Time to reform electoral funding laws

EDITORIAL As Australia enters the early stages of what is likely to be a lengthy federal election campaign, it is imperative that all candidates for political office and those behind their party machines commit to exceed, not just meet, the legal requirements on funding disclosures. It is the spirit of those laws that matters most, and the goal is transparency. The fundamental purpose of… Source: Time to reform electoral funding laws Read More »

The democratic case for splitting Queensland in two

As state governments do less and less, there ought to be more and more of them. The renewed push to split Queensland into two states should be just the beginning, writes Chris Berg. “Most persons think that a state in order to be happy ought to be large,” wrote Aristotle in his Politics, “but even… Source: The democratic case for splitting Queensland in two – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Read More »

Opinion: Don’t Miss the Boat on Australian and U.S. Policy in the South China Sea

Australia’s 2016 Defense White Paper expresses concern over “friction” in the South China Sea (SCS) arising from U.S.-Chinese naval interactions, and it worries that territorial disputes have created “uncertainty and tension.” Those statements, which show Canberra (like the rest of the states in the Indo-Pacific region) is slowly coming around to the gathering threat posed […] Source: Opinion: Don’t Miss the Boat on Australian and U.S. Policy in the South China Sea – USNI News Read More »

The Unbearable Lightness of Schulz Cyprus Journey 

It is a truism to say there is a price to everything in the world we live in. As more and more ‘atmospheric’ noise is made by international actors (UN, EU) about the imminence of a Cyprus settlement, it is vital that we shed at least some light on the real cost of the settlement and pose the fundamental question… Such an exercise of estimating the multiple costs involved in the implementation of the three-state settlement – one Greek… Source: ... Read More »

The Putins of the EU by Nina L. Khrushcheva

Hungary and Poland, once beacons of hope for liberal democracy in post-communist Europe, now have leaders who are determined to emulate Russian President Vladimir Putin, hollowing out independent democratic institutions and suppressing citizens’ fundamental freedoms. The question is whether the EU will follow through with sanctions… Source: The Putins of the EU by Nina L. Khrushcheva – Project Syndicate Read More »

Economy rests on Christian foundations

I can’t think why, but Easter always reminds me of Christianity. Not, of course, that Christianity has anything to do with the grubby, materialist world of economics. Or does it? Australia is the most unbelieving it has ever been, with the most recent census saying that only 61 per cent people identify themselves as even nominally Christian… Source: Economy rests on Christian foundations Read More »

Religion’s tax break is a cross we shouldn’t have to bear

Religious groups are not taxable. No wonder there’s no transparency in how their billions of dollars are spent. Whether or not you are a practising Christian, Easter is a time to think about religious traditions. The ongoing proceedings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual… Source: Religion’s tax break is a cross we shouldn’t have to bear Read More »

Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria

They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil. By ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR In part because my father was murdered by an Arab, I’ve made an effort to understand the impact of U.S. policy in the Mideast and particularly the factors that sometimes motivate bloodthirsty responses from the… Source: Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria – POLITICO Read More »

The day I decided to wear the hijab

Sudanese-born, Australian-raised Yassmin Abdel Magied chose an auspicious date for this new step in her life as a Muslim woman. Yassmin Abdel-Magied SBS I decided to wear the hijab on 10 November 2001, the day of an Australian Federal election. I chose an auspicious date for this turning point in my life, the day I started to dress like a ‘Muslim woman’, just in case I forgot. It would be a date I could look up in the history books, ... Read More »

Ex-Black Panther freed after 43 years in solitary confinement

Chicago (AFP) – A former Black Panther activist who spent a record 43 years in solitary confinement was freed from a US prison after decades of legal battles to prove his innocence. AFP Yahoo! Albert Woodfox is the last of the “Angola Three” activists to taste freedom in a case which provoked outrage among rights groups. A federal judge had ordered Woodfox’s unconditional release in June in a strongly-worded ruling that barred any further trial on charges of murdering prison ... Read More »

Deathbed conversion? Never. Christopher Hitchens was defiant to the last

There was no deathbed conversion to Christianity, despite the claims of a ‘strange, spiteful book’ Nick Cohen The Guardian Only a particular species of creep could persuade me to write to the son of a friend and ask him to describe the death agonies of his beloved father. I typed that he must say “I would rather not talk about it” if he wished, then sent an email to Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens. I sat back, feeling dirty and not expecting a ... Read More »

How to Live Wisely

Imagine you are Dean for a Day. What is one actionable change you would implement to enhance the college experience on campus? RICHARD J. LIGHT The New York Times I have asked students this question for years. The answers can be eye-opening. A few years ago, the responses began to move away from “tweak the history course” or “change the… How to Live… Read More »

Towards a true democracy with the Apolitical Party

With the aim of injecting true representative democracy into Australia’s flawed political system, IA announces the launch of its True Democracy Project and calls for interest in its proposed ‘Apolitical Party’. Oliver de Nicolai Independent Australia Project coordinator Oliver de Nicolai and managing editor David Donovan explain what’s going on. Australia has a… Towards a true… Read More »

Slavoj Žižek: What is freedom today? – video

Are we free to live our lives as we want? We might think so, but philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that this apparent freedom is actually governed by a complex series of conditions. With Slavoj Žižek. The Guardian Produced by Nicole Jackson, Ben Marshall, Bruno Rinvolucri, Anetta Jones, Robbie Kilgour and Caterina Monzani, theguardian.com For Žižek, a ‘pathetic, old romantic’, the highest form of freedom is in fact love • The books Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism by Slavoj Žižek and Comradely ... Read More »