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NSW premier Barry O'Farrell has fallen victim to the state’s ICAC, resigning his post earlier today over a ‘memory fail’ in the evidence he gave before it. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

History repeats: how O'Farrell and Greiner fell foul of ICAC

Today, the New South Wales Independent Commission into Corruption (ICAC), claimed its biggest political scalp in two decades. Liberal state premier Barry O’Farrell resigned after what he has described…
IWhile the murders of Sophie Collombet and others have given prominence to the issue of violence against tourists, it is still statistically rare for a international visitor to Australia to become a murder victim. AAP/Dan Peled

Murder down under: is Australia a dangerous place to visit?

The murder of French student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane in late March has sparked a debate about the safety of travellers in Australia. A man has now been arrested and charged with Collombet’s rape and…
With Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi ahead in the polls, what does this mean for India’s neighbours, including Australia? EPA

India will shape the Asian Century, but sees few votes in foreign policy

Voting in the world’s largest democracy is under way. Indians, an electorate of over 800 million, are casting ballots for their direct representatives to the Lok Sabha (lower house), which completes its…
British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has embarked on sweeping internal reform of his party. Should his Australian counterpart Bill Shorten follow suit? EPA/Andy Rain

Whither the unions? What Shorten can learn from UK Labour

In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects…
Clive Palmer was criticised by Tony Abbott for ‘trying to buy seats’ in federal parliament through a huge advertising spend at the recent WA Senate election. AAP/Dave Hunt

The WA Senate election and the rise of money in Australian politics

The issue of political party spending featured prominently during the Western Australian Senate re-election in a manner that we are rarely, if at all, accustomed to in Australian politics. This time, it…
The comments from right-wing Zionist organisations in response to claims by Bob Carr that they exercise undue political influence actually tell us a great deal about their lobbying work. EPA/Abir Sultan

Broadening the context of Australia’s ‘Zionist lobby’

Former foreign minister Bob Carr’s recently released memoir, Diary of a Foreign Minister, discussed in-depth the influence of Melbourne branches of the so-called “Zionist lobby” over policymaking. Late…
Labor senator John Faulkner is one leading voice to call for reform of the party in response to recent poor electoral performances. AAP/Alan Porritt

Careful what you wish for: the pitfalls of internal party reform

In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects…
Seven years after then prime minister John Howard called on states to look beyond their borders and manage the Murray-Darling Basin’s water as a national asset, progress remains painfully slow. AAP/Gavin Lower

Murray-Darling Basin plan gets off to a very slow and shaky start

A year after the Murray-Darling Basin Plan came into force, New South Wales and Queensland finally signed the intergovernmental implementation agreement at the end of February. The Australian, South Australian…
It is the role of academic researchers to challenge the relationships between government and corporations that allows society to be damaged – such as in the recent Hazlewood mine fire. AAP

Critical scholarship in a hostile climate: academics and the public

Corporations are involved in every area of our lives. In our education, health, welfare and criminal justice systems, they are ever-present. So obvious is this “fact” of life that it is often only in moments…
Bob Carr ‘obviously revelled being back in the middle of the action’ in his 18 months as foreign minister, says former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans. AAP/Alan Porritt

Gareth Evans: ‘Bob learned early self-deprecation is for dummies’

Bob Carr took on the job of Australian foreign minister believing, as he doesn’t hesitate to tell us in his Diary of a Foreign Minister, that it was highly unlikely that he would be there for very long…
Labor is bleeding votes both to the right and to the left. Is this because of its struggle to ‘brand’ itself in today’s political landscape? AAP/Daniel Munoz

Dysfunctional brand at the core of Labor’s current crisis

In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects…
Signing a Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan was the highlight of Tony Abbott’s whirlwind northeast Asia trip, which also took in China and South Korea. EPA/Kimmasa Mayama

Abbott’s Asia trip comes off – for now

Prime minister Tony Abbott’s diplomatic and trade mission to northeast Asia can be hailed as a success. Overall, it met its main objectives. The trip has strengthened the already deepening relationship…
Joko Widodo is seen as the most committed to human rights of Indonesia’s potential leaders, but it’s not a big issue in coming legislative and presidential elections. EPA/Mast Irham

Half a century on, victims' voices haunt a democratic Indonesia

The Indonesian army and civilian vigilantes killed at least half a million people between 1965 and 1968. Hundreds of thousands more were imprisoned without trial for long periods. Some were sent to remote…
Bob Carr, pictured at the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, has set off a debate with his criticism of the pro-Israel lobby’s influence. EPA/Abir Sultan

Pro-Israel lobby stronger than it admits, weaker than Carr claims

Former foreign minister Bob Carr’s stunning claims about the pro-Israel lobby influence raise timely questions about its advocacy in Australian politics. What is the lobby Carr refers to? And how significant…
George Brandis wants to protect the ‘right to be a bigot’ in the name of free speech. But the government may seek to remove such a right in relation to corporations. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

In the government’s hierarchy of values, is free speech at the top?

The federal government has indicated that it is considering repealing an exemption in the Competition and Consumer Act that provides for boycotts of companies on environmental grounds. The government is…
We should continue to agitate for fairer, cheaper and more just legal systems, after a Productivity Commission draft report noted the difficulties for many in accessing justice. AAP/Dave Hunt

‘Slow, expensive, complicated’ legal system must be improved

Half of all Australians will experience a legal problem this year. Most won’t get legal assistance or come into contact with our courts or other legal institutions. In part, this is because Australia’s…
The peace agreement between the MILF insurgency and the Philippines government is a significant achievement, but challenges do lie ahead for all parties. EPA/Ritchie B. Tongo

Peace in the Philippines, but what next for the MILF?

Late last month, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) insurgency and the Philippines government signed a landmark peace settlement, signalling the end of a decades-old conflict. After 17 years of on-and-off…
Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ is couched in the opaque language of the Communist Party, leaving China watchers guessing at exactly what it all means. EPA/Diego Azubel

Party insider offers rare insight into what China’s reforms mean

“If you want to know the future of the world,” Yu Keping says, pouring green tea into a big red mug, “please understand China.” He pauses. “But if you want to know China, please understand the Chinese…
Achieving a free trade agreement with China would be a major achievement for the Abbott government given the obstacles currently in the way. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Japan and free trade create twin challenges for Abbott in China

Despite the misgivings of the sceptics, prime minister Tony Abbott’s high-profile, potentially high-risk trade mission to northeast Asia could be a triumph. The free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan is…
Labor Party reform is vital, but this time around it needs to be more substantial and far-reaching than previously to secure the party’s long-term future. AAP/Daniel Munoz

The Australian Labor Party and the pitfalls of the politics of avoidance

In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects…
Tony Abbott will ink a free trade agreement with South Korea on his upcoming visit there as bilateral ties between the two nations continue to expand. AAP/Alan Porritt

Meeting in the middle: Australia and Korea in the Asia-Pacific

Australia and South Korea are separated by geography, history and culture, but have much in common. They are democracies; their economies are open to the world; and they are allies of the United States…