Politics + Society — Analysis and Comment

These Rohingya women and children, rescued by fishermen in Aceh, are among thousands in need of resettlement. EPA

Australia can do better on Asian boat crisis than ‘nope, nope, nope’

A summit in Bangkok is discussing the fate of thousands of people who were stranded at sea. Australia is represented but refuses to resettle any refugees, casting doubt on its commitment to a regional solution.
The Northern Territory’s ‘paperless arrest’ powers are at odds with recommendations by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. AAP/NT Coroner Court

Paperless arrests are a sure-fire trigger for more deaths in custody

Northern Territory police powers to make 'paperless arrests' are completely contrary to recommendations by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and now the inevitable has happened.
A boat carrying 450 people from Myanmar and Bangladesh is inspected by Thai Navy officers in the Andaman Sea. EPA/Royal Thai Navy

Are those fleeing persecution and impoverishment so very different?

The political rhetoric would suggest that asylum seekers are deserving and economic migrants are undeserving. Yet their motivations overlap and are complex – forced migrants do not fit easily into one category.
What possesses a Queensland teenager like Oliver Bridgeman to go to fight in Syria? Online propaganda is not an adequate explanation on its own. Facebook

IS radicalises Western youth via the internet? It’s not that simple

Simplistic views of terrorist recruitment focus on online messages to Western youth. Foreign fighters are coming from many other countries, lured by many means, and we need more sophisticated responses.
Even with bipartisan support, a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition is no certainty to succeed. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

What the record reveals of the chances of Indigenous recognition

A defeat for Indigenous constitutional recognition would be disastrous and demoralising. But history tells us that even worthy proposals with bipartisan support are not assured of success.
While plans to close ‘unsustainable remote communities’ have triggered recent protests, at the heart of the issue is the nature of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. AAP/Richard Iskov

Who decides? A question at the heart of meaningful reconciliation

Decisions being made from on high about the fate of remote Indigenous communities are symptomatic of a continuing imbalance in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The world is recognising that the issue of same-sex marriage is a matter of what state law, not religious doctrine, says, to the extent that Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (right) and Gauthier Destenay recently married. EPA/Julien Warnand

Same-sex marriage should not be a matter for a conscience vote

Marriage equality is about state recognition of the union between two people and is a political issue. Religious belief can apply in a church and in individual decisions, but not to a secular state.
Jubilant scenes from Ireland’s ‘Yes’ cohort after a referendum victory that is echoing around the world. AAP/Aiden Crawley

Irish vote could be a green light for a social revolution worldwide

The impact of Ireland's affirmative vote on marriage equality is getting attention from all around the world. Will the result create a "social revolution" as some are suggesting?
‘Millions of children in overseas orphanages … would dearly love to have parents’, claims Tony Abbott, and his government is making intercountry adoption easier. Screenshot/Intercountry Adoption Australia

Your child is missing. Would you want their adoption to be easier?

Most of the world's 'orphans' are not orphans at all and many are caught up in a global trade in meeting demand for adoption. Making intercountry adoption easier adds to the risks for these children.
Tony Abbott opens the campaign office for Liberal candidate Ken Wyatt in 2010. Now he and all incumbent MPs enjoy a $300,000 advantage over their challengers at the next election. AAP/Dean Lewins

Budget’s $45m slush fund for MPs is an unethical use of public money

'Better Communities' funding is supposedly non-partisan: every electorate gets $300,000 for local projects. But only incumbent MPs have a say in this spending and 60% of them are government members.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha shows little sign of listening to growing public opposition to his military junta’s authoritarian rule. EPA

A year on, coup leaders rule with disdain for Thais and democracy

A year ago, a military coup toppled Thailand's elected government. The junta promised elections once a new constitution is adopted, but its authoritarian rule betrays a hostility to real democracy.
Transfield Services Chief Executive Operations Kate Munnings during the Senate inquiry into recent allegations relating to conditions and circumstances at the regional processing centre in Nauru. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Grattan on Friday: Nauru detention centre needs its own Ombudsman

Australian taxpayers are providing Transfield Services with $1.2 billion over 20 months to operate the detention facility on Nauru.
Yes or No to equal marriage rights? Irish voters will have their say on Friday May 22, with the result due on Saturday. EPA/Aidan Crawley

Why Ireland’s marriage referendum could go right down to the wire

While Ireland's pro-marriage equality campaign is leading in the polls, the gap has narrowed ahead of Friday's vote. And history shows that Irish referendums can be far closer than the polls predict.
Journalists should spend less time tuning into the news and more time following their instincts. Random House

Nick Davies, a journalist who investigated his own

When journalists justify what they do, they invariably say: “We hold governments to account. We act in the public interest.” It justifies the most noble investigative journalism. It is a sacred catechism…
A Syrian boy sits on the rubble of a demolished house. Many ordinary Syrians just want peace – though not necessarily if that means appeasing their nation’s ruthless leader. AAP Image/ Care Australia/ Alain Lapierre

Western leaders must heed Syrian concerns before appeasing Assad

While many insist that the West should appease Syria's Assad regime, this ignores the wishes of many ordinary Syrians – who are the key to defeating Islamic State and other extremists in Syria.
A Chinese government image of soldiers on one of the built-up Spratly islands. mod.gov.cn

Exposing US hypocrisy on South China Sea island reclamation

The US is considering using warships and helicopters to pressure China into scaling back construction in the Spratly islands. But why is there one rule for China, and another for other nations?
Much to talk about: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chat during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. EPA/Kenzaburo Fukuhara

India and China move closer as Modi tours ‘Act East’ policy

India wants closer engagement with its neighbours as it aspires to become a global manufacturing hub. Narendra Modi's visits to China, Mongolia and South Korea are all about promoting this agenda.
President Barack Obama and his inner circle follow the assassination of Osama bin Laden, which made headlines worldwide but is seemingly unimportant four years on. EPA/Pete Souza/White House handout

Osamacide, ‘justice’ and the deadly legacy of Bin Laden

Memories of the killing of Osama bin Laden are fading, but the legacies of al-Qaeda and the war on terror's many 'own goals' haunt us in the form of multiplying threats and lost civil liberties.