Effective leadership requires leading by example, but Australia’s human rights record has drawn increasing criticism at home and abroad.
On Human Rights Day, and with Australia set to take up a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, here’s a must-do list for this country to become a credible advocate for human rights.
In Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro’s character, Travis Bickle, inhabits his own crazy paradigm, yet ultimately events frame him as a hero in the eyes of others too.
As Orwell knew only too well, if the concept of objective truth is moved into the dustbin of history there can be no lies. And if there are no lies there can be no justice, no rights and no wrongs.
RAAF warplanes fly over Syria in Australia’s first airstrikes in that country in September 2015.
The wars in Syria and Iraq are products of secretive decision-making by the executive. Their disastrous consequences are evidence of the need for war powers reform.
PAH activists occupy a bank office in Barcelona in July 2013.
We rarely see residents of a city successfully push back in defence of their needs against the power of finance capital, which seeks to make money from the city. But Barcelona shows it can be done.
A mural in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot several times at close range by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5, 2016.
W. Clarke/Wikipedia Commons
Neither the spurious ‘facts’ about killings of police nor the supposedly ‘colour-blind’ logic of the backlash against Black Lives Matter hold up under scrutiny. Instead, they confirm its point.
South Sea Islanders working in a Townsville cane field in 1907.
Blackbirding is one of many shared Australian histories. Australian South Sea Islanders want to encourage broader community goodwill as we work towards social justice for a forgotten people.
White nationalists at the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017.
White Americans have been in denial about the fact that police go after Black men and other men of colour. But the research and statistics kept by state and federal agencies show this happens.
As a crusader for coal, Tony Abbott is an undisputed champion of the emotional logic of ‘truthiness’.
There are telltale signs when regard for the facts of the matter is sacrificed to ‘truthiness’ to win a political debate.
‘We refuse to appeal to the benevolence of White folk for our lives to matter. We remind them every day that we are still here.’
Despite the promise of Black Lives Matter, it has not been taken up as a central political movement by Indigenous Australians.
‘The call for Black lives to matter is fundamentally a call for peace. And peace must not be confused with the momentary quiet of submission.’
The peace and justice Black Lives Matter seeks require a fundamental transformation of a system that preys on and benefits from Black suffering.
Alternative for Germany (AfD) co-leader Alice Weidel campaigns in front of a banner that reads: ‘Crime by immigration: a flood of refugees leaves its mark!’
Current events show that the old problem of populism is making a comeback, and that populism is indeed an autoimmune disease of our age of monitory democracy.
Unions have loudly challenged the rise of foreign contract workers.
Rebecca Le May/AAP
Workers are getting ABNs and being employed as contractors responsible for their own tax payments. This is undercutting conditions and eroding the most important part of the nation’s tax base.
Is populism a poison or a cure for democracy, or both, depending on the circumstances?
Louis Boilly/Wikipedia Commons
We’re not sure if the cure, the populist outsider, will work and make life better. but we are willing to experiment as the old certainties of representative politics wither.
Foxconn was nominated for the 2011 Public Eye Award, which produced this image as part of its campaign to end labour exploitation.
The first ten years of the iPhone has been a bloody decade of labour abuse, especially in Chinese factories such as those run by Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer.
Why are communities that need government’s help seemingly rejecting it on principle?
Susan E Adams/flickr
Why are we increasingly seeing voters support candidates whose policies are, superficially at least, against their own interests?
Customers don’t expect their banking documents to be found in a gutter on the other side of the country, let alone have the bank blame them.
One bank customer whose identity was stolen asks: ‘Why didn’t they call the fraud squad, or the police?’ It’s a very good question.
So large are the nation’s daily greenhouse gas emissions that if yours is a typical Australian lifestyle you’re contributing disproportionately to climate change.
It would take a lifestyle upheaval to drop most Australians’ household emissions to a sustainable level. Even many of us who urge equitable action on climate change act as if this doesn’t apply to us.
Wayne Swan has drawn a parallel between the the ALP’s ‘Laborism’ and New Labour’s ‘Third Way’ in the UK.
While both parties may have set out to modernise and renew their ideologies, the ALP’s and Labour’s attempts to marry the old and new instead precipitated two separate identity crises.
When Tony Abbott went too far in his advocacy for the coal industry, his government faced a public backlash.
While climate denialism impedes policymaking in both the US and Australia, there are key differences in their political and public cultures.
Voters might be quite rational in refusing to give the green light to those who wield power and benefit from the status quo.
Ambivalence among voters is reason to think about how democracy is working for us as a community. To keep democracy alive we need to be sceptical about the exercise of power and keep it in check.