Analysis

Vital conversations: older women have their say about the challenges of life in a city like Melbourne

Who decides what matters in the lives of voters? In the run-up to the 2018 Victorian state election, media focused on a few potential big issues of concern or interest. Harriet Radermacher The Conversation Newspapers featured pieces on the consequences of uncapped population growth in Victoria, particularly suburban housing sprawl and unaffordability. Public transport and the growing economic divide between communities also attracted media attention. Against this background, and in light of concerns raised by previous research, we wanted to engage with older women ... Read More »

Protecting Women’s Space in Politics

Women human rights defenders around the globe are facing heightened threats of violence and repression. Isabelle Arradon ICG Sometimes they are targeted for being activists, and sometimes just for being women. World leaders should do much more to secure space for women’s safe participation in public life. In early January 2019, unknown gunmen shot dead Maritza Isabel Quiroz Leiva, a 60-year-old Colombian land rights activist on a small farm near the Caribbean city of Santa Marta. Her killing was a stark ... Read More »

All about juries: why do we actually need them and can they get it ‘wrong’?

There has been some debate over the recent conviction of George Pell, whose first trial ended with a hung jury, and the second a unanimous guilty verdict. Jacqui Horan The Conversation People are questioning our justice system, the potential bias of the jury, and whether the initial hung verdict invalidates the second, unanimous one. So, why should Australians trust 12 inexperienced people to sit in judgment on our most serious criminal trials, and get the verdict right? The importance of ... Read More »

Socrates in love: how the ideas of this woman are at the root of Western philosophy

Where did Socrates, the foundational figure of Western philosophy, get the inspiration for his original ideas about truth, love, justice, courage and knowledge? Armand D’Angour The Conversation New research I’ve conducted reveals that as a young man in 5th-century BC Athens, he came into contact with a fiercely intelligent woman, Aspasia of Miletus. I argue that her ideas about love and transcendence inspired him to formulate key aspects of his thought (as transmitted by Plato). If the evidence for this ... Read More »

What is socialism?

“Socialism is not about the environment, it’s not about justice, it is not about virtue. Socialism is about only one thing: It’s called power for the ruling class.” Glenn Kessler The Washington Post — President Trump, speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2 “Under the guise of Medicare-for-all and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same, tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and have stifled the liberties of millions over the past century. That system ... Read More »

Burnside: why I have decided to stand at the next election

I’ve always said I wouldn’t go into politics. “Don’t wrestle with a pig,” the saying goes, “because you both get covered in mud and the pig loves it.” Julian Burnside The Canberra Times But I am breaking that vow because our political system is broken. I have been a critic for too long: it’s time to throw my hat in the ring. Representative democracy depends on our parliamentarians actually representing us. Unfortunately, that’s just not happening at the moment. Far ... Read More »

A New Generation of Activists Circumvents Iraq’s Political Paralysis

Researching the talks on forming a new Iraqi ruling coalition, our Senior Adviser for Iraq Maria Fantappie finds a country whose youth, women, civil society, officials and even politicians are hungry for bottom-up change to a stalemated, top… Maria Fantappie ICG BAGHDAD – I have spent much of my career – as an academic, an adviser to the EU and a policy analyst – speaking with high-level policymakers in Iraq. In my many meetings, I have tried to get a ... Read More »

Brexit Is Hell…

Over time, public conceptions of hell have migrated from the realm of religious belief to that of literature and political aphorism. Harold James Project Syndicate And nowhere is the idea of eternal damnation as punishment for one’s own choices more appropriate than in the case of the United Kingdom as it hurdles toward the Brexit abyss. PRINCETON – European Council President Donald Tusk recently sparked controversy by saying there is a “special place in hell” for those who advocated Brexit ... Read More »

The sounds of Speechless, where words are superfluous

Speechless is the new opera by award-winning composer Cat Hope, co-commissioned by the Perth Festival and Tura New Music. Stephen Chinna The Conversation This is Hope’s powerful response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report into children in immigration detention. Hope created what she describes as a “graphic score” derived from drawings and graphics extracted from the Report. This system of “animated graphic notation” is explained by Tura as “the representation of music through the use of visual symbols ... Read More »

Human memory: How we make, remember, and forget memories

As we access a memory, many parts of our brains rapidly talk to each other, represented here by colorized fibers. Michael Gresko National Geographic Human memory happens in many parts of the brain at once, and some types of memories stick around longer than others. From the moment we are born, our brains are bombarded by an immense amount of information about ourselves and the world around us. So, how do we hold on to everything we’ve learned and experienced? ... Read More »

Renewing Europe

European citizens need to learn from the Brexit impasse and apply those lessons ahead of and after the European Parliament election in May. Emmanuel Macron Project Syndicate That means embracing reforms that advance the three goals that lie at the heart of the European project. PARIS – Never, since World War II, has Europe been as essential. Yet never has Europe been in so much danger. Brexit stands as the symbol of that. It symbolises the crisis of Europe, which ... Read More »

My anger with George Pell has been replaced by immense sadness

I don’t see a monster. I see all the women and children and men and nuns and priests destroyed by shame, fear and lies Christos Tsiolkas The Guardian I  have been angry with Cardinal George Pell for a long time. That anger was first stirred by his absolute disdain for extending compassion to people living with Aids, and also by his refusal to accept queer people into Catholic fellowship. I was also made furious by his perverting of the teachings ... Read More »

The Irish Times view on the legal system: access denied

A great many people cannot afford to go to court because of the exorbitant amounts of money involved even for relatively straightforward cases. The Irish Times An effective legal system is a basic tenet of a functioning democracy, but no legal system can be effective unless every citizen has access to it. That points to a fundamental deficiency in our Republic. Long delays and outdated procedures contribute to the problem by deterring people from taking legal action, but the real ... Read More »

Arundhati Roy: Kashmir Is Potentially The Flashpoint For A Future Nuclear War

With his reckless “pre-emptive” airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inadvertently undone what previous Indian governments almost miraculously, succeeded in… Arundhati Roy HuffPost Since 1947 the Indian Government has bristled at any suggestion that the conflict in Kashmir could be resolved by international arbitration, insisting that it is an “internal matter.” By goading Pakistan into a counter-strike, and so making India and Pakistan the only two nuclear powers in history to have bombed each other, Modi has internationalised the Kashmir dispute. He has ... Read More »

Calming India and Pakistan’s Tit-for-Tat Escalation

Reciprocal airstrikes by India and Pakistan have been accompanied by shelling, troop reinforcements and small arms fire. Laurel Miller ICG In this Q&A calling for restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller notes that the airspace violations alone were the worst for 50 years. What happened exactly? On Tuesday, 26 February, India claimed that its air force had targeted “the biggest training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed … in Balakot”. The strikes – the most significant ... Read More »

Why the profit motive demotivates employees

An often uncomfortable truth is that many, perhaps most, businesses exist to maximise profit. James Adonis The Canberra Times In a capitalist society that’s no bad thing, although bad things tend to arise when owners end up over-prioritising the profit motive. Businesses demonstrate the extent to which they prioritise profits over people in a number of ways. The obvious one is incentives. If, for example, managers are rewarded based on how well they maximise revenues and minimise costs and not, ... Read More »