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Tag Archives: Australia

Politicians’ reluctance on climate change is bizarre – action would not only be right but popular

Australians want environmental action.

As Katharine Murphy explained a few weeks back, “private polling conducted for the environment movement and for the major parties suggests community concern about climate change is currently sitting at levels not seen since the federal election cycle in 2007”.

A survey commissioned by the Australia Institute showed the majority of voters wanted to mobilise on climate “like they mobilised everyone during the world wars”. That result was consistent around Australia, with 57% of Queenslanders and 60% of Victorians agreeing that the country faced an emergency.

The ABC Vote Compass found the environment ranked as the most important issue by 29% of respondents, up from 9% in 2016.

Why, then, aren’t we seeing the parties in a bidding war to address such concerns?

We know that if focus groups returned equivalent anxieties about refugees, the campaign would devolve into a contest to formulate new techniques for border cruelty.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/23/politicians-reluctance-on-climate-change-is-bizarre-action-would-not-only-be-right-but-popular

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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Oceania, Uncategorized

 

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Can’t-do country: how Australia is on the brink of environmental disaster

The great Australian clichés: G’day; fair dinkum; dinki-di; fair go; no worries; good on yer; she’ll be right; mateship; whingeing Poms; the lucky country. Only one of these has been known to cause its progenitor any grief. The late Donald Horne’s book The Lucky Country was published in 1964 and became an Australian phenomenon, described by one critic as “a bucket of cold saltwater emptied on to the belly of a dreaming sunbather”.

“Dad was very happy that the phrase caught on,” said Dr Julia Horne, associate professor of social history at the University of Sydney. “But if he was watching TV and saw it being used without irony he would stick his thumbs in his ears and waggle his fingers at the set. A wine started using the name and he couldn’t bear it.

“Much of the luck came from the postwar mineral boom. His point was the luck of the boom would run out. He believed that Australians were forward-thinking but that their politicians and businessmen were stunted creatively and imaginatively.”

Donald Horne died in 2005. Minerals boomed again; Australia is still lucky. Gamblers’ luck. And, as a nation of punters ought to know, that is not something that repeats itself indefinitely.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/australasia/2019/03/can-t-do-country-how-australia-brink-environmental-disaster

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Oceania, Reportages, Uncategorized

 

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Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy in Australia

The worst terror attack in New Zealand’s modern history took place on Friday, and the alleged perpetrator is an Australian.

Appropriately, this calamity has started a process of deep reflection in the man’s home country. Everywhere, decent Australians are asking, how did we get here? Do we own him?

There has been extensive, international discussion about the role of the online subculture of the far right in these events – the codes, memes and signals of internet-mediated white supremacy.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/17/australians-are-asking-how-did-we-get-here-well-islamophobia-is-practically-enshrined-as-public-policy

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2019 in Oceania

 

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Church fate

When the royal commission sat for the final time, the church was not there. Senior figures were not present. It fell to a layperson to attend, to Francis Sullivan, whose self-critical stewardship of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council has been the only redemption of an institution built on the preaching of forgiveness.

“I think it would have been a real sign of solidarity with the victims if we’d had some members of the hierarchy and senior figures from the church here,” Sullivan said afterwards. “One can only assume they didn’t feel comfortable coming here.”

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2017/12/16/church-fate/15133428005637

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Oceania

 

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The Banality of Crimes against Migrants

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, presented animportant new report to the UN General Assembly on Friday. The report is on “Unlawful Death of Refugees and Migrants” — already an unordinary focus for her mandate. In recent years, her office has focused nearly exclusively on counter-terrorism, particularly on deaths by drone attacks.

As she explains, the report concerns “an international crime whose very banality in the eyes of so many makes its tragedy particularly grave and disturbing.” The contention is rather dramatic, and we believe that it is indeed historic, at least as far as reports by UN bodies are concerned.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/editorial-on-crimes-against-migrants-a-1175239.html

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Australia is at a point where it has to choose between its ally America and its economic backer China 

With America’s commitment to Asia-Pacific security looking shaky and China’s economic—and military—might rising, a peculiarly Australian question is at the forefront: Are we Asian or Western? It’s a dilemma not just of cultural identity—but about which major power Australia’s future hinges on.“We haven’t had to choose in the past,” said Hugh White, a former official in Australia’s defense department who now teaches at Australian National University (ANU). But with a more isolationist Trump administration in power in the US, “Australia now has to think for the first time in its history what kind of place it wants to make for itself when Asia is not dominated by an Anglo-Saxon power.”

Source: Australia is at a point where it has to choose between its ally America and its economic backer China — Quartz

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2017 in Oceania

 

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Australia Beckons a war with China

Australia is sleep-walking into a confrontation with China. Wars can happen suddenly in an atmosphere of mistrust and provocation, especially if a minor power, like Australia, abandons its independence for an “alliance” with an unstable superpower.The United States is at a critical moment. Having exported its all-powerful manufacturing base, run down its industry and reduced millions of its once-hopeful people to poverty, principal American power today is brute force. When Donald Trump launched his missile attack on Syria – following his bombing of a mosque and a school – he was having dinner in Florida with the President of China, Xi Jinping.

Source: AUSTRALIA BECKONS A WAR WITH CHINA

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Asia, Oceania

 

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Rough times

It’s a cold, wet Monday night in Melbourne, but the confluence of Flinders Lane, Degraves Street and Centre Place – the centre of “the world’s most liveable city” – is swirling with activity. In the shadows, just beyond the clip of foot traffic, Peter slumps in his brown woollen poncho on a thick square of cardboard. In front of him is a small wicker basket speckled with silver coins, and a cardboard sign on which is handwritten a tale of personal tragedy and an appeal for charity. In the darkened doorway behind him stands a shopping trolley filled with his life’s possessions: two sleeping bags, a swag, a coat, bundles of clothes and, for bartering purposes, four cans of Canadian Club whisky and two bottles of wine that he found on his night-time wanderings.

Source: Egypt: Laughter in the Dark | by Zadie Smith | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2016 in Oceania

 

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Ambiguity over refugee deal is tough for people who have little resilience left 

While it is encouraging to see the inertia around durable resettlement solutions for refugees on Manus and Nauru broken, Sunday’s announcement that they will be resettled in the United States raises more questions for those involved than it answers, particularly in the current political climate, and in light of Trump’s plans to ban Muslim immigration. This kind of ambiguity, while not unfamiliar, is particularly tough for a cohort who have already lived through three years of uncertainty and have scarce resilience left to draw upon.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/15/ambiguity-over-refugee-deal-is-tough-for-people-who-have-scarce-resilience-left

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2016 in North America, Oceania

 

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The art of tour guiding 

Tour guiding in Australia is easy on some levels: you feed your charges well, take them to the right places, and try to keep their feet warm. But extreme weather, mechanical problems, flies in the daytime, mosquitoes at night, the Germans, the lack of sleep, the feelings of deep existential loneliness … all these things will conspire against you.
You should never, or almost never, give your tourists the choice between two options. This is a mistake inexperienced guides often make. Are you not the leader of this expedition? Have you not been here a hundred times before and know what it’s about? Don’t go inflicting the misery of democracy on them. It may seem generous and noble, but in the middle of an Australian summer I have seen some people reduced to tears.

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/june/1433080800/robert-skinner/art-tour-guiding

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Oceania, Reportages

 

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