Australasia

Why the gun debate needs to move away from simplistic ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’

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In the lead-up to the Tasmanian election, one issue proved particularly incendiary. Right before the vote on Saturday, the incumbent Liberal government was accused of having a hidden plan to “water down” the state’s gun laws. Dr Samara McPhedran The Conversation Much was made of the long-running Firearms Consultative Committee’s perceived role in shaping the policy. Suddenly, the Liberals were cast as being in cahoots with the “gun lobby”, leaving only Labor and the Greens to stand up against that ... Read More »

Australian gun lobby invests in rightwing parties in push to weaken reforms

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Exclusive: Cashed-up firearm groups are using ballooning memberships to flex their political muscle Michael McGowan The Guardian Australian gun lobby groups pumped more than $500,000 into helping minor rightwing parties win seats in last year’s Queensland state election as part of a growing push to weaken the nation’s strict firearm control laws. As Australia’s gun laws are again held up as an example to the US following the Florida school shooting, election disclosures reveal the pro-gun lobby is pumping thousands ... Read More »

Close up: the government’s facial recognition plan could reveal more than just your identity

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A Bill to set up the federal government’s biometric identity system is currently going through Parliament. Jake Goldenfein The Conversation But there are concerns over just how much information the system would be allowed to gather, and how that might be used to establish more than just the identity of a person. Strongly based on the FBI model in the United States, the Identity Matching Services Bill and its Explanatory Memoranda prescribe what data can be collected, shared and processed, ... Read More »

Franchise failure fix urgent as staff suffer

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Australia’s $170-billion-a-year franchise industry is rotten. It is riddled with companies that gouge their retailers, some of whom in turn underpay and exploit many of the sector’s 460,000 employees, most of whom are vulnerable students and immigrant workers. Opinion – Editorial The Age The issue is not whether there is an endemic problem, but how best to deal with it. The malfeasance has been widely documented, primarily because of whistleblowers and years of investigative work led by The Age’s Adele ... Read More »

Revealed: the extent of job-swapping between public servants and fossil fuel lobbyists

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Last month Australia slipped further down the rankings in the international corruption index. Among a wide range of factors cited by Transparency International was Australia’s “inappropriate industry lobbying in large-scale projects such as mining”, as well as “revolving doors and a culture of… Adam Lucas The Conversation As several high-profile cases have recently revealed, the close ties that continue to exist between senior politicians, former political staffers, and the big end of town have had a real and lasting impact ... Read More »

Housing risks ‘catastrophic’: Grattan Institute

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Australia’s eight-year house price boom has savaged the living standards of poorer Australians while so far leaving the wealthy untouched, a new Grattan Institute analysis finds. Peter Martin The Age But the report, to be released on Monday, warns of a “catastrophic” impact on all income groups should mortgage rates rise by more than a few percentage points. The institute’s chief executive, John Daley, said Australians who already owned their houses had been little affected by soaring prices to date because ... Read More »

How we came to be so cruel to those seeking asylum in Australia

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If you had predicted 30 years ago that Australia would create the least asylum seeker-friendly institutional arrangements in the world, you would not have been believed. Robert Manne The Canberra Times In 1992 we introduced a system of indefinite mandatory detention for asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Since that time, we have accepted the idea that certain categories of refugees and asylum seekers can be imprisoned indefinitely; that those who are intercepted by our navy should be forcibly returned ... Read More »

Meet the MP who actually wants to know what works

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A house in the Canberra suburb of Narrabundah had suffered multiple burglaries. For the sixth time someone had broken in through a window and taken things from the bedroom of a nine-year-old boy. Peter Martin The Canberra Times This time the offender was caught red-handed, with a pillowslip full of the Lego – he was the nine-year-old boy from next door. When police officer Rudi Lammers arrived, he decided not to follow the usual procedure. Instead, he sat down with ... Read More »

If Americans can rise up against guns, why can’t we act on pokies?

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Gambling We need a word for that feeling of being shocked and outraged by a news story as though it has exposed something flabbergasting and new, despite the fact that it hasn’t told you much you didn’t already know. Waleed Aly * The Sydney Morning Herald If we had such a word we would have been using it a lot lately. We could have used it to describe what is only the most recent school massacre in the United States. ... Read More »

AFL pokies ‘linked to spike in family violence’

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New research has revealed poker machine clubs owned by the AFL have been linked to an increase family violence. 9news The Monash University research obtained by The Herald Sun found the majority of AFL pokie machines were located in lower-socio economic areas. Using crime data from police, the report found family violence increased by 21.5 percent in north-western suburbs of Victoria where AFL pokies were placed. In contrast, north-western suburbs without the pokies showed a… AFL pokies ‘linked… Read More »

South Australia is fine after the car industry closed: Downer

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London: Former foreign minister Alexander Downer has downplayed the effect on Australia of losing its car industry, saying unemployment in South Australia is “pretty low” and young car manufacturing workers had found it relatively easy to get new jobs. Nick Miller Brisbane Times Downer, the outgoing high commissioner in London, was spruiking the benefits of trade liberalisation to a UK parliamentary committee. Australia’s free trade deals with the US and China had “exceeded expectations”, he said. Opening Australia’s markets to the… ... Read More »

WA public confused in euthanasia debate: AMA

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The President of the Australian Medical Association’s WA branch has questioned whether there is a high level of community support for doctor-assisted euthanasia. Sophie Moore | The West Australian Orthopaedic surgeon Omar Khorshid told a parliamentary inquiry in Perth that questions in surveys and polls could be subjective, leading to the appearance of strong public support for changes to WA’s assisted dying laws. “With all surveys it really does depend on the question and I don’t believe that everyone in ... Read More »

Beware fanning flames of racism over ‘silent invasion’ fears

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Today there are an estimated 1.2 million people living in Australia who have Chinese ancestry (of which I am one). Tim Soutphommasane Brisbane Times Many would agree that old prejudices against Chinese have largely given way to general acceptance of Chinese-Australians. Yet, ongoing debates make clear there is growing discomfort about the Chinese presence in Australia. In his recently published book Silent Invasion, Clive Hamilton argues the People’s Republic of China is conducting a campaign designed to erode Australian sovereignty ... Read More »

NGV drops Wilson Security

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The National Gallery of Victoria has today indicated that Wilson Security will no longer provide security services at the state institution. Image: Artists’ Committee, Break the Silence (2017), intervention with cello. Photo: Lara Chamas Wilson Security is well known for its serious and extensive record of human rights abuses against children, women and men held in offshore immigration detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Because of this link with the detention industry, the NGV’s relationship with Wilson Security has been the ... Read More »

Paul Keating says Australia’s sycophancy to US damaging its own interests

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Former Labor prime minister says there should be greater independence within alliance and South China Sea ‘is not our fight’ Ben Doherty Guardian Australia’s “client state” obsequiousness towards the US was damaging its own interests and ignoring the rise of China as the nascent “primary economic state of the world”, Paul Keating has argued. Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, the former Labor prime minister said the alliance with the US did not mandate slavish devotion to American demands “as the ... Read More »

Tony Abbott’s economic argument against immigration is flawed

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Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Sydney in 1979. Jessica Irvine The Canberra Times But having since derided the dismal science as “boring”, it appears he may have snoozed off at a crucial point in his lectures. In a speech to the Sydney Institute last Tuesday, Abbott explained his logic behind his call for a reduction in Australia’s annual rate of immigration from 190,000 to 110,000 a year. “My issue ... Read More »