Search Results: election 2016

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Budget for a post trickle down theory world

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 April 2016
    10 Comments

    People are sensitised to government-enabled corporate excess and doubt elected officials are capable and willing to serve their interests. The lesson from the 2014 federal budget is that there are non-negotiables around the function of government: to provide the conditions that ensure the flourishing of all citizens. Yet in terms of future-proofing living standards, the Coalition has so far presided over an ideas bust rather than boom, unless boom is the sound of something spontaneously combusting.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't fall for Humpty Dumpty politics

    • Justin Glyn
    • 10 April 2016
    10 Comments

    We got a lesson in the art of language from the Minister of Immigration, Peter Dutton, whose redefinition of the word 'detention' was reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty's remark in Alice Through the Looking Glass: 'When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' We are social creatures who make real decisions based on the representations of others. Once we know we cannot expect the truth from each other, especially those who govern, society can no longer function.

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  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humility is the forgotten virtue this election year

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 March 2016
    10 Comments

    In a month in which some politicians trumpeted their own virtues and others their opponents' vices, one traditional virtue went unserenaded: humility. The reticence is unsurprising. Humility is associated with timidity, self-doubt and a reluctance to put oneself forward. Successful politicians project themselves, are confident, competitive, and lead like strong men. This view merits challenge. It assumes a corrupted form of humility, and exempts politicians from ethical reflection about their craft.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Preselection esteems politics over merit

    • Fatima Measham
    • 13 March 2016
    10 Comments

    The debate over the Coalition's proposed senate voting reforms has highlighted the inter-party brokering that brings candidates into office. Yet if representative democracy were predicated on transparency, then another area deserves scrutiny: preselection. The mechanism for choosing party representatives clearly relies on powerful backers - politics - rather than merit. That is an obvious thing to say. But it carries repercussions for governance with which we have yet to grapple.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Sanders preaches progress, but Clinton embodies it

    • Megan Graham
    • 10 March 2016
    11 Comments

    Even if his views and rhetoric are radical, everything else about Sanders is so within our comfort zones that they become more palatable. It's difficult for any progressive to get into power without aligning with powerful groups, whether they be politics, class, culture or gender-based. And Clinton is already disqualified from a club with arguably the most stubborn membership of all - the 'boys club'. For any feminist, it's hard to view the installation of the first female president as anything but progressive.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    View from the brink of the age of Drumpf

    • Jim McDermott
    • 03 March 2016
    5 Comments

    On Sunday Drumpf demurred when asked how he felt about former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke voicing his support for a Drumpf presidency. And yet he still swept the polls in the American Super Tuesday primaries, racking up wins in eight of 11 states. Under Barack Obama the US has had eight years of largely responsible, idealistic executive leadership. Yet rather than shepherding in a new hope-filled era, we find ourselves standing before a chasm of largely uncontrolled id.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cardinal Pell, Safe Schools and the personhood of children

    • Moira Rayner
    • 03 March 2016
    40 Comments

    A feeding frenzy is afoot over the review of Safe Schools program. At the same time poor old George Pell is under attack for failing to observe that his Ballarat colleagues were prolifically enabling Ridsdale and other pedophiles to sexually abuse little boys. The prurient desire to control the sexual interests of others on the one hand, and on the other the gross failures by institutions to protect vulnerable children in their care, are sadly linked to an unwillingness to face the truth about human sexuality.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Good and bad news about the Syria ceasefire

    • Justin Glyn
    • 24 February 2016
    4 Comments

    There is cause for both optimism and scepticism in the news that the US and Russia have agreed a ceasefire in Syria. On the face of it, one of the world's bloodiest civil wars is about to come to an end; an end to be guaranteed by the two biggest, best armed militaries on the planet. This should be excellent news for everybody, not least the long suffering civilian population of one of the most bombed countries on earth. So what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Millennials have allies in the emerging grey vote

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 February 2016
    5 Comments

    The formative experiences of Australian early boomers include unprecedented access to university education and health care, immersion in feminist discourse, Aboriginal land rights campaigns, environmental activism, LGBT movements and pacifism. Quite remarkably, it mirrors some of the elements that engage millennials. While in some ways anti-boomer sentiment seems well placed, what it misses is that on social issues a 21-year-old might have more in common with a 61-year-old than a 71-year-old.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's techno-optimism is a tad hasty

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 16 February 2016
    7 Comments

    A government campaign declares 'we've always been good at having ideas. Now we need to get better at innovation: turning ideas into successful products and services.' The message is that we are on the brink of a technological revolution, driven by government. But really we've some way to go. As we have seen with wind turbines, the communities that host new technologies can react with anger and fear. If they are left out of the process, visions of grand, sweeping change can be undermined.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Electing a president in an age of superheroes

    • Jim McDermott
    • 07 February 2016
    5 Comments

    Many Americans want a President who speaks to their deepest dreams and ideals. A champion. Trump's vision of reality is the polar opposite of Obama's, a hellscape where foreigners, the unemployed (and women) are eroding society. But, like Obama, he has positioned himself as a champion of those filled with frustration, insisting it doesn't have to be this way. Bernie Sanders is in many ways the Trump of the left, a political outsider who says what progressive Americans have long been thinking.

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