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The Whitlam government had a reformist vision whose origins lay in the future prime minister’s own wartime experience. AWM

Gough’s war: making a politician, changing a nation

While serving in the RAAF, future prime minister Gough Whitlam led his first political campaign, agitating among his own squadron in support of the 1944 referendum.
Safeguarding rainforests is an area where the United Nations has made great strides - hopefully the Paris summit can deliver more of the same. Sze Ning/Flickr.com/Wikimedia Commons

A global deal that drives good decisions: what success at the Paris summit should look like

In the final part of his essay on the Paris climate talks, Nick Rowley explains how a successful deal, whether binding or not, needs to influence directly the domestic policies of the world's nations.
Hopes for a singular breakthrough at the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks were dashed, but that doesn’t mean the negotiating process isn’t making quiet progress. EPA/Henning Bagger/AAP

The Road to Paris: three myths about international climate talks

Hopes are high that a global climate deal can be reached in Paris this year. In part 1 of a three-part essay on the prospects for such a deal, Nick Rowley sets out three myths about the UN talks that need to be dumped before we go forward.
Given Australia’s involvement in Iraq, Tony Abbott cannot dismiss human rights abuses by Iraqi security forces fighting Islamic State militants. AAP/PMO

Australia has an obligation to stop human rights abuses by Iraq

Australia has a clear obligation under international law to take action to stop abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law by the ISF and Shi’a militia.
Speaking softly… Mike Segar/Reuters

Obama sounds a quiet revolution in foreign policy

President Obama’s publication of his 2015 National Security Strategy on February 6th is the kind of event that generates great heat and discussion among a relatively small group of policymakers, pundits…
Turtles are among the species that could be harmed by dredging, even under the government’s new dredge dumping rules. AAP Image/University of QLD

Six ways Australia is selectively reporting to the UN on the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian government’s latest report on the Great Barrier Reef, submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre last Friday, has been carefully crafted and word-smithed, with many of its claims supported…
The UN at 70 - over the hill or still in its prime? UN

Five challenges for the UN in 2015

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Like all anniversaries, this is an occasion for profound reflection. To put it politely, the list of global challenges that the UN…
UN negotiators will struggle to balance the demands of countries that want binding emissions targets, and those that don’t. EPA/Paolo Aguilar

‘Legally binding’ demands are still the biggest climate dealbreaker

Could the preoccupation with legally binding targets sink the next climate deal in Paris in 2015? In the run-up to this week’s Lima talks, widely seen as a precursor to the Paris summit, the Abbott government…
Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop are bidding to repair the government’s tarnished reputation on climate - but have they pledged enough? AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Australia’s $200 million climate pledge falls short of its true debt

At the United Nations Lima climate summit, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has pledged A$200 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund, which seeks to raise US$100 billion (A$120 billion…
UN troops come close to being above the law. Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive

When UN peacekeepers commit atrocities, someone has to act

Sexual exploitation, child abuse, corruption and torture. These are just some of the many crimes committed by United Nations peacekeepers. Such abuses have the potential to undermine and even delegitimise…

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