The recently concluded East Asia Forum (EAF) has highlighted the contentious role of a growing China in regional affairs. For an event that was intended primarily to lay the foundation for a huge Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the EAF has been at least as notable for a profound, perhaps fatal, rift in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The proposed East Asia Free Trade Area (FTA), including around a third of the world’s global economy, is intended to capitalise on this region’s current and projected economic strength. While there are many thorny details to be resolved, not least trade advantages flowing from China’s artificially low currency, there is a general sense that the FTA process will continue to be developed.
Last month, a Victorian tribunal found that the state department of education did not discriminate against children opting out of Special Religious Instruction (SRI) classes.
The plaintiffs – parents who chose to opt their children out of the classes – argued the students were treated differently, on religious grounds, and were not being offered proper instruction during SRI time.
Social media technologies made the US presidential election one of the most instantaneously shared and documented events in history with tweets, jokes and photos surging in real time through internet pathways around the world.
Women's bodies have long been a site for politics, but over the past few months political games and posturing have put issues like misogyny, sexism, rape and gender in the headlines. Whether it’s American Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock's comments about rape and pregnancy or Julia Gilliard’s address to Tony Abbott, from Australia to America politicians are buying into gendered debates.
The escalating battle between Israel and Hamas has raised questions as well as tensions.
With the Middle East in a state of flux, why did Israel strike at Hamas military leader? More importantly, why did Hamas respond in a way sure to invite an Israeli attack that it could not possibly fend off?
While Hamas’ military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, had long been on Israel’s hit list and had, consequently, kept out of sight, his killing may be a calculated attempt to derail the Oslo peace accords, linked with trying to stymy the Palestinian Authority’s bid for UN recognition, due on the 29th of this month.
Israel’s leaders would have been all too aware that al-Jabari’s death would escalate regional tensions.
The number of Australians who were homeless on census night increased by 17% to 105,237 in the five years to August 2011. When adjusted for population growth, the increase the increase is still worryingly high, at around 8%. It’s clear we need a stronger commitment to address this significant social issue.
'The solution to women’s issues can only be achieved in a free and democratic society in which human energy is liberated, the energy of both women and men together. Our civilization is called human civilization and is not attributed only to men or women.'
(Yemeni political activist and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Tawakkol Karman, 2011)
'There is a belief that is alarmingly wide-spread that you can say what you want on the internet without any consequences, and while I'm an advocate for freedom of expression, I know that's absolutely not the case' (Julie Posetti).
The case of murdered Melbourne woman Jill Meagher has received unprecedented media attention. Many people became aware of her story and were traumatised by its tragic end. In the wake of Jill's death some people turned to social media to express their grief and anger, but after being told their comments could affect the trial people faced the question of what they could and should say online.
'We've exposed the worlds secrets. Been attacked by the powerful. For 500 days now I've been detained without charge, but that hasn't stopped us' (Julian Assange in the opening to The Julian Assange Show).
The Assange story has fascinated people around the world - so much so that we now have documentaries, shows and books that tell his story. However, with much media coverage increasingly focusing on Mr Assange's presence at the Ecuadorean embassy in London (and accusations that he is an 'enemy of the state' in the US), it is possible that our attention has been diverted away from what he has sacrificed his personal safety and security for.
Among the many claims that about ‘boat people’ that are made in order to fulfil particular political agendas, one is that when a war is officially concluded then people who live in the once afflicted area have nothing more to worry about. As a result, they do not have a legitimate claim for protection against persecution.
If people flee such an area, the assumption is that they are ‘economic’ refugees, hoping to ‘queue jump’ in order to secure a better life for themselves. This has been the claim made about refugees fleeing Sri Lanka. This claim is morally wrong and it is wrong in fact.
From 1983 until 2009, a number of Tamil groups, eventually coming under the banner of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers), fought a bitter, bloody and often ruthless war to establish a separate ethnic Tamil state in Sri Lanka’s north and east. The war was a consequence of earlier anti-Tamil rioting.