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The young aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, sketch by an unknown artist. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

Why we should still be reading Democracy in America

To mark Independence Day, an Australian perspective on why - 180 years on - Alexis de Tocqueville's classic political text is a must-read.
An historian reading the government White Paper on developing northern Australia will realise we’re actually heading all the way back to the 1890s. andrew matthews/Flickr

Northern development plan shows Australia’s fraught vision of our tropics

The federal government's recent White Paper on developing northern Australia has disturbing echoes of the 1890s, a time when unbridled capitalism and indentured labour developed the North.
Joe Hockey’s successful defamation case against Fairfax Media raises questions about the extent to which politicians should be able to sue in relation to publications about their public conduct. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Hockey v Fairfax should start the debate on defamation law reform

Hockey v Fairfax illustrates that recent legal and technological developments still pose challenges for defamation law, which has not been reformed to keep pace with these changes.
For 20 years archaeologists from the university have been working in Cyprus. University of Sydney Paphos excavation project.

Digging deeper holes: 20 years as an archaeologist in Cyprus

One of the by-products of field projects working in the same area over a prolonged period of time is the realisation that the team makes an enduring contribution to the local community.
Karen Nettleton, whose daughter and grandchildren are currently in Syria, has a made a public plea for her family to be allowed to return to Australia. ABCTV

Even Khaled Sharrouf’s family has the right to come home

Whatever we think of the family of foreign fighter Khaled Sharrouf or their circumstances, they enjoy the right to return on the same footing as every other Australian citizen.

The European Madhouse

Last week’s visit to Berlin, peppered by many intensely interesting conversations, convinced me of one thing: Europe is beginning to resemble a political madhouse. Jan Zielonka’s brief but brilliant Is…
The government’s bill introduces three means for revoking a dual national’s Australian citizenship under amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Who exactly makes the call on conduct that revokes citizenship? New bill doesn’t say

Should the bill be enacted in its current form, Australian citizenship will be able to be stripped from dual nationals by bureaucratic determination for conduct that is defined with reference to the criminal law.
Housing has become just another investment asset - but the consequences are unsettling. AAP/NewZulu/Peter Boyle

Tackling housing unaffordability: a 10-point national plan

The widening cracks in Australia’s housing system can no longer be concealed. Seven leading Australian academics say this 10 point plan can help fix housing affordability.

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