Banerji and the Threat to Free Speech

14/08/2019

The High Court has ruled that Michaela Banerji’s sacking from the (then) Department of Immigration and Border Protection – Home Affairs sounds much nicer for the PR – was legitimate. This ruling has (to borrow the frequently used phrase from everywhere) rather chilling effects for democracy and free speech, and also has implications for other areas as well.

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YouTube Is A Double-Edged Sword

07/08/2019

The same could be said for any online media, from news articles, to videos, to social media posts. There are outlets and people that are worthwhile taking the time to listen to, be it because they’re factually accurate or have a fresh analysis or opinion on a certain topic. But there are a number of outlets with the sole purpose of propagating lies and inaccuracies, mostly for the sake of profit. Videos, however, are a powerful way to get a message across.

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Unconscious Bias: Why Perspective Matters

04/08/2019

Everyone has some form of unconscious bias, and most of the time it’s not necessarily the fault of the person who was unaware. But many of them are, at times, damaging stereotypes, or can be hurtful or exclusionary (inadvertently or blatantly) towards whichever demographic or group it’s targeted at. Understanding perspectives other than your own – particularly those that are the opposite of your own – is incredibly important.

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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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Revising History the Right Way

23/07/2019

The idea of historical revisionism is something that is brought up a lot, by everyone, for many different reasons. When you hear the phrase ‘rewriting history’, it tends to conjure up murky and Orwellian imagery, a world where fact is replaced with a manufactured conception of the past. To the contrary, I would argue that historical revisionism should be encouraged – so long as it is done correctly.

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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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Language in Journalism

17/07/2019

Language can be used for a myriad of purposes. Whether you wish to try and evoke a particular emotion from a reader/listener, persuade someone of your point of view, or just want to convey information, the language you use can be powerful. This can be done consciously or through habit, but how someone will react to what you say may well depend on the language you use. With this in mind, I turn to the media: how do they use language?

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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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