Opinion

Opinion: Corruption charges have Council of Europe teetering on the brink of irrelevance

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When individual members would rather illegally accept money and gifts instead of fighting corruption, there’s no need for the Council of Europe anymore, says DW’s Max Hofmann. Max Hofmann DW Officially, the Council of Europe is meant to safeguard democracy and the rule of law. Given that mission, many people are already asking why countries such as Russia and Turkey even have a seat at the table. Most observers in Strasbourg say it would be pointless to throw them out, ... Read More »

Royal Commission reveals need for tougher corporate cop

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Imagine this … An elderly couple returns home from holiday to discover their front door lock broken and $2000 in cash stolen from a biscuit tin in their kitchen. Jessica Irvine Brisbane Times The couple immediately ring the police, who inform them of a spate of similar robberies in the area. But the police have tracked down the perpetrator, who is in custody facing charges that carry a jail term of at least five years. The elderly couple are promptly ... Read More »

Think we’re tough on refugees? That’s fake news

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Fake news is the new black. Drop the phrase in a casual conversation and some people will be silly enough to assume you are an astute observer of the political scene. Amanda Vanstone The Age Fake news is information known at the time to be incorrect which is deliberately fed out into the media stream. Since when has that been a new idea? The problem of incorrect information washing through the media system is not new. Some of it is ... Read More »

A Professor Weighs in on Venezuela’s Emigration of Youth

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Venezuelan university professor Jessica Dos Santos reflects on increasing youth emigration in Venezuela, contextualizing the phenomenon in a refreshing counterpoint to the alarmist mainstream media narrative. Jessica Dos Santos MPN News A few weeks ago, we began a new trimester in the university. I, as the annoying professor that I am, always ask my students to tell me: why are you here? The question basically is looking to see what motivates them to immerse themselves in this fascinating but thankless experience, ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out

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The Communist Manifesto foresaw the predatory and polarised global capitalism of the 21st century. But Marx and Engels also showed us that we have the power to create a better world. Yianis Varoufakis The Guardian For a manifesto to succeed, it must speak to our hearts like a poem while infecting the mind with images and ideas that are dazzlingly new. It needs to open our eyes to the true causes of the bewildering, disturbing, exciting changes occurring around us, ... Read More »

Rape as a political tool in India

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The brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim minority group is not just about gender violence. Mariya Salim AlJazeera The gruesome rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir is a chilling reminder of how sexual assault is used as a tool to instil fear among those belonging to the… There have been many Indians, especially on social media platforms, who have repeatedly claimed that one must look at this ... Read More »

Australia should tax and regulate cannabis, not prohibit it

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The decision to ban cannabis was an accident of history. There was no careful root and branch review of the evidence. Alex Wodak ABC Instead, Australia was represented at a League of Nations meeting in Geneva in 1925 where delegates from several countries decried the dangers of cannabis. As Robert Kendell outlines in his book Cannabis Condemned: “A claim by the Egyptian delegation that [cannabis] was as dangerous as opium, and should therefore be subject to the same international controls, ... Read More »

Which business structure is best to protect against being sued?

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When it comes to choosing the right structure to own and operate a business there are many things other than income tax to consider. Max Newnham Brisbane Times The fact is the simpler and less complicated a structure is, the less tax efficient and protective it is. When a structure is more complicated, it will inevitably be more tax efficient and offer the owners greater protection. Examples of this are operating as a sole trader, which is the simplest business ... Read More »

Julian Burnside: “I worry where our democracy is going”

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Human Rights Arts and Film Festival kicks off at five cinemas across Melbourne on May 3. On May 12, the festival is screening the world premiere of Judy Rymer’s Border Politics, wherein human rights lawyer Julian Burnside AO QC travels the globe to compare how different nations are responding to the refugee crisis. Nick D TimeOut Burnside, 68, is a Melbourne-based commercial litigation barrister who became involved in human rights causes after 2001 when he was asked to act pro bono in ... Read More »

Diplomacy, and not bombing, is the way to end Syria’s agony

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More legally questionable and reckless military interventions are not what British people want from their government Jeremy Corbyn The Guardian These are serious times. Following the missile attacks on Syria, now is the moment for a powerful push for peace. Boris Johnson’s blithe acceptance on Sunday that the conflict will now continue on its current course and that peace negotiations would be an “extra” is an unconscionable abdication of… Already this devastating conflict has cost more than 500,000 lives and led to 5 million refugees ... Read More »

Avoiding the revolving door of crime and punishment

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Victims of crime often respond with an escalation of emotions that begins with fear, moves to anger and ends with a desire for retribution. John Silvester The Age And there is a growing sense that courts no longer reflect community expectations when it comes to offenders convicted of serious violent crimes. Garry Holloway has more right than most to be angry. He’s a high-end jeweller who last year saw his Canterbury store raided twice, with another attempt on his second ... Read More »

Look at Syria, and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars

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It’s hard to believe the west’s leaders are letting this escalate. Have we learned nothing from history? What on earth are we doing? Simon Jenkins The Guardian I have not heard a single expert on Syria explain how dropping missiles on that country will advance the cause of peace or lead its dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to back down. It will merely destroy buildings and probably kill people. It is pure populism, reflected in the hot-and-cold rhetoric of Trump’s increasingly whimsical tweets. ... Read More »

Netanyahu is picking the wrong friends in Europe

TOPSHOT - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv on February 14, 2018. 
Netanyahu said today his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation against him after detectives recommended his indictment for corruption, prompting calls for him to resign. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Siding with Hungary over Brussels undermines Europe’s positive anti-Semitism efforts. Here’s something for Benjamin Netanyahu to consider: The Israeli prime minister should spend less time in Europe praising nationalists like Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and more time listening to people in Brussels, like European Commission Vice President Frans… William Echikson Politico Look at the recent Hungarian election. During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, ... Read More »

Labour’s plan for free bus passes for young people would be transformative and life-changing

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Young people have never been unhappier, according to research released by the Prince’s Trust last week. The survey found three out of five young people are regularly stressed about concerns over jobs and money. Liam Young i News One in four said that they felt “hopeless”. Thanks to eight years of failed Tory policy, an entire generation has had to limit itself to getting by rather than getting on. Fortunately, young people have an ally in the Labour leader Jeremy ... Read More »

Politicians need to know that republican sentiment is deeply felt

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Prince Charles, the Royal Tourist, and Kim Beazley, the new Governor of Western Australia, illustrate both the status quo and the potential for constitutional change. John Warhurst Brisbane Times The role of the British monarchy in Australia delivers weird moments like Charles opening the Commonwealth Games flanked by two beaming but straight-jacketed republicans, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Queensland Premier… Every Australian political leader, including Liberal leaders, is now a declared republican. Royal visits inevitably generate publicity around the republic ... Read More »

Lose Newspapers and You Lose Your Democracy

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Without independent journalism, Trump and other charlatans will thrive. Eric Alterman The Nation I had a different column when I woke up on deadline day, but I wrote this one, not because any major news had broken—yes, the FBI raided the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer—but because our country and our democracy are in the midst of an ongoing emergency, and our embattled media is unable or unwilling to explain it. What inspired my switch was Politico’s publication of ... Read More »