Secession is a strange, sibilant, lisping sort of a word. Not easy to say after a few schooners. But you can expect to hear more of it in the months ahead. Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom – perhaps even Australia – are all, to varying degrees, embroiled in the process of national divorce.
Secession is the act of exiting or withdrawing from a political union – in this case a State. When a region seeks to secede from a wider union it does more than simply threaten the geographic integrity of a nation; it undermines the legitimacy of the existing constitutional structures; and as a result it casts doubt on the State’s authority.
Australia is not immune from the secessionist virus, as this headline in The West Australian shows: WA’s a big economy on its own. The article went on to note that an independent WA would be the world’s third richest country in terms of GDP per capita; it would soon over take Portugal and Ireland.
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It’s heartening to see Australian politicians taking a stand around Catholic clergy abuse, but the calls to action this week by Senator Nick Xenophon and Victorian MP Anne Barker don’t quite go far enough.
We now need a Federal Government led, transparent national inquiry and mandatory reporting of all crimes revealed within the Church environment.
The Cloyne report, an independent state report released in Ireland into Catholic clergy abuse last week is the fourth inquiry in six years. All of the reports have been damning, chronicling the repeated failure of the Church to protect children, bring the guilty to justice and make the welfare of victims paramount.
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Smoking inside will be banned in enclosed public spaces in China as of May 1 this year.
So that leaves at least 300 million people just five weeks to break the habit of a lifetime.
Given that China is the world’s largest producer of cigarettes and that one in three smokers worldwide are Chinese, this is a social undertaking of epic proportions.
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Smoking was banned in all outdoor areas in the Republic of Ireland on this day in 2004.
It’s Tuesday at The Punch. What’s on your mind? Share it here.
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This is the best thing we’ve seen in a while. Extreme language warning, not even close to safe for work. Enjoy.
Let’s sack the economists and put this bloke in charge.
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Eamon de Valera the Irish politician and a leader in the country’s struggle for independence was born in New York on this day in 1882.
And it’s Thursday, so what’s on your mind? Share it here.
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Meet Jackie Healy Rae. If Irish politics has a Bob Katter, it’s him. Like the member for Kennedy, he’s a rural independent and disaffected former member of an established party, who trades on his commitment to fighting for the peculiar concerns of his local constituents.
The parallels between Katter now and Healy Rae when he was first elected are as striking as their respective signature hats. The 1997 Irish general election produced a hung parliament in which the conservative coalition fell just short of a majority. Healy Rae was one of three independents who agreed to put old enmities aside and support the government in parliament. In return he extracted concessions for his constituents.
On the surface it’s all standard horse-trading, but there’s a murkier side that would be unwelcome in the Australian context. It has never been precisely clear what Healy Rae was promised in return for his support. And since 2007 Healy Rae has been propping up his old party again, under a deal which he openly says is none of the public’s business, thank you very much.
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Welcome to Monday @ The Punch
Today in 2004 The Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in workplaces.
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Ever tried to apologise to someone and been rebufffed?
Pope Benedict experienced just that on the weekend when he made an apology to Irish people who were sexually abused by Catholic priests.
His apology came in the wake of last November’s government report, The Murphy Report, which found the Irish clergy “obsessively” concealed child abuse by priests in Dublin from 1975 - 2004 and operated under a policy of ” don’t ask, don’t tell.”
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