Australasia

Grattan on Friday: Careful, Mr Dutton, Donald Trump might hear you

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It’s the tiniest start. But the first offshore refugees leaving Papua New Guinea and Nauru for the US this week represented a new life for more than 50 people and a glimmer of hope for others. Michelle Grattan  The Conversation So it was a nasty, jarring note when Immigration Minister Peter Dutton marked their departure with a derogatory spray. Dutton, appearing in his regular spot with 2GB’s Ray Hadley was asked about a newspaper photo of departees from PNG, which ... Read More »

The Polygon Wood grave that reveals the toll World War I took on Australia

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It’s a single grave, in a single row, in a cemetery where 2,108 men are buried. It marks the death of a man that’s just as sad as any of the other lives lost at Polygon Wood, or indeed the First World War. Michael Best 9news But Private Patrick Scullin’s story says so much about the shocking toll this war took on Australia. His grave is marked. His brother Daniel’s isn’t. They both died on the same day, in the ... Read More »

Euthanasia a choice for people with disability? It’s a threat to our lives

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Offering people with disability euthanasia is no act of equality It’s a cruel one-way exit when we’re locked out of basic healthcare. Craig Wallace The Guardian Legislation has been introduced into the Victorian and New South Wales parliament seeking to become the first jurisdictions to legalise euthanasia since the Northern Territories brief window in the… Like the rest of the community, people with disability debate euthanasia with many views, but a number of us are genuinely concerned that legalised suicide ... Read More »

Gillian Triggs: Australian law has fallen prey to ‘isolation and exceptionalism’

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Triggs uses Michael Kirby Oration to argue governments have taken advantage of the fear caused by terrorism Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Gillian Triggs has criticised the expansion of executive powers in Australia, saying Australian law has fallen prey to “isolation and exceptionalism” that has weakened democracy and… In a draft copy of her Michael Kirby Oration, delivered at Victoria University on Wednesday night, Triggs said governments had taken advantage of the fear caused by terrorism to introduce laws that were ... Read More »

Whose interests? Why defining the ‘public interest’ is such a challenge

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The “public interest” is a political concept that’s regularly trotted out along with other democratic principles such as transparency and accountability. Jane Johnston  The Conversation And, like transparency and accountability, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what it means. Former NSW Ombudsman Chris Wheeler has pointed out: ”… while it is one of the most used terms in the lexicon of public administration, it is arguably the least defined and least understood … identifying or determining the appropriate public interest ... Read More »

Exclusive: John Howard says the government needs to explain how it will protect religious freedoms on same-sex marriage

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Former prime minister John Howard has demanded that the rights of children not be forgotten in the same-sex marriage debate Speaking exclusively to 9NEWS from London, he also rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s assurances that a detailed debate about protecting religious freedoms can wait until after the postal vote on same-sex marriage is decided. Chris Uhlmann 9news Mr Howard said that if the postal survey returned a “yes” vote then the government would be stampeded into delivering change, so people needed answers ... Read More »

Explainer: what legal benefits do married couples have that de facto couples do not?

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Opponents of marriage equality often say that married and de facto couples already have the same rights To what extent is this true? Hannah Robert  Fiona Kelly  And, in legal terms, how much do the differences matter? The Conversation In an opinion piece last week, former prime minister Tony Abbott claimed: ”Already, indeed, same-sex couples in a settled domestic relationship have exactly the same rights as people who are married.” This isn’t true. At the most fundamental level, same-sex couples ... Read More »

Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination

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We can judge the ethical tone of a society by how it treats its weakest and most in need. With euthanasia we offer them death instead of loving care. Margaret Somerville  The Guardian Dying and death is not a new phenomenon: we have always become ill, suffered, were going to die and someone else could have killed us. So why now, at the beginning of the 21st century, after prohibiting euthanasia for thousands of years and when we can do ... Read More »

Australia offers to pay Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar

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Exclusive: Rohingya sent to detention island in Papua New Guinea pressured to return to Myanmar, where thousands have fled ethnic persecution Oliver Holmes and Ben Doherty The Guardian Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya refugees who agree to return to Myanmar, a country that has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority. Asylum seekers in the Australian-run detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, have been pressured by officials to return to their home countries, ... Read More »

We’ve turned our unis into aimless, money-grubbing exploiters of students

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Of the many stuff-ups during the now-finished era of economic reform, one of the worst is the unending backdoor privatisation of Australia’s universities, which began under the Hawke-Keating government and continues in the Senate as we… Ross Gittins The Sydney Morning Herald This is not so much “neoliberalism” as a folly of the smaller-government brigade, since the ultimate goal for the past 30 years has been no more profound than to push university funding off the federal… The first of ... Read More »

Media reform deals will reduce diversity and amount to little more than window dressing

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The breakthrough in negotiations with the Senate crossbenchers that the government has been chipping away at over media reform has finally arrived Tim Dwyer The Conversation The deregulatory legislation, the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Bill 2017, required 38 votes to pass the Senate, where the Coalition controls 29… It had already secured the support of three crossbenchers and four One Nation senators, but was waiting for just two votes to get it over the line – until Nick Xenophon ... Read More »

John Howard slams Turnbull government’s handling of same-sex marriage postal vote

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Former Prime Minister John Howard has slammed the Turnbull government’s handling of the same-sex marriage postal vote 9news Mr Howard has demanded the government release its planned legislation before the vote ends to show how it plans to handle “parental rights”, “freedom of speech” and show how “religious freedoms will be protected”. “The government’s response has been to wash its hands of any responsibility,” Mr Howard said. Malcolm Turnbull’s predecessor Tony Abbott agreed with Mr Howard. “People don’t know exactly ... Read More »

Tony Abbott on why same sex marriage would fundamentally change society

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Like most, I have tried to be there for friends and family who are gay. They are good people who deserve our love, respect and inclusion but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to reserve the term “marriage” for the relationship of one man with one woman, ideally for life and usually dedicated to children. Tony Abbott * The Sydney Morning Herald Like you, I want a country where everyone gets a fair go and where no one is ... Read More »

Map: Australian views on same-sex marriage

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Polling consistently shows most voters support same-sex marriage — but how do views vary across Australia? By Matt Liddy, Nathan Hoad and Ben Spraggon ABC How Australians think about same-sex marriage, mapped – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Last year, the ABC’s Vote Compass asked Australians whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement: Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. More than 1.2 million Australians responded, and a majority of people indicated support for allowing same-sex ... Read More »

Vote yes for human rights on same sex marriage survey

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The same sex marriage debate is not about religion, gender identity or the need to return to the values of “the good old days”. The Canberra Times It is, first and foremost, a question of human rights. Why should one section of our community be denied the right to exercise a choice the majority takes for granted? This is why, with the first postal survey forms due to begin arriving in home letter boxes across the nation this week, The ... Read More »

‘Grandmother plant’: Ex-UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has advice for PM

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AGL’s Liddell power station is a “grandmother” plant that shouldn’t receive funds more usefully invested elsewhere to improve Australia’s energy prospects, Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief… Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald Ms Figueres, who as executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change oversaw the Paris climate agreement, said time is running out for Australia to get its energy and carbon policies in… “The time is short,” Ms Figueres told Fairfax Media during a ... Read More »