Category Archives: Human Rights

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

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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

MICHAEL SAINSBURY. In defence of the tragic, impotent silence of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Can Pope Francis help with her effective silence over the Rohingya crisis being perpetrated by Myanmar’s military that is a measure of her government’s helplessness?

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 1 Comment

FRANK BRENNAN. We need a Bill of Rights

As Attorney General Lionel Bowen dedicated a lot of time and energy to a Bill of Rights. He introduced legislation which was doomed. But he outlined the principles for an Australian Human Rights Bill espousing the preconditions for the common … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

KOMALA RAMACHANDRA. Australia’s ‘Modern Slavery’ Proposal Falls Short

In mid-August Australia’s justice minister proposed a new law requiring the country’s biggest companies to report on their practices and policies to prevent forced labour in their operations and supply chains. The government wants to ensure that consumer products like food, electronics, … Continue reading

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MICHAEL MULLINS. Civil and religious marriage are best kept separate.

By conflating the civil law with religious ritual, we create confusion that makes it easy for the Church to claim authority that rightfully belongs to the state. In other words, the Church makes demands regarding sacramental marriage, which of course … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics, Religion and Faith | 5 Comments

FRANK BRENNAN. Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy (Speech launching the 2017 Social Justice Statement, 7 September 2017)

We’re here to launch Everyone’s Business: Developing an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy. 25 years ago, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference published Common Wealth for the Common Good: A Statement on the Distribution of Wealth in Australia. Michael Costigan and Sandie … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Are we stopping the boats to save lives at sea?

To justify its harsh refugee policies, the government has been telling us that its policies are designed to save lives at sea.  The ALP also joins in this shabby chorus

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights, Politics, Refugees, Immigration | Tagged , | 4 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. ‘Come on chaps,I am right behind you’

It was not the end; it was not even the beginning of the end. But it was, finally, the end of the beginning.  The High Court has at last fanned the long smouldering same sex marriage into flame, and now … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 6 Comments

PAUL GREGOIRE AND UGUR NEDIM. Asylum seekers left destitute at hands of Dutton

Stooping to a new low, the Turnbull government has begun cutting off the welfare payment to vulnerable asylum seekers and given these people three weeks to vacate their government-supported accommodation.

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KATHARIN R. LESTARI. Indonesia speaks up as global support for Rohingya grows

The Indonesian government has stepped up its support for ethnic Muslim Rohingya promising humanitarian aid and a new hospital in their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as the military continues to torch villages while battling homegrown insurgents.

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 1 Comment

TEJSHREE THAPA. Watching Burma in Flames from Bangladesh

I stood at the edge of the Naf River on the Bangladesh border watching heavy smoke rise from a village on the Burma side. Bangladeshi border guards talked of fires all along the border targeting villages of Rohingya Muslims.

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