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Timor-Leste’s new government

On Sunday evening, 15 July 2012, a congress of CNRT party members in Dili voted to go into an alliance with the Democratic Party and Frenti Mudanca to form a new alliance to make up Timor-Leste’s Fifth Constitutional Government. In response, members of Fretilin rioted, burning more than 50 cars and stoning UN police sent to quell the trouble. While it seemed as though Timor-Leste was again reverting to its violent past, this was less a return to politics by fire and more the last gasp of an out of touch political leadership on the verge of become irrelevant.
It had always been expected that, should CNRT not achieve an absolute majority in its own right, that the Democratic Party would enter an alliance with it to form a majority. With Mudanca’s two seats, CNRT only needed one more seat to form a majority and PD’s eight seats took the new alliance well over the threshold 33 seats to a compelling 40 in the 65 seat parliament.

Attwack of the Celebritwits?

 

'Amidst the swirling maelstrom of technological progress so often heralded as the imminent salvation to all our ills, it can be necessary to remind ourselves that humanity sits at the centre, not technology... It's difficult to separate us from our creations but it's imperative that we examine this odd relationship' (Chris Arkenburg).

It's been called a fad with a disloyal fan base and a home for 'generic blathering', yet around the world people are signing up and logging into Twitter. With somewhere between 200 and 500 million users - numbers are debated - Twitter has the ultimate 'send to all' option. This is a place in which the technologically-savvy and journalists can engage in new patterns of communication - witnesses tweet from the scene, while journalists have the opportunity to uncover breaking news from their desks.

A Pakistan-US deal but for how long?

Last week's deal between Pakistan and the US to reopen NATO's supply routes into neighbouring Afghanistan ends seven months of deep freeze in the bilateral relationship. But the deal will be very fragile.
 
The circuit breaker to this outcome was US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's very carefully crafted apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops killed in a NATO air strike in November last year.  Clinton expressed "deepest regrets" for the November incident and offered "sincere condolences" for the loss of lives.
 
This apology, which appears genuine, was a big win for Pakistan given that US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta had recently stated that there would be none.
 
This was the best Pakistan could hope for.

Democratic Consolidation in Timor-Leste

The results of the parliamentary elections in Timor-Leste on Saturday have resulted in two outcomes, the first of which is a major boost in the vote for CNRT, the party of prime minister Xanana Gusmao, from 24 per cent to 36 per cent of the total vote. The second and more important outcome has been the consolidation of the democratic process in Timor-Leste just ten years after achieving independence.
After changing government in 2007, the people of Timor-Leste have again voted strategically, to focus their vote on the major parties, with CNRT taking much of the vote away from the many smaller parties which tended to reflect personalities rather than policies or party positions.
CNRT will probably form government with one or possible two coalition partners. Of the 21 parties that contested the poll, 17 now appear to have missed the cut-off threshold of three per cent, leaving just four, possibly five, represented in the parliament.

Symposium calls for more research on the social cost of Temporary Migration

Our Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation held last week (6 July 2012) a national symposium on 'multiculturalism' which attempted to connect theory and academic research to policy making and community practice.

Indeed, and whilst the speakers from academe reflected on such concepts as feminism, cosmopolitanism, liberal demacratic theoy and social justice, a panel with  prominent policy and community representatives provided amlple pointers as to where the real gaps lie in this often polarised debate. 

Connecting theory to research in the ongoing debate about 'multiculturalism'

This blog reproduces an interesting article/interview with Deakin Media coordinator Sandra Kingston about our recent national symposium on multiculturalism (held on 6 July 2012). 

 

'Nice in Theory: conference asks is research playing a part in multicultural policy making?'

 

A national symposium to be held at Deakin University this Friday will examine whether there is a disconnect between government policy surrounding multiculturalism in Australia and academic thought and if so what needs to be done about it.

Poor old Julian

Q: How long can Julian Assange stay in the Ecuadorean embassy in London?

A: Probably as long as the Ecuador government is happy to host him there. Unless the UK government is prepared to declare all the Ecuadorean diplomats persona non grata, so that the embassy would have to close up and all the Ecuadoreans go home. The cops could then grab him.

If Ecuador could make Julian a citizen of Ecuador, which probably depends on their Constitution, then he could probably go to Heathrow and get on a plane to eg the Galapagos Islands. He might have to give up his Oz nationality, perhaps not too great a cost. International law frowns on nationalities of convenience, however,  plural nationality is surely the way of the future.

Julian may be exaggerating the danger of US extradition but he is right to be wary, even if most people accept that as the Monty Python team would say, he's not  a terrorist, "he's just a very naughty boy."

International status of the Vatican/Holy See

With criminal allegations against Roman Catholic priests in the news, not for the first time, the question of international legal status for the Catholic Church/ Vatican City/ Holy See comes up.

Is the Catholic Church like any other global faith-based movement from a legal point of view -- Bah'ai, Anglican, Scientology -- or does it have special status that confers some kind of immunity on its officials? Is the Pope some kind of Head of State?

Geoffrey Robertson argues that the claims for statehood, or anything like statehood, are bogus, and I agree.

The relationships between the Vatican, the Holy See, the office of the Pope, and the worldwide Catholic Church are immensely complicated. That is ok -- faith-based movements can organise themselves in complicated ways if they want.

It is also ok for the state of Italy to allow special privileges for the section of Rome occupied by the Vatican.

Pathways to News

The rise of social media and its impact on news media industries has been making headlines for a number of years. Social media is tipped to transform the newspaper industry. If searching for news was the most important development of the past decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next, says the Pew Research Centre. Today, debates about the impact of social media on the news industry rage on most recently provoked by proposed staff cuts and restucturing at both Fairfax and News Ltd in Australia.

When the price isn’t right: ACCC sets sights on price gougers in wake of carbon tax

In the lead-up to the introduction of the carbon tax on July 1, there has been considerable focus on the potential for price gouging – inflating prices beyond the cost increases reasonably attributable to the tax. In recent days, this has been fuelled by a letter sent to small business from the opposition, urging them to place flyers in their shops apologising for any carbon-tax related price increases.

What business can and cannot claim following the introduction of the carbon tax

Businesses are generally free to increase or lower their prices as they choose. In the context of the carbon tax, there are no specific laws preventing price gouging. However, the law does prohibit false or misleading claims regarding the cause of any price hike. For example, if a business reasonably estimates that its costs have increased by 5% as a result of the carbon tax then  ..

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