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Thai turmoil continues

24 August 2015 | Michael Kelly

A government officer pays respect to the portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of ThailandThailand's chronic political instability intensified with the bomb that exploded last week in the middle of a major Bangkok tourist district. With 20 dead and still counting, the event is a decisive rebuttal of the military dictatorship's promise to restore 'happiness' to Thailand. Because Thailand's public life revolves around the frail and ageing king and the military, a brighter future awaits the outcome of royal succession.

UK Labour's hysterical power struggle

17 August 2015 | Daniel Read

Jeremy CorbynThe ongoing drama over leadership of the UK Labour Party is raising the possibility of further fractures in the politics of austerity, not just in Britain, but across Europe. The entire political edifice of British politics has shifted so far to the right that even a somewhat inoffensive endorsement of state ownership, anti-austerity politics and trade union support, alongside scrapping the UK's nuclear deterrent and questioning our continued membership in NATO, can appear dangerously radical.

The ins and outs of a regional solution for refugees

05 August 2015 | Samuel Tyrer

Asia PacificThe Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers of 2012 said 'a regional cooperation and protection framework' should shape policymaking. Support for a regional solution also exists among academics and NGOs such as the Refugee Council of Australia. So what would such a framework look like? And when the time comes, will Australia be prepared to lead the way by increasing resettlement numbers?

Post-sanctions Iran will be force for stability

23 July 2015 | Shahram Akbarzadeh

Iran flag and nuclear warning symbolIran’s nuclear deal with the UN represents a major breakthrough that could lead to more peace and stability in the region, despite what the critics say. Its policy towards Islamic State is actually much closer to that of the US and the UK than any other country in the region. Convergence of interest against this common enemy could open other doors of dialogue with the West and start a relationship that is no longer hostage to the nuclear issue.

The depths of common cause between Australia and Nauru

13 July 2015 | Justin Glyn

Nauru aerial imageIn an impressive demonstration of how the revocation of citizenship can be made to work to defend the national reputation and lifestyle of a country against those who would wish it harm, five of the country's seven opposition MPs (in a 19 member Parliament) have had their passports cancelled for 'damaging the reputation and development of the country'. In Australia, at least for the moment, damaging of Government property will still be required for the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection to revoke citizenship under the new anti-terror provisions in s.35A of the Citizenship Act.

An Orwellian reading of our anti-terror legislation

21 June 2015 | Justin Glyn

George Orwell's 1984In George Orwell's most famous novel 1984, the white face of the Ministry of Truth bears the slogans: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Australia is not approaching dictatorship, but a quick look at Orwell's slogans in the light of the past week's news makes disturbing reading.

Magna Carta's spotlight on today's political arbitrariness

16 June 2015 | Binoy Kampmark

Magna CartaIt was far from democratic and arose from circumstances of pure opportunism, but the Magna Carta was created as a break on arbitrary rule and power. Therefore contemporary moves to undermine such principles as the rule of law are prescient. Australia's parliament commemorates its birthday even as it extends the reach of national security laws and endorses a draconian refugee policy.

Italian perspective on Australia's asylum seeker shame

11 June 2015 | Anna Martin

Asylum seeker woman pounds on doorOver the last few months, I have been completing a Masters in International Criminal Law at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute in Turin, Italy. Over the last two weeks, our classes revolved around human rights — always a bit of a cringeworthy topic when one comes from Australia. Certainly Italy's attitude and approach to asylum seekers puts Australia's to shame.

South China Sea dispute exposes soft Australia

09 June 2015 | Fatima Measham

Map of South China SeaThe trajectory of the conflict over territory in the South China Sea does not look good. There is no reason to believe that the United States would relinquish its position as an Asia-Pacific security power. There is also no reason to believe that China would slow or halt its island-building and militarisation of the South China Sea. Against this ponderous milieu, it is a pity that Australia has again been exposed as a lightweight.

Australia wants to know nothing about asylum seekers' torture history

02 June 2015 | Justin Glyn

Man being torturedInternational law regards torture as a matter of ius cogens, something which can never be justified. If one were serious about finding out about genuine refugee claims, enquiring about any torture at the hands of the people an asylum seeker is fleeing would surely be near the top of the list of cogent questions. But Australia has ceased to ask asylum seekers about any history of torture.

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