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Politics + Society — Analysis and Comment

The great Australian success story of Frank Lowy and many others like him would not have happened had Australia not accepted penniless refugees. AAP/Dean Lewins

Australia should not auction off migrant places to highest bidders

The problem with auctioning immigration places is that it puts the focus on short-term revenue-raising, rather than immigration’s more important medium- to long-term nation-building role.
Cuba’s pivot to the US is a signal to the region that its experiment with old-fashioned socialism will come to an end. EPA/Alejandro Ernesto

Latin America at a turning point with thaw in Cuba-US relations

The historic warming of US-Cuban relations offers new opportunity for American entrepreneurs and Cuba's famously well-educated people – but it isn't good news for Latin American socialists.
Power shift: Richard Di Natale’s elevation as the new Greens' leader, replacing Tasmanian Christine Milne, marks the rise of the Victorian Greens. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Greens' leadership shifts from Tasmania to the greenest state

The balance of power in Australian green politics has shifted with the choice of Victorian Senator Richard Di Natale as Greens' leader – and the speed of the change is a lesson for other parties.
Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party has rebounded from the referendum defeat to emerge as the likely third-biggest party and kingmaker in the UK parliament. AAP/Newzulu/Brian Duffy

The Scottish questions linger, forcing a shift in British politics

Last year's independence referendum failed narrowly, but the Scottish electorate has emerged as a force that may well decide who forms the next British government.
Christine Milne with her successor Richard Di Natale after stepping down as the Greens' federal leader. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Milne got results from minority pacts with both sides of politics

Christine Milne has been seen as an ideological politician. But her record of working with minority governments of both stripes showed she could deliver on her agenda from outside the mainstream.
It was a novelty when Conservative leader David Cameron had to enlist Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s support to govern, but Britons may have to get used to minority government. EPA/Andy Rain

What Westminster can learn from minority government in Australia

The UK is poised for another minority government, this time possibly with a hung parliament. Australia's long experience of such arrangements offers lessons in how to manage minority government.
Australia’s appeal to spare reformed Bali duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran failed in the face of Indonesia’s retributive justice system. EPA/MAST IRHAM

Indonesia’s retributive justice was deaf to pleas for reformed Bali duo

In spite of vigorous appeals from Australia for Indonesia to spare the lives of Bali duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, most Indonesians were not persuaded. Chan and Sukumaran were executed last week…
When not employing the description ‘death cult’, Prime Minister Tony Abbott prefers to use the name Da'esh because the group ‘hates being referred to by this term’. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State or Da'esh?

The terrorist group now calls itself Islamic State, but the many names by which it is known reflect both its own evolution and the deliberate choices others make in how they refer to it.
Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszcuk and Attorney General Yvette D'Ath may be missing the bigger picture on the legal defence of provocation. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Queensland still failing to act on a medieval murder defence

The Queensland government wants to abolish the "gay panic defence", but it's yet to act on the bigger legal problem: "provocation", which is also used to defend murders in heterosexual relationships.
Broadcaster Derryn Hinch is a prominent campaigner for US-style sex offender registries, but it is important to be aware of their limitations. AAP/Dan Peled

Sex offender registers don’t mean we can assume children are safe

Western Australia was the first state in the nation to allow public access to a sex offender register online. The public needs to understand how it works to avoid a false sense of security.
In the 1980s, opposition to the death penalty imposed on political prisoners in Indonesia united Indonesians and citizens of countries around the world. from BOONROONG/www.shutterstock.com

Transnational campaign against death penalty in Indonesia began with political prisoners

While recent executions by Indonesia have captured the world's attention, this year is also the 30th anniversary of the execution of political prisoners that first created global concern.
Treasury Secretary John Fraser now has plenty of company in calling for a ‘fundamental rethink’ of retirement income policy. AAP/Lukas Coch

Time to listen to the evidence for a rethink of super tax concessions

Over the last six months a public consensus has emerged among academics, think tanks, community organisations, elements of the superannuation industry and most politicians about superannuation.
Man in the middle: former Labor MP turned independent Billy Gordon (centre) is now one of three crucial cross-bench MPs in the Queensland parliament. Dan Peled/AAP

North Queensland’s powerful trio will shake up the state

Three north Queensland MPs representing just 3% of the state's population will wield huge power in Queensland's parliament when it resumes on Tuesday.
While Microsoft, Google and Apple have had to answer questions in Canberra about whether they meet their tax obligations, their media activities seemingly defy regulation. AAP/Nikki Short

It’s time for Australians to rewind the media policy machine

Current regulations are a complete mismatch for today's media practices and structures. While politicians shy from the debate, it's time to heed public opinion and revisit the Finkelstein Report.
Notions of the ‘right to know’ forced Hillary Clinton to defend her use of a private email account as secretary of state - a far cry from the days when citizens didn’t even know how their representatives voted. EPA/Andrew Gombert

The right to know vs the need for secrecy: the US experience

The idea of the right to know as the 'lifeblood of democracy' is a surprisingly modern development. And in an age when transparency is prized, privacy and secrecy can still be justified in many cases.
The UK general election could go either way. The one certainty is that the numbers of seats won won’t match the votes for each party. AAP/Newzulu/Stephen Chung

UK election prediction: this week’s result won’t reflect the voters' will

This week the "mother of parliaments" faces a general election in the UK. The 'first past the post' electoral system means we can't predict the result with certainty, nor expect it to match the vote.
A soldier votes in last year’s election restoring civilian rule in Fiji, where the media are still struggling to achieve freedom of the press. Pacific Media Centre/Mads Anneberg

Fiji’s media still struggling to regain ‘free and fair’ space

Almost eight months after the much-heralded election to usher Fiji back into democracy mode, the country will mark World Press Freedom Day facing serious questions about its claims to have a free and fair media.
New Zealand citizen Kadhem Chilab Abbas paid with his life by answering Iraq’s call to arms against Islamic State. One News

Death of Kadhem Abbas highlights the dilemmas of migrant life

The death of a New Zealand citizen who returned to Iraq has led some to query his status as a refugee. We need to be clear about what it means to be granted asylum and the rights of citizenship.
Indonesians are sensitive about issues of respect for their nation and its sovereignty, as protests at Tony Abbott’s linking of aid with calls for clemency showed. EPA/Bagus Indahono

Bali Nine response must manage power shift in Indonesian relations

Indonesians have long felt that Australia lacks respect for their nation's sovereignty, but Indonesia's status as a rising power adds to the urgency of recalibrating our approach to the relationship.
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo during the 2014 G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane. AAP/Steve Christo

Grattan on Friday: Australia-Indonesia relationship will never be easy

Since Tony Abbott became prime minister, three issues have strained relations with Indonesia. Before the fracture over the fate of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, there were difficulties from the Coalition's tow-back policy and a major crisis after revelations of Australian spying.
Australian moral philosopher Peter Singer is a strong advocate of effective altruism, and has written a book on the movement called The Most Good You Can Do. Birkbeck Media Services/flickr

Speaking with: Peter Singer on effective altruism

Australians donate around A$2.4 billion to charity each year, but how many lives does that impact? Effective altruism is a social movement focused on maximising the impact of your donated time and money.
Bali Nine member Scott Rush’s father alerted the AFP to his son’s plans in the hope they would stop him from travelling to Indonesia. AAP/Made Nagi

Bali Nine executions give ‘cause to pause’ policing co-operation

The AFP revised the guidelines on international co-operation since alerting Indonesia to the Bali Nine but there is arguably still an imbalance between security and human rights considerations.