section: Australia

There are more than 200 results, only the first 200 are displayed here.

  • AUSTRALIA

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

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human rights are more than an inconvenient truth

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 December 2015
    11 Comments

    Although they can be inconvenient, human rights matter. It is important for nations to recognise them and for citizens to defend them. The survivors of the Second World War who had seen the gross violations of human rights under both Nazi and Communist regimes clearly saw this. These states regarded human rights as a privilege that they could give and take away as they chose. History spells out in the alphabet of gas chambers and gulags what that attitude meant for their subjects.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Close encounters in immigration 'prison'

    • Lisa Stewart
    • 07 December 2015
    14 Comments

    The first thing I see is a familiar tableau: Mother and Child, seated, the sweep of the lines of the mother's body sculpting a circle of security and warmth around the gentle wrigglings of her baby. Except that this is no Christian Madonna, but a young Muslim woman in her early 30s, quiet, gentle and shy. Seated on her lap is her little child who has my heart the minute I lock eyes with her. Dancing around her is a skinny, black-haired seven-year-old girl with the same smile, and far too much energy for the space permitted her.

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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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  • AUSTRALIA

    No alarms and no opinions

    • Ellena Savage
    • 04 December 2015
    7 Comments

    In November I did not change my profile picture to a European flag. I did not post a link to a fresh journalistic insight into a gang of men with machetes who are desperate to feel relevant in the empty ravine of history. I felt mild joy for Myanmar, but if I am honest, I don't know enough about Myanmar. I felt indignant that no-one changed their profile pictures to the Mali flag after 170 people were taken hostage there. Then my indignation dissolved when I realised I didn't know what the Mali flag looked like.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nanny State's arthritic grip contains common good

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 December 2015
    15 Comments

    A cyclist since my youth, I was intensely annoyed when campaigners first tried to enforce cycle helmets. I loved the wind rushing through my hair, and believed my safety could be left to my responsibility. Others might have wondered if I overestimated my sense of responsibility. It was hardly compatible with the practice of never applying the brakes when going down hills on country roads, or with the view that traffic rules applied only to cars. Later, I came to see that individual freedom must be considered in its context of human relationships.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Naming and renaming uni's racist monuments

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 02 December 2015
    7 Comments

    For many years, historian Gary Foley has drawn attention to the racist past inscribed throughout the infrastructure of Melbourne University. Now, some staff and students are campaigning to rename facilities linked to particularly egregious individuals, such as the Richard Berry building, named after a leading eugenicist who stole the corpses of Indigenous people for research designed to prove the racial superiority of whites. While some accuse the campaigners of politically correct censorship, in fact the past has already been censored, and the campaigners are dragging it back into the light.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull-Abbott rivalry reveals Liberals' ideological chasm

    • John Warhurst
    • 01 December 2015
    9 Comments

    Historically, it was Labor that was dogged by splits and ideologues, while the Liberals were perceived as practical. But the ideological chasm between Abbott and Turnbull suggests the Liberals are now a broader church than Labor. The party's ideological and factional conflict will continue unabated as the government contemplates the two big public debates of its next term: a referendum on constitutional recognition of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and a plebiscite on same sex marriage.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The changing face of racism

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 30 November 2015
    10 Comments

    It is naive to equate racism with individual acts of bigotry. The current anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment for instance goes deeper than sporadic attacks against individuals. Australian jobseekers with Middle-Eastern sounding surnames must submit up to 64 per cent more resumes than someone with an Anglo name in order to secure an interview. People may not actively engage in racist displays against Arabs, but that doesn't mean they are willing to spend time in close proximity to them.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Say no to increasing force against detainees

    • Pamela Curr
    • 30 November 2015
    31 Comments

    One of the most disturbing aspects of Border Force takeover of detention camps has been the increased use of force against people seeking asylum. Women have been especially targeted, with physical pat-downs before they come and go to medical or counselling appointments triggering panic attacks in some as it has brought flashbacks of sexual abuse and rape attacks in Nauru. Next week in the Senate, the Government is seeking even more powers to use against women, children and men in detention.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What led to the trashing of Christmas Island

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 November 2015
    6 Comments

    Questions remain regarding the recent death and disturbance on Christmas Island, posed by the responses by New Zealand and Australian government ministers to the unrest. New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne compared the Christmas Island regime to Guantanamo Bay. Australian Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton emphasised the $10 million damage to property. Both responses were partial. At a deeper level the riot was the predictable outcome of a brutal government policy.

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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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