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The misuse of migrant labour in our backyard

23 March 2017 | Sayomi Ariyawansa

In 2015, Four Corners exposed the misuse of migrant labour in Australian horticulture. It found evidence that the labour hire providers routinely underpaid these workers. Once working on-site, some of these workers were required to work excessive hours and endure unsafe conditions. There is great potential for a licensing scheme to bring a degree of regulation. But there are complex reasons behind the prevalence of migrant worker exploitation in the industry, and a licensing scheme is no cure-all.


Rethinking and reconstructing youth justice

23 March 2017 | Terry Laidler

Silhouette of boy and barsMany of the kids in the juvenile justice system have been abused, come from dysfunctional families or state care, or have untreated behavioural or mental health problems. Warehousing them in punishing idleness and expecting passive compliance, let alone any recovery, is fanciful. I have begun to think about how we could respond to these kids in a holistic way, with a strong emphasis on prevention and diversion. These proposals relate to current the system in Victoria, but generalise easily.


Indigenous citizenship rights 40 years after the referendum

7 Comments
22 March 2017 | Dani Larkin

Front page of Abo Call newspaperIn the face of historically low levels of Indigenous representation in our parliaments, the Indigenous caucus between Commonwealth, State and Territory Labor representatives points to some progress. It is aimed at increasing Indigenous voter engagement figures, increasing Indigenous Labor candidacy, and developing strategic plans that encourage Indigenous students to become young leaders in Parliament. Those are all necessary and noteworthy causes. But we have a long way to go.


Gambling on the fat dollar

2 Comments
22 March 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

Model wearing Nike's plus-size rangeElite athletes wear Nike. Celebrities wear Nike. Beautiful people. People who take their sports seriously. Well, that's what decades of advertising around the little swooshy tick and 'Just Do It' trademark told us. Fat girls don't deserve to wear Nike because they are supposed to feel ashamed of their ample girths. They should exercise, of course, but in sackcloth and ashes, with downcast faces, signalling they understand their moral depravity. Some people, it seems, still feel that's the way it should be.


A life in song for the working class

4 Comments
21 March 2017 | Tony Smith

Danny SpoonerDanny sang of farm labourers, poachers, mariners, union martyrs and miners. He did not simply perform the songs - that would be too much like exploiting them. His aim was to help preserve them. When he introduced a song it was clear that he had great respect for the tradition in which he fitted and that he had done extensive research into the song's provenance. The songs were important because of how they recorded aspects of working class life which mainstream histories might neglect.


The time-traveller's strife

21 March 2017 | Tim Kroenert

All stories that deal with time travel will come up against paradoxes. Generally the success of the story will come down to how capably these paradoxes are dealt with, and how consistently with the story's internal logic. Otto Bloom turns on the concept of time as an extension of the physical dimensions. If time is as tangible as physical space, then all events in time are occurring simultaneously. That we perceive time as moving in a particular direction is a feature of our human consciousness.


Don't underestimate the politics of hate

14 Comments
21 March 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Face expressing hatredThe Prioress in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales had a brooch alluding to Virgil's phrase, 'love conquers all'. In her case, her love for her two lapdogs beat her affection for mere people. But in public life one wonders about the truth of the epigram. Indeed a good case could be made that hatred conquers all, and that it is stronger than love. The advent of Donald Trump with his individual style has occasioned lament that the public world is now dominated by hatred and contempt. But there is nothing new in it.


ChatterSquare S01E04: Weatherill, the Snowy and neutrality

20 March 2017 | Podcast

Chattersquare logoIn this episode, we touch on energy, infrastructure and the political lens through which we receive nation-building ideas. We talk about Jay Weatherill, the South Australian Premier, who gave a master class this week in how to make federal ministers squirm. We also ask whether it is possible for journalists to remain neutral, a quarter into the Trump presidency.


It's all in the timing

8 Comments
20 March 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Opponents of 18C chant for the right to be bigots on Harmony Day. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas


This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


Asian women breaking free of the stereotype straitjacket

6 Comments
20 March 2017 | Tseen Khoo

Prof Robert E Kelly keeps his cool during an interview about South Korean politics when his two children interrupt him, live on air, on BBC World News. Last week, an interview by the BBC with a scholarly expert on Korea was interrupted by the scholar's young family. What fascinated me most was the assumption in certain commentaries that the woman in the video was the nanny. Or, even when that was resoundingly countered, that there would be trouble for her when the interview was over. Because she is Asian, and her husband is white. And we all know what that means, right? Whether she's the nanny or the wife, she must be oppressed.


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