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  • AUSTRALIA

    Uluru Statement has lit a fuse that cannot go out

    • Kate Galloway
    • 30 May 2017
    10 Comments

    Political response has been ambivalent at best, and ambivalence sounds a death knell for mainstream engagement by a tentative public. Turnbull pointed out that any claim must be acceptable to the general public to succeed. In the next breath he discussed the success of the 1967 Referendum. This was disingenuous given the political reality of 67, where there was no case presented for a no vote. After the Uluru Statement, it is now not possible to ignore substantive constitutional reform, or treaty.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Is bipartisan bigotry the new normal?

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 16 May 2017
    19 Comments

    I have never felt as uneasy in Australia as I do now. It extends through many areas of my life, from listening to the low level of our national debate about migration and refugees, to my long daily commute and the many high-profile incidents of racist incidents on public transport. The fact that 'micro parties' with overtly racist agendas are influencing major party messages, such as in Labor's recent 'Employ Australians First' advertisement, is concerning because it points to these parties' success.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We are all neoliberals now

    • Tim Robertson
    • 20 April 2017
    13 Comments

    One of the challenges for progressive parties is to look beyond the existing neoliberal framework for solutions to the current malaise. Labor is so steeped in neoliberal orthodoxy that, even if it was willing to evolve, it's likely incapable of doing so. And while much of the intellectual heavy lifting in forming a picture of what a post-neoliberal future may look like will be done outside organised politics, Labor remains completely unengaged with almost all of these debates.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Rule of law' furore reveals real thugs

    • Fatima Measham
    • 16 March 2017
    18 Comments

    A new round of anti-union chest-thumping is underway, following ACTU secretary Sally McManus' remarks that 'I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair ... But when it's unjust, I don't think there's a problem with breaking it.' If any other person had said this in the context of civil and political rights, the words might not be so incendiary. Laws are not as neutral as we imagine them to be. They are constructed by individuals of immense power, with their own set of values and connections.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Turnbull's coal pitch is a Trojan Horse for gas

    • Greg Foyster
    • 23 February 2017
    10 Comments

    Australia's most politically contentious rock is back in the limelight after Prime Minister Turnbull spruiked 'clean coal' power stations in early February, and Scott Morrison brought a lump of the stuff to parliament. It was a juvenile act, but an effective one: here we are again, still talking about coal weeks later, when the real energy policy battle is over gas. But that's how it goes - a pitch for a new coal-fired power station in Australia is actually a clever exercise in repositioning gas as a greener fuel.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Netanyahu visit drives the Palestine wedge deeper

    • Andra Jackson
    • 22 February 2017
    15 Comments

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia this week is having precisely the opposite impact to what he no doubt intended. Instead of shoring up support for Israel's flagrant disregard for United Nations resolutions condemning its continual annexation of Palestinian land, it is driving a deep wedge into what was previously unflagging bipartisan Australian political party support for Israel. Australia's connection with Palestine actually predates the creation of the state of Israel.

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  • RELIGION

    The Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 February 2017
    74 Comments

    Last Monday, the Royal Commission commenced its three-week forensic examination of the causes of child sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church in Australia over the last 60 years. The statistics were horrifying. Every case represented a person who claims as a child to have been abused by a person of authority in a Catholic institution. Whichever way the statistics are interpreted in comparison with other institutions, they are appalling. We need to hold the victims clearly in focus.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Biding time in the anti-establishment era

    • Fatima Measham
    • 02 February 2017
    6 Comments

    It strikes me as odd that we have mostly withstood anti-establishment agitation, as seen in the Philippines and the UK. It is not like our political class have not earned similar scorn. What if the optimism bias that kept most of us from anticipating the results of the Brexit referendum and the US election are now also in play in Australia? How long will current welfare architecture and the incompetence of nativists keep at bay the destabilising forces that have laid America so low?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The year our leaders doubled down on doubling down

    • Mark Hearn
    • 31 January 2017
    6 Comments

    2016 was a bumper year for the political double down. Journalist Mark Kenny witnessed a dramatic manifestation: 'Mr Abbott was seen to double down on his recent indirect messaging to Mr Turnbull about a possible return to the frontbench.' A combined 'double down with indirect messaging': perhaps a uniquely Abbott adaptation. Doubling down - otherwise known as repeating yourself - is the public language of aggressive redundancy, drowning out alternative voices and ideas.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Maintaining children's rights amid youth detention crises

    • Kate Galloway
    • 13 January 2017
    4 Comments

    The Minister has committed to improving youth detention facilities, the appointment of 100 more staff, and revision of Victoria's youth detention policy. But in doing so, she has sheeted home blame to the former government, and has accused lawyers for the children of pandering to ideology. The government's discourse continues the tough-on-crime narrative rather than acknowledging the causes and contexts of juvenile offending and the consequences of appalling facilities on the youth who are detained.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Guilt edged smartphones an unhappy Christmas gift

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 19 December 2016
    22 Comments

    A few years ago I woke up on Christmas morning to see a small, neatly wrapped gift under the tree. The size and shape were familiar and I was excited to see my name on the gift tag. I'd wanted a new phone all year ... one with one of those touch screens everyone else seemed to have. A few months later I could no longer feel pride for my phone, instead just guilt. I'd sat down and watched a documentary about how phones just like mine were manufactured.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    When we give ourselves permission

    • Fatima Measham
    • 08 December 2016
    12 Comments

    It is hard to overstate the sort of things that become permissible when the dominant political culture appeals to our darker nature. Take the cascade of brutality in the Philippines, or the stream of hateful incidents in the US. In Australia, white supremacist groups staged 'victory rallies' after the US election, and posters appeared last weekend at Melbourne University telling 'dunecoons, shitskins, niggers, chinks' to get out. This permissiveness isn't just about Trump, though he is a catalyst.

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