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Politics + Society — Analysis and Comment

Real and sustained engagement with Aboriginal people should be the starting point in rethinking Indigenous welfare policy. AAP/Marianna Massey

Income management doesn’t work, so let’s look at what does

In recent years, Tangentyere Council Research Hub has undertaken data collection in Alice Springs town camps as part of a longitudinal study of income management. The final report of around 300 pages was…
A closer analysis of ‘generation war’ debates reveals that inequalities within generations remain far more significant than those between them. shutterstock

Generational war: a monster of our own making

The political debate over generational equity, which has been rekindled in the past week, now dominates discussions over wealth, government spending and fiscal sustainability. But a closer look at some…
Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are on death row in Indonesia for drug trafficking offences. EPA/Made Nagi

Why Jokowi ordered the execution of drug traffickers in Indonesia

The Indonesian government plans to execute five convicts on death row before the year ends. Three have been convicted for drug-related crimes. According to The Guardian, the five condemned to death this…
Man Haron Monis, the perpetrator of the Sydney hostage siege, appeared to be unaware of basic Islamic theology. AAP/Dean Lewins

Sydney siege shows the rise of a new form of extremism

Man Haron Monis, the sole perpetrator of the Sydney hostage siege, is but one example of the recent development of a new form of Islamic extremist radicalisation. In recent years, Islamic extremism has…
In the age of social media, misinformation travels rapidly around the globe. AAP

How rumours about the Sydney siege spread on social media

It has become one of the hallmarks of the news now. Whenever there is a dramatic event, social media instantly comes alive with comment and conjecture as facts vie for attention with fiction. Alongside…
It is hard to police ‘soft targets’ for violent, lone wolf actors without becoming an overpoliced state. AAP/Dean Lewins

Q&A: what we can learn from the Sydney siege, and what next

Sydney is slowly returning to normal after police brought an end to a 16-hour siege in a Martin Place cafe in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The perpetrator, Man Haron Monis, and two hostages, Katrina…
In an otherwise fraught policy landscape, ‘cheapness’ has been one of the cold hard facts of Indigenous affairs. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Cheap in the deep sense: the sorry business of Indigenous affairs

Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a bold move in September when he ran the country for four days from a tent at Gulkula in far northeast Arnhem Land in remote Australia. While there, he observed that although…
Shinzo Abe’s decisive win at the weekend’s Japanese election has given his LDP a mandate for sweeping reform. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Abe’s early election gambit pays off

As widely expected, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to a landslide victory in the country’s snap election. The LDP holds a 291-seat majority in…
Mick Gooda has urged policymakers to learn from their mistakes and adopt a consultative and inclusive approach to Indigenous policy. AAP/Alan Porritt

‘Work with us not for us’ to end the Indigenous policy chaos

Deep funding cuts and uncertainty about government plans have created one of the largest-scale upheavals in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs. That is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander…
Australia needs look at inclusionary housing policies to boost the number of affordable housing options. AAP/Joel Carrett

Speaking with: Nicole Gurran on affordable housing

Australia’s residential house prices rank among the highest in the world, and an increasing number of aspiring home owners are finding themselves locked out of the property market. While low interest rates…
Senior ministers have had objections about the centralisation and control by Peta Credlin in the prime minister’s office. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: Abbott should ask Credlin what to do about Peta

Julie Bishop and Peta Credlin had one significant parallel experience on the way to government. They both survived three Liberal leaders. Bishop was deputy to Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony…
ASIO and Australia’s other intelligence agencies need strong oversight to avoid the type of behaviour that went unchecked in the US after 9/11. AAP/Alan Porritt

Only in America? Australia needs safeguards against torture too

Earlier this week, the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the CIA’s post-9/11 program of detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists during the Bush administration…
A people’s convention could be the circuit-breaker that constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians needs. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

A people’s convention can make Indigenous recognition a reality

Important steps have been made in 2014 in the campaign to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s Constitution. Prime Minister Tony Abbott affirmed his commitment to hold…
Christopher Pyne argues that the government is on the side of history in reforming higher education, but it is a bad history that he evokes. AAP/Lukas Coch

The big reforms that prevail fuse the best of left and right

After the defeat of the Abbott government’s higher education bills in the Senate, Education Minister Christopher Pyne invoked the legacy of past “reforms” that had been violently contested at the time…
Scott Morrison has repeatedly characterised the Asylum Seeker Code of Behaviour as being necessary to protect the Australian community. AAP/Alan Porritt

Asylum seeker code is a rhetorical tool – with severe consequences

Recently, it was reported that asylum seekers are “staying indoors”, fearful of breaching the Asylum Seeker Code of Behaviour. All unauthorised maritime arrivals (UMAs) who are granted bridging visas are…
A TV ad featuring an Australian woman travelling to Bali and falling for a Balinese man captures Australia’s love affair with Indonesia. EPA/Made Nagi

Look who’s talking: Indonesian in Australia

Recently, Indonesian language has begun to make an appearance in Australian popular media. There is evidence too that, after years of decline, student interest in Indonesian language and studying in Indonesia…
To bolster women’s employment participation as Tony Abbott so desires, better funding for child care would be a good way to go. AAP/Alan Porritt

Abbott should dump, not ‘refine’, his paid parental leave scheme

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed over the weekend that he will use the parliamentary summer break to review his paid parental leave (PPL) scheme, which has so far proven to be a large political liability…
Should Australia’s High Court judges be representative of the community that their rulings affect? Should politics play a part? AAP/Lukas Coch

Appointing Australia’s highest judges deserves proper scrutiny

Late last week, the federal government appointed Geoffrey Nettle, a Victorian Court of Appeal judge, to the High Court to replace retiring justice Susan Crennan. Nettle is an excellent lawyer and his appointment…
Amid clouds of teargas, the Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Man’ defies police attempts to end the protest. Wikimedia Commons/Pasu Au Yeung

Umbrella Man: a unique threat to China or symbol of wider change?

The haunting image of a masked protester defiantly hoisting two black umbrellas amid a cloud of tear gas flickered across global social media platforms in the seconds and minutes after the Umbrella uprising…
Adelaide Oval, Phillip Hughes' most recent state cricket home, will play host to this week’s first Test match between Australia and India. AAP/Michael Ramsey

After Phillip Hughes' death, it’s time for a post-traumatic Test

The first cricket Test match of the Australia summer is usually a happy occasion. Its retro sights of white-flannelled figures and the comforting sound of bat on ball herald the holiday season even for…
The Productivity Commission rightly identified widespread concerns that Australia’s civil justice system is too slow, too expensive and too adversarial. shutterstock

Extra funding for legal assistance services should only be a start

The Productivity Commission raised a few eyebrows when it called for an additional A$200 million for legal assistance services to disadvantaged Australians, who are “more susceptible to, and less equipped…