Opinion

Beware of outrage fatigue, there are good reasons to be angry

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I have the great honour of teaching a class of media students every week and always look forward to discussing the day’s news with… Wendy Squires Brisbane Times They are bright, engaged and opinionated, and the discussions are usually lively and passionate. Until recently that is. As someone who wakes each day then reaches for my phone beside my bed cringing at the thought of what Trump might have got up to overnight, but having to check nevertheless, I usually ... Read More »

Elon Musk’s big battery brings reality crashing into a post-truth world

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For months, politicians and fossil fuel industry have lied about the viability of renewables. Tim Hollo  The Guardian Now Tesla’s big battery in South Australia will prove them wrong • Tesla to build world’s biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia Elon Musk’s agreement to build the world’s largest battery for South Australia isn’t just an extraordinary technological breakthrough that signs coal’s death warrant. It’s potentially a game changer in the way we do… Elon Musk’s big… Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis: A New Deal for the 21st Century

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ATHENS — The recent elections in France and Britain have confirmed the political establishment’s simultaneous vulnerability and vigor in the face of a nationalist insurgency. Yanis Varoufakis The New York Times This contradiction is the motif of the moment — personified by the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, whose résumé made him a darling of the elites but who rode a wave of anti… A similar paradox is visible in Britain in the… Yanis Varoufakis: A… Read More »

North Korea’s missile program is no longer a distant threat

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North Korea is claiming it now has the capability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon, after testing another advanced missile on Tuesday. Harry J Kazianis Asia Times While such an assertion is hard to confirm so early after the test, one thing is clear: Pyongyang’s missile program is entering a critical phase and is no longer a distant threat. Initially, President Donald Trump gambled that personal diplomacy –buddying up to Chinese President Xi Jinping — would yield… ... Read More »

For Australia to prosper, free speech must be extended to all of us

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When I criticised representation in politics, Eric Abetz suggested I move to an Arab dictatorship. Yet a deep malaise exists in society and we need to talk about it Yassmin Abdel-Magied The Guardian Australia has all the ingredients for a flourishing, harmonious and inclusive society. We have incredible monetary wealth, with the longest streak of economic growth of any developed nation. We are home to the oldest continuous living civilisation, the source of millennia of… For Australia to… Read More »

Brexodus has begun. We EU nationals know staying on is too big a gamble

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Who would sacrifice EU citizenship for life in a country we now know could turn on us at any moment? Joris Luyendijk  The Guardian It makes sense to get ahead of the returning herd. It will not happen in spectacular ways, so do not expect TV footage of hordes of well-heeled EU nationals making for Heathrow airport or the Channel tunnel. Rather it will be a steady, inexorable drip-feed. It has already started and as the true implications of Brexit ... Read More »

Denialism and blindness en masse

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Somewhere in an album at Mum’s place there’s a photo of me kneeling in front of George Pell as I’m confirmed an adult in the Catholic… Damien Williams Brisbane Times It was taken in 1994, when I was 11 years old. Pell was the local regional bishop, based in Mentone. I remember him speaking to the class beforehand about footy and the Richmond Tigers, about which I knew and cared… My real interests were in history and politics. The intersection ... Read More »

We’re quick to label refugees as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but they’re all entitled to protection

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A refugee I met last year in Canada has been charged with beating his wife. The ensuing coverage has encapsulated the extremes of the immigration debate. Amos Roberts  The Guardian Man who beat wife said he didn’t know it was against the law,” read the headline. Underneath, a photo of a man I knew very well – a man I’d once sympathised with. A distinctive underbite, thick salt and pepper hair, olive skin. I read on, with mounting… We’re quick ... Read More »

The Poisoned Chalice: Breakthrough WA Study Shines A Light On Global Water Contamination

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When deep-well bore water arrived in Australian bush communities people thought the big thirst was over. Jeff McMullen New Matilda Jeff McMullen reports that a decade long study shows unsafe water is now cutting lives short. If a baby is fed unsafe water contaminated with chemical nitrates, the child turns blue. The striking colouring occurs particularly around the eyes and… The Poisoned Chalice… Read More »

Dear Andrea Leadsom, shrinking the state is the opposite of patriotism

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The leader of the House of Commons accuses broadcasters of not being patriotic – yet the Tories have betrayed the nation through cuts to our most valued services and institutions Polly Toynbee The Guardian Patriotic? Who? Not the Tory Brexiteers who have brought this country so alarmingly low. While EU politics are rebooted with new Franco-German confidence, our government is only saved by the Democratic Unionist party. Ignominy doesn’t get much more mortifying than… Dear Andrea Leadsom… Read More »

Charlie Flanagan: We cannot let respect for judiciary erode

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Populism and political opportunism is a threat to one of the pillars of our Constitution Charlie Flanagan The Irish Times This week I will introduce the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill in the Dáil. It seeks to modernise the process for nominating judges and gives effect to a commitment in the programme for government. It is part of a broader process of modernisation and change that has taken place right across government and the Oireachtas in recent… The introduction of… Charlie ... Read More »

‘Democracies Die Behind Closed Doors’:

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The chilling parallels between the ‘Munich Conference’ and the ‘Conference on Cyprus’ According to the celebrated American judge, Damon J. Keith, ‘democracies die behind closed doors’.  (Source: Detroit Free Press v Ashcroft, 303 F. 3d 681, Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 2002.) Klearchos A. Kyriakides Published in Agora Dialogue on 26 June 2017 Judge Keith articulated his memorable dictum as a means of justifying the cherished principle of open justice. Nevertheless, his dictum is likewise capable of being applied in other ... Read More »

A tougher language test would punish women like my mother, who have lost everything

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My mother studied Australian history and politics for months to pass the citizenship test. It was painful, to say the least Abdul Karim Hekmat The Guardian It’s easy for an English-speaking, white politician to legislate a language test for Australian citizenship that even someone born in Australia would find hard to pass. The biggest impact would be on migrants or refugees – my mother, for example. Khal Bibi Hekmat never… A tougher language… Read More »

Orthodox Jewish girls school faces closure for refusing to teach children about homosexuality

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A private Orthodox Jewish elementary school called the Vishnitz Girls School in Hackney, north London, is facing closure by the British government because it does not include curriculum that teaches children about homosexuality and gender reassignment… Brandon Morse TheBlaze According to Heat Street, a report by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Schools (Ofsted) says that the Vishnitz Girls School does not teach its 212 attending children — aged three through eight — “a full understanding of fundamental British… The ... Read More »

Euthanasia by text? Michelle Carter case impacts more than just free speech

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In 2014, Michelle Carter, then 17, used text messages to ‘encourage’ her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy III to kill himself. Philip Nitschke * Brisbane Times Roy was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck. While the dust is still settling from this month’s decision by a Massachusetts judge to convict the young ”suicide texter” of involuntary manslaughter, the reaction on the social media has been swift and… Euthanasia by text… Read More »

Chris Kourakis: Trashing judicial independence and the rule of law has grave consequences

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WHY is the independence of the judiciary important? In all spheres of life we depend on common agreement on ground rules which are well known in… Chris Kourakis The Advertiser We rightly complain if the goal posts are constantly changed. Without an ordered and level playing field, sporting games would become all-in… Ground rules only work if enforced by officials who know the rules, are independent and rational, and have the character to withstand outside… Chris Kourakis: Trashing… Read More »