Category Archives: Human Rights

ELAINE PEARSON. Australia’s Government must guard against foreign interference, but not by curbing our rights.

Authoritarian governments around the world use broadly drafted national security laws to silence human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, and critics of the government. Australia should not join them by passing a revised espionage and foreign interference law that excludes safeguards … Continue reading

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KARL HOWARD. The importance of community .

Communities are a fundamental requirement for the human condition; they consist of a group of people with shared interests, similar attitudes – often with aligned social values -resulting in delegated responsibilities. A community is a product of independent actors joining … Continue reading

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JOAN STAPLES. Foreign interference bills threaten civil society freedoms.

The government’s urgent pursuit of foreign interference bills prior to the July by-elections aims to wedge Labor for short term electoral gain.  However as Labor agrees to support the bills, yet more of our political freedoms are being destroyed at … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 2 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. A possible deep-seated flaw in the ADF’s third inquiry into allegations of misconduct and war crimes.

The allegations against rogue elements within the Special Air Service Regiment are, sadly, almost predictable: other, similar units in the military traditions of both Britain and the United States have succumbed to such behaviour in similar circumstances as those faced … Continue reading

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MIKE WALLER. Welcome to the Panopticon: time for an Australian bill of rights?

Panopticon: a circular prison with cells arranged around a central well, from which prisoners could at all times be observed (Jeremy Bentham).  Mr Turnbull has told Neil Mitchell security and police will be given extra power to conduct random checks … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL. The ball is in Pope Francis’s court over the culture of cover-up.

Pope Francis’ letter to the people of Chile over child sexual abuse in that country and its cover-up would suggest that he might have read the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Instead … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

BIJAY KUMAR MINJ. Modi’s four years ‘have weakened India’s tolerance’.

India Inclusive event hears that attacks against minorities have increased since the BJP came to power

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ROBYN WHITAKER. Christians in Australia are not persecuted, and it is insulting to argue they are.

As Australians wait to hear the government’s response to the Ruddock review of religious freedom (and indeed, the content of the report itself), it is worth considering exactly how the two intersect in this largely secular society. Australia has neither … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 5 Comments

PANKAJ MISHRA. A Gandhian Stand Against the Culture of Cruelty

The bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991, blew his face off. India’s former prime minister, and scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, was identified by his sneakers as he lay spread-eagled on the ground. Some Indian newspapers, refusing … Continue reading

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URI AVNERY. The Day of Shame

ON BLOODY MONDAY this past week, when the number of Palestinian killed and wounded was rising by the hour, I asked myself: what would I have done if I had been a youngster of 15 in the Gaza Strip?

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 4 Comments

ELAINE PEARSON. Australia’s lame response to Anwar Ibrahim’s detention was a mistake

The region looks to Australia as a functioning democracy. We shouldn’t sideline human rights issues for trade and security ties.

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 1 Comment

TSEEN KHOO. What Anzac Day meant for Asian Australians.

This year, just before ANZAC Day, I read a poignant, insightful piece by Nadine Chemali about what new migrants to Australia really thought about Anzac Day.

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 4 Comments

RICHARD ACKLAND. Peter Dutton’s power grabs may yet be his undoing

The fate of Amber Rudd offers some hope to Australians who disapprove of Dutton and his methods.

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MICHAEL KEATING AND JON STANFORD. Australia’s strategic risks and future defence policy; Part 2: Future defence strategy, capability and submarines

In this second article we discuss the need to develop a defence strategy that involves shifting from a force structure designed for coalition warfare to one optimised for the independent defence of Australia. We focus on the requirement for new … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Economy, Human Rights | 2 Comments

SUSANNE ROBERTS. Hugh Mackay reimagines a more compassionate Australia (Book Review)

Esteemed social researcher Hugh Mackay’s latest book Australia Reimagined: Towards a more compassionate, less anxious society is exquisitely timed. As the daily headlines tell of bank and church scandals and failures in the health, education and housing systems, many of … Continue reading

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MARGARET O’CONNOR. Institutional reform following the Royal Commission on child sex abuse is women’s work.

Women – from those who quietly brought pressure on parliamentarians through to the Prime Minister and Governor General – brought about the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Yet the response to the Commission is being handled … Continue reading

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RICHARD FLANAGAN. Freedom means Australia facing up to the truth of its past. (Part 2 of 2)

We should, of course, question these things more. We could ask why – if we were actually genuine about remembering patriots who have died for this country – why would we not first spend $100m on a museum honouring the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights, Indigenous affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

RICHARD FLANAGAN. Australians in WWI didn’t die for Australia. They died for Britain. (Part 1 of 2)

And so, the Monash Centre, for all its good intentions, for all the honour it does the dead, is at heart a centre for forgetting. It leads us to forget that the 62,000 young men who died in world war … Continue reading

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GARRY EVERETT. Importance of seeing the ‘big picture’.

Failing to see or accept the big picture is a condition that is currently affecting many organisations in our world, says Garry Everett, and four particular organisations stand out as having significant problems in this regard.

Posted in Economy, Human Rights, Politics, Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

TIM SOUTPHOMMASANE. Australian business and other organisations persistently fall short on cultural diversity.

Australia is widely celebrated as a multicultural triumph, but any such success remains incomplete. There remains significant under-representation of cultural diversity in the senior leadership of Australian organisations. Our society does not yet appear to be making the most of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education, Human Rights | 3 Comments

JIM COOMBS: The “moral crisis” in Cricket is a “beat up” with media frenzy making a mountain out of a molehill.

One would have to assume that all these outraged commentators have never played cricket with anything more substantial than a used tennis ball. For those of us who have played the game with any interest in the techniques and science … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 7 Comments

MICHAEL LIFFMAN. Tribalism, anti-racism, and over-reach

Living, as the world does, with slavery, colonialism, brutal civil conflicts, and the Holocaust still casting the blackest of clouds over us, the principle of ‘anti-racism’ has – rightly – been developed to become an incontestable foundation of our ethics … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Homelessness, Australia’s disgrace ignored.

The last few days have seen a media preoccupation with relentless attacks on a new federal Labor proposal to eliminate the payment of cash cheques to those who don’t need their dividend imputation credits because they pay no tax. The … Continue reading

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JOAN STAPLES. Bill weak on stopping foreign donations, but strong on silencing NGOs.

The current Bill before parliament to reform electoral donations is the most comprehensive attempt I have seen at silencing public advocacy in 30 years.  It does not succeed in its supposed aim to restrict foreign donations – an aim that … Continue reading

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ELIZABETH EVATT. Democracy under challenge.

In their recent book, How Democracies Die, discussed this week on Late Night Live, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, outlined how democracies can be undermined and ultimately destroyed without the violent coup of Pinochet, but by abuse of the system itself. … Continue reading

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NICK SEDDON. Democracy in danger. Or, how to get GetUp.

Proposed amendments to the Electoral Act if enacted will profoundly constrain or shut down political advocacy that is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy.

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 1 Comment

SUSAN RYAN. Ruddock and the religious freedom review.

In commercial matters religious freedom needs no further protection. There is no case for extending exemptions from existing anti-discrimination measures to the commercial provision of facilities, catering, furniture or entertainment that may play a part in hospitality following a marriage. Such … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. It’s time for a Human Rights Act for Australia -A repost

In Pearls and Irritations recently, Elizabeth Evatt (Why not protect all our rights and freedoms?) called for a Human Rights Act to protect all our rights and freedoms and not just freedom of religion.  The issue of freedom of religion … Continue reading

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MICHAEL MULLINS. What happened to my Australian accent?

I spent the summer of 1983-84 in the Philippines. During this time I fell in love with the Philippines and its people and felt ashamed to be Australian.

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Australia Day and all that.

The moral basis of contemporary Australian society is being squeezed dry by political opportunism and contempt for civic virtue among our political leaders. The ignorance those leaders demonstrate about the insult Australia Day has become for many Indigenous people is … Continue reading

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