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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Healthcare Is A Right – Private Insurers Need to Back Off

24/07/2019

Yesterday, NIB boss (Mark Fitzgibbon) said that the government should scrap Medicare. Not a surprising call from the head of a private health insurance company, and one that has been slowly in the works for the last few years anyway. But such a blatant attack on our public healthcare system is exactly why we should not be abolishing it.

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How Is FaceApp Different to US Apps?

19/07/2019

Because it’s Russian. If this were a YouTube video I’d jokingly say ‘bye’ and put the outro music on. The app’s popularity has blown up in the last week due to its new aging filter, with almost 13 million new users this month alone. But while so many have fallen right into it, others have picked up on privacy concerns – because, shock horror, what if a government could access that data?

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“Deeply Concerned” Hypocrites

15/07/2019

Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Marise Payne, added Canberra’s voice to a letter to the UN regarding China’s human rights record in Xinjiang. For a few years now, attention has been brought to the over 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim groups being held in what have been described as detention centres by human rights bodies and ‘re-education centres’ by the Chinese government. Payne’s signing of the letter might’ve been worth looking favourably on, if Australia didn’t have its own detention centres.

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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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Freedom of Speech in the Workplace

13/07/2019

I’ve spoken about free speech a few times on this site, but almost always in a general sense. Noam Chomsky, to paraphrase, says that if you don’t believe in freedom of speech for views you disagree with then you don’t believe in it at all – no matter how opposite or offensive said views might be. Consequence is another thing entirely, and the workplace is an interesting – and rather dangerous – side of this.

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Harris, Biden, and Israel

09/07/2019

Biden is clearly the corporate and ‘normal’ choice for the Democratic nomination in the US, but there has also been much focus on Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Specifically, Harris attacked Biden regarding his close ties with segregationists and his record on busing. She appears to be gaining momentum in the debates and national conversation, but there is a touch of hypocrisy behind the campaign.

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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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Silencing Powerful Voices

07/07/2019

When I say “powerful”, I don’t just mean people in positions of actual political power. I mean powerful in the sense that the words of these individuals, or groups of people, have immense weight. Whether it is a single person or a population, many powerful voices are being silenced, and it’s up to the rest of us to ensure they are heard again.

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