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Category Archives: Human Rights
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Malcolm Turnbull began last week with the regular ritual of re-announcing that, yet again, he had solved the gas crisis.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne have produced a landmark report on the systemic reasons for child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
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
So we have the anomalous situation of a projected citizenship test which large numbers of indigenous people could not pass.
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.