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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…
Asylum seekers with an existing mental health condition who receive negative outcomes during the application process are particularly vulnerable. Barat Ali Batoor

‘Fast track’ asylum processing risks fairness for efficiency

After much controversy, the Senate passed the Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 late last week. One aspect of the law – the “fast track assessment…
Actor and activist Russell Brand’s solution for what ails us is nothing less than a revolution. EPA/Hannah McKay

Russell Brand: a hero for our times?

Three things about the present era are especially striking. First, problems persist. For those fortunate enough to have grown up in post-war Australia in particular, this is a somewhat surprising reality…
Reform within the Indonesian police have been very slow, with discriminatory ‘virginity testings’ and police torture and brutality still rampant. global-citizen-01.blogspot.com/flickr

Indonesia’s police ‘virginity tests’ fit pattern of flagrant rights abuses

Human Rights Watch reported last week that Indonesian police conducted two-finger “virginity tests” on young female police cadets as part of their recruitment process. Following a public uproar, the Indonesian…
EPA/Michael Reynolds

Hagelian dialectics: Chuck gets the chop

To lose one Secretary of Defense might be considered unfortunate. To have lost three and to be looking for a fourth looks like something more fundamental and systemic. The early departure of Chuck Hagel…
AAP/Lukas Coch

The G20: thanks for noticing

There’s nothing quite like being the centre of attention, even if it costs A$400 million to do so. Now that the curtain has come down on Australia’s moment in the diplomatic spotlight, taxpayers might…
EPA/Kim Kyung-Hoon

China and the new regional order

The region’s diplomats and leaders have been earning their money over the last few weeks. Or they have, at least, if their preferred key performance indicators are meetings attended, photos posed for…

Does multilateralism still matter?

For those of us who believe that international institutions are a good idea in principle, these ought to be quite exciting times. After all, we’re about to host the G20 and there will be an even bigger…
Go with the group on trick or treat this Halloween. Sean Locke Photography

Trick or treating this Halloween? Know your group behaviour

Halloween is upon us tonight and it’s all just a bit of harmless fun, right? Or is there truly a dark side to Halloween? What should we make of kids getting together in groups, wearing costumes that hide…
EPA/Takaki Yajima

No consensus about Beijing’s new bank

China’s decision to establish an Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) may prove to be one of the most important regional initiatives in recent history. At the very least it is yet another revealing…
The Abbott governments rush to sign bilateral trade deals with countries including Japan has meant quality has been sacrificed. Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia’s trade negotiating strategy fundamentally flawed

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
AAP/Dan Peled

Coal, capitalism and intergenerational justice

The ANU’s recent decision to stop investing in companies it judges to have behaved in an unsustainable manner environmentally or even socially has attracted a great deal of attention. The overwhelming…
Who read the fine print? US president George W. Bush signs the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in the White House Rose Garden in August 2004. EPA/Matthew Cavanaugh

A decade on, is the Australia-US FTA fit for the 21st century?

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Reduced access to generics drugs has contributed to the 80% rise in the cost of Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

It’s time to fix the free trade bungle on the cost of medicines

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
The Whitlam government’s legacy continues to be felt today, close to four decades since it lost office. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Gough Whitlam’s life and legacy: experts respond

Gough Whitlam, Labor prime minister from 1972 to 1975, has died aged 98. A giant of modern Australian politics, his passing triggered a flood of tributes on Tuesday morning. In a statement, current Labor…
The G20’s impressive declaratory record on energy cooperation hides serious practical shortcomings. www.shutterstock.com

Global commitment issues on display at the G20

With the Brisbane G20 Leaders Summit only a matter of weeks away, Australia is increasingly succumbing to G20 fever. Rarely does a self-declared middle power such as Australia get to play host to such…
AAP/Alan Porritt

Is Colin Barnett a communist?

Western Australia is an interesting place. No, really! True, lots of students from Asia think Perth’s a bit ‘quiet’, but at least local politics is getting a bit more exciting. Indeed, our state premier…

Standing room only

Demography is destiny. It’s an old idea but it remains as true as ever, despite the fact that it doesn’t get anything like the attention it deserves. It’s not hard to see why: not only is there a crowded…

Xi Jinping: the good emperor?

Xi Jinping is China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xioping. The centralisation of power that has occurred during Xi’s still relatively recent ascendancy is remarkable. Not only is Xi the president and…

Is violence actually declining?

The phrase “some viewers may find images in this report disturbing” has become an unhappy accompaniment of the nightly news. Images of the aftermath of bombings – whether suicidal or carefully calibrated…

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