• Trump’s attack on May only reinforces Darroch’s assessment of the White House

    It is both unsurprising and amusing that US President Donald Trump would respond to the British Ambassador’s criticism by lashing out. To provide a bit of context, UK Ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch said in a series of leaked diplomatic cables that the White House was “uniquely dysfunctional” and “divided” under Mr Trump, stating: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; ... ► Read more

  • Tiananmen Square: 30 years on and China remains just as brutal

    All countries have dark periods in their histories that are shameful at best. Like much of the West, Australia has a plethora of examples where atrocities have been committed, whether it be the Frontier Wars during colonisation or the White Australia Policy of the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. However, in Australia there has been an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and attempts to correct past trespasses. The effectiveness of those attempts is another matter, but it is ... ► Read more

  • Facebook was right to ban Milo & company

    This is a conversation I have had many times with many people, and one thing I’ve observed is that there never seems to be one answer. That isn’t surprising because both core arguments make compelling cases. Basically, it comes down to whether you believe we should live in a society where individuals are allowed to say whatever they think or a society where community standards restrict what can be said. Here in Australia, section 18C ... ► Read more

  • Institutional structures create monsters like Pell

    For those who haven’t heard, the verdict on Cardinal Pell has just come out. Shocker — he’s been found guilty. If you’ve been living under a rock, Cardinal George Pell — the highest ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia — was accused of sexually assaulting underage boys a while ago. Strangely enough, he denied this claim. Back in December he was found guilty, and now that verdict has been released to the public. It’s ... ► Read more

  • Super Bowl 2019: did you catch the game within the game?

    It’s that time for the year again to dissect the NFL extravaganza — the Super Bowl of 2019. For the record, the Patriots beat the Rams in a dour defensive display. But this article isn’t about the game or the much debated halftime performance by Maroon 5. The real game is played in the ad breaks, or at least that’s what ad executives think. Companies spend just over $US5 million ($AU7 million) for a 30 second ... ► Read more

  • Morrison’s Pacific trip needs to be more than a one-off

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has kicked off the new year by visiting our Pacific neighbours Vanuatu and Fiji in a bid to bolster relations. It is undeniable that China’s growing influence in the region is at the core of this highly unusual trip. China’s expansion in the Pacific is unnerving to say the least, and the last prime ministerial visits to Vanuatu and Fiji were in 1990 and 2006 respectively, both of which were to ... ► Read more

  • The US-Saudi alliance shows justice is only worthwhile when it’s convenient

    Donald Trump has released a statement defending the US’ relationship with Saudi Arabia, despite admitting that “it could very well be that [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] had knowledge” of the plan to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In the statement, Trump said it would be foolish to break ties with Saudi Arabia, because of the US$450 billion the kingdom plans to invest in the United States — US$110 billion of which will go to American defence ... ► Read more

  • Jim Acosta’s suspension was a step too far

    US President Donald Trump’s war with the media began as a tactic to bolster support for his candidacy in the 2016 election. But what started as fairly empty rhetoric has escalated into something more ugly than perhaps President Trump anticipated, moving beyond mere words to actions. And now, with the suspension of CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, the war has certainly taken a dangerous turn, and the broader West should be concerned. It ... ► Read more

  • “Advance Australia Fair”: we might not be responsible for the past, but we can do better for the future

    This is a response to “Harper Nielsen’s protest is nothing more than virtue signalling” by Greg Dewberry. It’s true that current generations are not to blame for the actions of their predecessors, but this does not mean that current generations should be complacent when it comes to correcting the effects of historical wrongs. I have to refuse to accept any blame for the effects of colonialism on Australia, because if I did it would undoubtedly ... ► Read more

  • Harper Nielsen’s protest is nothing more than virtue signalling

    “Australians all let us rejoice” — that is the opening line of “Advance Australia Fair”, our national anthem in Australia, and to me it speaks for itself. It calls for every Australian to rejoice. I’m an Australian. My great-great-grandparents moved here in 1844. Eddie, the Chinese man who has owned the house next door to mine for 45 years — he’s an Australian. Bill, the Greek man who lives on my other border and drinks at my ... ► Read more

  • Liberal Party tactics undermine Australian democracy

    Revelations that Peter Dutton supporters bullied their colleagues into signing the petition that brought on a leadership spill and ousted former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have grim implications for Australian democracy. We all knew Libspill was brutally bloody and driven purely by self-interest (it clearly wasn’t in the interest of the country), but these latest allegations against the Dutton camp mark a low point in Australian politics. So, what happened? Supporters of Dutton, who twice ... ► Read more

  • Leadership spill: Turnbull is not out of the woods

    Everyone knew there was something off on Monday. Despite the smiles and assurances of support for the Prime Minister, it was clear something was bubbling inside the Liberal Party. And so, here we are — Dutton tried and failed, and Turnbull comes out victorious. But does he really? Sure the PM came out on top, but a closer look at the results reveals Turnbull is anything but out of the woods. It is no secret the Liberal ... ► Read more

  • Restrictions on foreign ownership of housing would be welcomed in Australia

    Australians have long been enthusiastic about property ownership. By 1945, with a population of 7.39 million, 50% of Australians owned their own homes. The end of World War II saw Australian ex-servicemen, who had previously been living through the Depression, finally have a substantial bank balance due to receiving their accumulated military pay. Many turned that bank balance into their own part of the Great Australian Dream by purchasing a property. Following the Baby Boom ... ► Read more

  • Australia’s population: it isn’t so bad

    On 7 August 2018 Australia hit the wonderful milestone of growing to a population greater than 25 million. Australia’s population still remains fairly small in comparison to other nations even with smaller landmass. So, while you may believe we are taking in a record number of refugees, or that foreigners are taking all your jobs, here are a couple of reasons why you should be thankful about our population size and perhaps realise that it ... ► Read more

  • TEDx’s talk labelling pedophilia a ‘sexual orientation’ is disgusting and dangerous

    We live in a divided world. We live in a world where people will disagree on anything, while people fight for their rights, support their politicians and back their own sides; there is few things that we can all agree on. Now, while it is often said that you cannot make everyone happy, and that may be true, what most functioning human beings can agree on whether you’re left-wing or right-wing is that pedophilia is ... ► Read more

  • The plastic bag ban and what it means

    Single-use plastic bags are being banned and phased out across Australian supermarket and grocery-store chains. Supermarket giant Woolworths introduced a nationwide ban on these bags at all of its stores on 20 June (including BWS liquor stores and Big W), and rival supermarket Coles followed on 30 June. Consumers now need to bring their own reusable bags with them to the shops, or purchase them for an additional charge at the checkout. Many shoppers remain ... ► Read more

  • God save our long weekend

    It’s the moment when my daughters’ eyes begin to silently roll upwards; the moment when I, like all dads, begin a sentence with “When I was a boy…”. Well, when I was a boy, the long weekend in June was about one thing — spending all of our pocket money, as well as any extra we could wrangle out of our parent’s pocket, on fireworks. In the 1960s the bigger kids in the street would spend ... ► Read more

  • San Diego Zoo’s Maori dancer blunder could have been avoided so easily, it’s laughable

    One may wonder whether to laugh or be worried by San Diego’s Zoo cultural mix-up this week. During the opening of an Australian exhibition, typically featuring iconic ‘Aussie’ creatures including kangaroos and wallabies, there was another element that was definitely incongruous with that Australian theme: Maori dancers. The mix-up has sparked outrage, but the first and strongest reaction has been incredulity. Is it fair to assume that a zoo, whose job is to exhibit animals of the ... ► Read more

  • Political correctness VS free speech: we’re heading down a dangerous path

    Image credit: Newtown grafitti (Flickr) We are all familiar with the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. Well it appears that in a post-political correctness world, words are all you need to do all the damage you’d like. I enjoy free speech, and I am a firm believer that this is a very important piece to the way modern society operates. However, I cannot foresee a ... ► Read more

  • The stupidity of “cultural appropriation”

    Today’s society is a confused one. We currently live in a world where we simultaneously do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings and all feel included, but also want to segregate ourselves and claim things that we can enjoy, but others cannot. I am of course referring to what some call “cultural appropriation”. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “cultural appropriation” is defined as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is ... ► Read more

  • The animal hierarchy

    Image credit: Daniel Stockman (Flickr) Animals have played an integral part in the lives of humans since the beginning of time. We have since learnt to domesticate and live alongside some animals, and many households today couldn’t imagine their lives without the companionship of their family pets. According to Canstar Pet Insurance, over 62% of Australian households own some kind of pet, whether it be a cat or a dog, a bird or a rabbit. ... ► Read more

  • Fast tracking South African farmer’s visas isn’t racist, it’s practical

    Image credit: Australian Associated Press The going down of the sun on Australia’s most revered public holiday sees the near dawn of a revered public holiday in South Africa. The 27th of April is celebrated as Freedom Day, the national day of South Africa. But just as Australia’s ANZAC Day is frequently considered by some to glorify war and Australia Day is now considered to be “Invasion Day” by some, Freedom Day no longer appears ... ► Read more

  • The problem with [insert stupid idea here] challenges

    Image Credit: Jason Chen (Youtube) They say that with each year you grow a little older and a little wiser. However, in a broader societal sense, that seems to be quite the contrary. In our modern world we are lucky enough to be blessed with the internet, a magnificent tool that has expanded the realm of possibility for society and made information more readily available than ever before. However, instead of learning new skills, researching ... ► Read more

  • Easter: more than bunnies, eggs, and buns

    For many people, Easter is just a long weekend holiday that is associated with eating chocolate, spending time with family, running around looking for eggs, maybe having a bit of a rest, and hot cross buns. Oh, and being advertised way too early in the stores, just like Christmas is. Many people probably know the basic story of Easter. Jewish religious guru gets a bit too big for his boots, the other Jews develop a ... ► Read more

  • The debate that has gone on far too long

    I had previously believed that we had passed the age of believing that video games were the source of your child’s anger or aggression. But as time goes on, I continue to see news articles and stories that show me that we are indeed not past this phase; and for some odd reason, parents continue to believe that video games and violent television are a significant issue in society. Now, while I do believe too ... ► Read more

  • Has diversity become more important than skill?

    Most people born in the twentieth century would define equal opportunity along the lines of it being the principle of treating all people the same, and not being influenced by their race, religion, gender etc. However, in 2018 equal opportunity is rapidly being redefined along the lines of the Orwellian novel Animal Farm where “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. Case in point, the University of Sydney Union, one ... ► Read more

  • Society’s unhealthy obsession

    In today’s fast-paced, modern era, we are all connected to our smartphones and devices more than ever. We are saturated with internet stars, movie stars, and musicians all over our news feeds and social media pages. In a world where even chefs can be regarded as celebrities, it is no surprise that a large portion of society looks up to these people as idols or role models, and feel connected to them in some way. ... ► Read more

  • How food affects your mood

    Growing up, we are all shown food pyramids in school, and told what we should eat more of and what we should stay away from. But telling a kid not to eat chocolate only makes them want it more, and I remember sitting in classes wondering why chocolate was so bad — we know sugar is bad, but what does it really do? In high school, one of my best friends was a fitness maniac who consistently ... ► Read more

  • 10 interesting facts that you probably haven’t heard

    Image credit: Wolfgang Rieger The world is a pretty incredible place. With so many people and so much to see, it is no surprise that there are some pretty fascinating things to learn about our little planet. From people doing incredible things to strange anomalies, our planet is filled with incredible information. In this article I’ll be sharing 10 of some of the most fascinating and interesting facts I have come across. 10.  According to ... ► Read more

  • Mondays with Shama: Your friends are a reflection of you

    I remember being told back in high school that our friends are a reflection of us. At the time, I didn’t realise exactly what that meant. But looking back, even though it may not have impacted my choice of friends, it stayed with me; and as the years have flown by, I have grown to understand how true it is. Over the last few days it’s been popping up in my mind, and it got ... ► Read more

  • Why we shouldn’t apply Australia’s gun laws to the US

    After every significant shooting in the United States the gun control debate inevitably resurfaces, and comparisons are drawn between Australia and the United States. While some change may be necessary in the US, this is not an appropriate comparison, and importing Australian laws to the US may not be as effective there as those laws have been here. Australia introduced strict laws regulating gun ownership after suffering a major shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania in April ... ► Read more

  • Super Bowl 2018: did you catch the game-within-the-game?

    Image credit: Cable News Network (CNN International) Super Bowl 2018 has just finished and for many of us it is time to pore over the results and strategies, and think about who the winners and losers were and why. If you thought that this article would evaluate the big game between the Eagles and the Patriots, you were wrong. The game-within-the-game is the advertising extravaganza that often gets nearly as much attention as the event ... ► Read more

  • We shouldn’t live under two flags

    Hot on the heels of the recent “Change the Date” debate regarding Australia Day, has come the debate over flying the Australian Aboriginal Flag along side of the Australian National Flag. NSW Labor is backing the online campaign by a young indigenous woman named Cherie Toka, to permanently have the Aboriginal Flag fly alongside the Australian National Flag and State Flag at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Before we get into it though, ... ► Read more

  • Mind, body and soul really are key to a good detox

    Late last year I made the decision to detox my life. This meant eliminating any negatives from my daily routine and surrounding myself with what I considered to be positive. However, this process was much more difficult than I thought. After embarking on this mission, I realised detoxing meant targeting mind, body and soul, and I grew to understand that one element could not work without the others — all three parts had to be ... ► Read more

  • Optimistic Nihilism: the positives of being negative

    If you have read some of my other articles, I’m sure you may have come to the realisation that my opinions and views can be quite negative and depressing. Although it may be true that I usually hold a pessimistic outlook on life, and that my expectations and hopes for humanity are currently at an all-time low; I personally am actually quite happy. I am entirely content with my personal life and the way things ... ► Read more

  • Why we shouldn’t change the date

    Australia Day used to be a day off from work, filled with beach, barbeques, fireworks, flag-wearing and other festivities. For decades now there have been protests from the indigenous community against this celebration, declaring it either a Day of Mourning or Invasion Day. Are the indigenous groups accurate in their assessment of what Australia Day stands for? Is it a day of mourning? Well certainly the history of European settlement can detail, among other things, ... ► Read more

  • On the wrong track: A close look at the dreaded Sydney train strike

    The first Sydney railway was opened between Sydney and Parramatta in 1855, and it has come a long way since then. The network today services over 340 million customer journeys each year on its 961km of electrified track, and transports over one million commuters each weekday. The Rail, Bus and Tram Union (RBTU) are saying they are forced to initiate industrial action because management refuses to negotiate a fair and reasonable enterprise agreement. After six ... ► Read more

  • What does a “shithole” look like?

    Recently I’ve read a lot about whether US President Donald Trump referred to countries in Africa, as well as Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes”. I’ve also read a lot of criticism levelled at the President that assumes he did use the term. Now, I wouldn’t put it past Donald Trump to use such a term, but regardless, the whole ordeal caused me to think. What would make those nations a “shithole”? Is it the ... ► Read more

  • The bully has never been more cowardly

    In my days as a kid, an era known as the 1970s, there was nothing new about schoolyard bullies. The difference between then and now is that the bully, or bullies, had to physically be within cooee of you in order to bully you. The late 20th century gave us many wonderful advances in technology. One that most of the civilised world takes for granted now is the internet, which has enabled so many useful ... ► Read more

  • MLA’s summer lamb ad is a definite flop

    Another summer, another lamb ad. Every time a lamb ad is launched it is followed by controversy. Someone, somewhere is always offended and feels the need to vent on social media. It appears Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) latest attempt will be no different. Ok so #lambad is…well…annoying. 2.5 minutes of awkward political satire to try sell people a dead animal. Seems like a good strategy? #definitelyisnt — Joseph O'Sullivan (@jjosullivan) January 11, 2018 Tone ... ► Read more

  • 21 things I learned in 21 years

    When I started writing for OPMG, I had so many ideas for the coming articles I was going to write. For me having a platform where I could be myself and say what I felt was like a dream come true. Two months before my birthday, in a conversation with OPMG’s Chief Editor, I pitched the idea of writing a list of 21 important lessons I have learned in 21 years. He loved the idea ... ► Read more

  • My new year resolution: To live in the now

    As I sat on the beach in the final days of 2017, listening to the sounds of the waves, surrounded by smiling, joyful people, I pondered on the time we spend reflecting on the passing year and thinking about the year to come. In 2016 I had spent this time in another country, another city. I remember standing in front of Central Park thinking, “2017 is going to be about making my dreams come true.” ... ► Read more

  • Weapons of mass entertainment

    San Francisco, 7  September 1927 — society sees a breakthrough like no other. An invention that would propel us forward into the ever so bright future of endless broadcasting. News, sports, drama, and action all at our finger tips. The television would be the apotheosis of human invention that would expand the minds of society forever – or so we thought. ‘Too much TV will turn your brain to mush’ was a statement often disregarded, and since ... ► Read more

  • How not to talk about sexual assault

    Hi! Are you a society grappling at long last with a systemic fault line in your culture? Are you trying to form a hot take about how to go about it? Well, here are a few pointers to show you what to avoid. DON’T blame the victim I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved ... ► Read more

  • Why we care less about war

    Darkness fills your vision, your ears left ringing from the explosions and gunfire that fill the air, alone, trekking through the thick mud as it clings to your boots, slowing you down, nothing but the weight of your bags and rifle to keep you company. It is a nightmare, with nowhere left to turn; your only option is to continue pushing, gunning down enemies, watching them drop like flies, any minute your life could be ... ► Read more

  • Is there a difference between being confident and being comfortable?

    My mum always told me: “Shama, if you love yourself and I mean really love yourself, there is no one that can bring you down; there is nothing anyone can say that can destroy you.” I always thought that was true, to a certain point, but a part of me also felt our environment mattered too. Loving yourself is a process. There are many factors that contribute to this process and a lot of it ... ► Read more

  • We are all human

    What’s the difference between an African, European and an Asian skeleton? Absolutely nothing – they are identical. In modern society, we are so divided on anything and everything that I’m surprised we have made it as far as we have. People hold racist views for arbitrary reasons; whether it be their upbringing, religious views, or belief of certain stereotypes. People are racist. That’s just how it is, and probably how it will always be. We have created ... ► Read more

  • We need a new standard

    Over the past weeks it seems that rather a bright light has been shining on a lot of people around the issue of sexual harassment. Most recently, Don Burke has been accused of this by multiple people with whom he used to work, and many others are saying that they were well aware of the issue at the time. As more comes to light about the allegations, it's being likened more and more to the recent spotlight on Harvey Weinstein — a large number of accusations and many people seeming to have known about it at the time, but yet only now is it coming to light. ► Read more

  • What does it mean to be ‘true to yourself’?

    It was almost a whole year ago that I was asked by someone what would I like to be remembered for when I leave this world. For a split second I thought to myself, “Hmm many things”, but I responded, “That I was always true to myself.” The other day I was sitting outside the mall near my house listening to the cars go by, feeling the humidity on my skin as I ate my ... ► Read more

  • Time management: The key to success

    Although I have never been much of a procrastinator, throughout high school and university I have seen countless people stressing, clamouring and even crying to finish assignments just minutes before the due date. Recently I witnessed my cousin (who has just completed high school) pull an all-nighter to finish an assignment the night before it was due, while I sat on the couch next to her playing video games without a care in the world. ... ► Read more

  • Why Mondays are the best

    It was a Monday morning. I was feeling love, from everywhere. From one of my closest friends, from my favourite jacket my brother left me before he flew to Canada, my ruby ring from Brooklyn — it was like I had woken up in a bubble of love. And while we’re on the topic of love, lets talk about Mondays. I think Mondays are like Fridays but better, because on Fridays you unwind from a ... ► Read more

  • The problem with democracy

    Democracy: it is the pinnacle of a free society, the ideal governing system for any nation. We enjoy it so much that we wish every other country could enjoy it; a government for the people, by the people. Democracy is the greatest system any nation could ask for … on paper. In a democratic society, citizens are given the right to elect their representatives. Everyone gets a say in who should govern the country. But ... ► Read more

  • Is religion outdated?

    Regardless of your own faith or beliefs, there is no denying that religion has been a major influence on human societies since the beginning of time and continues to be to this day. Religion continues to dictate the foods people eat, the choices they make, and how they spend their free time. Ultimately, how one chooses to spend their life is their prerogative. However, with all the conflict and crisis that our world sees today ... ► Read more

  • A Christian on the other side of the postal vote

    Before I launch into this, necessary proviso: the views expressed herein are my own, and not necessarily the views of any church or company that I am a part of or affiliated with, et cetera, et cetera. All good? Bueno. You have, by this stage, probably read post after post about the “postal vote” on same-sex marriage. Or “postal survey”. Or “very-expensive, non-compulsory, non-binding community poll”. And you’re probably tired of hearing about it — ... ► Read more

  • It’s still too early to talk about gun control

    Photo credit: Adam Roberts (website) Mass shootings in the United States are inevitably accompanied by fierce political debate about gun control, and the Las Vegas Strip Shooting has been no exception. Seemingly before the bodies were even cold, spokespeople from both sides of the debate popped up on television arguing for more restrictions or fewer restrictions on firearms ownership and possession. In these situations, phrases like “we owe it to the victims” are carelessly thrown ... ► Read more

  • It’s time to bring nuance back to political language

    Photo credit: Aitoff (Pixabay) — CC0 public domain dedication Everywhere online, political commentators use the terms “left” and “right” to describe various, often conflicting, movements. This trend is an unfortunate development, as it seems to be destroying the distinctions and subtleties that make the political landscape — and the societies it reflects — so diverse. In short, we are losing our sense of nuance when it comes to the fine differences between political standpoints that ... ► Read more