AUSTRALIA


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A reply from an advocate to Peter Dutton about self-harm

25 Comments
08 May 2016 | Di Cousens

Peter Dutton's face in shadowI talk to those on Manus at all times of the day and night and make sure they are okay. Of course, they are not okay, but so far all of my friends are still alive We keep their spirits up by sending them clothes, games and keeping their phones paid-for so they can talk to their families. We keep them informed about what is going on in Australia. We do not encourage them to hurt themselves in order to put pressure on the government. We do everything possible to stop them from hurting themselves.


Questions for sub happy Australia

15 Comments
08 May 2016 | Justin Glyn

Cartoon Australia shaped submarine by Chris JohnstonIf Australia knows who its enemies are, presumably these putative enemies have a fairly good idea who they are as well. How are they likely to respond to a purchase of submarines? By initiating military countermeasures? By exacting trade sanctions? By diplomatic reprisals? These questions are vital, not just for military planners but also for anyone who is likely to be affected by Australian foreign policy as well as those who want to know more generally how their tax dollars are to be spent.


Strong women as self-agents in remote communities

1 Comment
05 May 2016 | Jasmeet Sahi

Clare Wood with members of Kalumburu communityDoreen, a women's leader from the community in Kalumburu, said, 'it is our dream for us women to get up and make the community stronger'. Such determination ought to be facilitated. What this means is making avenues where Indigenous culture and cultural life are at the centre of the conversation to effect change. Instead of adopting a 'helping' attitude, there needs to be a shift towards facilitating self-agency as an economically rational approach when it comes to Indigenous Australians.


Election budget fiddling

12 Comments
05 May 2016 | John Warhurst

Australian dollarsIt was a political budget in a special sense, given the forthcoming election. Yet it turned out to be neither an election-winning nor election-losing budget. It was more continuity than change. In that sense it probably was the best the government could hope for given the nation's economic and financial circumstances. However it falls far short of the sort of budget that might have been expected from a prime minister like Malcolm Turnbull whose image is one off a 'big picture man'.


Another Coalition budget for the well-off

18 Comments
04 May 2016 | Marcelle Mogg

One scruffy foot, one neat and polished footEven the International Monetary Fund recognises that the best way to grow an economy is to reduce the divide between rich and poor, ensuring that all people have a chance to participate in the social and economic life of a country. The Coalition government remains resolutely opposed to this growing body of evidence, continuing to rely on economic structures that entrench disadvantage, then blame the poor for their fate. The Budget provides tax cuts to the rich and service cuts to the rest.


Kicking corruption in church and police 'closed systems'

10 Comments
04 May 2016 | Paul Coghlan

Hillsborough Stadium disasterHaving worked in closed organisational systems like Victoria Police and various government departments, I have often reflected on how and at what point organisations and their employees become comfortable with the belief that their ideas and attitudes are better informed than those of the general populous - and that their survival is more important. A very stark example of this are the recent court decisions relating to the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in 1989, where 96 people were killed.


Being popular is not the same as leadership

3 Comments
03 May 2016 | Fatima Measham

Malcolm TurnbullIn democracies, public sentiment is meant to be taken seriously. Describing something as populist is a refusal to engage with the sentiment, including its source and complications, usually because we find it disagreeable. The subtext is: people are wrong about the things they care about. They are not being rational or realistic. It is a brave thing to say these days about support for a royal commission into banks, or softening public attitudes toward detention-bound children.


Legislating for human dignity without being misty-eyed

23 Comments
01 May 2016 | Kate Galloway

Peter Dutton on Sky NewsI have often wondered at the likely success of entreaties to compassion for asylum seekers. This is not because I do not personally feel compassion for these people. And it is not because I do not believe that it is morally correct to show compassion, including through government policy. Rather my response is partly a factor of my training as a lawyer. Through my legal eyes, I can see little hope for appeals to politicians to show compassion. My conditioned response instead is to appeal to law.


What does $20 billion worth of subs look like anyway?

18 Comments
21 April 2016 | Frank O'Shea

SubmarineWhat is the biggest number you can visualise? You can probably picture a crowd of 100,000, either because you were once part of such a crowd or have seen shots of a full MCG on Grand Final day. But what about ten times as many, or 1000 times ten times? Now we are talking billions, and your mind has likely gone into what computer programmers call overflow. So when we read that the cost of replacing our six subs with 12 new ones will be $20 billion, it means little to us: it's just a number.


Sniff the rot in Australia's wobbly democracy

9 Comments
19 April 2016 | Justin Glyn

Jenny LeongLast week, a member of Parliament, Jenny Leong, allegedly faced racist and sexist abuse by police from at least four separate commands. This abuse was linked to her opposition (in accordance with her party's stated policy) to the use of drug sniffer dogs without a search warrant. Whether or not one agrees with Green party policy in this regard, the treatment of Leong ought to rankle. Such ill-treatment at the hands of the executive is, unfortunately, not an isolated phenomenon.


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