keywords: Senate Inquiry

  • ENVIRONMENT

    Spin counts more than facts in SA wind farm dispute

    • Greg Foyster
    • 21 October 2016
    10 Comments

    On 28 September an extreme storm lashed South Australia and the entire state lost power. How could this have happened? It's a question that has occupied the country for the last three weeks as politicians and commentators have peddled their unqualified opinions in an escalating culture war about the role of renewable energy. No one really knew what had happened until Wednesday this week, when the AEMO released its updated report. Even now, there are more questions than answers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dickensian England lives on in Australia

    • Kate Galloway
    • 26 August 2016
    15 Comments

    Oliver Twist is still used to aid understanding of the trauma arising from poverty, and the suffering of children at the hands of individuals and within institutional settings. In broader Australian society we assume Dickensian attitudes to children have evolved. Aligned with the sentiments behind child protection, society's image of children and childhood is idyllic. Yet beneath this veneer lies a substratum of deeply ambivalent, even malevolent, attitudes towards children with a distinctly Dickensian flavour.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Good leaders need the confidence to listen

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 24 May 2016
    13 Comments

    Universities and the CSIRO are attacked and funds cut while the government promotes an 'ideas boom'. Creative industries and the Australia Council are diminished and investment slashed while the government talks of an 'innovation agenda'. It takes confidence in your own skill as a decision-maker to recognise the expertise of others as something you don't share but can benefit from. Instead we see nervous leadership, too anxious to trust in those who can build that future.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sniff the rot in Australia's wobbly democracy

    • Justin Glyn
    • 20 April 2016
    9 Comments

    Last week, a member of Parliament, Jenny Leong, allegedly faced racist and sexist abuse by police from at least four separate commands. This abuse was linked to her opposition (in accordance with her party's stated policy) to the use of drug sniffer dogs without a search warrant. Whether or not one agrees with Green party policy in this regard, the treatment of Leong ought to rankle. Such ill-treatment at the hands of the executive is, unfortunately, not an isolated phenomenon.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Preselection esteems politics over merit

    • Fatima Measham
    • 14 March 2016
    10 Comments

    The debate over the Coalition's proposed senate voting reforms has highlighted the inter-party brokering that brings candidates into office. Yet if representative democracy were predicated on transparency, then another area deserves scrutiny: preselection. The mechanism for choosing party representatives clearly relies on powerful backers - politics - rather than merit. That is an obvious thing to say. But it carries repercussions for governance with which we have yet to grapple.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's techno-optimism is a tad hasty

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 17 February 2016
    7 Comments

    A government campaign declares 'we've always been good at having ideas. Now we need to get better at innovation: turning ideas into successful products and services.' The message is that we are on the brink of a technological revolution, driven by government. But really we've some way to go. As we have seen with wind turbines, the communities that host new technologies can react with anger and fear. If they are left out of the process, visions of grand, sweeping change can be undermined.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    #LetThemStay reveals the political capital of compassion

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 12 February 2016
    8 Comments

    Since the first churches offered sanctuary to the refugees facing deportation to Nauru, a steady stream of voices have joined the call for compassion. As a political language, compassion is itself a reclamation of power. Extending safety, resources, or even a mere welcome to people in need proves that we have something to give. Strength is embodied by a capacity to aid and assist, rather than in cruelty. Empathy, care and compassion appeal to us on a level of emotion that runs deeper than mere rhetoric.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Islamophobia belongs on the fringes

    • Fatima Measham
    • 12 January 2016
    6 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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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Fears and fictions in SA's nuclear waste tussle

    • Michele Madigan
    • 11 December 2015
    13 Comments

    The state of Nevada continues to show its resolve by its longterm refusal to host a national nuclear waste dump. Such is their success that President Barack Obama has continued to back their opposition. It would certainly be beyond their comprehension that any community, any government, would volunteer to take other countries' nuclear waste, which remains radioactive for thousands of years. Yet in Australia, this is what nuclear proponents, the SA premier, and now the prime minister are backing.

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Arts need inspiration, not more disruption

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 26 November 2015
    2 Comments

    One of the few industries lacking a national advocacy platform, the arts, was stunned when a political move was made to undermine the key policy and investment body. The Australia Council is still reeling, and arts leaders from around the country are scrambling to save their organisations and support their colleagues following the Council's drastic cancellation of entire funding rounds. At stake here is the nature of Australian culture and the public experience of it, both now and into the future.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government haste lays waste to consultation

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 24 November 2015
    7 Comments

    In October last year, in my former role as regulatory manager of iiNet, I responded to a confidential industry consultation paper on the proposed data retention scheme. The Attorney-General's Department provided no response to that 22 page paper beyond an acknowledgment of receipt. It's frustrating to feel like a government is simply going through the motions of 'consultation'. This isn't an isolated case. There's too often a lack of meaningful consultation before bills are introduced into Parliament.

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