Fatima Measham | 01 August 2016
The United Nations Security Council is in the process of selecting its next secretary-general. There is intense interest, not least because the General Assembly has made efforts to make it more transparent via an open nomination process and televised debates. The UN is seen in some parts as an edifice to bureaucratic ineptitude. But the internationalism that stitched the world back together after two calamitous wars has frayed. We need the UN as ballast against future instability.
Kate Galloway | 01 August 2016
Government wishes to capitalise on our data using new data mining technologies. The ABS uses the language of efficiency and public interest in justifying the changes. It even implies that the new online census is environmentally friendly. It may well be that collecting and retaining our names along with our personal information is efficient, but that does not address the foundation question of whether we as citizens retain the privacy that constitutes us as members of a liberal democratic society.
Catherine Marshall | 29 July 2016
Though the internet has stretched and expanded the number of people and places we have access to, it has also constrained the range of ideas and opinions to which we're exposed. Research has found that Facebook users tend to read and share information that reinforces their own beliefs. This phenomenon has been particularly noticeable in the past month, with the emotion whipped up by the Brexit campaign, the election, and a spate of shocking, apparently Isis-related killings.
Frank Brennan | 29 July 2016
Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law - not as academic notions for lawyers but as the secure bulwarks of a society in which everyone's rights and interests are protected.
Andrew Hamilton | 28 July 2016
When confronted by violent killings we should be appalled, identify sympathetically with the victims and with those affected indirectly by these tragedies, and also take a respectful interest in the complex lives of the perpetrators and the relationships that contributed to the shootings. The pause before making larger judgments respects the complexity of motivation and of social interactions involved in the killings, and offers a base for reflecting on how we may lessen the possibility of them happening in future.
Na'ama Carlin | 28 July 2016
It was two years ago this month, in July 2014, that my flight touched down in Ben Gurion Airport half an hour later than scheduled. There were rumours of Hamas missiles landing in the vicinity of the airport. A few days later multiple airlines announced they were ceasing travel to Israel. What would become Israel's deadliest offensive in Gaza since the Second Intifada, 'Operation Protective Edge', was entering its second week. How did it come to this?
Justin Glyn | 27 July 2016
As the US goes through its convention season, it is becoming increasingly clear that the choice is between someone spouting decidedly undemocratic and possibly fascist rhetoric and someone for whom democratic decision-making is, at best, something to be evaded with as little scrutiny as possible. Both parties are moneyed and both seek foreign scapegoats upon which to direct media attention. November is shaping up to provide a distinctly unpalatable choice.
Julie Kimber | 27 July 2016
The 4 Corners report into the treatment of children in a NT juvenile justice facility is a stark and grotesque demonstration of state abuse of power. As a result John Elferink, NT Corrections Minister, has been sacked, and the Prime Minister has announced a royal commission into the actions at Don Dale. This is a good start, but there is much more to be done. We need to question a culture that willingly imprisons the most vulnerable, and puts up with a system where not all are equal before the law.
Antonio Castillo | 26 July 2016
It has been little more a month since Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and Timochenko, the nom de guerre of the leader of the FARC, the oldest guerrilla group in the world, proclaimed a cease-fire. In La Habana on 23 June, the two concluded four years of negotiations to end the 50 year old Colombian civil war, the longest armed conflict in the western hemisphere. The development is hopeful, but Colombian peace attempts are nothing new, and the conditions won't be easy to meet.
Anne Elvey | 26 July 2016
With the same sense that meets the keys I stroke her arm. This tactility makes the tangible seem eternal, as if the want to write were training me to count on time. My mortality is misdirected thus by a capacity to touch. And when I put my arm around her shoulders, I feel beneath the skin the sharpness of the bone.
Frank Brennan | 25 July 2016
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the amendment to the Constitution which took out the adverse references to Aborigines. Following our recent election, we are assured at least six, and possibly seven, members of our national parliament who proudly claim an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage. They are represented in all parties and none. How good it would be if our elected Aboriginal politicians could come together across party lines and propose an amendment to the Constitution which recognises them.