Sections

Services

Information

AU Australia

Politics + Society — Analysis and Comment

A Hamas flag flies over a destroyed neighbourhood in Gaza, where Israel’s military assault revived support for the struggling Islamic movement. EPA/Mohammed Saber

Why the Hamas charter isn’t a key obstacle to peace with Israel

As the dust settles in a bloodied Gaza, after what one US official described as not so much another military exercise in “mowing the lawn” as “removing the topsoil”, Palestinians greeted the ceasefire…
When Joe Hockey argues against dole-bludgers is he talking about individuals - or the entire welfare state? Alan Porritt/AAP

Bludgers and battlers are back as Hockey takes aim at welfare state

Bludgers are back, and with them their traditional sparring partners, the battlers. The welfare changes in the Abbott government’s first budget have created fierce debate. On the side of the government…
Symbols such as the monument of the slain Indonesian generals continue to propagate Suharto’s version of events to today’s Indonesian youth. Chez Julius Livre 1/Flickr

Breaking the silence around the 1965 Indonesian genocide

Next year it will be 50 years since a group of middle-ranking army officers abducted the top brass of the Indonesian army. They had planned to bring them before President Sukarno, as they had heard rumours…
Refugees may find a welcome in rural and regional Australia if resettlement helps ease labour and skill shortages. AAP

Regional Australia can be a carrot or stick in the new refugee policy

Accompanying the reintroduction of Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) in Australia last week was a new type of immigration visa, the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV). What is significant about the SHEV…
Has testing prospective citizens on Australian values increased social cohesion? Glenn Hunt/AAP

Is the Australian citizenship test failing ‘Team Australia’?

Today, October 1, the Australian citizenship test turns seven. This is the official test that determines if a migrant can become an Australian citizen. It is a good time to evaluate its performance. The…
Investigations of the death and destruction wrought upon Gaza’s civilian neighbourhoods must be independent of the warring Israeli and Palestinian forces. EPA/Mohammed Saber

The Gaza bloodshed demands a proper process of accountability

With the August 26 ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian forces holding, both sides have resumed their relentless pursuit of political advantage. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, Palestine…
Air strikes in Syria are the latest phase of the war against Islamic State, each stage involving a fresh set of moral judgements. EPA/US Air Force

Moral dilemmas of war against Islamic State lack easy answers

Every generation in recent memory has had seminal historical conflicts which demand that lessons must be learnt. The baby boomers had the Vietnam war. Their parents: the second world war. And our generation…
Cases involving mental health are mostly heard in Victoria’s Supreme Court. They are complex, costly - and rare. Smith, Johnson/ Wikimedia Commons

‘Crazed killer’ headlines defy facts of crime and mental impairment

Few things cause more public alarm than the notion of the “crazed killer” walking our streets. A common figure in newspaper headlines and current affairs shows, he (occasionally she) is often accompanied…
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng toast the resettlement deal, which has alarmed refugee advocates. EPA/Mak Remissa

Explainer: Does Cambodia refugee deal comply with the convention?

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Australia and Cambodia raises important questions about Australia’s international legal obligations, the nature of regional refugee protection and resettlement…
News of Hong Kong’s umbrella uprising is being suppressed in China. EPA/Alex Hofford

The Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong: a second Tiananmen?

Are political developments in Hong Kong heading for a second Tiananmen massacre? A fortnight ago, partly to provoke discussion, partly to sound an alarm, I suggested in a radio interview that unless the…
The public image presented of Muslims as a religious minority is no more typical of the modern reality than are the minority of Australians who regularly attend church. AAP/Jane Dempster

Cultural Muslims, like cultural Christians, are a silent majority

The “cultural Muslim” refers to members of the Muslim community who are non-practising but retain an attachment to elements of Islamic culture. The history of the Muslim world entails the story of numerous…
Communities everywhere are feeling more vulnerable and the planet is suffering stresses too. Shutterstock/Nejron Photo

Is a vulnerable world teetering on the edge of a new Dark Age?

We appear to have reached one of those extraordinary moments in history when people everywhere, communities and even entire nations, feel increasingly stressed and vulnerable. The same may be said of the…
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews believes couples counselling will ultimately save Australia money. Lukas Coch/AAP

Cost of love: will subsidising couples counselling actually work?

Social services minister Kevin Andrews claims his A$20 million Stronger Relationships Trial will save the government money in the long run by reducing family breakdown. But will it work? The trial, which…
When Immigration Minister Scott Morrison talks of restoring integrity to the program, he isn’t fretting about meeting international legal obligations. AAP/Lukas Coch

Abandon all hope the doubly persecuted people who enter by boat

Whenever an immigration minister states that new laws will “restore integrity” to the immigration program it is clear what they mean is we have new ways of refusing cases and punishing the bad refugees…
Displaced Iraqis have found refuge in the Kurdish capital, Erbil, only to be threatened by advancing Islamic State fighters until international military forces intervened. EPA/Mohamed Messara

Taking on the terrorist threat in Iraq: the view from Kurdistan

To those of us living in Australia, conflict can seem surreal and distant. Yes, we see it on the television, but it is hard to imagine the chaos and horror that accompanies war and conflict. It is not…
Attorney-General George Brandis has introduced laws that cast a blanket of secrecy over the use and potential abuse of sweeping national security powers. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security gags on media force us to trust state will do no wrong

It has been said that the line between good investigative reporting and inappropriate journalistic prying is never clearly drawn. Journalists usually complain long and hard when governments intervene to…
Devolving federal responsibilities for social services may cause inequities among the states. Flickr/Lisa Mayne

National well-being should come before states' rights

The reform of Australia’s federation is under review. In this special series, we ask leading Australian academics to begin a debate on renewing federalism, from tax reform to the broader issues of democracy…
The world has seen what two small atom bombs did to Japan. Today thousands of nuclear weapons threaten us all with catastrophe. Wikimedia/509th Operations Group

A day to demand that the world wake up and avert nuclear doom

Two odd facts. First, the United Nations General Assembly has declared today, September 26, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. You might yawn. Why bother? That’s never…
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has found himself in a better than expected electoral position a year into his leadership. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: In Conversation with Bill Shorten

Bill Shorten will have been a year in his job next month. After its trouncing at the election, Labor is in a much better position than many would have expected, leading on a two party basis in the polls…
When a mosque is spray-painted with the word ‘Evil’ following last week’s raids, it’s a sign the community is getting the wrong message from the anti-terrorism campaign. AAP/Matt Jacob

Responsible rhetoric is a crucial part of the anti-terror armoury

While Australia has rightly joined the international fight to bring down Islamic State (IS) terrorists, at home its anti-terror campaign is fuelling more problems. For example, following high-profile anti-terror…
A review of federalism and taxation should begin with recognising the value of what we have created as a nation. Flickr/Ross Thomson

Why we should consider ourselves a nation first, a federation second

The reform of Australia’s federation is under review. So far in our special series, leading Australian academics have discussed the future of the federation when it comes to taxation, education and health…
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and actor Emma Watson launched the HeForShe Campaign at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 20 September. EPA/JASON SZENES

126,000 reasons why the Emma Watson hoax isn’t all bad news

In less than a week since actor Emma Watson’s stirring United Nations speech on gender inequality, two big things have happened – but you’ve probably only heard about one of them. The first, which has…