Author: Binoy Kampmark

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Remembering forgotten wars as fallen soldiers return

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 06 June 2016
    5 Comments

    Thirty-three bodies returned to Australia last Thursday in the country's largest repatriation of dead servicemen and their dependents, including six children. All of the dead were connected with Australia's involvement in overseas conflicts which have been archived and, in some cases, forgotten altogether. Returning the fallen has been a contentious matter. In some cases, the issue has been politicised, with dead soldiers discarded for being the immoral instruments of disputed foreign policy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bob Ellis the gifted troublemaker

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 04 April 2016
    7 Comments

    Ellis' work is a prime example of the notion advanced by the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: that committed literature, and the act of writing, are political and ethical acts. Even in a film script, one can ponder social political change. Always of the left, but never formally the structured party man of faction and following, the dishevelled, sometimes wild Ellis proved contrarian even to Labor stalwarts. There were never pious reflections, or unqualified praises.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Greens' senate reform spin is sweetened nonsense

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 22 March 2016
    19 Comments

    The idea that these laws are, as Twomey writes, 'more conducive to representing the genuine choice of the people in electing their Senate' is untrue. It is a view expressed by Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale, who suggested 'the Senate that's delivered after the next election is the one people vote for'. What these voting reforms actually serve to do is give the false impression of eliminating manipulation while diluting Australia's political base in favour of monochrome party politics.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The baby Asha problem in Australia's refugee policy

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 23 February 2016
    3 Comments

    On Sunday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton seemingly relented, allowing the child to be released into community detention rather than carting her off to Nauru. It has, however, been made clear that this is no prelude to settlement in Australia. Dutton's line goes to evenness in policy: 'We are going to have a consistency approach here ... intelligence out of Indonesia recently was that people smugglers were reporting ... there was going to be a change in policy.' None of these arguments passes muster.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Just War or just butchery in expanding Syria conflict

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 07 December 2015
    15 Comments

    The 'Just War' doctrine has made a reappearance, in the form of an endorsement from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The occasion was the debate in the British House of Commons to expand the air conflict against ISIL into Syria, in what is already a horrendously crowded airspace. The endorsement was filled with doubts, however, and rightly so. For all the surmising that has taken place, it is very difficult to see how one might bring the various enemies to the prosperity of peace.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Corporate benefit trumps public welfare in TPP

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 06 October 2015
    3 Comments

    According to WikiLeaks, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the 'icebreaker agreement' for what will be a 'T-treaty triad' which will ultimately apply to 53 states, 1.6 billion people and two-thirds of the global economy. Each of the countries was being sold the implausible idea that the agreement was too large not to sign, that this was the train of history that needed to be occupied, even if seating was in third class. What was on sale, however, was a dogma of corporate benefit rather than public welfare.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dyson Heydon and the PM's quest for political purity

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 24 August 2015
    14 Comments

    The spectacle is a strange one. Heydon has to rule on an application that directly concerns his own fitness to be in the position. It recalls the situation Lord Hoffmann found himself in after his links with Amnesty International perceptibly compromised his views on extraditing Chile's former military ruler Augusto Pinochet. Even the best jurists can fall foul of the bias rule.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Magna Carta's spotlight on today's political arbitrariness

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 16 June 2015
    3 Comments

    It was far from democratic and arose from circumstances of pure opportunism, but the Magna Carta was created as a break on arbitrary rule and power. Therefore contemporary moves to undermine such principles as the rule of law are prescient. Australia's parliament commemorates its birthday even as it extends the reach of national security laws and endorses a draconian refugee policy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government chipping away at our liberties

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 28 May 2015
    13 Comments

    There have been no violent usurpations. No coup. No acts of massive violence. But data retention laws have been passed. National security legislation protecting ASIO from all operations short of murder while punishing the disclosure of material on secret intelligence operations has been enacted. The stripping of citizenship of dual nationals is on the books. And more.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Defending Gillian Triggs

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 17 February 2015
    22 Comments

    A group of 50 academics has pointed out that 'Independent public office holders are an important part of modern democratic societies.' The Australian Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia have similarly argued that the personal attacks on Triggs amounted to an undermining of justice and the protection of human rights. It is a point the Abbott Government neglects to its peril.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The ABC is not a business

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 20 November 2014
    25 Comments

    Governments are  tempted to use budgetary accountability as a neat cover for corporatisation of public utilities. As public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS do not inhabit the same philosophical territory as Sky News or Channel 7. The ABC's cuts are based on an efficiency report prepared by a financial officer from the commercial media. It does not seem relevant that balanced budgets do not deliver educated audiences.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Telling good Kurds from bad

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 04 September 2014
    4 Comments

    A debate about arming, and reinforcing the Kurds, is not an open and shut case. European powers and the United States draw the false distinction that there are good Islamic militants and bad ones, with the bad ones supposedly against the Western military program. The game of backing and supporting misunderstood – and dangerous – groups persists.

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