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The normalisation of lying in Australian politics

05 July 2015 | John Warhurst

Bill Shorten 'on air'The terms 'lie' and 'liar' have become so completely devalued that there are now far worse sins in modern politics. That is why it's hard to get excited about Opposition Leader Bill Shorten choosing to lie on air to Neil Mitchell about his involvement in discussions with Kevin Rudd to unseat Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.

Feminism colluding with religion to manage men's sexual desire

02 July 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Hanna YusufBritish student Hanna Yusuf declared her hijab to be not an instrument of oppression but rather a feminist statement: 'In a world where a woman’s value is often reduced to her sexual allure, what could be more empowering than rejecting that notion?' But reducing a woman to her sexual allure is precisely what the hijab does.

The IMF has failed Greece

30 June 2015 | David James

Christine LagardeInternational Monetary Fund prescriptions have a long history of failing, and countries that ignore them are often the ones that do surprisingly well. Few have been asked to be more servile than the Greeks. When the IMF came in with what is amusingly referred to as its austerity 'plan', the Greek economy was expected to grow at over 2 per cent. After the 'plan' had taken effect, the country’s economy had shrunk by a quarter.

Whistleblowing and other new crimes

25 June 2015 | Fatima Measham

Whistleblower graphicMinisterial discretion over citizenship can't replace court processes. Such executive overreach, which contradicts democratic principle, has already found expression in law. From July 1st, workers involved in immigration detention, including doctors and teachers, are subject to two years imprisonment for speaking publicly about what they witness. In other words, whistleblowing has been penalised.

Roman holiday's graffiti highlight

1 Comment
04 June 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Rome street artYou can never see a city again for the very first time, and so instead I observe my son as the Rome he's heard about comes alive before his own eyes. His greatest fascination is not its stand-alone antiquities, but the graffiti that blooms all around them. To me, these are displays of vandalism; to him they are cultural constructs as important to modern subversives as gladiatorial contests were to the Romans.

Australia lags as Shorten leads on same sex marriage

31 May 2015 | John Warhurst

Same sex couple being marriedWhatever one's position on the introduction of same sex marriage, it's clear that Australia now lags well behind the Western world, including many comparable countries such as the UK and New Zealand. This contrasts with 120 years ago around the time of Federation, when Australia was a leader on issues such as votes for women, other democratic reforms such as the secret ballot, and a living wage. Our country is now a laggard.

My personal climate change bind

25 May 2015 | Fatima Measham

Coal ShipMost people think that the effects of climate change as dire but far off. I don't have that comfort. My seafarer father plays a role in generating wealth for miners who then use it as a means to influence politicians - coal, industrial salt, iron ore. I am deeply aware that my government is committed to doing as little as possible to address climate change and its lack of a coherent, internationalist policy in Australia costs countries that are climate change-vulnerable, including where my family lives back in the Philippines.

Labor's Operation Sovereign Borders dilemma

24 May 2015 | Tony Kevin

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.

Stopping the boats as a part of our national identity

17 May 2015 | John Warhurst

'Australian Attitudes towards National Identity: Citizenship, Immigration and Tradition'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'. 

Budget must move beyond political fetish

11 May 2015 | Fatima Measham

18th century British Prime Minister Robert WalpoleThe 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.

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