Democracy

A federal Icac won’t safeguard democracy unless it includes gifts and lobbying

Australian politicians now seem to broadly accept the need for anti-corruption action, but it must close loopholes George Rennie The Guardian Having long resisted, federal politicians now appear to broadly accept what Australian citizens have been screaming at them: that there is profound concern about the potential for bad lobbying to corrupt our democracy, and great desire for its proper policing. As a result, a plurality of the political parties appear willing to do what states and other countries did ... Read More »

Liberalism needs to be rebuilt – just not by the Lib Dems

Insurgent forces of the far left and right have resulted in a hollowing-out of centre politics. But Vince Cable’s tribe is not up to filling the void. Rafael Behr The Guardian If it is true that failure makes a great teacher, the Liberal Democrats must know a lot about British politics. Currently they are learning about Brexit by failing to capitalise on the… In 2016 support for EU membership was 48%, yet the Lib Dems struggle to reach double digits in opinion ... Read More »

Why Can’t I Criticize My Religion?

When I received a letter from a Shiite religious preacher from the United Kingdom, it did not surprise me. Majid Rafizadeh Gatestone Institute I receive many similar letters from extremist Muslims all over the world, as well as Western liberals, socialists, and others. Each time, opening these letters, I prepare for criticism of my careful scrutiny of my religion. As expected, the letter began with a familiar suggestion: “Stop criticizing your own religion.” The letter went on to support this ... Read More »

A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come

Polarization. Conspiracy theories. Attacks on the free press. An obsession with loyalty. Recent events in the United States follow a pattern Europeans know all too well. Anne Applebaum The Atlantic On December 31, 1999, we threw a party. It was the end of one millennium and the start of a new one; people very much wanted to celebrate, preferably somewhere exotic. Our party fulfilled that criterion. We held it at Chobielin, the manor house in northwest Poland that my husband ... Read More »

Is Democracy Dying?

The Atlantic Democracy Reader For 161 years, magazine contributors have written about the gravest dangers and darkest hours for America’s political institutions. Annika Neklason The Atlantic “Democracy in America … is suffering from unforeseen evils, as well as enjoying unforeseen blessings. It will probably be worse before it is better,” wrote The Nation’s founder E. L. Godkin in a July 1896 article for The Atlantic, expressing a sentiment that resonates across eras in the magazine’s pages. “Democracy in the United States is at greater ... Read More »

Podcast: The necessity of Indigenous constitutional recognition

On this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Jerome Doraisamy is joined by Sydney-based barristers Simeon Beckett and Susan Phillips. In this episode, Mr Beckett and Ms Phillips explain why it is so important for the Australian constitution to acknowledge the First Nations peoples and what change will emerge as a result, why the Bar Associations are so supportive of such a change, and the role of member associations across our national legal profession on sociocultural or… Podcast: The necessity… Read More »

Why Rahul Gandhi is wrong on the issue of lynching

According to a recent survey, Indian National Congress (INC) President Rahul Gandhi is the favorite alternative candidate to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, way ahead of other opposition stalwarts like Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee and… Sagarneel Sinha Asia Times But despite this, his poor logic continues to hurt his image. His recent comment in Germany that incidents of lynchings are attributable to demonetization, unemployment and the GST (Goods and Service Tax) is surely not something that is expected from ... Read More »

Dangerous Democracy: The Problem With ‘The Will Of The People’

Westerners don’t really live in democracies, at least not ones where the true majority prevails, writes Stuart Rees. New Matilda Characters in Australia who advocate government by plebiscite think that such a voter mechanism would represent the will of the people and would therefore be truly democratic. A quick look at the political impasse in the ol’ mother country shows the absurdity of such thinking. To justify exiting Europe, Britain’s Brexit politicians keep repeating that they are following ‘the will ... Read More »

Jailing of Reuters journalists ‘nothing to do with freedom of expression’, says Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, says two jailed Reuters journalists can appeal their seven-year sentence, and that their jailing had nothing to do with freedom of expression. ABC Asked how she felt about jailing journalists as a democratic leader, Suu Kyi said: “They were not jailed because they were journalists, they were jailed because … the court has decided that they have broken the… She made her comments at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi on ... Read More »

SNP activists to hold ‘day of action’ on independence referendum

The SNP is to hold a national “day of action” on Scottish independence later this month, taking the temperature of the nation as it continues its preparations for a second referendum. Chris Green The Scotsman The party’s depute leader Keith Brown said MPs, MSPs and activists would be given a target of speaking to 50,000 people across the country on 29… Revealing the plans in an interview with The Scotsman’s sister title inews.co.uk, he said the party would be “making ... Read More »

UN Secretary-General: American Power Is in Decline, the World Is ‘in Pieces’

Is Democracy Dying? António Guterres confronts the “reemergence of irrationality” in global politics. Uri Friedman The Atlantic For the past two years, the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, has watched as President Donald Trump upends American foreign policy, engaging in trade wars while simultaneously disengaging from international agreements and… And now Guterres has reached a verdict: The United States, once the guarantor of global stability, is losing its ability to influence world events. “I think that the soft ... Read More »

German spy chief passed info to AfD: report

Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, allegedly passed on sensitive data from a report to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Ben Knight DW The spy chief has already faced calls to resign. The relationship between Germany’s domestic spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) came under renewed scrutiny on Thursday, when it was revealed that the head of the domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) had passed on ... Read More »

What the Herald Sun’s Serena Williams cartoon reveals about Australia’s racial history

In the aftermath of Serena Williams’s controversial defeat at the U.S. Open, a cartoon from Australia, drawn by Mark Knight and published in the Herald Sun, made global headlines. Bo Seo The Washington Post The cartoon showed the contours of Williams’s body enlarged and fixed in a brutish pose. Critics compared it to Jim Crow caricatures such as “Little Black Sambo” and placed the cartoon in a genealogy of American blackface. Author J.K. Rowling criticized Knight for “reducing one of the greatest ... Read More »

Brazil’s Lula: Saint or sinner?

Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is seen as much as a saviour as he is a sinner in Brazil: a man who came to power promising change yet ended up leaving politics with a very different legacy. BBC His life mirrored that of many Brazilians. He was born in 1945 into a poor family in the north-east of Brazil and, by the time he was seven, his family had moved to São Paulo to find work – as many millions ... Read More »

World politics explainer: Pinochet’s Chile

General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, a career military officer, was appointed Commander in Chief of the Chilean army by President Salvador Allende on August 1973. Peter Read The Conversation Eighteen days later, with the connivance, if not the assistance, of the US, he authorised a coup against Allende’s Socialist government. To be clear, Pinochet’s rule was not the first, last or worst dictatorship in the history of Latin America. But it did grip the attention of western countries because of Chile’s ... Read More »

Russia is cracking down on minority languages – but a resistance movement is growing

Russia has spent the last several years aggressively advocating for the rights of Russian minorities abroad, and in particular for the “protection” of the Russian language. Guzel Yusupova The Conversation Whenever a country takes any step that can be construed as suppressing or marginalising Russian speakers, the Kremlin is quick to respond in the most strident of tones. In October 2017, when Latvia’s government made Latvian the default language of education, Sergey Zheleznyak, the member of Russia’s State Duma Committee ... Read More »