Search Results: constitutional reform

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Republican Turnbull must lead, not wait

    • John Warhurst
    • 01 February 2016
    22 Comments

    It is understandable that Turnbull sees no benefit in a second heroic failure caused by moving too soon. But political leaders who wait for overwhelming popular support are self-serving, because top-down support is needed for success. While January brought unprecedented approval from political leaders and the support of the Australian of the Year, the Australian Republican Movement must continue to be energetic and ambitious, and meet Turnbull's challenge to become still larger and more popular.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Justice in recognition for Aboriginals

    • Frank Brennan
    • 14 January 2016
    9 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • RELIGION

    'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 December 2015
    1 Comment

    'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Justice for Aboriginals grows out of recognition

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 October 2015
    7 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Contours and prospects for Indigenous recognition in the Australian constitution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 October 2015
    2 Comments

    I acknowledge those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who insist that they have never ceded their sovereignty to the rest of us. I join with those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who hope for better days when they are recognised in the Australian Constitution. As an advocate for modest constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, I respect those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who question the utility of such recognition. But I do take heart from President Obama's line in his Charleston eulogy for the late Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney: 'Justice grows out of recognition'.

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 31 August 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Political donations reform is not so easy

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 28 July 2015
    5 Comments

    Political donations give privileged access to powerful public officials to those who are wealthy. But public funding does little to reduce parties’ reliance on private money and radical control measures can fall foul of the Constitution. A 2013 High Court judgment finding that a ban on donations infringed the constitutional freedom of political communication.

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  • The reconciling power of our common experience of 'mother' land

    • Andrew McAlister
    • 09 July 2015
    1 Comment

    The past week's meeting at Kirribilli House between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and politicians decided on the establishment of a Referendum Council. We should not overlook the power of the land itself to reconcile us. Theologian, archaeologist, and biblical scholar Eugene Stockton, along with artist Terence O'Donnell, has just produced a timely booklet titled This Land, Our Mother.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Speaking for others in the public square

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 June 2015
    4 Comments

    Walking towards the courthouse, I heard a cry, 'Hey, Father Frank, over here! You've got to support us mob.' I was torn. I was chairing a national consultation at the request of the Commonwealth Government. I did not want to politicise our presence in town.   But then again, I did not want to abandon Ben and his colleagues in their hour of need. They all stood in front of an Aboriginal flag.  Some were crying out for justice for their deceased loved one.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Stepping on to mandatory data retention's slippery slope

    • Fatima Measham
    • 24 March 2015
    6 Comments

    Mandatory data retention was a bad idea when it was originally floated during a Gillard Government inquiry. It is a worse idea now, and is set to become law for political reasons, not because it has been properly scrutinised. There are important questions that we should be asking, and we should not let ourselves be put off from doing this if we don’t know the difference between data and metadata (there is none).

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nice guy Jokowi a death penalty strong man

    • Pat Walsh
    • 03 February 2015
    17 Comments

    The execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is expected to take place on Nusakembangan, a prison island off Central Java. Visitors there are greeted by a sign which translates: 'They are not criminals, just lost people, and it is never too late to repent'. To be executed after you repent, however, is certainly too late. It also diminishes Indonesia. But let’s not write Indonesia off.     

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