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Politics + Society — Analysis and Comment

By cutting back in regional and remote areas, the ABC risks sending a message that some parts of Australia are more important to our national conversations than others. AAP/Joel Carrett

ABC cuts a tale of two Australias: Sydney-Melbourne and also-rans

ABC managing director Mark Scott undertook the unenviable task on Monday of wielding the axe to meet the Abbott government’s cut to the broadcaster’s funding. Government cutbacks to Australia’s publicly…
Studies that deliberately exclude older adults from their samples render older adults' sexuality invisible. shutterstock

Invisible sexuality: older adults missing in sexual health research

The Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR), the latest findings of which were released recently, has much to commend it. Like its counterpart, the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes…
Comfortably ahead in the polls, Labor’s Daniel Andrews leads Coalition leader Denis Napthine into their pre-election debate. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Five days out, Victorians look set to elect unlikely premier no. 3

Anyone in search of a prime example of the dictum that a functioning democracy is nothing short of a minor miracle need look no further than the state of Victoria. In the past 15 years, what has been the…
Australia announced this week that asylum seekers who are waiting in Indonesia to be resettled in Australia will not be accepted. EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak

Why Indonesia shrugged off Australia’s move to bar refugees

There was a collective shrug in Indonesia over Australia’s decision to stop accepting refugees who are waiting in Indonesia to be resettled in Australia. Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison…
The Indonesian government is drafting a bill to protect religious minorities in a move to improve the country’s poor record in religious freedom. AAP/Nugroho Kuthit

Is a new law enough to protect religious minorities in Indonesia?

Indonesia, having grappled with problems of religious intolerance and violence, seems to be making efforts to improve religious freedom. Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, Lukman Syaifuddin, is drafting…
Odd one out? Jacqui Lambie walks past her Palmer United Party colleagues earlier this week. AAP/Lukas Coch

Lacking a unifying purpose or policies, PUP is falling apart

After holding itself together for four-and-a-half months, potentially fatal cracks are appearing in the Palmer United Party (PUP). With fellow senators claiming that she refuses to attend party meetings…
The Israeli government continues to undermine a two-state solution by expanding settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. EPA/Jim Hollander

Israel’s policy on statehood merits the same scrutiny as Hamas gets

Escalating confrontations in Jerusalem centred on the al-Aqsa Mosque, 1500 more homes to be built in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and a sharp deterioration in Israel’s relations with Jordan have…
Nauru’s culture of hospitality once applied to all, including the asylum seekers who arrived in 2001 to a dance of welcome, a tradition depicted on this stamp. Refugee resettlement has changed all that.

Manifesto for a pogrom: hostility to resettled refugees grows on Nauru

Refugees settled on Nauru woke on Monday to find an ominous letter, signed “Youth of Republic of Nauru”, had been delivered overnight. Copies had been left at shops, homes, workplaces employing refugees…
Indigenous Australians see spirituality as central to their wellbeing. Rusty Stewart/Flickr

Indigenous Australians offer a broader concept of wellbeing

The United Nations Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently conducted an assessment of the wellbeing of people around the world. The results indicate that Canberra is a world…
Thai coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha is consolidating power but playing his cards close to his chest, giving few if any signs of a return to democratic rule. EPA/Azhar Rahim

Thai army’s firm hold on levers of power won’t win it legitimacy

Thailand is an increasingly edgy place six months after a coup removed its elected government. Protagonists on the side of the curtailment of democracy fear the elaborated military regime will stuff up…
Malcolm Turnbull and the government have been unapologetic after breaking a pre-election pledge not to cut the ABC’s budget. AAP/Nikki Short

ABC feels pain of broken promise: prepare for cut-price broadcasting

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a further cut to Australia’s public broadcasters. The ABC’s budget will be slashed around 4.6% per year, or A$254 million in total, over the next…
A ban on resettling asylum seekers from Indonesia calls into question the rationale of Australia’s resettlement program. EPA/Hotli Simanijuntak

Questioning the queue: blocking protection to asylum seekers in Indonesia

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced that asylum seekers residing in Indonesia while awaiting protection will no longer obtain resettlement in Australia. This move puts into serious question…
Lack of proper sanitation, as in these homes in Dhaka, Bangladesh, creates all sorts of risks to social and economic wellbeing.

Imagine life without a proper toilet: that’s the reality for 1 in 3 people

It’s 2014. So why do we still need World Toilet Day? Because 2.5 billion people still need one. World Toilet Day remains a critical means to raise awareness globally about one of the many important things…
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is presenting a snap election as a referendum on his once-lauded policy of ‘Abenomics’. EPA/Franck Robichon

Abe takes a high-stakes gamble in calling an early election in Japan

It may seem politically counter-intuitive for a prime minister to seek an early election just when the economy has gone into recession. But following his return to Japan from the G20 Leaders' Summit in…
In his first visit to Australia as prime minister, Narendra Modi emphasised the opportunities in improving ties with India. AAP/Lukas Coch

Shared values, common interests: Modi’s mantra in Australia

For the roughly 450,000 people of Indian origin in Australia, the highlight of Narendra Modi’s first visit as Prime Minister of India to Australia was his address at an Indian community reception in Sydney…
A soldier stands guard in Sevastapol, now under Russian control since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in developments that some fear mark the start of a second Cold War. EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

Are Europe and the world slipping back into a second Cold War?

Bloodshed in Europe and the Middle East against the backdrop of a breakdown in the dialogue between major powers is of enormous concern. The world is on the brink of a new Cold War, some are even saying…
Media reporting on the costs of Australia’s Security Council bid has overlooked several significant issues. EPA/Andrew Gombert

Did aid ‘buy’ African votes for Australia’s Security Council seat?

In the lead-up to Australia’s election to the United Nations Security Council in 2012, much of the media focused on the costs and value of the campaign. In particular, it was claimed Australia “bought…
In a 6:1 decision, the High Court upheld the validity of two offences created under Queensland’s anti-bikie measures. AAP/Dan Peled

High Court invites fresh challenge to Queensland’s bikie laws

Last Friday, the High Court handed down its decision in a constitutional challenge to Queensland’s controversial suite of anti-bikie laws. This decision is as interesting for what it does not decide as…
The social media verdict is out on Nova Peris, but her privacy was clearly violated to create a scandal, forcing her to respond in parliament. AAP/Alan Porritt

Abbott, Spurr, Peris: are we ready to use the internet unsupervised?

When Frances Abbott’s private scholarship award was “exposed”, when poetry professor Barry Spurr was outed for his inflammatory emails and when Senator Nova Peris was devastated by the leaking of her private…
Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin cuddle up to koalas. AAP/Andrew Taylor, G20 Australia

G20 summit successful but untidy for Abbott

Tony Abbott always said he wanted the Brisbane G20 to come up with practical actions and a communique of no more than three pages. He achieved both objectives – although the communique had a mass of attached…
In the wake of a controversial new report clearing Qatar’s successful World Cup bid, FIFA has never appeared more foolish, deluded and self-serving. EPA/Walter Bieri

Scandals are forever for FIFA as World Cup hosting saga drags on

Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of football governing body FIFA’s Ethics Committee, announced on Thursday that his committee had exonerated Qatar and Russia over the…

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on Jacqui Lambie

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker and Michelle Grattan discuss the week in politics including the G20, Russian warships in international waters near Australia, and the tension between…