Sections

Services

Information

AU Australia

Politics + Society — Analysis and Comment

Under Ted Baillieu, the Coalition government set up an anti-corruption commission, but not the one promised in 2010. AAP/Julian Smith

How to turn IBAC into a corruption watchdog that works as promised

Before the 2010 election, the opposition – now the government – promised Victorians an anti-corruption commission. This was to be closely modelled on the New South Wales Independent Commission Against…
What are we voting for? Certainly not decisions made in MPs' own interest or that of political parties or business cronies, but the present system lets that happen. AAP/Andrew Brownbill

It’s hard for voters to trust leaders who won’t promise true integrity

The Accountability Round Table (ART), a non-partisan organisation, wrote to the three major political parties two months ago seeking their position on three important arms of Victoria’s integrity system…
A grand jury decision not to indict a police officer over the shooting death of Michael Brown has sparked protests and questions over the system’s efficacy. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Only in America: why Australia is right not to have grand juries

The idea of the grand jury is already familiar to many Australians through American television legal drama. But its profile just skyrocketed with a grand jury deciding not to indict policeman Darren Wilson…
The BBC, like the ABC, has faced significant pressure to change in response to repeated debates over how it should be funded. EPA/Andy Rain

It’s open season on public broadcasters as ABC joins hunt for cuts

2014 is turning into a grim year for public broadcasting. In June, Hubert Lacroix, the president of Canada’s public broadcaster CBC, announced an unprecedented series of job cuts. One-quarter of the staff…
The Security Council votes unanimously for Resolution 2185, the first ever devoted to UN policing as an integral part of the mandates of peacekeeping operations and political missions. UN Photo/Yubi Hoffmann

Credit to Australia as Security Council makes UN policing a priority

As UN Security Council president for November, Australia’s major initiative was to promote the centrality of civilian policing in UN peace operations. Noting Australia’s experiences with police peacekeeping…
The wealthy can ensure their voices are heard via advertising, publicists or lobbyists, by owning media outlets or even by setting up their own political parties. AAP/Julian Smith

If democracy is to give everyone a say, equality isn’t an optional extra

To have a healthy democracy, it is not enough to hold regular elections, or for every person to get one – and only one – vote. At the heart of democracy is the idea that by voting for a particular party…
What seats will decide the political fortunes of Daniel Andrews and Denis Napthine at the ballot box this weekend? AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Explainer: five key seats to watch in the Victorian election

The Victorian election is just days away and the campaigning is reaching a final crescendo. Both the Labor and Liberal parties are saturating the local airwaves with advertisements. All of the polls point…
How prevalent is the use of lethal force by police in Australia, and is a disturbing trend developing in Queensland? AAP/Dave Hunt

Shoot to kill: the use of lethal force by police in Australia

Over the weekend, Queensland police shot and killed a 51-year-old man who was allegedly armed with a knife. On Monday night, another man was shot and killed on the Gold Coast. It was the sixth Queensland…
ABC boss Mark Scott is strengthening the broadcaster’s digital offerings in response to budget cuts – a template established by the BBC. AAP/Alan Porritt

Is this the beginning of the end of the ABC as we know it?

While Australia’s elected representatives argue over what then-opposition leader Tony Abbott meant when he promised “no cuts to the ABC, or SBS” the night before the last election, directly to the electorate…
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…