Another Plebiscite? No Thanks

30/07/2019

Pauline Hanson has made headlines – again – for saying something controversial and obviously not grounded in reality. She put forward, in the Senate, to have a national plebiscite on the number of immigrants coming into the country, asking people whether or not they believed the current number was too high or not. She was soundly defeated when it went to a vote, but of course it’s now made the rounds through the media – the idea is there.

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Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs: A Reflection

29/07/2019

Despite having two other books to read for university and a topic to read up on for an upcoming internship role, I impulsively bought Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs and read it within a few days because bookshops are a (wonderful) trap. I am glad I did get it, though, because while my knowledge of international and Australian law is passable (read as: probably not great, but most people I know, in the nicest terms, don’t have a clue so I appear intelligent), there is always more to learn, a fact to add to your arsenal. When the topic is humanitarian issues, the outcome literally means life and death.

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Not to Say, “I Told You So”, But…

28/07/2019

… I told you so. It’s beyond the realm of predictive speculation – what the current government has done, or been tangled up in, has been blatantly obvious since the beginning. If people paid any attention or read into policies and the like, maybe they wouldn’t be so dismayed and shocked when certain stories break in the media. Although granted, the media is half to blame for most of this ignorance. There are countless examples that could be used, but here are four (mostly from this month).

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Consumerism Vs Participation in Politics: The Silent Majority Exists

20/07/2019

For an upcoming university unit, I have two books as prescribed core reading: An Introduction to Political Communication by Brian McNair, and Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage by Stephen Cushion and Richard Thomas. While I have, I’d say, a reasonable knowledge and understanding (as well as some strong opinions) on those topics – I have, obviously, written (much less professionally) on them myself – it’s always enlightening to read more about the things you think you know. Even if many of the conclusions match previous ones, the difference each time is perspective.

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Quick Quips: What’ll We Lose First, Money or Sanity?

15/07/2019

  • As if anyone cared what her opinion was, Pauline Hanson has pitched in on the Uluru climbing debate. She doesn’t see the ‘cultural sensitivity’ seeing as people ‘have been climbing’ it for years. Reality check – yes, it has been a culturally sensitive issue all those years too, but finally Indigenous voices are being listened to. Just don’t climb Uluru – it’s that simple.
  • Can the media please stop asking Hanson what she thinks?
  • For Australians talking about ‘raiding Area 51’, we have a perfectly good US intelligence base near Alice Springs that could do with some dismantling.

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Democracy for Sale: Donations

14/07/2019

It is the unfortunate truth that nowhere in the world has democracy been properly and fully implemented, and that under the current system it is unlikely that it ever will. Even in the apparent birthplace of democracy – Ancient Greece – participation was limited to very strict demographics. Today in Australia, while things have improved on the participation front – although some demographics, such as prisoners, are unable to vote, and the debate about dropping the voting age to 16 continues – true democracy eludes us. As it turns out, you can just buy it.

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Australia Could Learn from Costa Rica

08/07/2019

When I think of Latin America, the first thing that comes to mind is the political turmoil infecting most of the continent. That’s a large step away from many of the people I know who would say they’ve never heard of Nicaragua, or my brothers who know Peru because they’re big fans of llamas. But it’s the small country between Nicaragua and Panama, surprisingly devoid of most of their neighbours’ strife, that all of us could learn a few things from – Costa Rica.

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The Right to Protest: Adani

07/07/2019

Along with the recent string of protests against the Adani coalmine in Brisbane, there has been a call from a number of people – generally supporters of the mine – saying that protesters should be locked up, fined, or punished in some way. That sort of rhetoric should alarm you for a few reasons, not least because Queensland has been there before.

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Quick Quips: I’ll Drink to That

03/07/2019

“If you voted Greens then get out of the house!” Thankfully, I didn’t get drunk that night, otherwise there may have been quite the political hurricane amid the reserved celebrations of the evening. Head down, amiable but fake smile, avoiding the gaze of my chuckling friend as the older man praised “ol’ Trumpy”. Some whiskey and a nod later, crisis was averted – a friend’s birthday saved. I’ll drink to that.

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Island Off the Coast of Asia: A Reflection

19/06/2019

I owe a few of the pieces in the last couple of weeks to this brilliant book, but how important it is cannot be overstated. In an almost Chomsky-like way, Clinton Fernandes offers a refreshing (if somewhat surprising and disheartening) look at Australia’s role in the world. Without the filters of government and media spin and omission, it is incredibly insightful.

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