keywords: Referendum

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Aussie diggers' pen as mighty as their sword

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 17 December 2014
    9 Comments

    A soldier's life is usually one of bursts of brief action followed by extended periods of drudgery and boredom, and never was this more true than during this dreadful war of attrition that dragged on apparently interminably between 1914 and 1918. A book titled Aussie was published in 1920 as a bound collection of AIF soldiers’ own paper of the battlefield, wholly written, illustrated and printed in the field. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    David Cameron's shirtfronting impotence

    • Brian Matthews
    • 07 November 2014
    4 Comments

    Some aspects of the English/Scottish independence referendum confrontation rang interesting bells for Australia. But British PM David Cameron has had to tread cautiously on foreign policy to avoid adding grist to the 'Yes' campaign's mill. Not so Tony Abbott, for whom strutting the world stage works a treat to lift the pall of governmental confusion and unpopularity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The sport of German-baiting during World War I

    • Bruce Pennay
    • 25 September 2014
    4 Comments

    Harry Paech's Great War shows why Australians have been reluctant to give government the authority to arrest on suspicion, even in times of peril. In the midst of talk in 1914 of atrocities committed by the fiendish Huns against Belgian nuns and babies, the president of Hume Shire in southern NSW was determined to show that the district's German settlers were as patriotic as any Australians. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Scotland's brave quest for self-determination

    • Duncan MacLaren
    • 16 September 2014
    31 Comments

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s remarks on the Scottish independence debate were front page news in Great Britain. If Mr Abbott had actually visited Scotland rather than follow the advice of the British PM, he would have seen that the whole debate had centred on the kind of society we wanted – one where social justice is paramount, our National Health Service is not privatised and rights are built into a written constitution.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Sovereign aspirations and political power games

    • Justin Glyn
    • 15 September 2014
    2 Comments

    The problem of who qualifies as a 'people' and what the content of the right is becomes particularly acute when the right to self-determination bumps up against that bedrock of international law, national sovereignty. In some cases, the problem goes away by agreement. The sad truth is that each side adopts the rhetoric that suits it and the result depends on the balance of political powers which each can muster. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Abbott's foreign policy flops

    • Tony Kevin
    • 12 September 2014
    11 Comments

    Since Richard Casey was External Affairs Minister in the 1950s, the three pillars of Australian foreign policy have been: a genuine reaching out to our Asian neighbours, adherence to UN-based multilateral values and institutions, and a firm but self-respecting defence partnership with the United States. All those pillars look pretty shaken now.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Flag-waving foolishness that divides

    • Tony Kevin
    • 25 August 2014
    18 Comments

    Team Australia postulates that the world is a competitive environment of nations that win or lose. You have to choose your primary loyalty or affiliation: 'He who is not with us is against us'. The more one unpacks the term Team Australia, the nastier it gets. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ukraine races towards civil war

    • Tony Kevin
    • 06 May 2014
    19 Comments

    Tim Judah, highly regarded historian of the post-Yugoslavia wars of secession, predicted things were about to go very badly in Ukraine. He wrote that in the east he witnessed 'the same brave talk, euphoria, and delusions' that beset Yugoslavs before they 'tipped their country into catastrophe in the 1990s'. Just two weeks later, Ukraine races towards civil war, prompted largely by the provocative clumsiness of Kiev and its Western cheerleaders.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Murky law in Crimea land grab

    • Justin Glyn
    • 21 March 2014
    6 Comments

    While pro-Russian and pro-Western media have been spinning the Crimea crisis as either a heroic exercise in righting a past wrong or a land grab by a new Hitler, the legal position is far from straightforward, and there is more than enough hypocrisy to go around. The Crimean issue is perhaps best analysed not through the prism of international law but rather that of age-old great power politics.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Beware conservative slogans for Indigenous inclusion

    • John Warhurst
    • 31 January 2014
    5 Comments

    The idea of a completed Constitution may be attractive, but it is also dangerous. To complete something is to end, conclude or finish it. Alternatively something which is complete is perfect, full or entire. Such language is inappropriate when discussing a constitution. Advocates for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians should beware of it even if it improves the immediate chances of passing any particular constitutional change.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Best of 2013: Margaret Thatcher versus the Scots

    • Duncan MacLaren
    • 10 January 2014

    While any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind', I must admit to pouring a glass of good malt at the news of Thatcher's passing. The Southern English may laud her as the greatest prime minister after Churchill but for us Scots she was a hate figure who in the last days of her premiership scarcely dared to cross the border for fear of being assassinated.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on

    • Duncan MacLaren
    • 18 December 2013
    17 Comments

    After six years in Australia, I am returning home to Scotland to work for the next year's referendum, which will ask if Scotland should become an independent country. It is essentially a contest between the present insular, Little Englander nightmare and a place in the world as a sovereign state. That's worth leaving Australia for!

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