Author: Fatima Measham

  • ENVIRONMENT

    Vulnerable countries leave mark on Paris agreement

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 December 2015
    5 Comments

    It has been an exercise in managing optimism and reality in the week after the Paris Agreement on climate change. One thing that can be certain is that COP21 is pivotal in terms of the model it offers for solutions to global problems. The Paris summit departed from a top-down approach, enabling the 43-member Climate Vulnerable Forum, led by current country-chair the Philippines, to work persuasively. 'We were more united,' says Tony La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government in Manila.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Excluding abortion protestors is a matter of dignity

    • Fatima Measham
    • 04 December 2015
    51 Comments

    Last Friday, Victoria passed an amendment to establish a protest-free zone around abortion clinics. I find it impossible to reconcile with the idea that personhood in utero depends on whether a baby is wanted or unwanted, but I also believe bodily autonomy is integral to the dignity of women. There is such a long history of women being deprived of agency across political, economic, social, sexual and cultural dimensions, that being able to make a choice carries its own compelling morality.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Countering ISIS by going off-script

    • Fatima Measham
    • 20 November 2015
    12 Comments

    It is tempting to view the aftermath of terrorist attacks such as those in Paris as a well-rehearsed script. There are condemnation of the killings, sympathy for the families of victims, resolve to seek and punish perpetrators, expressions of solidarity across nations. Also, assaults targeting Muslims on the street and in policy. This time a few things have gone off-script. 'Hugs and hashtags' won't stop ISIS, but there is strength in refusing to cede control over our language and behaviour to terrorists.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Paris climate talks offer real/last hope for meaningful action

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 November 2015
    6 Comments

    The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris is set to become the last opportunity for meaningful global action. The signs so far bear optimism, as the impetus for a binding international agreement to tackle the severity and effects of climate change has taken a turn. In order to better understand why, and appreciate the difference that a few years can make, it is worth revisiting why Copenhagen was such a disaster. The most meaningful difference between then and now involves leaders.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Keep Islamophobia on the fringes where it belongs

    • Fatima Measham
    • 26 October 2015
    22 Comments

    A series of protests against a mosque in Bendigo and the launch of an Islamophobic party in Perth may be cause for concern, but only if political leaders fail to invalidate fringe views. Under Tony Abbott, the conflation of Islam and extremism became mainstream. Corrections regarding racial vilification and incitement are most properly determined in the court, so it is not Muslims or lefties who are oppressing these views but the laws that operate in the secular democracy they purport to defend.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rehabilitating Abbott

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 October 2015
    18 Comments

    Australia has a long line of prime ministers whose standing has been propped up over time. Edmund Barton was a racist; Alfred Deakin spoke against 'undesirable coloured aliens'. The passage of time tends to extract the essential parts of a prime minister's stint, which is how complex figures like Whitlam, Fraser, Keating and Howard end up being rehabilitated in collective memory. It's hard to tell whether there is enough complexity in Abbott and his time as prime minister to enable such restoration.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Francis sticks in Republicans' craw

    • Fatima Measham
    • 30 September 2015
    28 Comments

    The only people who regard Francis as radical are those who think popes should only attend to matters of personal conscience. Topics such as abortion and same-sex marriage are safe zones for comment because they don't concern the economic order, or threaten systems that generate wealth for the few. But Francis has smudged the line between faith and economics in a way that many conservatives find inconvenient.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Moral injury and the recalibration of priorities

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 September 2015
    5 Comments

    French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has stirred controversy over cartoons depicting Aylan Kurdi. Superficially it appears this is about the bounds of propriety, but the hard truth is that body of a three-year old refugee cannot be a holy relic that is untouchable. What is the point of being miserable over things we cannot control?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Vigilante' applies to the government more than environmentalists

    • Fatima Measham
    • 24 August 2015
    10 Comments

    The epithets used against environment groups have been extraordinary after a judge of the Federal Court set aside Environment Minister Greg Hunt's approval of the Adani thermal coal mine. Perhaps legislation has always been an instrument for ideological agendas, but the compulsion and ease with which the Coalition has taken to the law to restrict scrutiny doesn't bode well for us. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Politicians' cognitive dissonance over blaming the system

    • Fatima Measham
    • 11 August 2015
    12 Comments

    Words like rorter, bludger and leaner only ever seem to apply to those who apply for welfare. A politician who draws down unreasonably on entitlements or a banker who earns stratospheric bonuses are seen as passive beneficiaries of the system. It seems the case that only those with power or capital are allowed to blame systems. The rest of us get to be individuals who make choices.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The white male gaze that drives child sex tourism

    • Fatima Measham
    • 27 July 2015
    14 Comments

    February's arrest of Australian man Peter Scully in the Philippines has focused concern on the sexual exploitation of Filipino women and children by foreigners. As long as they feel disempowered, when their sense of worth is measured by implicit trust and hope in white saviours and the dollar, they will continue to be preyed upon.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Intimidated ABC embraces self-censorship

    • Fatima Measham
    • 07 July 2015
    17 Comments

    Nine days after the Zacky Mallah Q&A episode, the ABC Board said it had censured the program's executive producer. It could have been a failure of the producer's editorial judgment, but there is a worrying sense that it was really a matter of the ABC appeasing the Government. There is a chilling echo of the Philippine media under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The media came to anticipate direct interventions from Malacañang Palace; eventually, none had to be made.

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