Global Issues

Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

A submission was made to this inquiry by the councils for civil liberties across Australia (New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, South Australia Council for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties). Liberty Victoria Author: Joint Councils for Civil Liberties Submitted To: Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters This Bill is part of a major package of proposed legislation relating to national security and foreign intervention Foreign interference in democratic and ... Read More »

Science behind bars: How a Turkish physicist wrote research papers in prison

Ali Kaya says he used science to stay sane during his incarceration Thousands of academics in Turkish universities stand accused of either having supported terrorism or the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016. Alison Abbott nature Theoretical physicist Ali Kaya is one of them. He was arrested three months after the failed coup and held for more than a year before his trial took place. On 20 December, a court declared him guilty of being a member of a terrorist ... Read More »

We can still win the fight against climate change

As 2017 drew to an end, becoming one of the three hottest years on record, my native United States conversely experienced dangerously frigid, Arctic weather, leading to intense debate about how climate change could also be the cause of extreme cold. Jennifer Morgan Al Jazeera Although the big freeze was predictably seized upon by climate sceptics to scorn the veracity of global warming, the jury on whether climate change triggered the extreme weather is far from out. Research into the ... Read More »

ACT’s Chief Justice Helen Murrell talks soft sentences at the Supreme Court opening

ACT’s top judge says courts need to better explain sentences to stop public outrage over “lenient” sentences Daniella White  The Canberra Times Addressing a ceremony for the opening of the legal year at the ACT Supreme Court, Chief Justice Helen Murrell said the courts also had to give victims a greater voice in the court process. Chief Justice Murrell said despite anger and outrage expressed through the press about sentencing, studies showed average members of the public given the same information as a sentencing judge tended to ... Read More »

Patchwork abortion laws a lottery for women

Every Australian should have access to the health services they need. Full stop. This shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but when it comes to reproductive health services, it seems it still is. Tanya Plibersek * Brisbane Times Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures that Australian women will experience in their lives. But our patchwork of abortion laws and holes in service provision mean more and more women are having to travel interstate. Tasmania’s only provider of surgical ... Read More »

SA child protection recommendations offered by Democracy Co community panel

A community panel which has looked at South Australia’s child protection needs is urging a preventative focus rather than crisis management approach, with a boost for education services, peer support of families and a push to focus on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. ABC A panel of 30 randomly selected South Australians was set up recently by an independent organisation, Democracy Co, in the wake of ongoing concerns about the state’s child protection system and a royal ... Read More »

Vietnam, US talk political, security, defence matters

Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc and the US’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tina Kaidanow co-chaired the ninth Vietnam-US Political, Security and Defence Dialogue in Hanoi on January 30. VietnamPlus Both Ngoc and Kaidanow recognised positive developments in bilateral ties since Vietnam and the US set up their comprehensive partnership in 2013. They added that 2017 was a successful year of Vietnam-US relations, evidenced by the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan ... Read More »

Kenya: Averting an Avoidable Crisis

Kenya’s ongoing electoral standoff could be compounded further if opposition leader Raila Odinga proceeds with a “swearing-in” ceremony that might elicit a tough response from President Kenyatta. ICG To avert the risk of further protests, destruction and bloodshed, all actors should redouble efforts to broker a last-minute deal. Kenya’s political crisis could come to a head on Tuesday 30 January 2018. Opposition leader Raila Odinga is expected to stage a swearing-in ceremony as the “people’s president” after two contentious elections in ... Read More »

Federal Government accused of contributing to global arms race with defence exports push

Aid groups have criticised the Federal Government’s plan to dramatically ramp up defence exports, accusing the Coalition of contributing to a global arms race. Stephen Dziedzic ABC The Government has declared it wants Australia to be one of the world’s top 10 exporters, unveiling a new loan scheme for defence companies which want to sell their products overseas. Australia’s defence exports are worth about $2 billion a year — but Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said he wants that figure ... Read More »

How Russia played its bad cards well to enlarge Mid-East role

Russia has managed to enlarge its role in Syria and the Middle East using shrewd diplomacy and precise military aims. Watch out for similar tactics in Asia. Jonathan Eyal The Straits Times Middle Eastern leaders have long grown accustomed to attending Syria “peace conferences” in one city or another. Vienna, Geneva or New York were the perennial favourites, but even Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, served as a venue for such gatherings. Today, however, a new destination is being added ... Read More »

China and Japan Hold Talks on Improving Relations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) held talks with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (left) on January 28 in Beijing, during which the two sides agreed to resume reciprocal visits by their leaders. Warren Mass New America During more than three hours of talks, Kono and Wang confirmed the importance of their leaders making mutual visits as part of a full-fledged effort to improve Sino-Japanese relations, Japan Times cited a Japanese government official. “We want to improve overall [bilateral] ... Read More »

IPA joins forces with GetUp! to condemn ‘unprecedented and dangerous’ donations law

The right-leaning Institute of Public Affairs has joined the Greens, charities and activist group GetUp! in slamming the Turnbull government’s “unprecedented and dangerous” bid to clean up the political donations… Michael Koziol The Age The think tank, which is often aligned with the Coalition on key policy questions, blasted the plan as unnecessary and excessive, arguing the legislation was so poorly drafted as to go “way beyond” its declared… Under the bill before Parliament, political parties, associated entities and all ... Read More »

Turkey Starts Jihad on Syrian Kurds

In October of last year, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the United States, liberated the city of Raqqa from the Islamic State (ISIS) in a major defeat for the collapsing jihadist army that had proclaimed it to be the capital of its caliphate. Uzay Bulut Providence Four months later, NATO member Turkey has opened a military campaign in the Syrian region Afrin against the same Kurds who led the fight against ISIS. The campaign appears to have jihadi expansionist ... Read More »

US Allies Should Back President Trump

It is not the business of allies to meddle in the domestic affairs of the US, and certainly not to take a position in domestic controversies over the performance of its leaders and politicians. Prof. Hillel Frisch BESA It is the role of the vibrant democratic process in the US to handle such matters. What is of utmost importance, however, is for allies to make known to American citizens how they see the US president advancing what they perceive to ... Read More »

An immigrant’s life as a bargaining chip in US politics

On the one-year anniversary of his presidency, Donald Trump tweeted, “If there is no Wall, there is no DACA,” pitting his longtime promise to build a fence along the southern US border against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, introduced by former President Barack Obama in… by Khaled A Beydoun AlJazeera For Trump, his base, and a cohort of Republican leaders in states where xenophobia is resonant and the Latinx population is yet to emerge as a political force, ... Read More »

Israel criticises Poland over proposed Holocaust law

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticised a proposed bill that would make it illegal to describe Nazi death camps as Polish. BBC “I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied,” he said in a statement. Under the bill, which is an amendment to an existing Polish law, anyone who suggests Poland was responsible for Nazi crimes could face a prison term. It is expected to pass in the Senate before being signed by ... Read More »