Category Archives: Human Rights

JOAN STAPLES: Incredulous disbelief at Gary Johns to head charities regulator.

The appointment of Gary Johns last week as director of the regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), has created incredulous disbelief and concern amongst NGO leaders.  For decades, Johns has been proactive in criticising the public advocacy of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Human Rights, Politics | 2 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull ran dead on SSM

Malcolm Turnbull may not have wished to appear churlish last Thursday after the final vote on the same sex marriage bill, but he had no choice: that was his job.  So rather than following the parliament to embrace bipartisanship at … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 2 Comments

KATHARINE BETTS AND BOB BIRRELL. How do Australian voters’ view the level of immigration? TAPRI and Scanlon compared

There has been growing controversy about Australia’s level of overseas immigration. In the year to March 2017 Australia’s population is estimated to have grown by a massive 389,100, some 231,000, or 60 per cent of which was due to net … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

KIERAN TAPSELL. The Royal Commission Report on the Melbourne Archdiocese

On 5 December 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a redacted version of its Report of Case Study No. 35: the Archdiocese of Melbourne. It strongly criticized Church personnel for failure to protect children … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

ROSS GWYTHER. A sledgehammer for a walnut ?

Unbeknown to most Australians, a court case has been underway in Alice Springs over the past few months with implications far and wide.  Employing a sixty year old law drafted during the height of the anti-communist 1950s in Australia, the … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

JOAN STAPLES. Government targets international philanthropy for civil society.

A Bill expected to be introduced by the Government this week, may deliberately create confusion by linking foreign donations to political parties, with foreign donations to civil society organisations.  It is expected to propose banning both.

Posted in Environment and climate, Human Rights, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

ELIZABETH EVATT. Why not protect all our rights and freedoms?

The proposal to legislate for freedom of thought ,conscience and religion, as provided in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a half measure which would leave other rights and freedoms without equivalent protection. And it may not … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 3 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. What silent majority?

The best thing about the same sex marriage survey (apart, of course, from the entirely predictable numbers) is that it finally and conclusively disproves the myth of the silent majority – the conservative fantasy that somehow, somewhere, there is a … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 1 Comment

FRANK BRENNAN. Same sex marriage and freedom of religion

On Wednesday, the ABS will announce the results of the survey on same sex marriage. The return rate on the survey is a very credible 78.5 per cent. In Ireland only 60.5 per cent of eligible voters turned out.  

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 12 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Domestic violence, not terrorism, is the big killer in Australia

Compared to other risks, we have little to fear from terrorism. In the last two decades only three people in Australia have died from terrorism. But there is a ‘vividness’ bias in terrorism because it stands out in our minds. … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 5 Comments

SPENCER ZIFCAK. Australia elected to UN Human Rights Council – despite international condemnation.

Two weeks ago, Australia was chosen as one of two new member nations on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). Before one gets too excited about this achievement it is worth noting that our country’s election was uncontested. There were three … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs, International Affairs | 1 Comment

RAMESH THAKUR. Australia’s gulag of shame

Manus Island detainees are back in the news. In this article published more than a year ago, in the Japan Times, Ramesh Thakur asks: Do Australian Cabinet ministers and departmental heads really value their jobs, and the power and perks … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Human Rights, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Manus Island agreement is a failure; Turnbull and Shorten need to accept that: Robert Manne, Tim Costello, Frank Brennan and John Menadue.

There is now a humanitarian disaster on Australia’s doorstep. And it’s our responsibility. The refugees on Manus Island must be resettled promptly. After four years, all options other than Australia have come to nothing or have been rejected by our government. There is now no option … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 5 Comments

JOAN STAPLES. Civil Society Highs and Lows

Australian civil society has seen the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) win the Nobel Peace Prize, the High Court uphold Bob Brown’s challenge to Tasmanian protest laws, and the Coalition extend its attacks on NGO advocacy, targeting GetUp.

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Is Australia a morally backward society?

Earlier this year a national conference of First Nation Australians at Uluru recommended that a Council representing all Indigenous Australians be enshrined in the Constitution. The purpose of the Council would be to advise governments on policies affecting Indigenous Australians. … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 3 Comments

MICHAEL KELLY. The weakest to the wall.

The eyes of the world have been fixed on and appalled by the sight of more than 580,000 Rohingya fleeing the violence gratuitously inflicted on them by the military in Myanmar.  And the story isn’t over yet.  More will be … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull and Daniel Andrews.

The success of Victoria’s Labor government in passing its Assisted Dying legislation through the lower house is surely an object lesson in how to handle a sensitive and contentious subject.  

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 3 Comments

PETER RODGERS. Australia and capital punishment – rhetoric and reality

In pursuing Australia’s ultimately successful bid for election to the UN Human Rights Council, Foreign Minister Bishop declared that Australia would be ‘unrelenting’ in its efforts to abolish capital punishment globally. But Australia’s track record of selective outrage gives little … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 2 Comments

JAMES O’NEILL: Requiem for a democracy

The Australian Security agencies have asked again for further powers to enable them to prevent terrorist attacks.  Among the requests made are for extended detention powers, increasing the time a “terror suspect” can be detained without charge from 14 to … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 2 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Welcome to Malcolm’s brave new world.

Malcolm Turnbull began last week with the regular ritual of re-announcing that, yet again, he had solved the gas crisis.

Posted in Human Rights | 2 Comments

TONY SMITH. Australia’s worst threat from terrorism lies in the home.

The recent shooting in Las Vegas is a reminder that massacres are not the preserve of international terrorists. While the US Ambassador in Canberra has suggested Australia’s firearms laws could be a useful model for the USA, we cannot feel … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

JOHN CARMODY. Same-sex marriage survey is All Over, Red Rover.

Newspapers and the electronic media seem to flourish on controversy, novelty and scandal; the temptation is to expand and prolong their coverage unduly.  The current postal survey on “same-sex marriage” seems to be a classic instance.

Posted in Human Rights | 4 Comments

ELIZABETH EVATT. Our Rights and Civil liberties- Death by a Thousand Cuts

Its time to give the Courts power to determine whether our anti-terrorism laws violate our fundamental rights of liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention.

Posted in Human Rights, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Thinking about memory and monuments.

The controversy about confederate monuments in the southern states erupted in May this year while I was in the United States. I was impressed by the extent and the vigour of the debate. In the back of my mind I … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs | 3 Comments

MICHAEL MULLINS. Proper scrutiny will expose ‘traditional marriage’ as dangerous.

Pope Francis has confirmed his resolve to dump Pope John Paul II’s legacy regarding marriage and the family. He will replace it with his own more inclusive vision, which he outlined in a speech in October last year. This suggestion … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 3 Comments

KIERAN TAPSELL. University report lifts the lid on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne have produced a landmark report on the systemic reasons for child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

SRIPRAPHA PETCHARAMESREE. The Rohingya exodus.

The most recent Rohingya exodus has been making headlines during the past few weeks. But just a week ago Daw Aung San Suu Kyi broke her silence. In her more than 30 minute speech addressing  the Myanmar Parliament and diplomats … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | Comments Off on SRIPRAPHA PETCHARAMESREE. The Rohingya exodus.

HENRY REYNOLDS. Citizenship and English proficiency and indigenous people.

So we have the anomalous situation of a projected citizenship test which large numbers of indigenous people could not pass.

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs, Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

FRANK BRENNAN. Same sex marriage and freedom of religion.

  NZ Prime Minister Bill English was being interviewed by Fran Kelly on ABC RN Breakfast on Monday morning.  Fran asked him about same sex marriage which is now law in New Zealand. He stressed that freedom of religion is … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics, Religion and Faith | 6 Comments

TONY SMITH. The farcical appeal to ‘family values’

Some opponents of marriage equality have resorted to spurious arguments about ‘family values’. The record of arch-conservatives on war, overseas aid, asylum seekers, Indigenous affairs, the social safety net, free market capitalism, the working poor and the monarchy suggests that … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 2 Comments