Leadership

Debbie Kilroy honoured with the Liberty Victoria Voltaire Award 2019

This year Liberty Victoria honours Debbie Kilroy, the founder of Sisters Inside, with the Voltaire Human Rights Award. The Voltaire Award honours a person or group for an outstanding contribution to or action on free speech, human rights or civil liberties, with particular emphasis on progressing freedom, respect, equality and dignity. It celebrates those who speak out, write, campaign, whistle-blow, take action or  stand against authoritarianism. Previous winners include Magda Szubanski, Gillian Triggs, Waleed Aly, David Marr, Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy. ... Read More »

Federal election 2019: Australian Electoral Commission needs real powers to fight false claims

The Australian Electoral Commission says it is very keen to ensure that you are not misled during the current campaign to select our next Federal government. Paul Murray The West Australian So it is flooding social media with messages telling electors to be vigilant about misinformation as part of its Stop and Consider initiative. The problem is the commission also says it has absolutely no power to be a campaign umpire. “Under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, there are no ... Read More »

It’s time to vote for happiness and well-being, not mere economic growth. Here’s why:

As the federal election approaches, we’re expected to drown in slogans like “lower taxes”, “wage growth”, “franking credit reform” or “negative gearing reforms”. Authors: The Conversation These mostly assume voters are as obsessed as the politicians with economic and financial issues, rather than, say, the kind of Australia they want their grandchildren to live in. There’s no doubt we value a healthy economy and it can be argued Australia has enjoyed a “remarkable run” over the past 50 years. But ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Venezuela’s Quashed Uprising

A failed uprising by Venezuelan National Assembly Chair Juan Guaidó has emboldened President Nicolás Maduro and deepened the country’s political deadlock. ICG However difficult, outside actors should continue to press the two sides to form a transitional cabinet, stabilise Venezuela’s economy and hold elections. The events that shook Caracas on 30 April remain shrouded in mystery, but their immediate impact seems clear: further polarising a political stand-off and raising the likelihood of domestic or… They began with the… Picking Up ... Read More »

Voting Capacity

Why European Parliament elections matter A citizen’s relationship with the voting process is contingent on their understanding of their country’s history and of the state of its politics. Above all, however, it is founded on the citizen’s notion of how they can affect change. Nicholas Karides * Citizens who vote in national parliamentary elections usually have a good grasp of their legislature’s role and work, but what prompts them to actually make the trip to the polling station is that ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Guaidó accused of coup attempt by government

Venezuelan authorities say they are putting down a small coup attempt after opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced he was in the “final phase” of ending President Nicolás Maduro’s rule. BBC He appeared in a video with uniformed men, saying he had military support. Mr Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January, called for more members of the military to help him end Mr Maduro’s “usurpation” of power. But military leaders appeared to be standing behind Mr Maduro. Venezuela’s defence ... Read More »

Council of Despair? The Fragmentation of UN Diplomacy

Wracked by divisions and political infighting, the UN Security Council is failing to respond to some of the world’s most pressing crises. ICG To overcome dysfunction and retain credibility, the council’s members should prioritise the few cases where international cooperation is still possible. What’s new?  Longstanding doubts about the effectiveness of the UN Security Council are intensifying, due to deepening tensions among the U.S. and its allies and between Western powers and Russia and China. Why does it matter?  As ... Read More »

Estonia joins the far-right club

LETTER FROM TALLINN Nationalist party, inspired by Donald Trump, vows to keep out immigrants and protect ‘indigenous’ Estonians as part of new government. By EVAN GERSHKOVICH Politico TALLINN — Europe’s populist wave has hit Estonia — hard. In a national election in March, the Conservative People’s Party — a far-right upstart that says it wants to protect an “indigenous Estonian” population under threat — won 19 seats in the… Its real victory came a few weeks later, when it was included in the ... Read More »

Access to justice and election agendas

With just three weeks to go, Lawyers Weekly has taken a look at what the major parties think of access to justice as a federal election issue. The Bar Grace Ormsby Lawyers Weekly Liberal Party According to the Liberal Party’s website, there is no consideration of the justice system specifically as an election policy. Despite this, the current government, now in caretaker mode until the election takes place, has cited the “combating of violence against women and children as remaining ... Read More »

No Ever Closer Union

Pro-Europeans have long avoided a debate on the end goal of EU integration. Heinrich August Winkler Berlin Policy Journal It’s time for honesty: ever closer cooperation between member states is the only realistic way forward. In the run-up to the European Parliament elections, none of the German political parties has shown quite as much ambition as the Free Democratic Party (FDP). In its election program, adopted at the end of January 2019, the pro-business liberal party calls for the convening ... Read More »

London Marathon hands out edible water capsules to reduce plastic bottle waste

Organisers hope to reduce number of plastic bottles on course by more than 215,000 Sarah Young The Independent Thousands of edible water bottles were handed out at the London Marathon today in a bid to reduce plastic waste. The aftermath of the marathon is usually a sea of plastic waste as thirsty runners attempt to stay hydrated by drinking from then discarding bottles of water as they go. Bu for the 2019 London Marathon, organisers arranged for participants to be handed edible pods ... Read More »

Sudan protesters, army rulers in breakthrough talks over civil rule

Sudanese protesters April 28 welcomed a breakthrough in talks with army rulers who agreed to form a joint civilian-military council, paving the way for a civilian administration as… KHARTOUM – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The agreement would replace the existing 10-member military council that took power after the army ousted veteran leader Omar al-Bashir on April 11 amid massive protests. “What happened yesterday is a step to have a civilian authority,” said Mohamed Amin, one of thousands of demonstrators who have been ... Read More »

Morrison brings immigration centre stage with freeze on refugee intake

Scott Morrison will seek to bring the debate over immigration and refugees to the centre of the election campaign, with an announcement that a Coalition government would freeze the humanitarian… Michelle Grattan The Conversation He will contrast this with Labor plans for an increase in the humanitarian component, claiming this would cost many billions of dollars and challenging Bill Shorten to produce more detail… So far immigration has not had a prominent place in the campaign. The border security issue ... Read More »

Post-Bouteflika Algeria: Growing Protests, Signs of Repression

A groundswell of popular unrest has ended Bouteflika’s twenty-year rule and brought Algeria to a fork in the road. ICG The regime should embark on substantive reforms and enter dialogue with protest leaders in order to prevent the cycle of mass protests and repressive counter-measures spiralling out of control. What’s new? On 2 April, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s aging and ailing president, resigned under pressure from the military. The move was the result of five weeks of street protests at the ... Read More »

Inmates End Own Lives to Protest Rebel Kurdish Leader’s Treatment in Turkey

At least four Kurdish activists have died in prisons across Turkey since last week, in what lawyers and officials have called suicides over the poor prison conditions of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK… Rikar Hussein Ezel Sahinkaya VoA The series of alleged suicides by Kurdish prisoners started on March 17 when Kurdish officials confirmed that Zulkuf Gezen took his own life, followed by the deaths of Ayten Becet and… Officials of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) also confirmed on Monday the ... Read More »

It’s time political parties started taking data protection seriously

When the major political parties were spared the tedium of complying with the Privacy Act in 2000, the then-Howard government argued their exemption would enhance political communication and free up the democratic process. David Wroe Brisbane Times It was a controversial enough view at the time, but it has become almost ludicrously counterproductive in the years since. Technology in 2019 means malign actors can steal data and then use it to manipulate elections. That includes data on individual voters. So ... Read More »