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24 May 2015 |
The week’s dreadful Rohingya asylum seeker tragedy prompted an eventual softened response from our neighbours, but not Australia. The current government’s record of stopping boat arrivals and deaths at sea stands in stark contrast to that of Labor during its period of office, when at least 1100 asylum seekers died at sea.
17 May 2015 |
Recent polls reveal our pride in scientific, technological and sporting achievements. It is reassuring that many of us support the current and even increased immigration levels. But Australians overwhelmingly, 65 per cent in total, believe that stronger measures should be taken to 'exclude illegal immigrants'.
11 May 2015 |
The practice of presenting the budget to parliament came out of a crisis. In 1733, British Prime Minister Robert Walpole's announced plan to impose an excise tax on wine and tobacco was met with outrage. It reflects the reality that budget presentation did not start out as a neutral exercise in transparency but rather a mishandled piece of political communication.
07 May 2015 |
Roger Blanco Morciego is a young Cuban man with an English name, who grew up in a communist country ostracised from the rest of the world. 'In my neighbourhood we have seven Rogers. I think we were named after Roger Moore'. I have my own theory about this: people who are shut out will do anything to explore and understand the realm they've been excluded from.
06 May 2015 |
On Saturday, a Victory Parade will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the final defeat of Fascist Germany. It is a fitting tribute to the heroism of the Russian people for their huge sacrifices and sufferings in a common cause with the west. Many leaders including US President George W. Bush attended the 60th, but a specious rationale is dictating a boycott this time around.
27 April 2015 |
The conflict in the Ukraine has attracted a great deal of attention for its geo-strategic implications. Less noticed have been the economic implications. The sanctions placed on Russia have forced Russia to become even closer to China, and the alliance between a military superpower and an economic superpower is beginning to split the global economy in two. It may come to represent the biggest geo-economic and geo-political shift of the first half of this century, defining much of the future landscape.
21 April 2015 |
As next week's 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon approaches, the Australian Government has found its own egregious way to commemorate the anniversary. On Friday, the West Australian reported that HMAS Choules was standing off the Vietnamese coast, in an operation to hand back to Vietnam a group of almost 50 asylum seekers. So soon after Malcolm Fraser's passing.
19 April 2015 |
Since John Howard promoted the memory of 25 April 2015 in the years after 9/11, it has become entrenched in the public imagination as the definitive Australian moment. I look upon it from a distance, in awe, and as the deification of the white male soldier continues apace, with a deeper sense of alienation. As a non-white Australian who migrated to this country from the Philippines, I did try to make it relevant for myself for a while.
09 April 2015 |
Myanmar is metamorphosing like a vast time-lapse image, sloughing off its old skin and replacing it with a glittering new facade. But decades of military rule cannot be dismissed so easily, and there is much for the traveller to consider. In the first place, is it ethical to visit at all? Travellers have long taken their cue from Myanmar's beloved democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
07 April 2015 |
Despite often treating sports people uncritically as celebrities, Australians are ambivalent about their place in public life. Former Howard government minister Peter Reith launched an unfair personal attack on former champion Canberra Raiders rugby league forward Senator Glenn Lazarus after he defected from the Palmer United Party. The general lesson from the example of Lazarus - who is actually quietly capable - is that he is as well suited as the parliamentarians who have been lawyers, blacksmiths, builders, business and army people.
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