Democracy

Shuffling Seats: The Politicians Who Put ‘Person Over Party’… And Democracy

Eol 3c

Winning a seat in the Senate for a political party, then dumping that political party and either going it solo or joining another party, undermines our parliamentary system, writes Ross Hamilton. New Matilda It used to be said that it was harder to get out of the Australian cricket team than it was to get in there. While that may no longer be the case for our cricketers, it is clearly is with our politicians. Once an individual gets their ... Read More »

Brexit attacks on civil service ‘are worthy of 1930s Germany’

From 2b

Ex-cabinet secretary attacks tactics of leading Brexiters who have accused Whitehall of sabotaging UK’s exit from EU Michael Savage The Guardian Leading Brexiters who accuse civil servants of sabotaging Britain’s exit from the EU are adopting dangerous tactics similar to those of rightwing German nationalists between the two world wars, a former head of the civil service has warned. In a stark assessment of the acute tensions developing over the issue, Andrew Turnbull, who led the civil service under Tony ... Read More »

Merkel suggests changes could be made to new online hate speech law

Ses 6f

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled on Saturday that she was prepared to consider changes to a widely criticised new law that aims to rid social media of hate speech. By REUTERS euronews The legislation, which came into force on Jan. 1, can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60.1 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly, sparking concerns that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms could block more content than necessary. ... Read More »

The truth about political donations: there is so much we don’t know

Eleg 7g

The big story about the Australian Electoral Commission’s annual release of political donations disclosures is how little they really tell us Lindy Edwards The Conversation Over the last decade, the major parties have routinely only transparently disclosed 10-20% of their incomes as donations. There is another 20-35% of party incomes that falls into a grey area, where accounting enables them to conceal the source of the money. Then there is another 50-70% of party incomes the public knows absolutely nothing ... Read More »

Peter Dutton criticised for ‘subjecting judges to quasi-election’

Law Courts 1a AU LLLL

Law Council says publicly releasing potential court appointees’ names is fraught with risk Paul Karp The Guardian The Law Council has denounced Peter Dutton’s suggestion of seeking public feedback before appointing judges as a “quasi-election” model that would politicise the judiciary. It is the second time the body has criticised the home affairs minister for undermining the independence of the judiciary after it rebuked him for claims that Victorians were “scared to go out to restaurants” due to street violence and that “civil libertarian” ... Read More »

Anti-Abortion Democrat Loses Key Support To Progressive Challenger

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Marie Newman, candidate for Congress in IL-03, speaks to reporters after receiving the endorsement of Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Newman’s campaign against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) is getting a big boost from EMILY’s List By Daniel Marans HuffPost EMILY’s List, the fundraising group that backs pro-abortion rights Democratic women, on Friday endorsed Illinois progressive Marie Newman’s campaign against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress. Support from EMILY’s List, a fundraising powerhouse closely aligned with Democratic Party leadership, gives Newman a major boost in her effort to unseat Lipinski in the March 20 ... Read More »

Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ nominated for Nobel prize

Prae 4d

Three Hong Kong activists and the pro-democracy group behind the Umbrella Movement have been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their role in pushing for reform in the Chinese territory. AlJazeera Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, as well as the “Umbrella Movement”, were nominated by a group of US Congress members for the prestigious prize, a move Beijing denounced on Friday as a form of “meddling” in its internal affairs. “This nomination could not be more timely as Hong Kong’s long-cherished ... Read More »

Senate crossbencher Lucy Gichuhi joins the Turnbull government in shock numbers manoeuvre

Keny 5e

Former Family First senator Lucy Gichuhi has defected from the crossbench to join Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government. Mark Kenny The Canberra Times The Kenyan-born lawyer had been voting as an independent following the dissolution of her previous party but will now sit as a fully-fledged Liberal Party senator for South Australia. The move, shrouded in secrecy for weeks but made public on Friday night, effectively restores the number the Coalition lost by the defection of Cory Bernardi, who had hoped ... Read More »

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

Liberty Victoria 1a logo

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

Pelo 7g

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 »

Kenya: Averting an Avoidable Crisis

Perka 1a

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 »

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

Shap 3c

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 »

Kennedy’s low profile to change with rebuttal to Trump state of the union address

Umed 1a

Boston: Joseph Kennedy III, an American politician with a very well-known name but relatively little prominence outside of his home state of Massachusetts, will deliver next week’s Democratic rebuttal to US President Donald Trump’s state of the union address. Scott Malone Brisbane Times Reuters The speech will be the highest profile appearance of the 37-year-old Kennedy’s political career, following his 2016 talk at the Democratic National Convention, where he introduced Senator Elizabeth Warren. He has been a member of the House ... Read More »

Is it illegal to call someone a Nazi?

Doul 1a

An American dropped the word “Nazi” during a spat at Frankfurt Airport. Police say it was directed at them and are suing her for slander. But in a country with freedom of speech, how can this be legal? Kathleen Schuster DW An angry American traveler found herself plunged into German legal waters this month after allegedly calling federal police officers “Nazis” during a dispute at Frankfurt International Airport. Police say the woman, a 49-year-old professor, became “unreasonable and irritated” when they told ... Read More »

Finland’s Marine Le Pen

Fela 3c

She hates the EU, cheered Brexit, supports Trump — and believes Finland needs her brand of populism. By REID STANDISH Politico HELSINKI — Of the eight contenders to be Finland’s next president, none stand out quite like Laura Huhtasaari. The candidate of the far-right Finns Party is an outlier in both style and substance. She won’t win Sunday’s presidential election but she’s using her time in the spotlight to push her party’s anti-immigrant, anti-establishment message. She hates the European Union, cheered ... Read More »

Turkey asks Twitter, Facebook, YouTube to remove posts on Afrin op

Emar 1a

The Turkish government requested that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube remove “damaging, objectionable, untrue and manipulative” content regarding its military operation in Syria. Ahval The companies are acting slowly, but responding positively to the government’s requests, an unnamed official told Turkish newspaper Habertürk. “If the damaging, objectionable, untrue and manipulative content are not removed immediately, it can be too late to stop it spreading to the masses,” the… “Therefore, we act quickly and… Turkey asks Twitter… Read More »