Articles on Democracy

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Occupy Central Roadblock in Mong Kok. Wing1990hk, via Wikimedia Commons

Boundaries of illegality blur as Hong Kong protests rumble on

We often think of the distinction between legal and illegal as a matter of black and white – but with its universal suffrage movement still underway, Hong Kong is dealing with a much more complicated reality…
Thailand’s military coup in May is a sign of political malaise without an obvious cure in the absence of a new social contract. EPA/Pongmanat Tasiri

Asian states in crisis can choose more democracy or more conflict

Rather than a new dawn for democracy, political and social reform in the region has led to less representation and more contestation. This has potentially far-reaching consequences. What does the May coup…
Senator John Faulkner’s call for political parties to re-engage with Australians through social media is laudable, but his own efforts illustrate how much politicians have to learn. Facebook/John Faulkner

Politics as usual? Ailing parties fail to get to grips with social media

After his speech about party renewal last week, I went to Labor Senator John Faulkner’s Facebook page. It has about 2700 likes. The page features links to speeches and pictures of events that Faulkner…
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…
Treasurer Joe Hockey and his Coalition colleagues continue to demand that their opponents ‘respect the mandate of the new government and the will of the people and vote with the government’. AAP/Gary Schafer

The ‘will of the people’? It’s the bastardisation of democracy

The Abbott government, when faced with opposition over the past year, has commonly resorted to two lifeline statements. The first is that it’s carrying out the “will of the people”. And the second is that…
School is the place where questioning the status quo should take place - but not in a high-stakes test. AAP

Testing democracy: NAPLAN produces culture of compliance

There has been widespread and well-justified critique of the NAPLAN tests in Australian schools. Concerns have focused on the ways the testing severely narrows the school curriculum, compounds disadvantage…
Leading the way. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Erdoğan wins presidential vote after dominating Turkish media

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has swept to a landslide victory in the country’s first direct presidential election. His win follows three terms as the country’s prime minister and he has…
Erdoğan, İhsanoğlu and Demirtaş contend for the Turkish presidency. How Hwee Young/EPA, EPA/STR, EPA/Sedat Suna

What you need to know about Turkey’s presidential elections

Turkey awaits a fateful election on August 10. The electorate will be heading back to the polls to elect, for the first time in the country’s Republican history, the president by popular vote. If no candidate…
Referring long-term issues to ‘depoliticised’ processes such as commissions of audit does not solve the challenges of political management for governments. AAP/Lukas Coch

To revive long-term democratic thinking we have to innovate

The 2014 federal budget was informed by the need to think long term and was accompanied by austerity rhetoric. Regardless of where you stand on the merit of austerity policy in affecting economic recovery…
Football’s growth, while based on the game’s intrinsic nature, is also indebted to the World Cup. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

In a globalised world, the football World Cup is a force for good

FIFA, world football’s governing body, is not a perfect multinational corporation. It would be quite naïve to envisage that the World Cup should have the capacity to bring world peace, fix global inequality…

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