Australasia

Friday essay: Australia’s dangerous obsession with the Anglosphere

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Over the past three weeks the ABC program Four Corners has presented special reports on American politics, which involved one of our best journalists, Sarah Ferguson, travelling to the US on special assignment. Dennis Altman The Conversation I watched these programs and I enjoyed them. But in part I enjoyed them because they covered ground that is already familiar. If the same effort had gone into bringing us in-depth special reports from, say, Jakarta or Mumbai they would have been ... Read More »

You just got a speeding ticket in a driverless car. Who has to pay it?

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Queensland may need a new class of licence, the definition of a “driver” would need to be changed and insurance claims would be shaken up under the looming reality of driverless cars on our roads. Felicity Caldwell Brisbane Times QUT Professor Andry Rakotonirainy said laws and regulations would need to be changed before driverless cars were allowed to roam Australian streets. “If you look at the situation where you drive an autonomous car and you get a ticket, now who ... Read More »

‘Reason I live without fear’: We need to listen to this cop’s daughter

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There have been dozens of newspaper columns and thousands of social media posts over the death of Eurydice Dixon, killed more than a week ago as she walked home through Princes Park. John Silvester The Age There has been empathy, sadness, shock, and anger that resulted in a fair amount of blaming. Some were angry at police for suggesting people (read women) should be vigilant, for this was interpreted by many as blaming the victim herself. Others claimed this was ... Read More »

Australia must reconsider how it deals with refugees

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Nearly 70 million people globally are now forcibly displaced from their homes and 25.4 million of them are refugees. More people are fleeing conflict and catastrophe than at any other time in history. Ian Smith Brisbane Times The Middle East, South-East Asia, Central America and Africa are all melting pots of enormous unrest. The movement of so many people impacts every country in the world. In danger, people will do the natural thing and look after their families by searching ... Read More »

‘You will be responsible’: a mother’s warning is unheeded on Nauru

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For months in the Australian-run detention centre she pleaded for her sons. The eldest, Fariborz Karami, killed himself last week Saba Vasefi and Ben Doherty The Guardian Two days before her son took his own life on Nauru, Fazileh Mansour Beigi’s final plea for help carried with it a warning too. For months inside the Australian-run regional processing centre, Mansour Beigi had begged for help for her sons, whom she had watched deteriorate over five years in immigration detention. To ... Read More »

Deaths in offshore detention: the faces of the people who have died in Australia’s care

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Twelve refugees and asylum seekers have died while in Australian immigration detention on Manus Island and Nauru. On World Refugee Day, Guardian Australia acknowledges those who have died and begins a project to record lives lost in offshore detention Ben Doherty, Nick Evershed and Andy Ball The Guardian… Read More »

Refugees’ lives have become weapons in a rugged political contest

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For the past five years, Australia has used the lives of 2,000 innocent refugees as a political game Behrouz Boochani The Guardian On 19 July 2013, Kevin Rudd, the then prime minister of the Labor government, announced the resumption of offshore processing. According to the policy, whoever came to Australia by boat would be exiled to Manus Island and Nauru. Together with 60 other people travelling on a leaky boat headed for Australia, I was lost on the ocean when the ... Read More »

After Eurydice, what should men do?

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I get off the train in the darkness, and see a woman. She is smaller than me. Most are. She strides with purpose – upright, head on a swivel – seemingly alone, with only her “situational awareness” for company. Konrad Marshall The Age She would have seen me, too. I’m the big stranger behind her, leaning into the wind, dressed all in black – boots, hat, coat, with a beard. She moves quickly, but in the same direction I’m headed. ... Read More »

The politicisation of English language proficiency, not poor English itself, creates barriers

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The Australian government is considering yet another English language test for migrants. Ingrid Piller The Conversation The rationale for the proposal is the prospect “Australia will be home to one million people who do not speak English well or at all by 2021”, as Human Services Minister Alan Tudge claimed. In particular, he suggests today’s migrants are less likely to know English than their counterparts in previous generations. His concern is this development suggests a looming crisis of social fragmentation ... Read More »

Adamstown Heights child sexual assault case: “Naming and shaming” on social media can affect how a matter proceeds in court

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THE sexual assault of a child is confronting and sickening to any person who recognises the special vulnerability of children, and their lack of defences when adults abuse their power. Joanne McCarthy Newcastle Herald It is why the Australian public so strongly supported establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2012. As a community we said yes to a five-year inquiry that was, at its heart, about the rights of the child to remain innocent, safe, loved and ... Read More »

Community Sector Protests Cuts to Asylum Seeker Support Payments

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Community sector leaders have gathered in Canberra to protest cuts to asylum seeker support payments, as a new report reveals that government policy is driving people seeking asylum into destitution. Luke Michael ProBono Leaders from 10 national NGOs, along with a delegation of asylum seekers and community members, gathered at Parliament House on Monday to urge the federal government to stop cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS). This service provides asylum seekers with a basic safety net of ... Read More »

For Eurydice’s sake, we need to do more than go to vigils

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Of all the violent deaths of women, the death of Eurydice Dixon, the 22-year-old rising comic, is one we can embrace when we signal our opposition to violence against women. Jenna Price The Canberra Times We see it’s not her fault. A stranger allegedly killed her and no one could predict that. It could not have been her fault. In the contemporary era, the story of Eurydice Dixon begins with Anita Cobby, the kind and… Janine Balding. Jill Meagher. Even ... Read More »

Is Our Wealth and Privilege Making Us Miserable?

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Psychologist Adam Blanch considers why so many Australians are anxious despite being safer, wealthier, more privileged and more educated than ever before. Adam Blanch ProBono “Dear Adam, I am interested in your perspective. I look around and think as a society that we have more than we have ever had, but everyone seems more anxious and more depressed than ever before. What do you think is going on?” – Anon Dear Anon, I have had the privilege of living in ... Read More »

Bring Julian Assange Home

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The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy. The Australian government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have an historic opportunity to decide which it will be. John Pilger CounterPunch They can remain silent, for which history will be unforgiving. Or they can act in the interests of justice and humanity and bring this remarkable Australian citizen home. Assange does not ask for special treatment. The government has clear diplomatic and moral obligations to protect Australian ... Read More »

To design safer parks for women, city planners must listen to their stories

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The rape and murder of aspiring comedian Eurydice Dixon in an inner-city Melbourne park – while deeply shocking – is part of an avalanche of gendered violence perpetrated against women in cities every day. Dr. Nicole Kalms The Conversation Nothing can protect women from the random acts of violence committed by some men but engaging with the stories of women and girls is crucial for making cities safer. Planners, architects, the police and politicians need to put aside the traditional ... Read More »

Greer is right to say rape law has failings, but wrong to suggest its decriminalisation

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Germaine Greer is a provocateur of long standing. Her recent comments about rape enhance that reputation. Authors: The Conversation We accept Greer’s premise: rape law has profound and persistent failings. The #metoo movement has made vivid what rape researchers already know: rape is common. While reports to Australian police have risen, reporting and conviction rates remain low. Greer claims proving rape is too difficult, and rape without physical injury doesn’t warrant prosecution. However, her account of the harm of rape ... Read More »