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Tony Abbott’s visit to India will focus on the sale of uranium more so than a shared love of cricket. AAP

Abbott’s visit to take Australia-India relations beyond cricket

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott will visit India this week, his first trip to the country since Narendra Modi took office. On the agenda will be a range of issues important to India and Australia…
The trigger for independent MP Geoff Shaw’s potential expulsion from Victorian parliament seems to be the apparent insincerity of his comments on his apology. AAP/Joe Castro

Napthine should rethink ousting Geoff Shaw over apology

Victorian premier Denis Napthine has tabled a motion that would expel independent MP Geoff Shaw from parliament merely for the apparent insincerity of his apology rather than his reprehensible misuse of…
Accurate, impartial and ethical journalism is still possible – and can even be easier – in the faster online news cycle. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

The internet can deliver better journalism, not just clickbait

In the digital age, one of the most complex challenges for media outlets is how to re-shape the editorial responsibilities of journalism itself. Are the hallmarks of good journalism – accuracy, independence…
With his strong views on industrial relations, Family First senator Bob Day is what we might call a ‘conservative libertarian’. AAP/Lukas Coch

Changing the soul: are conservatives the new radicals?

Few members of the 20th-century political right were more important than Milton Friedman. As an academic, author, television presenter and adviser to Ronald Reagan – who once described his show Free to…
Does Tony Abbott’s justification for Australian involvement in Iraq amount to a legal basis for our commitment? AAP/Dave Hunt

Australia’s military involvement in Iraq is legal – for now

The humanitarian missions by the Royal Australian Air Force in Iraq are in accordance with international law, despite a confusing statement by Iraq’s ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh. But continued…
Andrew Wilkie argues that parliamentary debate and authorisation should be necessary for Australia to go to war. AAP/Gary Schafer

Explainer: Australia’s war powers and the role of parliament

With the announcement of Australia’s involvement in dropping aid to Kurdish fighters engaged against Islamic State extremists in northern Iraq, questions have again arisen about who should control Australia’s…
Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf spent time in prison for terrorist activities, but he clearly did not abandon his radical beliefs there. Twitter

When foreign fighters return: managing terrorists behind bars

The government’s mooted legislation to tackle returning foreign fighters will undoubtedly make it easier to detect and prosecute those involved in terrorism overseas. This means many returned fighters…
New Zealand prime minister John Key is accused of attack politics by proxy. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Dirty politics across the ditch may cost Key the election

Since its publication in August, Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics: How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment has dominated the political agenda in the lead-up to the September 20…
Denis Napthine hasn’t been able to rebuild the Victorian Coalition government’s support since replacing Ted Baillieu as premier. AAP/Joe Castro

Victorian Coalition has three months to change voters' minds

Victorians will head to the polls in exactly three months to elect their new state government. Like New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, Victoria has fixed parliamentary terms. Since…
The real issue in the Australia-Indonesia relationship is not what SBY has just done, but rather what incoming president Joko Widodo will do. EPA/Tanaya Pramudita Raras

Spying pact is SBY’s last foreign policy gasp – now for Jokowi

It’s not a good sign when parties cannot even agree on what they have just put their signatures to. On Thursday, Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa…
Robert Menzies may be a Liberal hero for John Howard and his successors in the current government, but his budgets fit their definition of ‘disaster’. AAP/Alan Porritt

Menzies, a failure by today’s rules, ran a budget to build the nation

Robert Menzies left Australia in far worse financial shape than he found it, at least according to current treasurer Joe Hockey’s favourite debt and deficit benchmark. Having inherited budget surpluses…
The signing of the code of conduct closes the rift between Australia and Indonesia over spying. AAP/Office of the Foreign Minister

Intelligence code of conduct saves face for SBY with added benefits

Australia and Indonesia have agreed on a code of conduct on intelligence co-operation, with Australia pledging never to use its spy agencies in ways that could harm Indonesia’s interests. Today’s signing…
Is morality – and happiness – determined by how you affect the people around you? Shutterstock

Telling right from wrong: why is utilitarianism under attack?

It is a word we hear from time to time, but few of us know what it means. Utilitarianism is the method most people use to decide whether an action is right or wrong. We decide the moral merits of what…
It is reasonable to surmise that the number of boats attempting to reach Australia has fallen dramatically in the Abbott government’s first year. AAP/Jon Faulkner

The boats may have stopped, but at what cost to Australia?

In opposition, Tony Abbott and his alternative government set itself a three-word performance indicator for success in its refugee policy if and when it took office: stop the boats. With one recent exception…
Journalists face long jail terms for reporting information relating to ‘special intelligence operations’, as declared by ASIO, under the government’s proposed reforms. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security bills compound existing threats to media freedom

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) will publish its report on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 (Cth) sometime during this sitting of parliament…
Indonesia’s Constitutional Court, the only institution mandated to settle election disputes in the country rejected Prabowo Subianto’s challenge. Prabowo lost in the 2014 presidential election in Indonesia. EPA/BAGUS INDAHONO

Prabowo fights on, but Indonesian court ruling ends legal challenge

As many analysts predicted, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (MK) has rejected losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s challenge to the election result. Despite the decision, which is final and…
History tells us that it is certain criteria and not democratic niceties, secularism or a moderate hand that will make or break Islamic State. EPA/STR

Going the distance: does Islamic State have staying power?

The rise of Islamic State (IS) across parts of the Middle East has galvanised the international community in a way not seen since September 11. But before a military response is considered, western nations…
In China, former basketball star Yao Ming takes the Ice Bucket Challenge at his NBA Yao School in Beijing. EPA/NBA Yao School

Critics pour cold water on the Ice Bucket Challenge: are they right?

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been called “one of the most viral philanthropic social media campaigns in history”. The campaign has raised the profile of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). But some…
Social and digital media perform a function that is humanising by connecting people and allowing freedom of expression. Icons from Shutterstock

Speaking with: Robert Picard on democratising the media

Is social media really delivering on its promise of democratising communication? Or have we just replaced one model that privileges those with power for another? Dr Andrea Carson speaks with Professor…
The Abbott government has appointed several people with business backgrounds, such as Tony Shepherd (left), to key inquiries in its first year in office. AAP/Nikki Short

Coalition’s appointments are part of a bigger pattern in policy advice

Since coming to office, the Abbott government has initiated a wide range of reviews into policy areas such as the national school curriculum and the Renewable Energy Target. Some commentators have argued…
The Abbott government is all for free speech except when the speakers are green activists like Mackay Conservation Group’s Ellen Roberts. AAP/Dan Peled

Step by step, conservative forces move to silence NGOs' voices

The federal Liberal Party, government ministers, Coalition MPs, the Minerals Council of Australia and the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) are targeting the advocacy role of Australia’s environmental…
Intelligence agencies want greater access to metadata, but security wishlists must be tempered by the public interest in privacy and a balance between state power and citizens' rights. AAP/Lukas Coch

What is the meaning and what is the use of ‘metadata retention’?

Privacy and individuals’ ability to remain anonymous are important protections against persecution, bullying, intimidation and retaliation. These can be perpetrated by other people, private businesses…