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Reflections upon the National Symposium on Multiculturalism at Deakin University

On July 6th the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation hosted the National Symposium on Multiculturalism in Australia: from theorising to policy making. The aim of the symposium was to gauge current debates and trends concerning ‘multiculturalism’ in the academic, government and community sectors. There were key themes and concerns both new and longstanding that became apparent from this event. These included a repositioning of our understanding of an “Australian multiculturalism” to include concerns of migration and citizenship, away from the traditional academic and policy tendency to attempt to isolate multicultural and settlement concerns from debates on immigration and population.

On any Sunday

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.

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  ..

Coal Seam Gas is Coming to Victoria

 Coal seam gas mining is rapidly expanding beyond the eastern basin states. The Inquiry into Greenfields Mineral Exploration and Project Development in Victoria recommends the Victorian Government establish a process to consult stakeholders about the future development of goal seam gas. But Victoria’s laws simply aren’t ready for this new form of mining.  

For a full outline of this article please see The Conversation

 

 

 

 

 

The appeal of long form "adverfilms"

Clearly, some PR company (or companies) is making good money out of convincing large corporations and businesses that the way to get to consumers, in this fragmented media world, is to do long-form advertisements. Rather than short, pithy 30 second spots, there seems to be a bit of a movement toward longer, snappy and emotionally rich adver-films that tell the story about "Our People". Some swelly music, beautiful sweeping pan shots, nice depth of field, and happy smiling faces... you get the picture. The Australian mining industrythe Mormons, and now Qantas have all put together a series of films about how their people, are people, just like you and me.

Liam Jurrah and Yuendumu

Liam Jurrah’s involvement in a violent incident in an Alice Springs court last week has captivated the Australian media for days. The 23-year-old forward at the Melbourne Football Club recommenced training yesterday, after being granted bail by an Alice Springs court on charges of unlawfully causing serious harm and being armed with an offensive weapon. The weapon is believed to have been a machete, and Jurrah is implicated in an attack that left a 35-year-old man in hospital with serious head injuries. The incident is reported to have been part of ongoing clan disputes that have plagued his home community of Yuendumu, 300km west of Alice Springs, for 18 months. This morning, The Conversation spoke with Jurrah’s biographer and friend Bruce Hearn Mackinnon. Mackinnon is a senior lecturer at Deakin University and hosted Jurrah on his initial move to Melbourne.

Discriminating on the basis of criminal records: the need for reform

We all make mistakes: often they are embarrassing or hurtful, sometimes they have more serious consequences. However, where the police and courts get involved, they can have long-lasting impact on people’s lives.

Discrimination on the ground that a person has a criminal record is widespread in Victoria, particularly in obtaining and maintaining employment. There has been a significant increase in the number of criminal record checks undertaken in Victoria: Victoria Police data shows a 6000 per cent increase in checks between 1992-93 and 2003-04. Indeed, in the employment sphere, ‘criminal record checks are fast becoming a routine part of the recruitment process’. In this context, it is increasingly concerning that laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s irrelevant criminal record lack any real teeth.

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