Category Archives: Human Rights

SPENCER ZIFCAK. Journalists, media freedom and the law.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on journalists from News Corporation and the ABC have caused very considerable community consternation. The fact that these raids occurred in the immediate aftermath of the recent election and within a day of each … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 3 Comments

ELAINE PEARSON. What Next for Australian ISIS Suspects? Government Should Pursue Full Investigations, Fair Trials (Human Rights Watch)

The Australian government is taking an important step by helping eight Australian children of suspects of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) return home from northeast Syria. The children were held for months without charge under horrific conditions in … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Folau saga: when employers and sponsors become the thought police

Like Paul Collins, I am destined for Israel Folau’s version of hell on multiple counts of sin. Indeed I will be even deeper in it since I have repeatedly, over several decades, refused to embrace the love and salvation offered … Continue reading

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GEORGE GRUNDY. Greed in the game made in heaven.

I couldn’t sleep last night. All the bigotry, hatred and stupidity in the news gets to me sometimes. For some reason, Israel Folau’s story has really bothered me. It’s not just that old Izzy likes to stand at a pulpit … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 3 Comments

CAROL GIACOMO. A New Trump Battleground: Defining Human Rights (The New York Times)

After the horrors of World War II, the United States led in adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, recognizing the “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights” of all people to life and liberty. For three-quarters of … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 1 Comment

PETER SINGER. Rugby Australia’s “Own Goal” (Project Syndicate 11.6.2019)

If Rugby Australia had existed in the first century of the Christian era, and Paul had had enough talent to be a contracted player, the sport’s national governing body presumably would have ripped up his contract once his first letter … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 12 Comments

BEVAN RAMSDEN. The Anti-Terrorism Act and other Acts strip us of many civil liberties we thought we had.

The recent intimidatory police raids on the ABC and a journalist’s home for making public, matters of community concern, is a wake-up call that press freedoms can no longer be taken for granted. But looking wider, personal freedoms we thought … Continue reading

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DAVID SHEARMAN. Obligations to the World’s children in the climate emergency.

This government is not fit to govern on the climate change emergency because of its incapacity to grasp the imminent danger to Australia, our neighbours and indeed the world. Today science strongly indicates we have only a few decades to … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Human Rights | 1 Comment

SHARON PARKINSON, DEB BATTERHAM, MARGARET REYNOLDS. Homelessness soars in our biggest cities, driven by rising inequality since 2001 (The Conversation)

Homelessness has increased greatly in Australian capital cities since 2001. Almost two-thirds of people experiencing homelessness are in these cities, with much of the growth associated with severely crowded dwellings and rough sleeping.

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HENRY REYNOLDS. ‘Strange situation’: Why Australia must strike a treaty. (SMH 1.6.2019)

In ringing tones the Uluru Statement declares the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign nations of the Australian continent and possessed it under their own laws and customs. Sovereignty has never been ceded or extinguished, and … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs | 2 Comments

MARK SWIVEL. ‘To be without a home. Like a complete unknown. Just like a rolling stone’. – Bob Dylan.

Having a home one of the most basic human needs. We talk about housing or shelter as a human right – as we should. But that is not what we want. Not just the bricks and mortar but the sense … Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Human Rights | 1 Comment

ISABELLE REINECKE. How strategic litigation can strengthen our democracy

Australian politics is becoming increasingly polarised. Policy decisions are made for short term political gain against the advice of experts, and democratic checks and balances are being degraded. Strategic litigation is a tool that can be used to cut through … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

RON WITTON. Zionism and Terra Nullius: a haunting parallel between Israel and Australia

When I was growing up in Sydney in the 1950s, I knew that I came from a Jewish family and I was aware of the little blue and white Jewish National Fund money boxes collecting funds for Israel. Recently I … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 7 Comments

ELAINE PEARSON. Australian Children are Trapped in Syria and the Government Must Bring Them Home (Human Rights Watch)

An ABC Four Corners investigation has exposed the callous indifference of Australian officials over the return of Australian children held without charge in foreign camps for families of Islamic State members.

Posted in Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

RICHARD FLANAGAN. Have we, Australia, become a country that breeds mass murderers with our words? (The Guardian 14.4.2019)

We are better than our politicians’ dark fears.  We are not their hate. We are optimistic about a country built on openness. 

Posted in Human Rights, Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

RAMESH THAKUR. Who Will Bell the Sydney Airport Security Madness?

Is it possible that pranksters with a perverse sense of humour are in charge of security procedures at Sydney International Airport? Perhaps they are trying to test the limits of traveller tolerance. If so, they might be close to succeeding … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 4 Comments

BEN SAUL. Stop talking tough Prime Minister and start caring for Aussie children (SMH 3.4.2019)

With the defeat of the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Syria, governments worldwide are grappling with how to deal with the innocent family members of foreign terrorist fighters. The Prime Minister has proclaimed that he will not “put one Australian … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 3 Comments

MARY KELLY. The horrifying reality of a military occupation.

I recently spent some months living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  I was shocked, deeply distressed and angered by what I witnessed on a daily basis. Palestinians living under the Israeli military occupation experience a relentless, dehumanising, brutal and intimidating … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 4 Comments

SPENCER ZIFCAK. The Federal Government Corrodes the Independence of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The Federal Government Corrodes the Independence of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal The Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is a quasi-judicial body designed to promote the rule of law and good government by enabling citizens to call into question the decisions … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 2 Comments

DANIEL WARNER. The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize winners contrast with Australia’s policies against human dignity.

Australia’s refugee policies have been condemned for violations of the detainees’ human rights. The recent winners of two prestigious prizes, both detained on Manus, are further proof of the international community’s condemnation and highlight the shocking plight of those sequestered on … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

JOCELYN CHEY. What to do about Human Rights in China

Human rights in China are under threat. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) government ignores international representations. Should Australia even attempt to intervene? What would we risk? The easy course would be to do the minimum and restrict our representations … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 4 Comments

JOHN FALZON. We need to redefine exclusion (Eureka Street).

Inequality is not an aberration that comes with neoliberalism. It is the foundation of neoliberalism, along with its partners in social crime: patriarchy and colonisation. As Sharan Burrow, the Australian General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), puts … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 1 Comment

JOANNE SIMON-DAVIES. Community attitudes towards violence against women. (Commonwealth Parliamentary Blog 5.12.2018)

The National Community Attitudes toward Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) is the world’s longest-running survey of community attitudes towards violence against women. Results from the latest survey are mixed; levels of awareness have generally risen but there are still areas of concern.  

Posted in Human Rights | 1 Comment

STEPHANIE DOWRICK. The Best of 2018: Issues of Integrity, Not Sex.

The story of a middle-aged husband and father talking up the “failure” of his marriage to justify his relationship with a much younger and previously childless woman is too clichéd to have much drama. The effect of this on the … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 5 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR and MICHAEL KIRBY. The 2018 decision merits a rich tribute for its transformative constitutionalism (The Hindu 30.12.2018)

Trapped in a frozen political process amidst heightened public passions, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was out of sync with contemporary values on gender orientation. It is the courts that have been used as the key to … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. How Murdoch and Abeles twisted the arm of the Hawke Government to help Ansett Airlines at the expense of Qantas. (Edited and reposted)

 I have recalled  several times that Rupert Murdoch has said that he has never asked a Prime Minister for anything. That is quite brazen. From my own personal experience I know that is just not true. I was the intermediary … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 1 Comment

JACK WATERFORD. Why do crime-busters need ASIO-type powers?

Any political cynic will see excellent reasons for giving the Australian Federal Police a lead role in the crusade against online child pornography, the grooming of children for sexual abuse, and other sexual abuse of children, matters which might ordinarily … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The Occupation of the Australian Mind.

Fear and apathy have taken up residence in the collective political consciousness of Australia. Indeed, it may be that they have achieved that most desirable of states for governments seeking to remain in power, or oppositions sensing their imminent ascendency … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 2 Comments

ANTHONY PUN. Genetic manipulation of Human Embryo must be guided by proper moral and ethical research protocols.

A recent story emerged at the International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong about an experiment in off-target gene editing of two human embryos in an attempt to render the resultant twin babies resistant to HIV infection. The … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Racial misprofiling

On 9 November, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali crashed a vehicle full of gas cylinders in Bourke Street, Melbourne and stabbed three people, one fatally, before being shot by police. The 30-year old was on multiple watchlists at the time because … Continue reading

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