Andrew Hamilton | 23 April 2014
Killer robots — drones in an advanced stage of development — are now a daytime reality. They will be autonomous in their operation, able to identify targets, track them down, work out the best way to destroy them, and learn from their failures, all without the need for human direction. These qualities raise serious ethical questions. Obama's use of just war theory to defend such drones was misguided at best, pernicious at worst.
Moira Rayner | 22 April 2014
Occupants of public office are expected to act in accordance with their oaths. An anti-corruption commissioner, for example, should be someone whose own conduct is not just seen to be, but is demonstrably, judicious, ethical and proper. Even a minor failure in that was the reason that, several years ago, I resigned as an acting corruption and crime commissioner in another state. In my case, it didn't end there. But in O'Farrell's it should.
Andrew Hamilton | 17 April 2014
Both the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter are exercises in memory. The Jewish child who asks why this day is remembered is told a story of slavery in Egypt followed by deliverance by God. He stands in line with other children who asked the same question during the Holocaust. The devaluation of history and memory has a deeply corrosive effect on society. In our society we can see this in our treatment of asylum seekers.
Fatima Measham | 16 April 2014
A review of competition laws is allowing the Government and industry groups to push for a ban on environmental boycotts. It is a strange protectionism that portrays industries as victims, defenceless against the barrage of readily available information. It appears the free flow of information cannot be so free as to disrupt capital, and the only legitimate choices within a free market are ones unimpeded by ethics or conscience.
Michael McVeigh | 15 April 2014
On Sunday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest the Government's treatment of asylum seekers. This wasn't a group of radicals — it was Grandma and Grandpa, Mum and Dad and the kids, making a statement to a callous political elite. Rather than simply asking how we can become more decent towards asylum seekers, it's time to ask: What reserves do we, as a country, have to resist inhumane forces that besiege us?
Various | 15 April 2014
A path of varicose roots rising from sodden ground showed the way to a rock placed upon a rock; a face with random nails stuck like a half-crown of thorns in the roughly groomed clay; the eyes stared out from bulbous sacs, the mouth downturned like any mouth on any face ... I was frightened that he might choose me as a resting place.
Michael Mullins | 14 April 2014
Last week's Game of Thrones series four premiere revealed Melbourne as the pirate capital of the world. The downloaders make a 'people power' claim to moral legitimacy because they think pay TV provider Foxtel's business model undermines the access they believe they are entitled to. Stories are not a cultural form of terra nullius, and human nature will not allow them to be wholly appropriated by business interests.
Ruby Hamad | 14 April 2014
By clinging to this notion that the royals are just like us, even as we treat them as anything but, we brush aside the inconvenient fact that their status is a relic of a bygone era in which royal rule was enforced through brutal means. Is it right to forget that the British monarchy presided over colonialist expansion with all its associated genocides? A class system that bestows inherited superiority is a remnant of a more oppressive era best left in the past.
Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk | 11 April 2014
Journalist Masha Gessen describes the members of Pussy Riot as 'Putin's ideal enemies'. In recent months, their nemesis has hosted the Olympics, taken control of Crimea and clamped down on media. For a group born out of 'the repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights', Pussy Riot still has much to roar about, even if its signature 'punk prayer' sounds more than ever like a plea.
Ray Cassin | 11 April 2014
The most insidious outcome of the WA Senate election is the bargaining power it has delivered to Clive Palmer, the Queensland mining magnate who dominates the party on which he has bestowed his name. He massively outspent all his rivals, raising yet again the question of whether limits should be placed on private financing of political campaigns. It is a question that, because of his newfound clout, will not be answered anytime soon.
Catherine Marshall | 10 April 2014
I got into an argument on Twitter yesterday about Golf Digest's use of a model on its cover rather than a female professional golfer. My opponent assured me that a 'gorgeous girl who modelled for a magazine is no harm' and that it must be 'miserable' to be opposed to every magazine that presented women this way. It is miserable. For most women, objectification is so commonplace that they have learned to live with it as one would a disability.