Politics + Society – Analysis and Comment

Why me? Bronwyn Bishop’s ‘Choppergate’ scandal has taken off for two reasons: it created an image in the public mind and it feeds into an underlying perception. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Why, among so many issues, Bronwyn Bishop’s helicopter trip gets our attention

To last a long time, issues need to provide a vivid image. The image of a woman dressed up to the nines with a bouffant hairdo riding in a helicopter is a very vivid one.
Saudi Arabia has been careful not to appear overly oppressive of groups like Islamic State for fear of antagonising its own constituents. Reuters

What’s behind Saudi Arabia’s connection to Islamic State?

Saudi citizens supporting Islamic State are not the result of a coherent plan directed by its rulers, but the overflow of a long-standing system used to maintain its domestic legitimacy.
‘Goddesses of Democracy’ in the 21st century: Thomas Marsh sculpted a replica (left) in Washington DC of the statue destroyed in Tiananmen Square in 1989; on the 21st anniversary of the massacre, Hong Kong students erected a statue on campus (centre) after police had seized a plastic replica. Flickr/DB King; Flickr/Ryanne Lai; Flickr/Ryanne Lai

Democracy needs heroes to champion the cause

Democracy – despite being considered by many as the only legitimate form of government – has no laureates to call its own.
Bill Shorten took on some members of his party at Labor’s national conference on contentious policy issues – and won. AAP/David Crosling

National conference subdued about Labor revival as Shorten gets his way

The Labor Party’s future depends on its ability to steer its vision for a more progressive Australia through the twin obstacles of public suspicion and the still-powerful party oligarchies.
The ALP’s national conference, held in Melbourne over the weekend, was Bill Shorten’s first as Labor leader. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

ALP national conference: experts respond

The Conversation’s experts respond to the ALP national conference on matters of asylum seekers, health, education, party reform and more.
Labor leader Bill Shorten addresses delegates during the final day of the ALP national conference. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Labor conference leaves Shorten stronger

Bill Shorten has emerged from the ALP's national conference looking more like an alternative prime minister than he did before.
Drawing inspiration from Buen Vivir, this mural is by the famous Brigada Ramona Parra, a political street art collective in Chile. Alternautus

Buen Vivir: South America’s rethinking of the future we want

Buen Vivir is a concept and practice influencing politics and communities across South America. It involves a radically different way of thinking about collective wellbeing and sustainable living.
Reclaim Australia is attracting a broad assortment of supporters based on a loosely defined platform of anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and economic protectionist sentiment. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Reclaim Australia re-energises radical nationalism

Reclaim Australia is not the first radical nationalist movement to emerge in Australia, and it has applied the lessons of past groups' mistakes to attract a broader range of people to its rallies.
Older Australians, women and people with disabilities are at high risk of being excluded from society by poverty and disadvantage. from www.shutterstock.com

Who’s on the outer? Uncovering poverty’s many faces

Measures of household wealth don't go far enough in identifying those most at risk of being excluded from society, or in explaining the level of exclusion they face.
Expenses scandals like Bronwyn Bishop’s can have a devastating effect on parliament and on trust in the political system. AAP/Lukas Coch

Can Bronwyn Bishop learn anything from the UK expenses scandal?

During the UK's parliamentary expenses scandal, many questioned the system as – just like Bronwyn Bishop in Australia now – they felt that they had acted within the rules that existed at the time.
An issue to emerge from the royal commission hearings is the inadequacy of existing law for dealing with institutions whose negligence made child sexual abuse possible. AAP/Royal Commission

When institutions let child sexual abuse happen, that should be a crime

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published a research paper that suggests organisations be held criminally responsible when their negligence results in harm to children.
Ben Oquist, former chief of staff to Greens leaders Bob Brown and Christine Milne, says Tony Abbott risks being on the ‘wrong side of history’ at the 2015 Paris climate summit. Penny Bradfield/AAP

Politics podcast: Ben Oquist on the direction of the Greens and the Senate crossbench

Ben Oquist on the direction of the Greens and the Senate crossbench.
Ben Oquist, Executive Director of the Australia Institute, talks to Michelle Grattan about the current direction of the Greens, the Senate crossbench, climate change, and much more.