Opinion

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 »

Message to the EU: you have the chance to stop fuelling devastation in the Amazon

The effects of European consumption are being felt in Brazil, driving disastrous deforestation and violence. Authors: The Conversation But the destruction can end if the European Union demands higher environmental standards on Brazilian goods. Hundreds of scientists and Indigenous leaders agree: the time to act is now, before it’s too late. In an open letter published today in the journal Science, more than 600 scientists from every country in the European Union (EU) and 300 Brazilian Indigenous groups asked the ... Read More »

Clouds gather over Turkey’s nuclear ambitions

In early December 2018, five years after Turkey and Japan signed a bilateral agreement concerning the construction of four nuclear reactors in the city of Sinop on the Black Sea, the project looks like it might be shelved. Pantelis Oikonomou ekathimerini According to foreign news agencies, the Japanese-French consortium is set to abandon the project. The consortium says that delays in launching construction have more than doubled the estimated costs. Tougher international safety measures that came into force following the ... Read More »

Anzacs witnessed the Armenian genocide – that shouldn’t be forgotten in our mythologising

We have a chance to build a more honest and genuine tradition James Robins The Guardians ”It is universally admitted,” the great psychologist Sigmund Freud wrote as the 19th century turned to the 20th, “that in the origins of the traditions and folklore of a people, care must be taken to eliminate from the memory such a motive as would be painful to the national feeling.” In Australia and New Zealand, the most popular tradition of all is Anzac Day, ... Read More »

Brian Monteith: Climate change isn’t the biggest threat to life on Earth

Policies advocated by uber-green protesters would imperil recent improvements in global living conditions, writes Brian Monteith. Brian Monteith The Scotsman Is the human race about to become extinct in the next 50 years? Really? Last Wednesday London, Edinburgh and other UK cities found some of their city centre roads closed and traffic brought to a halt by demonstrators. The intention was to alert us to an escalating peril where the combination of a growing world population, finite resources and a ... Read More »

EU’s two-faced ‘values’

Does it really make sense to talk about ‘European values’? Proponents of the European project like to talk about a core set of “European values” for which it stands. Hans Kundnani Politico At a time when the European Union is threatened from within and without, the idea is particularly tempting. It lifts the EU from an entity that simply pursues its own interests — like any other state or group of states — and makes it a “normative power” that can ... Read More »

Hard Truths in Syria

America Can’t Do More With Less, and It Shouldn’t Try Over the last four years, I helped lead the global response to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)—an effort that succeeded in destroying an ISIS “caliphate” in the heart of the Middle East that had served as a… Brett McGurk Foreign Affairs Working as a special envoy for U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, I helped establish a coalition that was the largest of its kind in history: ... Read More »

The Geoffrey Rush trial shows defamation can make victims become victims all over again

Geoffrey Rush greeted his vindication with a look of anguish. His demeanor outside the Federal Court last week was decidedly grim. So too, his wife Jane Menelaus. Richard Ackland The Guardian If an $850,000 award of damages, with the promise of lots more to come, isn’t going to put a spring in your step, what sort of vindication is this? Rush said: “There are no winners in this case, it has been extremely distressing for everyone involved.” The main defence witness ... Read More »

How wide is Bernie Sanders’ appeal? This cheering Fox News audience is a clue

The US senator drew cheers from the audience when he spoke about healthcare, revealing just how popular his policies are Bhaskar Sunkara The Guardian Bernie Sanders was supposed to be deep behind enemy lines on Monday night. He was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for a live town hall, hosted by Fox News, a network “not everyone thought [he] should come on”. It was a resounding success, and a reminder that Bernie, not Trump, can actually rally together a majority of Americans. ... Read More »

How we will rebuild trust in Irish banking

A new independent body will have a dedicated focus on banking culture John Hedigan The Irish Times Trust in the Irish banking system is at an all-time low. This is an unsustainable situation which damages not only the banking sector but the general public interest. To address this problem, banking culture in Ireland needs to change. For that change to be authentic and sustainable, it must come from within. If regulation were enough, the necessary change would have come about ... Read More »

Australia needs stronger laws to deal with hate speech

The attack on the Al Noor mosque began at 1.40 in the afternoon, when most of those in attendance were at prayer. Forty-two people, ranging in age from three years old to 77 years old, died. By Gillian Triggs and Julian Burnside The Sydney Morning Herald The attack resumed about 15 minutes later at the Linwood Islamic Centre, a few kilometres from the Al Noor mosque where eight people died. A 28-year-old Australian has been charged with 50 murders. He ... Read More »

A Voice Of Reason: Why Christopher Hitchens Matters

Hitchens emerges as a voice of resistance that echoes through the twenty first century. Fahad Zuberi Outlook It matters today because totalitarianism has created precedence in world politics, and newer totalitarian ideas are on the rise. ‘Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence.’ And having lived true to what he said for sixty-two years, Christopher Eric Hitchens remained anything but a silent spectator. It would not be an exaggeration to ... Read More »

John Pilger: The Assange Arrest Is a Warning From History

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies, writes John Pilger. John Pilger MPNnews The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years. That this ... Read More »

The government wants to bulldoze my inheritance: 800-year-old sacred trees

To sit in a tree that saw your people birthed, massacred, and now resist is a feeling that the English language will never be able to capture Nayuka Gorrie The Guardian Victoria’s settler colonisation has been a violent and traumatic ongoing series of events on both Aboriginal people and our landscapes. Despite attempts to kill us off, assimilate us, we are still here. This truth is a thorn in the colonial side. As our physical human form persists, our land ... Read More »

Time to stop pretending: fascism is back

It is no use pretending. The signs are clear. Fascism is raising its poisonous, extremist head again. Paolo Totaro The Age To very old people like me, whose World War II experiences as children are still raw, fascism signifies many things but its essence still is intolerance of diversity. Fascism does not accept as equal, human beings of a diverse race, gender, faith, appearance, creativity, culture. WWII had its genesis in the Nazis (German fascists) rejecting as Germans, those German ... Read More »

The potential of refugee entrepreneurs is huge. But they need our help

Refugees are already equipped with the key skills to succeed in business and their contribution can be worth billions of dollars Philippe Legrain The Guardian Kinan Al Halabi arrived in Australia in 2016 as a refugee from the civil war in Syria. He spoke English, had a university degree, had taught computer science in Syria and had experience working for Swedish telecoms company Ericsson. Yet his qualifications weren’t recognised in Australia and obtaining an Australian degree would have taken three ... Read More »