Victoria and a number of civil liberty, human rights and non-governmental organisations about the law in regard to Census 2016 and the potential ramifications of boycotting or protesting the threats posed to individual privacy. The advice I got is below. I hope this helps you to make an informed choice about whether and how to protest the Census.

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The Law Ain't Enough to Stop Cheaters from Prospering

The scripture debate is distracting us from the simple truth that all kids need to be taught ethics at school

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Ugly selfies are all about girls trusting other girls

*When girls meet feminism in a toxic culture of appearance, ugly selfies are the result *

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Divorce - Because you deserve it

I caught up with a girlfriend in New York recently. She gave me a rundown on the lives of those with whom we’d gone to school. “She’s divorced”, was a description attached to many, though I was struck by the implicit judgment that came with my friend’s sad face and sigh. As if divorce was evidence of a failure of character and proof of a life lived less well.

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Is Malcolm Turnbull the Next Lady MacBeth?

The ambitions of men and women in politics are still treated differently. Look at Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop

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The Time for Women is NOW

The campaign for gender equity needs bold ideas, powerful technology and the potent rage of a new generation

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Medical Refusal Rights: Why pregnant women have them, too

A pregnant Sydney woman died after refusing treatment that may have saved her unborn baby. It’s a distressing choice, but the alternative could be just as troubling

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Do you want to help overweight kids, or just insult them?

We need a positive message to give children the gift of good health, writes Leslie Cannold.

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Live Below the Line or Wear a Dress - Making a Difference & Development Aid

We don’t have to wait for Australian governments to act in the national interest when it comes to foreign development aid. We can do something to help our nearest neighbours now

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A Grand Example of a Perfect Role Model

A FEW years ago a child I know walked into an interview for a coveted scholarship place at a competitive high school. Things were going well until the panel asked the 13-year-old to name a person she most admired. ‘'But,’‘ they stipulated, ’‘it can’t be either of your parents.’'

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Mental Health Reform - Why Victoria is the State to Watch

Victoria’s new Mental Health Act will move it from the back of the human rights bus to a leader in individually-empowering patient care

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Opting-Out? Off-Ramping? Why women are really leaving paid work

Words like “desire” and “choice” might be poor ways to describe circumscribed career moves that mothers make when trying to factor in childcare, writes Leslie Cannold.

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Leslie in The Age: How to Smooth the Way for Australia's Next Female PM

This weekend marks six months since Julia Gillard stepped down from the highest office in the land. With International Women’s Day on the horizon, it is timely to reflect on Gillard’s rise and fall.

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Bonchek Adams Controversy a Tweeting Shame

Now is the time for informed debate on patient choices.

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Leslie' Advice to Australia's Next Female PM

Leslie joins Jane Caro and Natasha Stott-Despoja among others in considering the take-aways from Julia Gillard’s tenure as Australia’s first female PM and suggesting ways forward for the next generation of women leaders.

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Leslie and her Labrador Learn about Judging & Being Judgemental

Many unsavoury items wash up along the foreshore. I know because my Labrador decided to sample some on a recent trip to the beach. She then proceeded to vomit and excrete them on what turned out to be a long walk home.

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Prestigious US Publisher's Weekly raves about The Book of Rachael

If Jesus had a sister, what might have her story been? Australian Cannold (The Abortion Myth) turns her attention to an obscure corner of history: the role of women in patriarchal Roman society and Jewish culture during the early years of Christianity. Foreshadowing Jesus’s anti-establishment views, Cannold imagines that he has a sister, Rachael, a tomboy who tries to defy social restrictions on women. Readers accompany her through her successes and failures navigating the patriarchal world that seeks to define her as a wife and mother. Cannold develops Rachael as a well-rounded, independent, and morally complex character who is not solely defined by her relationships with men. Even though the second half of the story revolves around her brother Jesus (as Joshua) and her husband Judah (as Judas), Rachael remains the focal point of the familiar story as it plays out. Rachael’s tragedy is not merely the fact that her brother was martyred and that her husband the Messiah’s traitor, but also that she was not allowed to be what she wanted to be. Cannold offers a thought-provoking, heartfelt, and tragic but redemptive tale about the difficulties of discovering and defining one’s identity in a world that seeks unendingly to take that decision away. (Dec.)

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Every Book Deserves a Soundtrack. Now, the Book of Rachael has one

This backing track feature appeared on the Large-Hearted Boy website.

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Cosmos: Climate Science and Why Fear Didn't Work

Scientists need to listen to marketing professionals on how to get across the message on climate change and effect real change, writes Leslie Cannold.

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The Well: Will There Always Be Outcasts?

Leslie’s piece on making outcasts and the importance of belonging published in The Well

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Why the Man who said Sheryl Sandberg's Vision of Diversity is Unachievable is Wrong

Last week, Women’s Agenda published an article titled ‘Why this man says Sheryl Sandberg’s vision for diversity isn’t achievable’. The author, Chris Golis, is a London Business School graduate who spent 30 years as a company director. In what might have been a ham-fisted attempt to promote his “third career as professional speaker and workshop leader on practical emotional intelligence,” Golis took aim at what he described as the “genetic” unsuitability of women for leadership. In reply to Sandberg’s question about why women are still not running “half [the world’s] countries and companies”, Golis proffered what he acknowledged was his opinion on how one “become[s] a leader in a large organisation.”

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What "Miracle Babies" Might Mean for Abortion Rights

Premature babies may now have a greater chance at life, but we shouldn’t let this welcome development be co-opted by anti-choice legislators & campaigners

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Uncovered Meat Moments and Prisoner X

The Prisoner X case has raised questions about where Australian Jews' loyalties ultimately lie. Jewish leaders shouldn’t let a teachable moment go to waste.

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Does Australia Need A National Integrity Day?

Two young Australian reporters refuse to reveal their sources and face jail for contempt of court. A former customs official is convicted for leaking reports about security breaches at Sydney Airport to the media. Allegations of undue interference in a police investigation of a young woman’s rape by an AFL footballer are vindicated, but still no charges are laid.

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Dangerous Remedy & the Heroism of the 1st Abortion Rights Activists

Last week, I sat down with an activist colleague to watch the latest dramatic offering from ABC1, Dangerous Remedy.

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Gillard's Misogyny Speech - What Have We Learned?

The dust may finally have settled on the gender debate sparked by Alan Jones’s ‘'destroy the joint’‘ comment and the viral spread of the Prime Minister’s misogyny speech.

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Lance Armstrong & Why Cheaters Shouldn't Prosper

Leslie’s Opinion piece in ABC Online’s The Drum

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Leslie on Alan Jones vs the Cyber-bullies in The Drum

The power of the internet has let David have his day with Goliath in the Jones affair. But power corrupts no matter who wields it – a media mogul or a citizen group,

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Leslie on the Life-Changing Value of Contraception to the World's Poorest Women

Leslie writes in The Age about her experience “live tweeting” the Family Planning Summit, one of the modern world’s most important development initiatives.

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To Publish - or to e-publish?

Years after this piece was published, Harvard has joined my call for academics to reclaim their scholarship.

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Barking Mad - Puppies and Toddlers in an Intolerant Land

This is the full text of the column, with my farewell and thanks to Moral Maze readers

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Disappearing Act of the Soul That's So Hard to Bear

A column about Dying with Dignity in memory to Hilda Abramson, Leslie’s grandmother

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Legal bind mean no decent end to suffering for incurably ill

SARA MONOPOLI, a non-smoker, was 34 years old – and 39 weeks pregnant – when diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Alan Rosendorff, 56, was a successful lawyer and strapping bloke who swam kilometres in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay to keep fit, when he learnt his recently diagnosed stomach cancer had metastasised.

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In China or the West - Look for the Power in Industrial Matters

“Look for the power.” I don’t know if this was the first lesson my sociology professor taught me but it’s the one I most remember. If you want to know why the world looks as it does, follow the power.

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The Name Game Leaves Many Men to Blame

Why do women take their partner’s surnames when they marry? Why, even where a woman keeps her own name, does she follow tradition and give her offspring his surname instead of hers?

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Chris Brown "Slap Tweets" Announce Next Gen of Victims

THE tweets were reactions to Chris Brown’s appearance at the Grammy Awards. All were variations on a theme: domestic violence.

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That Poor Little Israeli Girl & the Cost to Secular Democracies of Religious Extremism

Last week in Israel, a news story shocked the nation. It concerned Naama Margolis, an Orthodox Jewish girl, who was shown crying and quaking at the prospect of taking the 800-metre walk from her home to school.

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What do Occupy Sydney and Melbourne Want?

What do Occupy Sydney and Occupy Melbourne want? Now in its 65th day, the protest against corporate greed and its effects on the 99 per cent is under pressure. Some dismiss the Melbourne movement as a front for the ‘'Trots’‘ – socialist and Marxist splinter groups that have been around for yonks. Others see their preoccupation with legal skirmishes over the right to occupy public space as a distraction from articulating the movement’s aims to a sceptical public.

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We need to reform Australia's rape laws

Judicial processes that are fair don’t always deliver fair outcomes

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We ought to worry about Australia's Democratic Decline

There’s been much talk recently about a decline in the ‘'civility’‘ of our public debate. This follows a long period of anxiety about ’‘values’‘ and disgruntlement about ’‘spin’‘, and – if I’m reading the tea leaves right – will soon give way to sustained fretting about what our Prime Minister recently called the ’‘Americanisation’‘ of Australian politics.

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The Fat And Skinny Of Desiring Your Spouse

My Fat Spouse is the brainchild of an American body-builder named Chris. As the title suggests, the MFS website is a space where presumably slim spouses can bitch and worry about fat ones, as well as trade practical tips for “coping”.

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Court takes stand on decency in Bolt Racial Discrimination Case

The Federal Court finds Australia’s shock jock of the written word guilty of violating the Racial Discrimination Act.

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What Does Occupy Wall Street Protesters want? Listen & you'll learn

Occupy Wall Street – a street rally of disenfranchised Americans in New York City’s financial district – is going off like a frog in a sock.

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Line between censors and sensibility a clear one

You cannot learn from books you’ll never read or be inspired by ads you’ll never see.

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Time to weigh anchor on Australa

The most compelling argument for bipartisanship on boat arrival policy is that we could finally stop talking about the issue and deal with something else.

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The Tweeting Truth (according to Leslie) in the ASA Mag

Forget the cliches. Twitter is an essential tool for Writers because it is the easiest way to raise one’s profile and engage with readers.

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Why Women Have "Late-Term" Abortions

Late-term abortions are sought for many reasons – rarely ones that are trivial, despite what the pro-life lobby says.

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Don't Let Disability Scheme Be Yesterday's News

Just more than two weeks ago, the Australian government announced its commitment to introducing a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

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According to some, the problem with the media is YOU

Last weekend I chaired a session at the Byron Bay Writers' Festival in which ABC Radio presenter and newspaper columnist Phillip Adams, Network Ten’s Charlie Pickering and Fairfax columnist and ABC presenter Richard Glover gave an overflowing audience their views on the future of an ethical media. I was also privy to the thoughts and occasional confessions of three other journalists on this issue. Here are some points on what I was told:

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Harry Potter and the Courage it takes to be that First Follower

As anyone who has followed my writings over the years knows, I cry easily. Which is why to those folks it will come as no surprise that the latest and final instalment of the Harry Potter film epic – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – made me cry. Not shuddering sobs but tears of joyful satisfaction. Here’s the reason.

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Would we judge Top Cop Nixon any differently if she were a man?

I admired Christine Nixon throughout her nine-year tenure as Victoria’s chief commissioner of police and then head of Victoria’s Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority. Recently, we were on the same flight to Queensland. While disembarking, I tapped her on the shoulder, introduced myself, and told her so.

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News without Ethics: Media the Murdoch Way

Fish rot from the head down. So do unethical businesses and corrupt societies. This is as true when the fish is an unethical business as one of the arm of liberal democratic government – executive, judicial or legislative. It is also true of the fourth estate or free press, the often forgotten power-centre that is the key to a functioning democracy.

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Time for a Reality Check - It's not all about you

WE WANT it all ways and we’re terribly entitled. Yet many of us want to be inspired, and led, to something better. How else to explain that we, or political pundits on our behalf, cry out for political leadership yet – in the same breath – wax indignant that politicians aren’t doing what the majority demands.

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The Myth of the Lying Victim - The case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

By anyone’s estimates, the rate of sexual assault in Australia is high. In 2010, the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded 80 victims per 100,000.

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Leslie Wins an EVA for Reporting on Rape

The EVAs’s reward reporters who report responsibly on violence against women. In 2011, Leslie won the EVA for Best Opinion for her piece “There are many reasons women don’t report rape” on the media coverage of sexual violence by elite athletes in the AFL and her own experience of sexual assault.

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The ugly face of child beauty pageants

Do an internet search on “child beauty pageant” but be prepared. Not just to be depressed by images of overblown, cap-toothed, heavily made-up under-fives but the obvious yet rarely commented upon fact that all these kids are girls.

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It's Time to Deny ACCESS to our Children

Last week, Victorians were rocked by explosive revelations that ACCESS Ministries – the group that provides around 97 per cent of school chaplains and scripture volunteers in Victorian schools – has been using its privileged position in governments schools to “make disciples” of children as young as five.

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Fighting for the Right to be Equally Mediocre

A feminist is a person who believes the world should be gender-blind. Feminists believe that women – 51 per cent of the population – should be distributed throughout all levels of society in proportion to their numbers.

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Values of Easter and Passover Go Beyond Faith

Passover and Easter are upon us. While the precise timing of each festival is dictated by different calendars (Passover the lunar one and Easter by the Gregorian one) both commemorate emerging values in an ancient world. Values like liberty and equality that are also hallmarks of secular ethical frameworks in the contemporary western world.

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Are Christians Really the Source of Oz Values?

It has become commonplace for the Australian Christian Lobby and some right-wing churches to claim Christianity is the source of Australian values. Tolerance, equality of opportunity and between genders, the fair go – yep, when it comes to these and other values Christians claim to have got there first.

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Mia Freedman & the Debate about Fat Acceptance

Mia Freedman’s ‘'If you have to ask, your bum does look big in that #rulesforlife’ set off a Twitter spat where many hurtful things were said. Leslie weighs in on what’s fair and foul in the controversy about body image

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Medical Refusal Rights Must be Regulated Before More Women Die

At best, unregulated conscientious objection is an accident waiting to happen. At worst, it is a sword wielded by the pious against the vulnerable with catastrophic results

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No Non-Violent Political Action Please. We’re Australian

Over the long weekend just past, there were several breakouts from the Christmas Island detention centre. Also, a 300 strong protest that officials said was a riot and quelled with beanbag rounds. Labor’s Immigration Minister Chris Bowen accused some of the asylum seekers of waging an “orchestrated campaign.”

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We Can Only Wish Teen at Heart of Dikileaks Scandal Our Best

We are now entering the second year of the DikiLeaks scandal. The story began in February last year when St Kilda AFL player Sam Gilbert and other players attended a school clinic in Melbourne where they met a 16-year-old student. A month later, in another city while competing in an athletics competition, the girl hooked up with the players at a hotel. She had sex with one player and soon became Gilbert’s girlfriend.

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Across Australia, Law Reform is Unfinished Business

The Age prints an edited version of Leslie’s Pamela Denoon lecture, delivered at the Australian National University 7 March 2011

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Why Women Don’t Always Support Other Women

A few months back I was a guest on a morning talk show. “Dr Cannold,” one of the hosts asked, “Why is it that older women often don’t support younger ones?”

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Religiously Defending the Right to Remain Secular

This column is about lawlessness, and what your government is doing in your name. Or, more accurately, how it’s spending your money while dodging the oversight of Parliament in direct contravention of the law.

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Retrospective Legislation and Donor Conceived People

The danger with retrospective legislation, which some seek to identify sperm donors, lies in its potential for injustice.

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Should Parents Allow Mixed Sex Sleepovers?

Mixed-sex sleepovers? Help!

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There’s No Shame in Being Too Posh to Push

Informed women have the right to choose their delivery method

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Did Jesus Have a Sister?

History is distressingly silent on the subject of the women in Jesus’ life

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What the Lindy Chamberlain, Patsy Ramsey, Kate McCann & now Keli Lane Case Says About Us

Last week journalist Michael Duffy wrote that there was “a great disconnect” between “what we know [Keli Lane] did – even putting aside the murder allegation – and the fact that by literally all public accounts she was a normal, happy and sociable northern beaches girl with a supportive and loving family, a passion for sport, and a healthy social life”.

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Why Negative Ads Don’t Work, but Sticking to Principle Does

It all comes down to Bentleigh, a Liberal strategist told me on Saturday night.

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Small-L Liberals Skewer Progressives on Horns of a Dilemma

Should progressive voters act to ensure the right side of politics is liberal, not conservative?

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Can Doctors Say No to Providing Abortion Care?

The religious rights of a small group of medical professionals do not trump those held by the remainder of the citizenry.

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Who Has the Courage to Stand Up for State Schooling?

Are there big ideas in Australian politics any more? Or big politicians with big principles and the wit and courage to stand by – and for – them?

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Flu Jabs - Australia Needs to Do Better

A report into what went wrong with this year’s seasonal flu vaccine for kids deserves our attention. The West Australian Health Department’s Ministerial Review into the Public Health Response into the Adverse Events to the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine sought to uncover the reason for “an alarming rise in adverse events following immunisation” that included vomiting, diarrhoea and febrile convulsions. Four weeks after the vaccination program began, Australia’s chief medical officer advised doctors across the country to stop giving the shot to children under five.

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Talking About Rape

It’s the end of the footy season, so everyone’s talking about rape. Or, more specifically, about the young women who were so stupid as to put themselves in a position where they’d be raped, or be able to claim later that they were.

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Leslie in the Hot Seat on ABC TV’s Q & A

Watch Leslie chat with Presenter Tony Jones, the Chaser’s Craig Reucassel, Women’s Weekly editor Helen McCabe, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne on one of Australia’s most watched TV current affairs shows.

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New Problem With No Name

The first problem with no name was uncovered in the 1960s by a feminist named Betty Friedan. Once named, the problem had a chance of having its parameters defined and negative consequences addressed.

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Australia’s Hung Parliament and the Governor General’s Moral Dilemma

Last week questions were raised about whether Quentin Bryce should excuse herself from the Governor-General’s role in the event of a hung parliament because of a conflict of interest. Bryce’s son-in-law, Bill Shorten, is a Labor MP likely to have a senior role in the Gillard government if it retains power.

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The National School Chaplaincy Program Is an Accident Waiting to Happen

Around one in five young Australians suffers from mental illness. These include anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as complex conditions like anorexia and bulimia. Some 10 per cent of young Australians suffer abuse or neglect while one in five has a parent with poor mental health (21%) or a physical disability (19%).

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A Few Good Men and Stephen Milne Rape Allegations

Important stories can hit-and develop-at the wrong time. Like in the days leading up to a coup that delivered Australia its first female Prime Minister. Such losses are an inevitable part of an unpredictable news cycle, but sometimes they must be resisted. Some stories are just too important to let fall off the radar.

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What the First Female PM Means for Australian Women

What does Australia’s first female PM mean for Australian women? Nothing. And Everything.

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Protect Our Kids from Scripture Teachers and Junk Food Advertisers

It’s easy taking candy from a baby. That doesn’t make it right.

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Leslie Talks to TokenSkeptic About Big Pharma

Leslie and science educator Michael McRae ask how industry-funded research and marketing influences our health.

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Leslie Talks to Kate O’Toole on ABC Youth Radio Triple J’s Hack

On child support and whether men have become reproductive slaves

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Leslie Talks Men and Abortion on Radio JJJ’s Hack

Leslie talks to Kate O’Toole about men and why you can’t have half a baby or half an abortion

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When Difference of Desire is Sold As a Deficiency

Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Henry Higgins posed the question in My Fair Lady and ever since Viagra began earning Pfizer more than $US1 billion ($1.2 billion) per year, the big pharmaceutical companies have been asking it, too. Why can’t women’s sexual problems be cured as simply and profitably as men’s?

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Does NSW Labor need to go?

In the wake of yet another scandal and ministerial reshuffle in the NSW government, Leslie joins other ethical opinion leaders to answer the question, is it time for the NSW government to go?

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Shape your Online Image or Others will Shape it For You

For better or worse, internet profiles affect real-world reputations

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The Patenting of Human Genes Must Be Stopped

Craig Venter is back in the news. The entrepreneurial geneticist recently announced he has created a new form of synthetic life. The new microbe, which thrives and replicates with only a man-made genome, paves the way for a world full of organisms that are built to order rather than evolved.

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What Public Infidelity Has to do With Me

At a press conference after his resignation, the former NSW Transport Minister David Campbell has this to say about revelations he had visited a gay bathhouse:

’I made some personal choices which have put me and my family in this situation…I’ve apologised to them for it. I apologise to the community."

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Corruption Is Never Harmless, in the Church or State

Corruption is the most serious moral scandal of our time. Why? Because corruption is a double-edged sword, a moral evil that may turn one chump’s decision to bribe, extort or otherwise abuse his power for personal gain into destruction of the very systems that order our society and make this country great.

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Why We’ve Stopped Trusting Science

The 1950s was the apex of scientists and scientific credibility. My parents, like most of their peers, were taken in by heroic media depictions of Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine, and the outpouring of scientific ingenuity in the cold war race to the moon. Like many of the children of this doctor-knows best generation, I was formula-fed, fully vaccinated and dosed with antibiotics at the first sign of sore throat.

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Patently Absurd. Why Corporates Shouldn’t Profit From Our Genes

How can human attributes be deemed corporate property?

We tend to think of patents as good, or at least necessary, legal tools. Patents provide legal protection for innovations on which inventors rely to recoup the investment of time and money they made to develop a new medication, or bring a product to market.

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The Skinny on the Ethics of Dating

When does an impolite boyfriend become unethical? Chronic rudeness on this or other fronts may indicate the presence of more serious moral disorders.

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Get Religion out of Government Schools, Please!

A mother writes to me, torn with guilt about a decision she made about the education of her daughter, who began kindergarten this year. The family doesn’t believe in “structured religion”, preferring instead to raise their children as “tolerant of all religions but followers of none”.

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Role of Big Pharma in question after half a century of the pill

An independent study is needed of the pill’s impact on women’s lives.

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Support for Dying Friend our Final Gift

A READER – a qualified scientist I’ll call Ron – asks for my view on a dilemma that pitted his personal and professional integrity, and belief in absolute truths, against his love for a dying friend.

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Pregnancy and Job Seeking. Is it Time to Lie?

A reader seeks advice on an acutely female ethical dilemma. She has just landed a much-wanted interview for a nine-month job, but discovers herself pregnant. The child, if born, will be her third. If she miscarries, it will be for the third time, too.

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Good Parents Send Their Kids to Private School, Don’t They?

The Bankwest press release was crafted to provoke controversy. “More Australians Choose a Good Time over Kids Education.” It had the same flavour as the bank’s offering when it released similar market research last year. “Aussie families prefer holidays and Botox to private school education.”

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Do We Really Need to be Polite to the Family Pedophile

A reader seeks advice in resolving one of the most distressing dilemmas ever tackled by this columnist. The mother of two daughters, aged one and three, habitually finds herself in the holidays in the company of a child abuser. This, at least, is what she has been told about the elderly father of her brother’s wife, who arrives each year at Christmas from interstate.

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Kissing a Friend Goodbye

A new friend of mine recently told me a story about an old friend of hers. I use the term “friend” advisedly here because friendship is what this story is all about.

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Desperate or Deadbeat Dads?

In recent weeks, I seem to have become a bloke magnet. Two weeks ago at the State Library cafe and one night last week at my usual watering hole, I’ve had men in my ear. Sweet men, sad men, vulnerable men – some recently divorced, others single for years – crooning variations on the same tragic tale. A tale about children they love but no longer see.

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Leslie Talks to 4BC Morning’s Host Greg Carey About The Capacity for Consent

A district court judge has questioned the fairness of convicting a man who pleaded guilty to rape, for continuing to perform sex acts on an unconscious woman. Was the man really treated unfairly, or is the judge confused about what consent is all about?

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Leslie Talks to 4BC Morning’s Host Greg Carey About Matthew John’s Scandal and Sex Lies and Relationships

Rugby league star Matthew John’s infidelity has raised the issue of staying with a partner who has strayed. Greg Cary talks to author Ruth Simons, about the thought processes behind cheating.

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Women Failed by Catholic-Run Hospitals

With no room at the Women’s, patients are at the mercy of religion

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Can it Ever be Ethical to Let Women Die?

A disturbing trend is emerging in the writings of those opposed to legal abortion. Since the passage of Victoria’s Law Reform Act last year, they have been campaigning against the limits the new law imposes on the rights of healthcare professionals to conscientiously object to involvement in abortion.

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Something Mad About Refugee Policies

Even if we eliminate people smugglers, the people needing smuggling won’t disappear.

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Betrayal and the Shocking Lies of Rex Crane

“From Hero to Zero” ran the headline, a nice one to describe the fall from grace last week of the Federal President of the Prisoners of War Association of Australia, Rex Crane.

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We Must Say “Know” to Abstinence-Only Sex Ed “Choices, Decisions, Outcomes”

Your children have a right to sex education. This right is a component of their sexual rights, themselves a subset of the human rights guaranteed to them in international laws, human rights documents and other consensus statements.

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Pulling Out the Racist Tag is a Lazy Way to Argue About Policy

There is little evidence to support racial motives behind criticism of Obama.

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Circumcision - Who Decides?

Circumcision used to be the done thing. Now, only around 10 per cent of Australians circumcise their male infants. But in Tasmania, they are trying to find a way to stop them. A recently released Tasmanian Law Reform Institute issues paper makes no bones about its desire to use the criminal law to prosecute some hapless Jewish, Muslim or Aboriginal parents for circumcising their boys.

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One Step Forward, Two Back, in Fight for Reproductive Rights

RU486 is available, but in Queensland a teenager is charged over an abortion.

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When Giving Cuts Right to the Bone

Years ago, when I was doing a Masters of Bioethics under renowned philosopher Peter Singer at Monash University in Melbourne, I signed up to the newly founded Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

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Gene Patents Violate Civil Liberties

There’s a question that’s been around for about 30 years: whether private, for-profit companies should be allowed to gain exclusive control over knowledge about our genes.

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Labels Rarely Go More Than Skin-Deep

The recent rallying of Indian migrants in Sydney and Melbourne, and last Monday’s Four Corners about the death of Aboriginal man Mr Ward, are just two recent reminders that racism is alive in Australia.

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There’s no Rule Book for Families

“I was upset by what happened. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever felt so humiliated in my life. I understand that the president made a ruling based on the current rules. But as any mother knows, sometimes families don’t play by the rule book … I hope this allows us to have a discussion about how we balance these things and respect the work of working families regardless of whether it’s mothers or fathers …”

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What we Have is the Failure to Communicate

We have a problem. Despite broad and sustained scientific consensus about the growing incapacity of the planet to sustain us and the threat posed by climate change, our elected decision makers and key corporate players seem incapable of doing enough of what is required, to avert the coming crisis.

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Where Rights, Medicine and Law Collide

Last year an Australian woman undertook a medical procedure. This week she and her boyfriend will face court because of it, charged with a crime. If found guilty, the 19-year-old and her 21-year-old boyfriend could get 10 years’ jail.

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You’re Off to a Party? Its no Laughing Matter, You Sick Swine

Why would someone hold a swine flu party, a celebration intended to help you catch the virus? If you are invited to one, should you attend? Should viral socialites be shunned and pilloried, or are they providing a much-needed warning to those in charge of public communications about H1N1 that they need to think again?

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Sexual Freedom Won’t Spare You Regret

Here’s how a 15-year-old West Australian girl described a sexual encounter she had with three boys at a party after too much drink: “It felt really good at the time but afterwards I felt cheated and used.”

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Sex Test Engenders a Skewed Reality

The Mother’s Day press release was cloying. The innovation it heralds is unnecessary at best and, at worst, a sexist menace.

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Stand Firm Against Race to the Bottom

An Open Letter to the Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon on Australia’s Emissions Trading System

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We Must Respect the Wrong Decision

Should pregnant women smoke? OK, that’s a no-brainer but here’s a harder one. When pregnant women do smoke, what should we do about it?

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We Need a Population Policy Debate

Tuned into the boat-people debate this week? If yes, you’ll know that the stress and disagreement that has long characterized the debate about migration is over. We all agree now that it’s the people-smugglers we love to hate. People smugglers, the PM said, are “the absolute scum of the earth.”

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Collaboration Takes Sting Out of Separation and Divorce

A kindler, gentler divorce may be a contradiction in terms, but the means to achieve it has arrived in Australia. Just a few weeks ago at a conference in Sydney, a group of good-hearted, specially trained lawyers met to discuss the ways a marriage in this country could be dissolved using a process called collaborative family law.

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Private School, Public Shame

Australia has come a long way-some might say the wrong way-when the Education Minister dismisses debates about equity in school funding as a diversion from what she laughably calls Federal Labor’s broad and deep reform agenda.

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Parallel Imports and Copy Wrongs

Australian publishing is a success story. In contrast to the uneven product of the heavily subsidized film industry, publishing continues to go from strength to strength. Around 45% of general audience books sold in Australia have been published here, and 40% of the top 5000 trade books have Australian authors. Not bad for an island at what Former PM Paul Keating reportedly described as the universe’s arse-end.

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Stop Conroy’s Great Australian Firewall

Fond of kiddy-fiddlers? A friend of the porn industry? You must be, if you oppose a mandatory filter on the net. Or so says Senator Stephen Conroy and his allies in the Christian Right and Authoritarian Left.

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In the AFL and NRL, Booze No Excuse for Sexual Assault

The rugby and footy season have begun. I know, because allegations of sexual violence are in the news.

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Give Us Better Biking Infrastructure, Please!

I was centimeters away from death or serious injury. Millimeters, even. The woman in the car hadn’t meant any harm. She had only just parked and was now hurrying on her way, probably wondering if she had enough coins in her wallet for the meter, if the space she’d just backed into was truly legal, and if she still had time to avoid being late.

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Ethics in a Time of Media

We expect a lot of our media. Not more than we should, but a decent amount, often without either acknowledging the importance of a free press to democracy, or the structural factors that can get in the way of well-meaning journalists doing the right thing.

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Read Leslie’s Expert Comments on Modern Contraception in The Sunday Age

Jill Stark interviewed Leslie for her article in the Age.

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This Valentine’s Week, a Few Thoughts About Love

Philosophers struggle to define love, little less explain it in ways we all crave. Ways that allow us to find and to nurture it, so as we journey through life – with the same lover or someone different – it will continue to flourish.

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Global Gag Leaves Blood on Our Hands

For Labor, the problem seems grim. Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith can either follow the lead of the Obama administration in lifting Australia’s version of the global gag rule, or ensure we remain the only country in the world that limits its foreign aid in this way.

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Should We Play Big Brother with our Kids?

British and American parents are about to get it, and Australian parents may want it too. Electronic babysitting, using a hard-to-remove wristwatch device with a GPS chip, is coming to a retail and online outlets soon. Want your tubby daughter to walk to primary school, but need assurance she’s arrived safely? Have reason to doubt your year 9 son’s insistence he is spending Saturday night at a friend’s house? Child location devices offer peace of mind to any parent with a mobile phone or computer.

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Whats Wrong with Adults Paying for Sex

This summer, Norway has quietly joined Sweden in outlawing paid sex. Men who have sex with prostitutes working in brothels or on the street face hefty fines or six months in gaol, while the women involved will be offered assistance to exit the industry. “We want to send a clear message to men that buying sex is unacceptable,” said the Norwegian Justice Minister, echoing the sentiments of Swedish detective Kajsa Wahlberg. “We don’t have a problem with prostitutes. We have a problem with men who buy sex.”

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Why We Must Sometimes Refuse to Help

A while back a reader-let’s call her Sharon-contacted me for help. Her story was confusing and hard to follow, so she directed me a website she had set up to publicise her cause. She also sent me some documents, which I committed to read with the view, if I could possibly make it work, of writing a column on her case. I wanted to help.

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All’s Fair in the Battle of Ideas

On Tuesday, Crikey broke a story about conservative magazine Quadrant’s publication of an essay on scientific criticism by Sharon Gould. Gould is described as having a PhD in Applied Science (biotechnology) and being employed as a biotechnology informatics consultant.

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Natural Earth Burials: Should our last decision be environmental?

Ethical talk about the dead usually focuses on rights. The rights of the dead to have their last wishes carried out, and their bodies treated with respect.

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Women’s Forum Australia is “Faking it”

Tune out or wise up. Late December and January is the season for think-tanks and institutes. The time where the lack of action on the government and university fronts leaves a hole in the news agenda that third-party mouthpieces for political, industrial or religious interests are more than happy to fill.

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Lars and the Real Girl Show Us the Way

It’s that time of the year again. No matter what we believe or commemorate, December offers most of us a few days off work. A chance to reflect on what really matters in our complex, crowded lives, and how it can be nurtured so more will grow.

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Torturing Others Does Most Harm to Us

Defenders of torture are fond of the ticking bomb scenario. It describes a terrorist who has planted bombs around a city that are set to blow, but who refuses to tell authorities where they are. The implicit claim of the scenario is clear. That in some cases, in particular where lives are at stake and time is running short, torture may be justified.

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Should We Let the Gene Out of the Bottle

How much do you know about your genes? Does your genetic profile match that of a sprinter, or is it more like an endurance athlete? Are you lactose intolerant, malaria resistant, possessed of wet or dry ear wax or at an increased risk, compared to others with similar ancestry, of breast cancer, Crohn’s or Parkinson’s disease?

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Let Women Speak for Themselves

For years, we’ve been tied up in knots, unsure how to protect the rights of women in male-dominated religions and cultures.

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Leslie talks abortion rights

Leslie discusses the recent decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria in an article by Stephen de Tarczynski on the Inter Press Service News Agency

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Dumpers and Martyrs and None of Us Saints

There were a lot of contenders for this week’s column. The inevitable arrival of paid maternity leave on the list of scuttled government initiatives because of the global economic crisis was one. Minister Stephen Conroy’s decision to capitulate to the demands of the religious right and censor everyone’s internet access was another. And there’s a piece inside me just screaming to get out about what former government leaders must really think about the quality of reporting on the ABC given their decision to participate in The Howard Years, the first episode of which screened on ABC TV this week.

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Beyond the Nuclear Family

Catch Leslie and a whole range of diverse families in this new educational DVD by the Victoria Educational Association. More information about this resource might be available on their website http://www.vea.com.au/. Or contact vea@vea.com.au.

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Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Courage

The Bali Bombers are dead. When news of the executions came over the wireless I found it hard to shed tears. These men were murderers and tears are evidence of compassion. My opposition to the death penalty is motivated by more principled and practical concerns.

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Climate Change: It’s about the economy, stupid

Catastrophic climate change is the moral issue of our time. If we flub it, it is our children who will be denied their most basic inheritance – a habitable and sustaining planet.

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Leslie Debates Abortion on SBS Radio

Hear Leslie and medical doctor Brigid Mckenna, the policy officer for the Sydney Catholic archdiocese’s Life, Marriage and Family Centre on SBS World View Forum.

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Church and State Should be Separate

This week, in a rare moment of bi-partisanship, the Federal Government and Opposition joined forces to reject Speaker Harry Jenkins’s call for a debate on whether the Lord’s Prayer should continue to be said at the start of each parliamentary day.

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Organ Donation Can Pose a Conflict of Interest

For millennia, religious authorities have defined death as the stilling of the heart and the absence of breath. But all that changed in the 1960s when organ transplants became medically feasible. In the wake of a Japanese surgeon being charged for a double murder for a failed attempt to transplant a heart, the medical profession put its foot down. It wasn’t long before dead patients were redefined from those without beating hearts to those who might-or might not-have cardio-respiratory function, but whose brain stems had definitely gone to God.

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Grace A Measure of Our Moral Fibre

“That was very gracious,” a friend of mine whispered at the conclusion of a speech I gave recently. We were at a function that my organization-which had done a lot of heavy lifting to achieve a shared goal-had arranged to thank other individuals and groups who contributed to a successful outcome.

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To Make a Difference, Stay Don’t Go

I love a good resignation. The drama! The flounce! The sense of moral superiority! Better then a day at the races to watch, and to be the one resigning! I feel giddy just thinking about it.

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The Bill Henson Debate: Looking After Our Children Without Hysteria

Yesterday was a big day for my child. The start of term at the primary school he has attended since kinder, and the first day of work for the principal. Oh, and the day he had to fight through a media scrum to get through the front gate.

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Domestic Violence is a Two-Way Street

In the early 1990s I worked as a researcher for an organization dedicated to finding accommodation for young, homeless women. Many of these young women were escaping violent homes and, if they were lucky enough to get a bed in a refuge, they often found more violence there.

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Whose Time is it Anyway, Peter?

Peter Bloody Costello. Thank heavens the man is about to exit the national political stage because, quite frankly, I’m not sure I could take another minute of him.

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Conscience Rights Must Be a Two-Way Street

Denying another’s freedom while exercising one’s own is hypocritical

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PM’s Cheap Answer to School Problems

The education revolution promised by Federal Government continues to piss me off. First it was a computer for every secondary school student; then it wasn’t. These days, the so-called digital revolution means that at some point in the next five years two students will share one computer, if the money to actually install the things and pay for the cost of running them can be found.

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Conscience Votes Entail Responsibilities, Not just Rights

Lord help me, here comes another conscience vote. This time, it’s about whether our Federal MPs think it’s OK to spend our taxes on the cost of an abortion necessary to save a woman’s life, or to evacuate her uterus of a fetus that is already dead, or affected by “gross” abnormalities. In 2006, Parliamentarians were allowed to exercise their moral judgment on the acceptability of therapeutic cloning techniques to explore cures for diseases like Parkinson’ disease and help for those confined for life to wheelchairs. RU486, and before this, the Northern Territory’s euthanasia bill.

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Heavy Cross to Bear for Gay Donors

Political activism is often a thankless task. It’s worse when the cause is not just controversial, but shrouded in stigma and shame. Yes, a lot of hard work goes into raising cash for breast cancer research or to send disabled athletes to Beijing, but at least it’s easy to ask your colleagues and friends to donate, and to get VIPs to sign on as patrons to the cause.

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Beware, it’s a bitter pill we swallow

They’ve done it again. For the third time, scientists have found evidence that the contraceptive pill may be inhibiting women’s capacity to conceive in more ways than one. Worse, it may be playing havoc with their love lives.

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Men, Abortion and the Sin of Moral Arrogance

Abortion is back in the news, with a bill now before the Victorian parliament that, if it becomes law, will give women with problem pregnancies of less than twenty-four weeks the right to decide for themselves.

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Ethical Carnivores Care for Animals Too

Have you heard about Lucy? The intensively-farmed sow with the intelligence of a three year old who, in a series of Australian radio ads, tells of a life so miserable that she wishes she could “close [her] eyes and not wake up.”

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Hey girls, be ladies and enslave yourself to men

Are you a foul-mouthed, domestic disaster of a young woman who cares more about footy than fashion, enjoys sex and can drink a bloke under the table? Then you should know that the Australian version of the British reality TV show, Ladette to Lady, is looking for you.

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Teaching our Kids the Difference Between Science and Faith

Moral Maze: Teaching our Kids the Difference Between Science and Faith

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FairtTrade is Fair Enough

However cynical, petty, ideological and pathetically out-of-date it may be, the attack by right-wing “think-tanks” on fair trade just won’t go away.

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Don’t trust politicians with your human rights

You might think I am the sort of person who has always favoured a charter of human rights, but it isn’t so.

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Hating Gays is a Choice, Not a Biblical Dictate

Their strength is waning, but there is still a depressingly large number of powerful men in the west, spread across a range of denominations, spewing raw hate and naked prejudice at gay people. All in the name of Christ.

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Feel Good, Do Good - The Merry Makers

OK, I admit it. I cry easily. My eldest’s grade 6 graduation ceremony provoked a flood. Even k.d. lang’s version of Hallelujah can do it. When the face of the little fella in the Worksafe Victoria ad lights up because his Dad is safe and home, I break down in sobs.

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The Bill Henson Affair: Shame on Adults for Paranoia over Adolescence

For a friend of mine, adolescence was no time of innocence. It was the worst and most confusing time of her life; made all the worse by the insistence of the adults she knew that the pain would be useful later.

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We Thirst for Justice, but Beware the Unforgiven

What is unforgiveable? Are there some acts that cross the moral line in the sand dividing the venal from the inescapably evil? Are there some things, and some people, we cannot forgive?

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Why Parental Leave is a Moral Issue

The government has ordered yet another inquiry into a paid leave scheme for working Australian parents. This one, by the Productivity Commission, follows two similar ones by HREOC and a Senate Committee in 2002. What is left to examine, for heaven’s sake! It’s a leave scheme, not the first signs of life on Mars.

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What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us All

What does independent research, shield laws and whistleblower legislation have in common, and why should we give a rats?

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The Dubious Morality of Women

My speciality area of ethics is reproductive technologies. What this means is that I spend much of my working life face-to-face with the suspicions that religious men, political leaders and journalists have about female morality.

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At 50, the Material Girl is Not to be Pitied

Madonna turns 50 this year. Like every wheeze and fart in the entertainer’s life, this one is attracting comment. From some, it sounds like this. “50? She looks 30! If she really was a taboo-breaker, she wouldn’t have smooth skin and pert breasts. She’d be strutting her stuff on the cover of Vanity Fair with a wrinkled décolletage and baggy arms hanging out.”

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There is an art to breaking bad news to children

Last year, a girl at my son’s school primary school – let’s call her Susan – had a headache. The next day she collapsed and since then has been in a wheelchair from spinal damage caused by a benign tumour.

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We May Yet Avoid Frying from Global Warming

You may not have heard of it, but my guess is, you will soon. Climate engineering-or global climate control-may soon be a fact of life.

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Cash is Always the Currency of Love’s Labours Lost

It’s always about the money. Or is it?

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Why Parents Try to Avoid the Pain of Loving a Sick Child

Imagine this. You’ve spent your childhood with a brother bound to a wheelchair by a disease that causes him immense suffering. The condition has haunted your family for generations, killing male children and putting the female ones at risk of passing the faulty chromosome on to their own kids.

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Stripped bare, Spitzer affair raises big question

The facts are simple. Elliot Spitzer, who fought organised crime and corruption on Wall Street, resigned last week as New York’s Governor after Federal wiretaps caught him arranging to meet an out-of-town hooker in his DC hotel.

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In Death We Don’t Part from our Obligations

Last week in New Zealand, Ivy May Ngahooro became the third body snatched after disputes about burial between non-indigenous and Maori relatives. The distress of Ms Ngahooro’s family was extensively covered in the New Zealand press, with the will’s executor, niece Trish Scoble, saying that the loss of the body made her feel both “sick” and “frightened”. Scoble said that she would not stop until her Auntie May was laid to rest as she had wanted.

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Stand Up and Shoulder the Consequences

The real test of our principles is when those with whom we disagree stand on them to justify doing something we hate.

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Threat to Choice Leaves Bitter Taste in GM Debate

Some moral questions reduce to empirical ones. Where you stand and what you’ll stand up for turns entirely on the facts.

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Women, vote for yourselves - no one else will

I don’t like her, and it ain’t the hair. It’s the annoyingly wooden affect, and her obeisance over the years to the demands of the American public that she change her name and hair, but stand by her man. But when I mailed in my absentee ballot for the Democratic primaries several months ago (I’m an American citizen as well as an Australian one) the tic was next to Hilary Clinton’s name, not Barrack Obama’s.

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Shameful Apology Proves Sorry Shame

Talk about giving with one hand and taking with the other! There, in Parliament House, with members of the Stolen Generations looking on and thousands more bearing witness via video link on the adjacent lawns. One man, representing the nation, validating the painful experiences of Aboriginal Australians and by so doing, reminding us of what we as Australians have the potential to be. The other – his literal shadow – excusing, justifying, insisting on his version of the truth and in so doing, painfully reminding us why progress on race relations in this country have been stalled for so long.

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Full Disclosure Necessary in Abortion Law

Many people think that the State government’s commitment to the decriminalisation of abortion guarantees a good outcome for women, no matter what model ultimately makes it into law.

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Let’s Get Rid of the Cloak and Dagger

Transparency. In recent years, journalists, politicians and medical researchers have joined lawyers and judges in accepting formal obligations to either disclose personal or financial links they have with those they report on or serve, to divest themselves of those links or to recuse themselves.

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Education Ethics bigger than public versus private

There are 17 selective high schools in New South Wales, and 10 schools offering selective classes for academically gifted students.

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Breastfeeding: differing advice flows oh so freely

What’s a Baby-Friendly hospital? If you don’t know, you may soon because if the Australian Government’s House Standing Committee Inquiry into Breastfeeding has its way, the three that currently exist in NSW are set to mushroom.

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One-Size-Fits-All Marriage Model Fails to Bind

It’s built into our psyches. How could it not be, with marriage – and the implied happy-ever-after – concluding every literary and cinematic romantic tale? And then there’s the return of the elaborate, often white wedding, costing on average (based on 2004 figures) $36,234. Social research shows it, too. We, as a nation, particularly those in our dotage, and those in our thirties, believe in the institution of marriage.

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Look at Yourself, Before It’s Too Late

How many of us are not living our dreams? What’s stopping us? And what does dedicating ourselves to closing the gap between what we wanted for our lives and how we are actually living them have to do with ethics?

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Insults Deter Quality Debate

Something worrying is happening to column readers. They are becoming rude. Menacingly rude – and just plain mean – when they don’t agree with you.

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The Futility of Treatment: Who Decides?

Blink and you’d miss it. That’s the fate of stories in the lead-up to Christmas, even explosive ones about the questionable withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from unconscious patients like Paulo Melo.

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A Man Worth Emulating

In our society, who best reflects Jesus’ compassion and sense of justice?

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Education is not about being a good or bad parent - it’s about the children

Everyone’s heard of the Mummy Wars. The debate that flies out of the box like a bat out of hell every time some dry academic study appears about centre-based childcare. Behind all the shouting about sample size, confidence levels and expert bias is a shrillness that can only come from women who feel accused of being “bad” mummies, or are defending their status as “good” mummies.

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I Feel Guilty, My Son is at Public School

Ive been wanting to write this column all year, but dreading it, too. Because I don’t want to be misunderstood and I don’t want to offend. But the truth is that there is something horribly rotten going on in my personal world and _ because the personal is political _ this nation. The rot comes from the way we fund our schools. And it is making me so angry (or is it so grief-stricken and guilty?) that I can hardly breath.

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Book Review - In Viro Fertility Goddess by Jodi Panayotov

Infertility sucks and IVF is worse. Yet women rarely talk about either, or make jokes, a truth Jodi Panayotov found out the hard way when aged 37 she struggled to get pregnant and to stay that way.

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Laws on Sex Work Must be Framed to Protect Women’s Choice

Sex work is back in the news. Having hardly been broached in polite conversation since the state government’s “tolerance zone” policy for street sex work went down in flames five years ago, the West Australian government’s decision to descriminalise and regulate indoor prostitution has refocused minds around the country on the best way to manage the world’s oldest profession.

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Prevention is One Thing, But Take Care with the Cure

Ingrates. That’s the word that keeps coming to mind when the Canberra lesbian case is raised. That, and some vital misapprehension of what parenting – at its core, and in its specifics – is all about.

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Balancing public interest and the right to privacy

It’s far from over, with many still shouting. But as the conga line of those condemning Channel 7 for broadcasting the news that two AFL players had been referred for illicit drug use grows, we need to ask ourselves: are we shooting the messenger?

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Support and Respect Gives IVF Parents Time to Tell

It’s Time to Tell. The slogan is back, along with the second phase of the Infertility Treatment Authority’s campaign to inform parents of how Victoria’s infertility laws may affect their lives, and parenting choices.

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High price to be paid if abortion reform bid fails

I love Right to Life President Margaret Tighe. After years of dealing with anti-choice activists who pretend their feminists, researchers, and medical ethicists – anything but foot soldiers for God – her straight-talking misogyny is like a breath of fresh air. With Margaret, women who seek abortions know just where they stand.

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There is racism, and then there is the glory of multiculturalism

The government is in trouble in the polls and the Prime Minister claims there’s no rabbits in the hat. Maybe, but I’m skeptical. Both history and early policy signs – the reduction of benefits available to new migrants, the Federal government’s consideration of a ban on HIV positive migrants – suggests that as polling day draws closer, there will be rabbits. The same ones that have been stewed before.

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Catch Leslie on the Catch-Up Online

The Catch-Up is a weekday talk show premiering early in 2007. Covering news, entertainment, lifestyle, beauty, fashion and gossip, the show is pitched at Australian women. Leslie spoke about The Abortion Myth with hosts Libby Gore, Mary Moody, Lise Oldfield and Zoe Sheridan.

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Australian Government’s Pregnancy “Helpline” - Help or Hindrance?

Leslie talks to Richard Aedy on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters about the Federal Government’s “Pregnancy Support” measures.

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Safe Sex Means Just That

It is important we don’t miss the forest for the trees. As the Michael Neal scandal rolls on, with the Health Minister Bronwyn Pike now admitting that the health department “bungled” the case, we need to consider whether the “better protocols” being mooted as the answer for protecting public health in the future are really the answer. Or does officialdom need to dig deeper to discover why transmission rates of HIV in Victoria are high and rising.

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The Magill children finally speak

In an exclusive report in the Bulletin, Julie-Anne Davies speak to Meredith Magill and her three children about life on the other side of a paternity suit. Leslie gets to make a comment too.

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Catch Leslie on the Catch-Up Online

The Catch-Up is a weekday talk show premiering early in 2007. Covering news, entertainment, lifestyle, beauty, fashion and gossip, the show is pitched at Australian women. Leslie chatted about her book What, No Baby? with hosts Libby Gore, Ita Buttrose and Lise Oldfield.

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There is a Case for Staying the Course

I marched on the streets of Melbourne to express my opposition to the war and Australia’s involvement in it. From the trumped-up and ultimately fictitious casus belli, the predicted unpreparedness of the invading forces to win the peace and the incompetent and corrupt reconstruction process, the war’s prosecution has fulfilled – indeed exceeded – every gloom-and-doom prediction of the nay-sayers.

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Let Us Decide for Ourselves on Euthanasia

The hypocrisy of the Coalition government on issues of personal choice is breathtaking. While supporters of restrictions on junk food advertising to children or universal minimum workplace conditions are “nanny state” advocates, blanket prohibitions on the capacity of terminally ill Australians to control the time and manner of their own deaths are claimed to show adequate respect for individual choice.

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Privacy Should be Our Choice

Privacy, as Victorian Privacy Commissioner Paul Chadwick recently observed, is a freedom most noticed in its absence. Sadly, we only seem to appreciate what we had once it’s gone.

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Do we want to help overweight kids, or insult them?

Fat camps, prohibitions on junk food advertising, bans on sugary drinks in school canteens, Medicare subsidies for private weight loss programs, chair-free classrooms, food pyramids. Bariatric surgery, school weigh-ins, public service announcements telling kids to take more exercise, public hospital weight management clinics for the young. Bulging childhood waistlines as risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, escalating health care costs and social exclusion. Childhood obesity as lifestyle choice, disease, biological destiny or the result of parental ignorance, sloth or permissiveness. And in 2006, a three-fold increase in the number of Melbourne children – some as young as 10 – admitted to hospital with eating disorders resulting from their morbid fear of fat.

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Do Blogs Spell the End of Moderated Opinion?

Do blogs spell the end of moderated opinion? As expected, internet enthusiasts say “yes”. The destiny of the World Wide Web is to end hierarchical, corporate control over the content and dissemination of knowledge, and the glorious reality – as far as editorial and analysis is concerned – is nothing less than the liberation of the opinionated from the oppressive control of toady, petty and uncomprehending editors.

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Are Fathers Parents or Progenitors?

Once upon a time, there were two men.

The first, Gary, had a child in a shaky marriage. The couple separated, but then reconciled. When Patti discovered she was pregnant, both knew the child could be that of the lover she took during their time apart. Patti agreed to put Gary’s name on the birth certificate, and Gary pledged to love and raise the child – Gary Jr – as his own. But when the marriage ended, Patti asked the court to deny Gary further access to the boy on the grounds that he was not the child’s biological father. Gary fought back, seeking to maintain contact and both rights and obligations to the child. Ultimately, however, the court held that as “third parties” neither he – nor his parents – had any entitlement to a relationship with the small child.

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Voting Above the Line

It turned out to be a storm in a teacup. In response to calls for a recount from a Victorian ALP confident the Democratic Labor Party’s number two man had cheated its own candidate of victory, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) ran the figures again. On Thursday, the elevation of a third Green’s candidate to the Upper House was announced.

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The Kovco Case: Mother’s Grief Real, and So Are Her Questions

The death of a loved one is always difficult. For parents, regardless of the age of the child, anger, blame, impotence and guilt may accompany more generally experienced feelings like shock, disbelief, confusion, sadness, resentment, bitterness, hopelessness and depression.

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Beyond the ‘yuk factor’

WILL the carping of stem cell opponents never cease? First they insist their opposition to liberalisation of the laws governing embryo research is grounded in concern about women being exploited for their eggs. Then, one by one, they misrepresent and then reject every scientific alternative proposed to find alternative sources for such eggs.

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It Matters Who You Are, and Where You Come From

Should arguments stand or fall on their merit? Or is it critical that media consumers get full, accurate and relevant information about who is providing facts, or offering opinion, about matters of public interest?.

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Women can still say “no”

Is stem cell science really anti-woman? Can anyone who truly believes in the right of women to be treated as rational citizens deserving of the same rights and opportunities as men campaign against the science on the grounds that women lack the capacity to give informed consent to egg donation?

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There Shouldn’t Be One Law for Religions, Another for the Rest

Retiring sex discrimination commissioner Pru Goward’s parting comments on the unfettered capacity of the nation’s religious institutions to practise gender discrimination were the most interesting – and contentious – of her tenure.

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Multiculturalism and Feminism: Do they Mix?

Do multiculturalism and feminism mix? What about feminism and religious freedom?

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Legal Safeguards Can Make Euthanasia A Legitimate Option

People should have the right to make choices about their own deaths.

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Burlesque evokes a repressive past, not a liberating present

Last Thursday, a number of female scientists stormed out of the dinner of a government- funded conference on climate change. They were outraged at the choice of a scantily-clad, all-woman burlesque troupe that included one performer covered with balloons that conference participants were invited to pop – as entertainment.

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Steve Irwin: Why we admired the boy who wouldn’t grow up

For me, the news of Steve Irwin’s death caused a Diana moment: the molasses, freeze-time moment of shock that sears whatever one was doing – going to lunch, cleaning the fridge, having a shower – on one’s consciousness for ever. I sat at my computer and cried.

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Implications of Dr Suman Sood conviction for unlawful abortion

Leslie talks about the implications of the conviction of New South Whales Dr Suman Sood for unlawful abortion.

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Transparency in Advertising

Hear Leslie discuss the lack of regulation prohibiting deceptive and misleading advertising from anti-choice pregnancy counselling agencies

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Contemporary callenges to women’s freedom to choose

Leslie joins Jo Wainer in a discussion of her book Lost, and contemporary challenges to women’s freedom to choose.

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The Net Brings You The World, But Not Necessarily the Facts

It’s enough to make you feel queasy. A recent Harris poll found that half the American public – up from 36% last year ~~believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction at the time of the US invasion. This despite the fact that final report of the Iraq Survey Group~~ experts handpicked by the CIA and Pentagon – concluded that Iraq had no deployable chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in 2003, and had not produced any since 1991.

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Stem Cell D-Day

Late last year, the Lockhart Legislative Review Committee – the Federal Government’s own handpicked experts – handed down its recommendations on the fate of stem cell research in this country. Among other things, the Committee recommended lifting Australia’s ban on so-called “therapeutic cloning”. Having first shelved the report on the basis of a cabinet vote, a backbench revolt saw the Prime Minister agree to a broader discussion at the first party room meeting after winter break. That meeting – otherwise known as Stem Cell D-Day – is today.

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Does “yes” still mean “yes” and “no” mean “no”?

Some called it Camillagate. The streaming of footage from the Big Brother household showing two men sexually dominating a woman, followed by a public outcry for the show to be taken off air. But was there something in the story most commentators missed? Leslie says “yes”.

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Rewind

The recent “Camilla” incident streamed from the Big Brother house several weeks ago renewed controversy about the show’s suitability for free-to-air TV.

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Accusers, Abusers and Excusers: The Dreyfus Affair Revisited

Download an MP3 encoded recording of the event.

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Positive Family Planning Letter

Leslie’s letter to the editor on “Positive Family Planning” in the .

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Progressive Social Movements: Is the end nigh?

The challenge for feminists is to beat a system that still stifles them

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Victims of a Lost Puritanism

Book Review – Lost: Illegal abortion stories. Edited by Jo Wainer, foreward by Helen Garner. Carlton, Melbourne University Press, 2006. 214 pages. ISBN: 0~~522~~85231–9

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Living in the public eye means living under public judgement

Former footballer, broadcaster and TV fisherman Rex Hunt’s entanglement in a scandal of his own making may not engage everyone’s sympathy and interest. Tabloid-fodder, we might sniff, before returning to the more serious business of sipping lattes and cracking open expensive bottles of chardonnay.

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Stem cell dilemma

Ethical dilemma from Virginia Trioli’s ABC Australia Radio Program. Download an MP3 encoded recording of the interview.

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Time to Break the News to Your Children

Should children be told they were conceived by sperm or egg donation?

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Full disclosure for pregnancy counselling services

Leslie was interviewed by Henry Grossek (Viewpoints) on 3SER 97.7 FM. Download an MP3 or Ogg Vorbis encoded recording of the interview.

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Abortion, Corruption & Cops: The Bertram Wainer Story

Crochet hooks, castor oil, slippery elm bark, syringes full of Lifeuboy soap and Dettol. Sepsis, gas gangrene of the uterus, hysterectomies on 12 year olds, deserted pregnant wives taking their children and jumping off the St Kilda pier and women waiting, scared and alone, on a dark windswept corner of Bourke Street for the stranger’s car that would take them, huddled beneath a blanket on the floor of the backseat, to the backyard abortionist. And if they haemorrhaged on the kitchen table, the best they could hope for was to be dumped on the corner near the Royal Women’s in the hope that someone would find them in time. Many died.

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To tell or not to tell

Ethical dilemma from Virginia Trioli’s ABC Australia Radio Program. Download an MP3 encoded recording of the interview.

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Women need counselling, not coercion

Pregnancies Don’t Need Support, Women Do

Anyone who followed the debate on RU486, and understood the complex politics surrounding it, knew it was coming: a quid pro quo for the Health Minister to soften the blow of losing his powers to deny Australian women access to RU486. It came last Thursday: a $51 million dollar package for two pregnancy support measures a new counselling hotline and Medicare rebate. Then came the story of a push in Victoria to remove abortion from the Crimes Act.

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THE RU486 DEBATE: Death by Amendment

As I write, the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of RU86) Bill 2005 may be sliding towards defeat in the House of Representatives. Designed to undercut 1996 amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Act that have effectively banned RU486 and other abortifacient drugs from Australia, the Bill – having passed through the Senate last Thursday – is now the subject of an amendment that, if successful, will see the ban remain firmly in place.

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RU486/Mifepristone: A factual guide to the issues in the Australian debate

A joint publication of Reproductive Choice Australia and the Australian Reproductive Health Alliance. Written by Leslie and launched at Parliament House Canberra on 8 February 2006.

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To RU486 or not to RU486?

In the next few weeks, the Australian parliament will debate a bill that would let the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) decide on whether RU486, the abortion pill, could be used in Australia. This has kick started a pretty feisty debate and a strong letter campaign from those who want to stop RU486 from being available in Australia in which Leslie was involved.

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Lift the Ban on RU486!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but those who’d hoped the giving spirit might have affected the Prime Minister when it came to the abortion drug RU 486 have found their stockings sadly empty. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister emerged from a Liberal party room meeting to inform the media that the vote expected by the end of next week was cancelled. The Coalition’s pre-Christmas legislative agenda was crowded with issues far more important than women’s health. Those hoping to find out whether Australian patients will finally get access to a pharmaceutical that doesn’t just terminate very early pregnancies, but is used in the treatment of breast cancer and endometriosis, would just have to wait.

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Book Review - Motherhood: How should we care for our children? Moving beyond the motherwars - changing the way we see and act

Motherhood is the latest in a long line of cri de coeur books by baby-boom women about what is claimed to be the incompatibility of “feminist” ideas about motherhood and female emancipation and their lived experience of motherhood. Like Manne, such authors breathed feminist assumptions – about the equality of men’s and women’s talents, women’s need for economic independence and human flourishing – “as naturally as air”. But when their children are born, such women find they conflict with the way they want to mother (or as Manne prefers, the way children need them to mother).

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Paternity Fraud or Paternal Discrepancy?

“Paternity Fraud” implies deceptive women cuckholding men into believing children are biologically theirs. But the truth is more complex, and more human.

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Beslan’s Terrorists Show the Dark Side of Human Emotions

Damaged children grow up to believe that only violence can change

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Book Review - Call Me Elizabeth and Callgirl

It’s a big year for books on prostitution, with Call Me Elizabeth and Callgirl only some of the volumes weighing down gender studies shelves across the nation. At the start of Callgirl Angell gives us an inkling as to the cause of the current obsession when she writes that “people look at me and get a little scared. I could be – I am – one of them. I am their sister, their neighbour, their girlfriend. I’m nobody’s idea of what a whore looks like. Maybe that’s why I’m scary. They want callgirls to be different, identifiable. That keeps them safe.” Thirty-five years after second-wave feminism and in the midst of rising divorce rates, declining fertility and increasing numbers of women willing and able – should a suitable male fail to appear – to go motherhood alone, many of us are confused not just about what women want, but who women really are. Exposes of the secret worlds of women who appear average or even respectable on the outside tantalises us with the prospect of finding out.

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The Sins of Scholarship

Few academics would have slept through the long-running Australian history wars. Sparked by claims made by retired academic Keith Windshuttle that several prominent scholars – among them Henry Reynolds and Lyndall Ryan – misrepresented or falsified data in order fabricate a version of Aboriginal history consistent with pre-existing political agendas, the debate threw a sharp and very public spotlight on the fallibility of scholars and scholarly methods.

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Abortion case could set an ugly precedent

We should not further restrict women’s access to late abortions, writes Leslie Cannold. The charging of Dr Suman Sood for manslaughter and procuring an unlawful abortion in NSW is the first such prosecution in that state since 1971, though it was only seven years ago that two West Australian doctors were charged as criminals for providing terminations. Indeed, Australia has a long history of prosecuting women and doctors over abortions and, because of the consistent refusal of politicians to legislate progressively on the issue, common law rulings have had a profound impact on the development of abortion law.

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Book Review - After the Party - Jesse Blackadder

Jesse Blackadder’s first novel is an exploration of the physical and eclectic social terrain of Byron Bay: Sydney-sider holiday escape and stopover de rigour for the backpacker set. It follows the chain of events set into motion by Zac’s near-death experience at a party given by the emotionally inscrutable Black Dragon. Over a three-week period, Zac, Black Dragon, her friend Madeline and Zac’s girlfriend Kate roam between Sydney and Byron, searching and ultimately discovering important truths critical to unlocking their true vocation or potential for love.

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Zealotry trumps humanity in pursuit of dubious cause

There is no end in sight to the painful saga of the long-ago termination of a woman with a foetus diagnosed with dwarfism in 2000. Feeling it has no choice but to defend the principle of patient confidentiality, the Royal Women’s Hospital has decided to seek leave to appeal against the Victorian magistrate’s ruling at the end of last month. The ruling compels the hospital to hand over the medical records of the woman known to the public as Mrs X, despite that women’s persistent refusal to consent to their release.

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Popular, yes - but is it moral?

It’s been driving me crazy for years, but John Howard’s comments in Parliament early this week about the rectitude of mandatory detention and public support for it, tipped me over the edge. The time has come for some clarity in the minds of public figures and commentators about what public support for something does – and does not mean – in terms of morality.

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Book Review - Male Trouble: Looking at Australian Masculinities

In his introduction to this collection of academic essays about different aspects and types of contemporary Australian masculinity or, as the authors prefer, masculinities, R.W. Connell notes that: ‘It is now a familiar observation that notions of Australian identity have been entirely constructed around images of men.’

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Book Review - Wonder Woman

By Virginia Haussegger, Allen & Unwin, $26.95

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Madness in the Method

Start talking research methodology to journalists, and many will run screaming from the room. To be fair, the same might be said of some academics working outside the bounds of history, social or pure science departments. Yet, however technical and dry it seems, researchers working in methodology-driven disciplines know that valid methods aren’t a detail, but at the heart of the most important question to be asked of any study: can you trust the results?

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Why We Will Resolve the Conflict Between Work and Family

Workers are demanding better working conditions, and conditions for family life

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Sex and the Teacher: Was Justice Done?

Did unconscious sexism lead to a miscarriage of justice in the case of Karen Ellis? On Thursday, the Court of Appeals threw out the 22 month suspended sentence handed down in November by the County Court and re-sentenced the 37 year old school teacher to nearly three years, 6 months of which she must serve in jail. The ruling found the initial sentence had violated the principle of equality, including “equality of concern for male and female victims and equality in the sentencing of male and female offenders.”

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Book Review - The Moral of the Story: An anthology of ethics through literature

Over my (far too) many years of studentship and academic employment, I have bought (far too) many books, (far too) many of which have stagnated on my shelves, growing dusty and churlish from disuse. Amongst this unedifying lot have never been tomes edited or authored by Peter Singer. This is not because it is impossible to disagree with Singer, or to occasionally find his fearless exploration of the most complex, sensitive and interesting ethical issues of our times unsatisfying terse and one-dimensional. But rather because with the exception of de Botton, Singer is without peer when it comes to picking the right topic and penning erudite and accessible prose steeped in casual references to philosophical debates on similar issues dating back thousands of years. In The Moral of the Story, written in partnership with wife Renata, he does it again, compiling an anthology that students, academic philosophers and writers interested in ethics (and what writer isn’t) will pull off the shelf to thumb through again and again.

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School Holidays: Give Us A Break

For me, school holidays are like housework: highly demanding, ever-present and seemingly never done. My problem, in a nutshell, is while I’d be happy to have the kids at home, the demands of my work mean this only sporadically and occasionally possible. Most of the time, I need care. This means that every time those dreaded two weeks draw near, my “to-do” list looks like this.

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Book review: The Catch

Spritely, sure-footed, rich with colour and authentic understanding of place, The Catch by first-time author Marg Vandeleur maintains its innocence and light-heartedness on a potentially chin-dragging topic: the shortage of suitable men for desperately-ticking women.

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Choice? What Choice?

Women academics under-achieving has nothing to do with biology or inclination

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Book Review - Motherguilt: Australian women reveal their true feelings about motherhood

Motherguilt bills itself as a book in which Australian women “revel their true feelings about motherhood” and one that assists women to “deprogram themselves” from the powerful and unique “epidemic of guilt” experienced by today’s mothers.

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The bald facts

WINSTON Churchill said that a fanatic was a person who couldn’t change his mind and wouldn’t change the subject.

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In Search of the Gorgeous Aussie Bloke

In the great debates about family/work balance and fertility rates, let’s not forget men.

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Why are Young Women Welcoming the Return of the Bunny?

The Playboy symbol is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. What does this signify?

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Book Review - Night Thoughts in a Time of War - Bob Ellis

Most people are familiar with at least some of Bob Ellis’s long and impressive resume. The author of seventeen books, including the bestselling Goodbye Jerusalem, Goodbye Babylon and First Abolish the Customer, he’s also written and directed features and documentaries including The Notradamus Kid and Bastards from the Bush. He’s won or been nominated for numerous honours, including the Premier’s Literary Award.

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No Sister, Feminism is Not About Choice

Airing a dream is to criticise and negate the opposing vision

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Abortion Critics Deny the Complexity of Choice

British filmmaker Julia’s Black’s documentary My Foetus won’t screen in Australia until August 8, but debate has already begun about whether the film should be censored, and the impact it will have on political debate about abortion.

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A Pregnant Pause for Waiters and Watchers

The budget will encourage single working women to have children – but more needs to be done

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The Difference between a Slut and a Stud

Has anyone been listening to the lyrics of Eminem lately? The man is obsessed about the sexual morays of his lady friends. And women just can’t win with this guy. First he tells them that if they don’t put out, he’d going to “put them out,” while in the next breath he’s dismissing them as beneath contempt for sleeping with him on the same day they met. The rap superstar is also pretty direct about his lack of respect for women who offer to worship at his alter (if you get my drift) when all they know about him is that he’s lead singer of a band.

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Much Remains Confused about Men, Women, Sex and Power

Here, there, women crying “rape” are everywhere. I worry about the sudden onslaught of rape charges. Of course, I support a woman’s right to raise her grievances publicly and have them addressed in a legitimate forum, but I worry that others might not. The men being named are sporting heroes, and it wasn’t all that long ago that author Helen Garner questioned the legitimacy of young women bringing charges of sexual assault, both because of serious damage the resulting publicity had on the man’s reputation, and because she felt it was the job of young women to take responsibility for the effect their sexuality had on the opposite sex.

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Misconceptions in the Blame Cycle

Women must play and active role in protecting their sexual and reproductive health

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Deadly price of decency

WE still don’t know exactly what sparked the terrible flurry of violence that cost David Hookes his life.

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Fathers look after their children, but seek more thrills for them

USUALLY he amazes, but this time we were appalled.

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Book Review - “The End of Equality: Work, Babies and Women’s Choices in 21st Century Australia”

Who better than Anne Summers, a woman who lists among her achievements the best-selling book Damned Whores and God’s Police, advisor to former Prime Minister Keating and Officer of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and women, to write about the most pressing social problem of our time: the tragic imbalance between work and family responsibilities, and the devastating impact it is having on women’s well-being and the nation’s capacity to reproduce itself?

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Street Prostitution in St Kilda

Read Leslie’s perspective on how St Kilda politics went wrong when trying to make the streets safer for prostitutes and residents.

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Staying mum’s a cop-out

Feminists expect fathers to do domestic work, so how can they tacitly exempt mothers from paid work?

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The disappearing father

Women don’t turn to IVF lightly. Men are fleeing fatherhood.

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Child-care dinosaurs’ time is past

Dated views about women and work are deservedly dying out.

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The Horrible Dilemma of the Pregnant Woman

She is pushed to have all the tests, then damned if she terminate late

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Best, yes, but for whom?

BREASTFEEDING: what could be more simple? Best for mother, best for baby, the obvious and necessary feeding choice for all mums, and the only one ethical health professionals can support. Most women reading this would find such “facts’’ familiar.

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A mother’s birthright

A woman-centred approach to birth includes the right to choose drugs.

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It didn’t start with a kiss…

HOW DOES this generation define a transcendent relationship, a perfect twosome, the ultimate love? In his construction of the relationship between Gen-X FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, the Australian-born creator of The X-Files, Chris Carter, has taken a leaf from the Victorian era, and added a distinctive 21st-century twist.

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It’s his baby too, give him paid leave

Both new parents, not just mum, should get time off work.

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Calling all single childless women…

A new ruling may end discrimination in access to donor sperm.

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The population debate we have to have

It’s easier to talk about immigration than about why we’re having fewer children.

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Bottoms up, sister!

I LOVE The Vicar of Dibley and Dawn French’s vicar, Geraldine Granger. But after most episodes, my stomach hurts – figuratively, that is. Which may be better than the literal way the vicar’s must feel. Because at some point in each episode of the show, Geraldine does some serious eating: a freezer’s worth of icecream, a cupboard full of chocolate bars, an entire Yule Log. That sort of thing.

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School hours: did feminism drop the ball?

Working parents may not be able to rely on the women’s movement to help them.

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Do nice guys finish last?

The latest theory out of America about rape is not just wrong, it’s dangerous.

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The bully and the bullied, chapter and verse - I confess: I was cruel in school

A lot has been said in the past two weeks about the devastation wrought on children by bullies. I wince when I hear the stories, wince through identification and with shame.

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Identity deficit disorder - it’s so you

JENNY McCARTNEY’S hand-wringing about the preoccupation of the modern Western woman with vanity and consumption (on this page, 6/1) has a familiar ring to it. I am 34 now, and for as long as I can remember, responsible society has been exhorting me and my fellow female travellers to consider what we might have time to think about were we spending less time thinking about the shapes of our bodies.

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Charity begins at home, morally speaking

Protecting our loved ones is only natural in a world of un-met misery.

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The anti-choicers’ real target is women

Late abortions are emotive fodder for those who deny women moral agency.

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Raising a brood of IVF commodities

Knowing the identity of their biological parents gives children a sense of who they are.

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When more choice means less freedom

IVF advances may make the working lives of women harder, not easier.

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For the love of Jeff

Victoria’s intellectuals are blind to the Premier’s popular appeal. Here’s why.

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Will making women equal change anything?

The issue: Will making women equal change anything?

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Australians Battle Over Definition of Fatherhood

Court and legislative battles have embroiled this nation in an uneasy search for the definitive answer to the vexing question: Who are dads anyway? The deliverers of DNA or the conveyers of care and concern? And if the answer is the latter, can the law insist each child have one?

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Good parents or good citizens?

Taking a tiny risk can serve overall community interests.

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Why women need a workplace revolution

Reproductive technology will never provide the answer to inequality.

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Labor’s man of the ’50s

Just like John Howard, Martin Ferguson wants to take us back to the future.

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Women are being ripped off, but not by feminism

Don’t blame the movement, blame the system.

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Why men hold the key to the new feminism

All workers, not just parents and not just women, need a life.

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The first cut

TO circumcise our sons or not? Before our first children were born, a Jewish friend and I argued the question. Our non-Jewish partners looked on, unsure what the fuss was about.

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Let’s look at the system, not what we do in bed

IN A new book, A Return to Modesty, 23-year-old American Wendy Shalit argues that women’s problems spring from their lack of modesty – or, to put it more crudely, their inability to keep their knickers above their knees.

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A role model? No thanks

First Diana, now Monica. They became superstars, but that doesn’t make them admirable.

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The quiet renaissance in male culture

THE evidence is everywhere. On the radio, where popular new group Cake sing “I need your understanding, I need your love so much/you tell me that you love me so, you tell me that you care/but when I need you baby, you’re never there”, and The Whitlams croon about the aphrodisiac effect of loneliness.

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The young beauty and the billionaire

WE MAY think we know the real story behind this week’s report that 67-year-old billionaire media magnate Rupert Murdoch intends to marry his 31-year-old girlfriend Wendy Deng after he divorces Anna Murdoch.

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Email: leslie@cannold.com Mobile: 0417 114 859 Fax: +61 3 9348 2015 - PO Box 1337, St Kilda South VIC 3182 Australia