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For many, the recent Brazil torture report is only a starting point – but so far it is a strong step in the right direction. EPA/Fernando Bizzera, Jr

Latin America has a few lessons for the US on torture

The world quietly celebrated Human Rights Day (December 10) earlier this month. That week, two big, interrelated human rights events occurred. The first was the well-publicised revelations that America’s…
There are ways for the media to cover stories such as the Sydney siege without committing gross ethical violations. AAP/Joel Carrett

News Corp’s siege coverage built on a ‘take-no-prisoners’ culture

AUST gets wake-call with Sydney terror. Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00 am. Congrats.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) December 15, 2014 In one brutally insensitive tweet, Rupert…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott needs to contain the backbiting and discontent in the higher reaches of his government. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: Being a ‘better government’ will be a big job

After getting a serious bollocking from Ray Hadley on Thursday, Tony Abbott told the Sydney shock jock that he’s determined to be “a better prime minister with a better government and a more effective…
There is tension between the need for governments to be trusted to govern and the public’s right to know. AAP/Mal Fairclough

FOI reform needed in Victoria amid East West Link fallout

The disclosure of the full business case for the East West road link in Melbourne confirmed what many had suspected – the project is a dud. The release also unequivocally shows that the Victorian Freedom…
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…