Australasia

First Nations dancers are stepping into the void left by Australia’s politicians

In the space of a few short weeks, I have seen two world premieres of dance theatre by First Nations artists: Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry) and plenty serious TALK TALK. Both put front and centre the lived experience of Indigenous peoples at a… Justine Shih Pearson The Conversation Australians are still waiting for a serious political conversation in response to last year’s momentous Uluru Statement from the Heart. This has been topped off, most recently, by the appointment ... Read More »

Time to limit ministerial discretion in the immigration system

Peter Dutton’s use of ministerial discretion to grant visas to two foreign au pairs raises large questions about the propriety of his actions as minister for immigration. Shawn Rajanayagam The Age But, more importantly, the ongoing debate presents Parliament with an opportunity to introduce real limits on ministerial discretion in the immigration system so as to prevent those discretions from being used inequitably and… In granting visas to the au pairs, it seems that Mr Dutton exercised a power under ... Read More »

How will Indigenous people be compensated for lost native title rights? The High Court will soon decide

Today, the High Court of Australia will begin hearing the most significant case concerning Indigenous land rights since the Mabo and Wik native title cases in the 1990s. Authors: The Conversation For the first time, the High Court will consider how to approach the question of compensation for the loss of traditional land rights. The decision will have huge implications for Indigenous peoples who have lost their land rights and for the state and territory governments responsible for that loss. ... Read More »

What’s wrong with Australia’s democracy?

Kevin Bain reviews three publications offering diverse perspectives of what is ailing Australia and what should be done. Kevin Bain IA THESE THREE BOOKS give a platform for a diverse bunch of Australian commentators, activists, politicians, system operatives and academics. Some drill down on functional aspects, others reflect on populism, fear of what might be coming, visions of something better and change strategies. Naturally, diagnosis and remedy go together but the… Hopefully, readers will look at these books and find a… What’s ... Read More »

Happiness at work trumps money for most Australians

What is more important to you at work: happiness or money? If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering why you need to choose. And yes, I’m the first to argue that “both” is a reasonable answer in the real world. But let’s say… Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times If you’re like most Australians, you’ll plump for happiness. Nearly two out of three Australians value happiness over work, according to a survey commissioned by workplace meaning and happiness consultancy Rise. The poll, ... Read More »

Dutton, the au pair affair and the question of abuse of power

Kim Wingerei questions why it’s necessary for ministerial positions to have such overarching powers of discretion that they can overrule established protocols. IA FROM WAVING AU PAIRS through the immigration queue, throwing money at unsuspecting charities and denying medical treatments for children, to ignoring climate change and the bullying culture that is endemic to Liberal Party politics, the Government has shown power but… It happens all the time, mates calling mates asking for favours. But when AFL CEO Gillian McLachlan emailed ... Read More »

The case to set aside one day of the year to remember our great artists

In Australia, we hold state funerals for political leaders, however divisive or unloved they may have been while they lived.  And we grieve the departure of sporting greats. Julian Burnside Daily Review Perhaps we should set aside one day each year to remember great Australian artists who have died during the past year. So far in 2018, a significant number of great creative Australian talents have died: painters Charles Blackman (b. 1928) and Mirka Mora (b.1928); photographer Polixeni Papapetrou (b. 1960); cartoonists: Jeff Hook ... Read More »

Lies, ‘fake news’ and cover-ups: how has it come to this in Western democracies?

The Liberal leadership spill and Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall is but the latest instalment in a game of musical chairs that has dominated Australian politics for the best part of a decade. Joseph Camilleri The Conversation For many, it has been enough to portray Tony Abbott as the villain of the story. Others have pointed to Peter Dutton and his allies as willing, though not-so-clever, accomplices. There’s also been a highlighting of the herd instinct: once self-serving mutiny gathers steam, others ... Read More »

Corruption watchdog has no way of measuring its productivity: audit

The agency responsible for investigating corruption in Australian law enforcement bodies has been told it has no way of knowing how efficiently it investigates corrupt conduct, and to pick up its act, in a… Sally Whyte The Canberra Times In the first audit of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity by the Australian National Audit Office, the watchdog was told it needed to improve how it manages cases, and how it… The auditor general couldn’t say whether the commission was ... Read More »

‘A convicted terrorist and a convicted spy’ walk into the Opera House… and get a standing ovation

Days after it was announced that she would not be granted an Australian visa in time for her scheduled appearance in Sydney, American whistleblower Chelsea Manning has received a standing ovation after speaking at the… Maani Truu WAtoday Ms Manning, who is best known for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was speaking with Australian journalist Peter Greste as part of the weekend’s Antidote Festival, albeit by virtually appearing on stage via… “A convicted terrorist and a convicted ... Read More »

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

Refugees in Indonesia don’t want to get on boats. They want basic rights

If they get access to a fair resettlement process, refugees won’t be interested in anything people smugglers are trying to sell Asher Hirsch The Guardian This week, home affairs minister Peter Dutton again reiterated the false claim that “there are 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to get on to boats now”. I’ve just returned from a research trip in Indonesia, where I spoke to many refugees. Such a claim is not only disingenuous, it also highlights the double standards of ... Read More »

China and human rights: Is Australia ‘making a difference’?

Australia’s relationship with China has been tumultuous of late: political scandals, security threats, a perceived need for draconian new legislation, angry rhetoric from Beijing. Sophie Richardson Brisbane Times It’s not a surprise that officials, including members of the new Australian government, and ordinary people across Australia have struggled to find the right answers to a complex and charged relationship. But as Australia tries to strike a balance between benefiting from and being threatened by its relationship with Beijing, a key ... Read More »

‘If I’ve got death threats, I’ve probably said something worthwhile’

Sally Rugg remembers when she first realised “ordinary people” could create change. “When I was six or seven, the state government of WA was trying to build this huge road that would have gone through my primary school,” she recalls. Mary Ward The Canberra Times “So the community sort of banded together to save the school.” Two decades later, the LGBTI activist, best known as an instrumental figure in the Yes campaign during last year’s postal survey for marriage equality, ... Read More »

A ‘woman problem’? No, the Liberals have a ‘man problem’, and they need to fix it

Politics isn’t rational. Prejudice trumps performance. Politics is run by thugs. Chris Wallace The Conversation These are three reasonable conclusions from the snubbing of electorally popular Julie Bishop in last week’s Liberal leadership ballot, and Bishop-ally Julia Banks’ decision not to stand at the next election to protest bullying during the leadership campaign. Why did it happen? Does politics have to work this way? There are four facets to why Bishop, far away the most likely to maximise the Liberal ... Read More »

Nauru’s asylum seeker tents demolished ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

Sources say move intended to spare visiting leaders the sight of people living in notorious camp Helen Davidson, Saba Vasefi and Ben Doherty The Guardian Nauru’s government has moved asylum seekers out of the detention centre and demolished the tents ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum next week. The tents at regional processing centre 3 (RPC-3) were erected five years ago, and at least 100 people have continued to live in them since the facility was deemed “open” in 2015. ... Read More »