I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed by a gruff demand to “come with me” in Turkey, but I managed to get away. I’ve never found myself pregnant against my will. I’ve never had to ask myself - could I bear and rear a child of my rapist? But plenty of women do.

Men who make decisions about women… Picture: AFP

Since my childhood, I’ve had access to sex education (while it’s come far since the early 80s, we did learn the basics of contraception and pregnancy), free reproductive health care (courtesy of the government’s family planning clinics, I could get free pap smears and advice on and access to contraception), and education and employment, which has given me some freedom and say over my own life, and hence my body.
But then there’s millions upon millions of young women and girls, both here in Australia and elsewhere, who don’t have these things.

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  • marley says:

    06:33pm | 14/03/13

    @GO - back off.  I may be an atheist, but I haven’t attacked your right to believe as you will, nor your right to celebrate whatever religious occasion is of importance. I would no more dream of protesting Catholic ceremonies than I would of protesting Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist… Read more »

  • Nick says:

    05:37pm | 14/03/13

    The Catholic Church has just chosen its new global ambassador for the pædophile equivalent of holocaust denial. Read more »


It’s exciting when there’s big news at the Vatican. Everyone tunes in, Catholic or not. I get excited for a few reasons – I am Catholic, I follow the Pope and what he’s up to, and I just love reading the ignorant dribble that emerges from those who take the liberty to call themselves “Vaticanologists”.

I'm done here, folks…

Or in this case, a historian. Dr Geoff Nathan from UNSW wrote his thoughts on why the Pope had to go, as if it was a fait accompli that his days were numbered. While you expect the usual complaints from another “informed observer”, you certainly don’t expect a blatant disregard for facts, which should be bread and butter for a historian.

Mistaking John Paul II’s election year (it was 1978, not 1981) was a schoolboy error, and a taster for greater oversights.

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  • stephen says:

    06:05pm | 18/02/13

    Quite a few famous Thinkers have gone to Catholicism toward the end of their lives when they see death knocking at their own door, and they see, too, the despair of so many around them, and there is no hope. I though, never want to be so miserable that the… Read more »

  • Shane From Melbourne says:

    05:58pm | 18/02/13

    I blame Emperor Constantine for all this mess. If only Emperor Julian the Apostate had lived Read more »


Masturbating nuns have been in the news a lot lately. Not in the form of yet another tacky Nude Nuns with Big Guns-style Godsploitation movie. But as the frontline assault unit of a feminist Christian pensioner sexual revolution.

The vatican says ironing won't send you blind, as long as it's practised in moderation

Sister Margaret Farley is a 77-year-old professor emeritus at Yale Divinity School in the US. She looks like someone’s poodle permed nana – which she probably would be if she wasn’t, you know, a nun and all.

Back in 2006, Farley wrote a book called Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics which includes a steaming hot sealed section on self-pleasuring (and by steaming hot sealed section, I mean one-and-a-half soberly toned and not in the least bit difficult-to-access pages concluding that masturbation is probably morally neutral).

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  • Zac says:

    11:54am | 17/06/12

    @ Alex, “separation of church and state” We have to put in place the secular fundies (aggressive secularism) who have misued it to curb freedom of religion and free speech. We should start off with Watermelons and Earthians. These guys are the friends of totalitarian ideology. They are hell bent… Read more »

  • Lau says:

    05:07pm | 16/06/12

    Im an atheist, but I dont see why so many people are making fun of other peoples beliefs. If you dont like the Church leave. They are not forcing you to join them Read more »


When former Members of Parliament are handed plum overseas diplomatic appointments they are usually for services rendered as paybacks for loyalty to the ruling political party.

What else does Tim Fischer do at the Vatican, other than kiss the Pope?

Kevin Rudd has turned that one on its head – he’s been glad handing Liberals like there’s no tomorrow kicking off with the incredible appointment of Tim Fischer as our ambassador to the Vatican.

Traditionally, that post is “cross accredited” – the ambassador to Ireland is also our man in the Vatican – the Church will not accept ambassadors appointed to Italy and resident in Rome to the Vatican post.

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  • stephen says:

    10:55am | 27/10/09

    Paul Keating once made a derogatory comment about Mr Fischer, to the effect that he - Mr Fischer - couldn’t put a sentence together. I agree with that comment, and if we see the Pope on telly scratchin’ his head, he ain’t playin’ with his toup’. Read more »

  • Jennifer says:

    09:19am | 27/10/09

    I agree with you Barry, Tim Fischer’s “appointment to the Vatican is a disgrace.  And an expensive one at that”!  It is a typical case of jobs for the boys and reward for long loyalty to the political elite. The waste of money is all too apparent.  Senator Ferguson said… Read more »


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