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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?

Dark forces still at work in Aceh, Indonesia

In early October, Aceh will hold its second gubanatorial elections since the 2005 peace agreement that ended almost three decades of separatist war. After five years of relative peace and stability, the main political tensions appear to be between competing factions of the former Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Other, more troubling tensions are, however, just below the surface.
There is little to divide the main factions competing in the elections. The incumbent governor, Irwandi Yusuf, has overseen the development of a universal health care system, expanded education, overseen underlying economic growth and banned logging in Aceh’s spectacular rainforest.
His main electoral opponent, GAM’s former ‘Foreign Minister’, Dr Zaini Abdullah, also supports such programs. Apart from personalities, the division between them might be characterised as one of the latter being more conservative and the former more progressive.

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