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Politics + Society — Analysis and Comment

For some vulnerable gamblers, social casino games can trigger a desire to gamble for real money, while for others the games can act as a useful distraction. shutterstock

Social casino games can help – or harm – problem gamblers

Free-to-play social online games that simulate gambling are a hugely popular, and profitable, new phenomenon, but concerns have been raised about how innocent these games really are. Our recently published…
Giving today’s kids a flying start with early education will be crucial to helping them fill the gap left behind by retiring Baby Boomers. Kevin Conor Keller/Flickr

Baby Boomers, be nice to your grandkids: they may save Australia

The problem with Australia’s population ageing is not that there are too many older people – it’s that there are not enough young people to support them. That presents many challenges to Australia’s continued…
Hong Kong’s digitally connected protesters are mounting a thoroughly modern campaign for democracy, but the state too has updated its mechanisms of control and surveillance. EPA/Alex Hofford

Connective action: the public’s answer to democratic dysfunction

In the closing decades of the last century, many political and business elites were swept up in a global wave of policies favouring free markets, deregulation of business and finance and privatisation…
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is seeking a second term in office when the country returns to the polls this weekend. EPA/Sebastiao Moreira

Brazilians split over choice of two very different government paths

The final run-off of the Brazilian presidential elections, to be held this weekend, represent a decisive moment for Latin America’s largest nation. No matter who wins, will the newly elected government…
Governments have generally invested much more in hard-edged military and policing responses than in smarter and more sustainable ‘soft power’ approaches to countering violent extremism. EPA/Bagus Indahono

Tough is not enough: ten smarter ways to counter violent extremism

More than a decade of security-based transnational approaches to combating terrorist activity and propaganda have demonstrated that these alone are ineffective. Sometimes, security measures can actually…
In office and in opposition, Gough Whitlam’s advocated for the Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Poverty. AAP/Dean Lewins

Whitlam’s forgotten legacy: a voice for the poor

Former prime minister Gough Whitlam, whose death at age 98 was announced on Tuesday, left significant legacies from his short time in office. Whatever their condition today, many of his government’s initiatives…
Sydney teenager Abdullah Elmir, who uses the alias Abu Khaled, speaking in an Islamic State video. ABC News

Foreign fighters need more than punishment – they also need rehab

New powers targeting foreign fighters and political “hate crimes” are set to be amended, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed in the hope of pushing the legislation through parliament next week. But…
An Australian 17-year-old must be utterly alienated from the community to feel at home with Islamic State. Youtube

No future: why we need a youth policy to counter radicalisation

The upcoming first ever Global Forum on Youth Policies has put the spotlight on the position of young people who, the United Nations says, are our “greatest resource”. Australia is among a minority of…
Who read the fine print? US president George W. Bush signs the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in the White House Rose Garden in August 2004. EPA/Matthew Cavanaugh

A decade on, is the Australia-US FTA fit for the 21st century?

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Gough Whitlam took principled revisionism to the very top of Labor politics. AAP/Sergio Dionisio

Whitlam’s hard fight for reform holds lessons for Labor today

There was nothing inevitable about Gough Whitlam’s rise to the top. He had to fight every inch of the way. The fight was not only against born-to-rule Liberals who thought he had betrayed his class but…
In office, the late Gough Whitlam sought to fulfil, rather than to end, the promise of capitalism. AAP/Alan Porritt

Political limits of today intensify rosy memory of Whitlamism

The popular response to Gough Whitlam’s death tells us more about the politics of the present than the past. Whitlam has been cast as a messiah; as Labor’s saviour; and as the slayer of what Paul Keating…
The Ottoman Chief Eunuch was an influential figure. In this and other caliphates, eunuchs supervised the harem, the princes, the financial affairs of the palace and the mosques, as well as controlling access to the ruler. Photo postcard 1912

Islamic State lacks key ingredient to make ‘caliphate’ work: eunuchs

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed Islamic State (IS) as a Muslim caliphate on June 29, 2014, with himself as caliph, a term reserved for a successor to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). His would be the newest…
The Whitlam government’s legacy continues to be felt today, close to four decades since it lost office. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Gough Whitlam’s life and legacy: experts respond

Gough Whitlam, Labor prime minister from 1972 to 1975, has died aged 98. A giant of modern Australian politics, his passing triggered a flood of tributes on Tuesday morning. In a statement, current Labor…
As the new Indonesian president, Jokowi will need a hardworking and clean cabinet. EPA/Adi Weda

How will Indonesia’s president put together his new cabinet?

In his speech after being sworn into office, Indonesian President Joko Widodo yesterday called for Indonesians to “work, work and work”. Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, also has to work hard…
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agenda is again being driven by the US on behalf of its major export industries. EPA/How Hwee Young

Trans-Pacific Partnership piles up challenges for democracy

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Indonesians are celebrating the inauguration of their new president, Joko Widodo. EPA/Adi Weda

Indonesians have high hopes for their new president

In Indonesia, people are celebrating. Joko Widodo’s supporters joined a parade on Monday to welcome him and Jusuf “JK” Kalla on the day they were sworn into office as Indonesia’s new president and vice-president…
Tony Abbott arrives in Jakarta to attend the inauguration of Joko Widodo as Indonesia’s new president. AAP/Eka Nickmatulhuda

Q&A: Abbott’s hand of friendship to Indonesia’s new president

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is joining in a big party in Indonesia. Indonesia’s new president and vice-president are being inaugurated today. Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf “JK” Kalla are being…
A carrier’s liability for damage, loss or delay of baggage is governed by a number of overarching international treaties. Adam Fagen

What to claim for lost, delayed or damaged bags on overseas flights

If you get on a plane and your baggage ends up being delayed, damaged or lost, who’s responsible: you or the airline? And what rules apply when you’re flying between different countries – even if you don’t…
Diplomatic smiles and handshakes are in order when Chinese and US representatives meet, but separate trade talks driven by Beijing and Washington represent a high-stakes contest for influence. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Who calls the tune? Asia has to dance to duelling trade agendas

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Joko Widodo (right) will replace Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as Indonesian president. He faces strong opposition in the parliament. EPA/Made Nagi

Jokowi sworn in to tackle a divided Indonesian government

Indonesia’s president-elect Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, will be sworn into office today in a divisive political environment. Jokowi, who won 53.15% of the votes in the presidential election…
A Welcome to Country ceremony opens Darwin’s new $500 million facility last month to house rising numbers of prisoners, 85% of whom are Indigenous, a grossly overrepresented group. AAP/Neda Vanovac

Justice reinvestment saves huge costs of law-and-order auctions

A number of reports, most recently Victorian and NSW crime statistics, show crime rates are falling. But as election time looms in these states, their governments' focus on tough law-and-order policies…
Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi remains in a critical condition after a serious crash earlier this month. EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj

Jules Bianchi and sharing the responsibility for catastrophe

As with most tragic events today, Formula One driver Jules Bianchi’s recent crash in the Japanese Grand Prix has raised the usual frenzy of questions surrounding who is to blame when things go wrong and…