Politics

Time to limit ministerial discretion in the immigration system

Peter Dutton’s use of ministerial discretion to grant visas to two foreign au pairs raises large questions about the propriety of his actions as minister for immigration. Shawn Rajanayagam The Age But, more importantly, the ongoing debate presents Parliament with an opportunity to introduce real limits on ministerial discretion in the immigration system so as to prevent those discretions from being used inequitably and… In granting visas to the au pairs, it seems that Mr Dutton exercised a power under ... Read More »

An open letter of complaint to the Guardian

An Open Letter Addressed to the Readers’ Editor of the Guardian newspaper in London, dated 5 September 2018 Dear Sir Re: Image accompanying an article published by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 I am writing to make a complaint about the image of the Eastern Mediterranean accompanying an article by Elif Shafak entitled ‘Even as Turkey pulls away, the west must help its people to resist’ (hereafter ‘the Image’). The Image was published online by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 (at www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/03/turkey-west-erdogan-democracy-civil-rights?CMP=share_btn_tw). I do not know whether the Image was also published in the hard copy of ... Read More »

How will Indigenous people be compensated for lost native title rights? The High Court will soon decide

Today, the High Court of Australia will begin hearing the most significant case concerning Indigenous land rights since the Mabo and Wik native title cases in the 1990s. Authors: The Conversation For the first time, the High Court will consider how to approach the question of compensation for the loss of traditional land rights. The decision will have huge implications for Indigenous peoples who have lost their land rights and for the state and territory governments responsible for that loss. ... Read More »

What’s wrong with Australia’s democracy?

Kevin Bain reviews three publications offering diverse perspectives of what is ailing Australia and what should be done. Kevin Bain IA THESE THREE BOOKS give a platform for a diverse bunch of Australian commentators, activists, politicians, system operatives and academics. Some drill down on functional aspects, others reflect on populism, fear of what might be coming, visions of something better and change strategies. Naturally, diagnosis and remedy go together but the… Hopefully, readers will look at these books and find a… What’s ... Read More »

Sorry, Mr. Trump, the Attorney General Is America’s Lawyer

With his latest attack on Jeff Sessions, the president shows his real problem isn’t with the Justice Department but with the rule of law. By The Editorial Board The New York Times By now, few might lift an eyebrow at President Trump’s crusade to delegitimize his own Justice Department and, specifically, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. It long ago became clear that Mr. Trump regards federal law enforcement — as he sees all of government — as a political tool ... Read More »

Dutton, the au pair affair and the question of abuse of power

Kim Wingerei questions why it’s necessary for ministerial positions to have such overarching powers of discretion that they can overrule established protocols. IA FROM WAVING AU PAIRS through the immigration queue, throwing money at unsuspecting charities and denying medical treatments for children, to ignoring climate change and the bullying culture that is endemic to Liberal Party politics, the Government has shown power but… It happens all the time, mates calling mates asking for favours. But when AFL CEO Gillian McLachlan emailed ... Read More »

Lies, ‘fake news’ and cover-ups: how has it come to this in Western democracies?

The Liberal leadership spill and Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall is but the latest instalment in a game of musical chairs that has dominated Australian politics for the best part of a decade. Joseph Camilleri The Conversation For many, it has been enough to portray Tony Abbott as the villain of the story. Others have pointed to Peter Dutton and his allies as willing, though not-so-clever, accomplices. There’s also been a highlighting of the herd instinct: once self-serving mutiny gathers steam, others ... Read More »

International Court of Justice begins hearing on Britain’s separation of Chagos islands from Mauritius

Βritain has apologised for the “shameful” way it evicted islanders from the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean, but insisted Mauritius was wrong to bring a dispute over sovereignty of the strategic atoll group to the United Nations’ top court. Roland Oliphant The Telegraph The apology came on the first day of a hearing on the future of the islands, the site of a key UK and US military base, at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Mauritius ... Read More »

German far right fuels Muslim ‘takeover’ fears

A series of violent crimes committed by refugees is unsettling the nation. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Can Germany survive Islam? That question is once again at the center of the country’s public discourse amid the violent protests that followed last week’s brutal killing of a German man, allegedly at the hands of two Muslim refugees, and the publication of a new book titled “Hostile Takeover, how Islam halts progress and… On Saturday, about 11,000 people (8,000 right-wing and far-right protesters ... Read More »

Turkey Needs the EU—The Question Is How Much Its Relationship Will Cost

European governments are currently witnessing a seemingly positive move by Turkey’s leadership toward the EU. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe On the surface, this makes sense: Turkey’s economy is in very dire straits (and still depends on European markets and financial flows); the Lira is plummeting; hurtful sanctions have recently been imposed by the United States (and more may be coming); and Russia is having it its way in Syria (which… As a result, the Turkish foreign ministry is issuing statements. ... Read More »

Saving Idlib from Destruction

Numerous signs point to an imminent Syrian regime offensive to recapture Idlib, the largest remaining rebel-held area. ICG To ward off another humanitarian calamity, Russia, Iran and Turkey should immediately convene talks to extend the truce and seek other ways of removing Idlib’s jihadist hard core. What’s new?  The Syrian regime and its allies look on the verge of attacking the country’s north-western governorate of Idlib, the last remaining stronghold of the armed rebellion, saying they must root out the ... Read More »

Corruption watchdog has no way of measuring its productivity: audit

The agency responsible for investigating corruption in Australian law enforcement bodies has been told it has no way of knowing how efficiently it investigates corrupt conduct, and to pick up its act, in a… Sally Whyte The Canberra Times In the first audit of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity by the Australian National Audit Office, the watchdog was told it needed to improve how it manages cases, and how it… The auditor general couldn’t say whether the commission was ... Read More »

Lessons from Chemnitz: Eastern Germany’s right-wing protesters awash in anxiety

The resentments at play over migrants in Germany have reached a dangerous level following the stabbing of a German man. In Chemnitz DW’s Jefferson Chase also saw how the far-right protesters are co-… Jefferson Chase DW There’s hardly a more eerie sight anywhere in Germany than the 7-meter-high, 40-ton sculpture of Karl Marx’s head on one of downtown Chemnitz’s main streets, Brückenstrasse. Indeed, it’s hard not to feel a… So perhaps fittingly it was here that police on Saturday halted the “march ... Read More »

Nicaragua expels UN team after critical report

The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has ordered a team from the United Nations Commission for Human Rights to leave. BBC The expulsion comes days after a critical report into human rights in Nicaragua during months of anti-government protests. The chief of the UN mission, Guillermo Fernandez, said his team would continue to monitor the situation from abroad. More than 300 people were killed during the recent political unrest. The report released on Wednesday by the UN High Commissioner for ... Read More »

Demonetisation in India: A Democracy Deficit

Demonetisation On November 8, 2016, when the United States of America was busy electing a populist president in Donald Trump, India’s own populist prime minister, Narendra Modi came up with a unique economic decision. Shubbam Ghosh EurasiaFuture In one stroke, he invalidated two high denomination currency notes the nation had been using –  Indian National Rupee notes (INR) valued at INR 1,000 and INR 500. According to Modi and his supporters, the move was a… On August 29, 2018, almost ... Read More »

Turkey’s intel agency trafficked drugs and stolen vehicles to jihadists in Syria

A hushed-up investigation in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara in early 2014 reveals how intelligence officers on the payroll of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were involved in drug trafficking and… Abdullah Bozkurt TurkishMinute The confidential probe pursued by Turkish military intelligence into the activities of drug traffickers and an auto theft gang in Ankara exposed seven MİT agents who were unlawfully transporting drugs and… The clandestine operation was in clear breach of dozens of Turkish criminal laws as well ... Read More »