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Reconciling cultural diversity and public law

I have just arrived in Ottawa, Canada,  as a  visiting professor hosted by the Audio Visual Lab for the Study of Culture and Society, and only a few hours ago delivered my first public seminar about the  transnational practices of migrants in multicultural societies.

Yesterday, I was interviewed by local radios on the broader topic of migrant settlement policies and what Canada and Australia had in common and also where their respective policies differed.

However,  the most interesting media interaction happened to me in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, a leading newspaper here.

What was rather surprising about the interview is the reporter’s questions about the very contentious issue of domestic law and whether this needed to be amended in some cases to take into account cultural practices of the specific migrant communities.

Qantas dispute

In grounding the entire domestic and international Qantas fleet last month, the firm's chief executive, Alan Joyce, claimed the action was the only way to stop the unions' industrial campaign. The implication was that grounding the planes was the only way to have Fair Work Australia (FWA) intervene and order a stop to all industrial action.
In the weeks since, a number of anti-union ''cold war'' industrial relations warriors, including Peter Reith, Chris Corrigan, economist Judith Sloan and coalition politicians, have thrown themselves into the debate, questioning the efficacy of the Labor government's Fair Work Act. The common theme is that the grounding of the Qantas fleet demonstrated the weakness of the act, because the company had no other way to get FWA to order a cessation of all industrial action other than by grounding its entire fleet. This is patently untrue.

Against bringing civilians into war zones

Presentation to the Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre for Excellence, 8 November 2011.

The end of Qantas as we know it?

The move by Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, to ground the Qantas fleet around the world, will have caused significant damage to the brand, regardless of his motives for doing so.

How Australian aid in Asia can benefit those at home

Australians are a generous people.

On a per capita basis, public donations to help those affected by natural disasters are amongst the highest in the world.

Studies show that it does not hinge on where these emergencies occur, nor what type of emergencies they are, and nor finally does it depend upon how long it has been since the last public appeal.

Full item at The Conversation

Winning the war, but what about the peace?

Gadhafi’s death brings to a close the war for liberation that has wracked Libya for much of this year, but pushes to the forefront a host of new issues that have only just remained under the surface, particularly over the few weeks. How these issues are handled will shape Libya’s foreseeable future.
There are a range of criteria that indicate the likely success or failure of a post-conflict state, high among which are ethnic or tribal distinction, and institutional capacity. Institutional capacity includes not just a functioning administration and the provision of basic services, but the extent to which rule of law is embedded in society and the legitimacy of ruling groups or individuals.

With few signs of the death of the mall, small retailers deserve our support

The rise in internet-based retailing has inevitably generated debate on the future of bricks-and-mortar shops, and the shopping centres that accommodate them.

Despite some pundits predicting the death of the mall, there’s no strong signs as yet of the “mall lifecycle” coming to an end.

In fact many domestic shopping centres, such as Melbourne’s Chadstone and Sydney’s Bondi Junction, continue to evolve through extensions or major revamps.

Click here for the full item at The Conversation

 

One against a thousand: The politics of the Gilad Shalit deal

When Gilad Shalit was dragged away in a cross-border raid in June 2006, it’s doubtful he or his captors would have imagined five years’ of negotiations lay ahead.

Nor in their most fevered imaginings would they have expected 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, some of them with multiple life sentences for murder, would be the price of his release.

theconversation.edu.au/one-against-a-thousand-the-politics-of-the-gilad-shalit-deal-3903

 

Selling the Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup has returned to New Zealand for the first time since the nation co-hosted the debut tournament 24 years ago. But New Zealand Rugby Union head, Steve Tew has already raised concerns about the financing behind the game and whether New Zealand can even afford to play in another World Cup. If we judge from a purely commercial standpoint, it might rationally be expected that New Zealand may be hosting the world cup for the last time, despite the success of the sport in the region.
 

Does a University town bring real benefits or is it all just spin?

Edited extract of address to the Business Leader’s Luncheon in Warrnambool on Monday 26 September.

My topic today is, “Does a University town bring real benefits or is it all just spin?”

Many towns do not have a university.  Those that do are often fiercely proud of what they have.  All towns put up a fight at the merest rumour that the University will close or leave town. 

So what is it all about?  Is it just spin and fluff? Or is there more to it?

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