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Defending Democracy

Submitted by Margo Kingston on June 21, 2012 - 8:14pm.
Ideas for a new Fairfax
All in all, an awful state of affairs for Australia and our democracy. So what is the solution? The way I see it, the various independent online media groups need to get together, pool their resources, and step up to a genuine media alternative to the dregs of Fairfax and Murdoch. Academic institutions engaged in media would also be around the table, as I’d see links with journalism students in the new group.
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Submitted by Paul Walter on July 28, 2011 - 11:37am.
Cultural warriors and civilized societies
I look back on the week somewhat amazed, both at the events and the strange treatment of them in the press and wonder what lies in the future, as a sort of lawlessness now permeates once civilised societies.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on March 30, 2011 - 1:03am.
From Cairo to London: People Power
"The power of, and results possible through peaceful protest reported from around the world seemed to galvanise the UK public in such a way that an all-encompassing demonstration which took place this past weekend (March 26th) in London attracted half a million people." - Amy Freeborn
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Submitted by Chris Saliba on August 11, 2010 - 9:39pm.
The quality of the politician depends on the quality of the vote
Democracy must be a constructive working partnership between citizens and the politicians they vote to represent them. Despite the cynical attitude of many, politicians are not installed by themselves. The quality of the politician ultimately depends on the quality of the vote. It’s up to us to ensure the political candidates we vote for are good enough to represent us.
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Submitted by GetUp on July 26, 2010 - 4:46pm.
Democracy on trial
An email from GetUp: Two days ago I wrote to you with a question: should we pursue legal action to defend Australians' right to vote? An overwhelming 86% of GetUp members voted yes - so just moments ago, GetUp filed our case for online enrolment in the Federal Court. In addition to this, we're filing a related case in the High Court of Australia challenging the constitutionality of the Howard Government's 2006 Amendments to the Electoral Act. This is the piece of legislation that led to the situation we faced early week, where people had only one business day to enrol to vote.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on November 5, 2009 - 12:01am.
Media decadence and democracy
Hubris nurtured by groupthink is the Achilles heel of publicly unaccountable power. The only known human cure for its toxic effects is the free circulation of differing viewpoints, courageous conjectures, corrective judgments, checks and balances, the institutional humbling of power. (John Keane)
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on May 17, 2009 - 1:41pm.
Democracy failure
The true cause of our present difficulties is that democracy slept through the making of a deep crisis. It is not that the road to our present hell was paved by good or bad intentions. We find ourselves heading for hell because nothing was ever done politically to prevent it. Democracy failure bred market failure. Unelected regulatory bodies and elected politicians, parties and whole governments let their citizens down. (Professor John Keane)
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Submitted by Democratic Audit on May 16, 2009 - 12:34pm.
Democratic Audit Update May 2009
The state of Australian democracy, the probe into Brimbank City Council, whistleblower protection, climate change and corporate colonisation, and criticisms of the electoral roll are among the topics covered in this month’s update.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on January 16, 2009 - 4:40pm.
For most conspicuous acts of gallantry in action in a circumstance of great peril...
Today marks a milestone in Australian military history - the first award (following abolition of Imperial honours in 1991) of a Victoria Cross for Australia.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on January 15, 2009 - 1:27pm.
Torture used at Guantanamo Bay: Susan J. Crawford
Throughout the Bush years, politicians and the media, both in Australia and abroad, have been prepared to play brazen Alice in Wonderland games with definitions. ... You can admit to the use of stress positions, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation and the rest of it – brutalities long familiar from the dungeons of the most sinister regimes in the world – so long as you barefacedly announce, as Bush did in 2006: "The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values." (Jeff Sparrow)
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Submitted by Norman Abjorensen on January 12, 2009 - 11:02pm.
State of Exception
New South Wales likes to think of itself as Australia, but it isn’t. Back in 1887, the redoubtable Henry Parkes even proposed that the colony of New South Wales change its name to Australia – a move not unexpectedly opposed (and ridiculed) by the other colonies. But the sentiment persists. The former prime minister John Howard was a typical Sydneysider (an early Victorian term for those who lived on the Sydney side of the Murray). He professed not to recognise state identities or loyalties; we are, after all, simply Australians. (Norman Abjorensen)
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Submitted by Democratic Audit on December 18, 2008 - 1:17pm.
Democratic Audit Update December 2008
The latest update from the Democratic Audit program at Swinburne on how our democracy is working.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on December 10, 2008 - 12:55pm.
The chance of a lifetime
Today, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, we've been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure that human rights are finally protected in Australia. (GetUp)
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on November 13, 2008 - 3:38pm.
The courage to stand against evil
There was another milestone this week – the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” so known because of the shattered glass from the windows of Jewish homes and businesses, when murderous riots were orchestrated in nearly every town and village in Germany where Jews could be found.
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Submitted by Malcolm B Duncan on November 9, 2008 - 11:38am.
Is this just an accident or has someone been reading the Constitution?
Governor-General Quentin Bryce joined hundreds of Australians in the town of Le Hamel in Northern France, at a moving ceremony to rededicate a memorial to honour Australians who fought a decisive World War I battle. (ABC Online, Just In)
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Submitted by Democratic Audit on October 30, 2008 - 11:20am.
Democratic Audit Update October 2008
In this month's update: how public servants have become part of the 'permanent campaign', putting at risk the distinction between marketing and explaining government policy and between genuine and politically tailored data; a comparison of political donations in the US and Australia; and a history of voting in the US.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on October 15, 2008 - 4:34pm.
Senate blocks inquiry into asylum seeker tragedy
A motion calling for a judicial inquiry into the Commonwealth Government's People Smuggling Strike Team's actions, including those concerning the boat known as SIEV X and its tragic loss of life, has been voted down by the Senate.
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Submitted by Mark Sergeant on September 29, 2008 - 12:24am.
The Haneef Inquiry public forum
Sir Gerard pointed out, as did others, that it may be that when we say we are willing to compromise our freedoms, we may mean that we are "willing to compromise the human rights of others, believing that the laws and practices we have accepted will have no impact on ourselves".
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Submitted by Democratic Audit on September 18, 2008 - 2:02pm.
Democratic Audit Update September 2008
In this month’s edition, the history of WEL, a new head for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the 2007 federal election enquiry, constitutional reform and indigenous rights, the Senate and accountability, and much, much more…
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Submitted by Mark Sergeant on September 17, 2008 - 12:20am.
The Benbrika Verdicts
So the jury deliberated, over 21 days, working its way through the evidence, and in the end arriving at a set of verdicts that are, probably, about right. Benbrika, the mastermind, convicted on all charges. Some convicted, some not. Some convicted on some charges and not on others. One they couldn't decide on.
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Submitted by Fiona Reynolds on August 28, 2008 - 11:55pm.
Death by 550 cuts: The demise of quality journalism in Australia
The real significance of yesterday's announcement is that for the first time in its history, Fairfax has made a public declaration that profits come ahead of journalism. That its role as a major custodian of Australian quality editorial is secondary to its responsibility of maximising the financial outcome. (Eric Beecher)
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on July 31, 2008 - 6:29am.
The new Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
He's a product of a Jesuit school, he's been involved in Aboriginal legal aid and as a convenor of an Amnesty lawyers' group. As if that's not enough of a pointer, don't forget his involvement this month in striking down the World Youth Day regulations designed to prevent pilgrims being "annoyed". Compared with the cactus-like, dry-as-dust figures of recent elevation, this fellow is a positive orchid. (Richard Ackland)
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Submitted by peter hindrup on July 29, 2008 - 8:26pm.
Tortured doubts
Ministers and senior military officers are today challenged over discrepancies in evidence they gave to a parliamentary committee on the use of torture techniques by British troops in Iraq. (Robert Townsend)
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Submitted by Marilyn Shepherd on July 29, 2008 - 8:05pm.
Restoring integrity to Australia’s immigration system
In the future the immigration system will be characterised by strong border security, firm deterrence of unauthorised arrivals, effective and robust immigration processes and respect for the rule of law and the humanity of those seeking migration outcomes. (Senator Chris Evans)
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Submitted by John Pratt on July 22, 2008 - 11:59am.
Winning or losing the War on Terror?
The only way to win the “war on terror” is to be less willing ourselves to use terror to win a political victory. The war on terror will be won when all terrorists – including those financed by democratic governments – are brought to justice in the International Criminal Court.
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Submitted by Democratic Audit on July 18, 2008 - 11:55am.
Democratic Audit Update 18 July 2008
In this month's update: political donations and disclosures in Victoria, guidelines for federal government advertising, protecting whistleblowers in the Australian Government public sector, and the possible formation of a new national indigenous representative body.
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Submitted by Fiona Reynolds on July 2, 2008 - 4:47pm.
Annoyed? Inconvenienced? Nah, just incandescent with rage ...
“An authorised person may direct a person within a World Youth Day declared area to cease engaging in conduct that … causes annoyance or inconvenience [my emphasis] to participants in a World Youth Day event...”
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Submitted by Democratic Audit on June 25, 2008 - 11:24am.
Democratic Audit Update - 24 June 2008
New South Wales Legislative Council has released its report on Electoral and Political Party Funding in NSW. Among other things, the committee recommends a $1,000 cap on private donations and a ban on corporate donations. "Political donations and election spending would be disclosed in a timely, transparent and accessible manner," says the report.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on June 25, 2008 - 9:57am.
Why I am not running - Morgan Tsvangirai
"My people are at breaking point. World leaders' bold rhetoric must be backed with military force" - Morgan Tsvangirai in the Guardian
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Submitted by Fiona Reynolds on June 19, 2008 - 1:44pm.
The NT Intervention one year on: Brilliant idea or utter nightmare?
The document ..., entitled 'Northern Territory Emergency Response Situation Report as at 1500 hrs Wed 14th May 08', paints a picture of an incomplete roll out of the Northern Territory Intervention, an emergency response that Mal Brough recently admitted to ABC Darwin radio was put together in 48 hours. (Sophie Black, Crikey)
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Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

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