GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

A regular connection of links to writings and broadcasts covered in other media.

On ABC’ Saturday Extra this weekend (in case you missed it)

  • Sidney Jones and Endy Bayuni on whether Indonesia’s anti-radicalisation programs work, and an analysis of the state of Australia/Indonesian relations.
  • Poles turn out in their thousands to demonstrate against a new government law requiring Supreme Court judges to retire early.
  • Bassma Kodmani from the Arab Reform Initiative outlines what she believes are the conditions for solutions to rebuild Syria.
  • Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow on human security at La Trobe University, looks at the consequences for Australia of being too focussed on the Anglosphere.
  • As Donald Trump’s “America First” approach hardens, allies will need to think about American power differently. (James Curran, Professor of History University of Sydney).

 

Other commentary

On the ABCc’s Big Ideas, Brett Walker, SC, presents the Whitlam Oration 2018  How much information does democracy need?. He argues for lifting the veil of secrecy from government decision-making. Meaningful public debate in a democracy must be about serious subject matter, “not mere propaganda or tribal barracking”, he reminds us. The reforms of the Hawke-Keating era succeeded because “their persuasion had the foundation of published information and serious debate”. He calls for more and timely disclosure of campaign financing, more meaningful budgetary information, disclosure of legal advice given to the government, and less use of security classifications including “commercial-in-confidence”. (54 minutes.)

ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans, and Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt, have published in The Conversation (and in other media) a strong defence of academic freedom, explaining their reasons for withdrawing from negotiations with the Ramsay Centre’s proposal for a “Western  Civilization” degree program. They were concerned with “the extraordinarily prescriptive, micro-management, controlling approach by the Ramsay Centre to its governance, particularly in relation to curriculum and staffing decisions”.

Writing in The Guardian Greg Jericho brings sense and hard data into issues around the government’s tax cuts and its claim that Labor is stoking the fires of a class war. “The real class war is being fought by those who seek to erase people on low and middle incomes from the debate”, writes Jericho. The government’s rhetoric suggests that the tax cuts, generally applying to people with incomes above $100,000, are targeted to the “middle class”, but Jericho reminds us that the median income for employees is $53,000, and that only the top ten per cent of employees earn more than $110,000.

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