Democracy

Most Australians support a federal anti-corruption commission: research

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Most Australians want the government to create a federal anti-corruption commission, make its national agencies more independent and set four-year parliamentary terms, according to a new report led by one of the nation’s most respected former public… Doug Dingwall The Canberra Times The findings come as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the first time suggested he was prepared to consider creating a federal anti-corruption watchdog, but said he was not yet persuaded the case had been made for such a… While the discussion paper released ... Read More »

Democracy in meltdown as East Timorese PM denounces ‘coup’

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The prime minister of East Timor is refusing to allow parliament to reconvene because he will face a vote of no confidence. What next? Professor Damien Kingsbury. Crikey international affairs commentator As East Timor went to elections this year, the country was the most peaceful and united it had been in its short history. The CNRT-Fretilin government of national inclusion had functioned well, it appeared that the ‘Generation of ‘75’ exemplified by Xanana Gusmao, was stepping back from politics and, with the ... Read More »

Three reasons Australians should be concerned that NGOs’ voices are not being heard

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A healthy democracy is built on the premise that public debate should allow for many and diverse voices to be heard as part of the contest for ideas that informs policymaking. Andrea Carson Sarah Maddison If Australians want this to be the case, the current state of play offers three reasons for concern. The Conversation NGOs are self-silencing The first is the finding in our research, released today, that Australian NGOs are self-silencing. Our data show that many not-for-profit organisations, ... Read More »

Australia Seeks New Gag Laws That Could See Journalists And Whistleblowers Jailed for 20 Years

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Organisations such as WikiLeaks and disclosures from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden appear to be the target Paul Farrell BuzzFeed  Australian government and intelligence whistleblowers – and potentially even journalists – may face up to 20 years in jail for disclosing classified information, under the most sweeping changes to the country’s secrecy laws since they were introduced. The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a broad package of reforms aimed at curbing foreign interference from countries including China and Russia. ... Read More »

Netanyahu: Palestinians must face reality over Jerusalem

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Israel’s prime minister has said Palestinians must “get to grips with” the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital in order to move towards peace. BBC Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem had been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and had “never been the capital of any other people”. He spoke amid ongoing protests in the Muslim and Arab world at a US decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital. Violence flared near the US embassy in Lebanon and elsewhere on Sunday. ... Read More »

Greens single out 13 companies that paid no tax yet donated to major parties

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Richard Di Natale says Australian democracy ‘broken’ and system being propped up by Labor and Liberal parties Paul Karp The Guardian Thirteen companies that paid no tax in 2015-16 made $1.7m in political donations to the Liberal and Labor parties in that year, the Greens have complained. On Thursday the Australian tax office released fresh tax data that showed 36% of the 2,043 largest public companies and multinational entities in Australia paid no tax in 2015-16. An analysis by the Greens cross-referencing the ... Read More »

Political funding rules should not curb civil society bodies

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Law incorrectly classifies certain bodies as ‘third parties’ to election campaigns Deirdre Garvey The Irish Times As anyone paying attention to current affairs will be aware, there are very good reasons why we should all be concerned about the issue of outside parties seeking to influence the democratic election processes that we hold dear. However, it is increasingly clear to us in The Wheel that there is now a real risk that existing laws, designed to prevent such abuse in ... Read More »

Poland’s Macron? Morawiecki takes the helm

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Poland’s soon-to-be Prime Minister Morawiecki has two years until the next elections to show if he will go down as another Jaroslaw Kaczynski puppet or a modernizing force. Jo Harper The ex-banker has his work cut out for him. DW The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – led by founder and head Jaroslaw Kaczynski – on Thursday picked Mateusz Morawiecki, currently finance minister, to replace incumbent Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. Two years after coordinating the election campaign that saw ... Read More »

Catalans Can’t Agree on What Independence Means

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But whatever it is, those seeking it are more committed than ever. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic BARCELONA — Alfred Bosch, a member of the Barcelona City Council from the left-wing, pro-independence Esquerra Republicana party, sees Catalonia’s referendum on independence in dramatic terms.“The legality of the whole process is not the main issue,” he told me when we met last month.“Was apartheid legal? Yes. Was it legitimate? No.” he continued. “Was the lack of women’s rights legal? Yes. Does that mean ... Read More »

Obama invokes Nazi Germany in warning about today’s politics

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Washington (CNN) – Former President Barack Obama urged voters this week to stay engaged in democracy, warning that complacency was responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Miranda Green  “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, according to video of the event. “Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or ’30s ... Read More »

Economic Instability Endangers Democracy

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The world’s leading consolidated democracies have seen rates of economic growth consistently and persistently decline over the past forty years Jordan Willcox  The National Interest In recent years, a foreign-policy community once focused on a managed decline in U.S. global predominance has witnessed the birth of disquieting new phase. The European community is closing its borders and debating Brexit; nationalism and ethnocentrism is on the rise in rich-nation political parties; the Trump administration is working to exit major trade agreements. The Western ... Read More »

Ten things Australia can do to be a human rights hero

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Sunday is Human Rights Day. December 10 marks 69 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. Carolien van Ham Lisa Hill Louise Chappell With the 70th anniversary coming up in 2018, the UN has launched Stand Up 4 Human Rights, a year-long campaign to bring the ideals of the declaration closer to reality. The Conversation As a leader in the framing of the UN declaration and one of the ... Read More »

Palestinians recognize Texas as part of Mexico

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JERUSALEM – In response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Palestinian National Authority has announced that it will recognize Texas as a state of Mexico since it was violently annexed by the United States in the… ALEX HUNTLEY The Beaverton “The territory north and east of the Rio Grande is very important to the Mexican people,” explained a PNA spokesperson. “Before American settlers showed up and implemented slavery, Mexico oversaw this land. Then, President Polk sent his ... Read More »

Aus must preserve legal protections despite real threat of terrorism, academic warns

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A Victorian-based professor of law has warned that national counterterrorism measures should not erode the “essential tenets” of Australia’s legal system. Melissa Coade Lawyers Weekly Days after the arrest of a man alleged to have been planning a New Year’s terrorist attack in Melbourne last week, Deakin University’s Professor Sandeep Gopalan has called for caution in the way that laws and institutions are adapted to respond to the national threat of terrorism. “The risk that lone-wolf actors – inspired by ... Read More »

Milo Has A Platform Because He Upholds The Status Quo, Which Speaks Volumes About Australia

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The current tour of neo-nazi supporter Milo Yiannopoulous will give a lot of Australians pause for thought about our national values New Matilda Just not Australians who happen to work in commercial media, writes Michael Brull. Milo Yiannopoulos has landed in Australia. An array of media platforms have been offered to him, such as Alan Jones’s radio show, a friendly appearance without any critics on Channel 7, continued friendly coverage in the Daily Mail, an interview on the Kyle and ... Read More »

Turkey jails activist couple of Armenian origin for social media posts

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Two political activists of Armenian origin have recently been arrested by Turkish police due to social media posts that were critical of the Turkish government Uzay Bulut Providence An author and environmental activist, Cemil Aksu, was arrested on October 25 in the city of Artvin for allegedly “praising crime and criminals” in his social media posts. Aksu is the local co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and is one of the editors of the Gor-Hemshin cultural magazine. His wife, Nurcan Vayiç Aksu, ... Read More »