All posts tagged: politics

Vote Compass: where do you stand?

  The Australian federal elections are fast approaching. With only four sleeps to go until the big day, Australians will (I hope) be giving some serious thought to their voting options. Unlike most countries in the world, voting in Australia is compulsory. No matter whether you’re interested in politics or not, if you are an Australian citizen you will have to scratch a mark on a ballot paper come Saturday or you’ll risk being fined. I know where where my vote’s going this year. If you’re feeling unsure, head over to Vote Compass, a tool that can help you compare your values and opinions on policy with those of the major political parties. Hosted by the ABC, Vote Compass has been developed by a non-profit group of political scientists and, as far as I can tell, it’s pretty accurate. Non-Australian citizens are also free to take the test and see where their values fit into the Australian political landscape. By the way, in case you missed it, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared on the ABC’s …

event: live wire for refugees

    A quick heads up on an event happening right now in Federation Square in the CBD. The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) is holding a 24-hour event called Live Wire for Refugees from 12pm today until 12pm tomorrow (Sunday 1 September). This event is designed to demonstrate support for respecting the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers who arrive in Australia, as well as raising awareness in the community. This has been a long-running and controversial issue in Australia, and it has become a big talking point in the current federal election campaign. ‘The idea is to have people speaking non-stop for 24 hours, trying to fill the airwaves,’ says Lucy Honan from the Refugee Action Collective. ‘We’ve found that, over the last couple of weeks, there has been no space in the media for a pro-refugee perspective. The facts have been lost, ideas have been distorted. We just want to reclaim the airwaves.’ Local radio stations 3ZZZ and 3CR are covering the event, which had attracted a small but engaged crowd when I dropped …

event: australian democracy in 2013

    ‘Does democracy work? What does democracy mean to different people, and does everyone in Australia truly have access to it?’ These questions and others will be discussed tomorrow night at the Wheeler Centre event ‘Australian Democracy in 2013‘. The impressive panel includes feminist and journalist Anne Summers, prominent journalist Margaret Simons, journalist and former speechwriter John Button, historian Humphrey McQueen and Kon Karapanagiotidis from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Tickets are 20$ full / $12 concession. You can book tickets online here.   Australian Democracy in 2013  Date: 12 June 2013 Time: 7.30pm–8.30pm Venue: The Capital Theatre Address: 113 Swanston St, Melbourne Damage: 20$ full / $12 concession  

event: free the asio 54

    Here’s a last-minute heads-up on an event happening tomorrow. ‘Free The ASIO 54’ is a political demonstration to be held in Bourke St Mall at 12.30pm tomorrow (Friday) to protest the indefinite detention of 54 asylum seekers who have received negative security assessments by ASIO. The action is organised by the Justice For ASIO Refugees working group and the Refugee Action Collective. If you feel strongly about this fraught issue and have some spare time (or if you simply want to learn more about the situation for asylum seekers in Australia), your presence will be appreciated. Head to the event’s facebook page for more information.   Free the ASIO 54 Date: 7 June 2013 Time: 12.30pm Address: Corner Bourke St and Swanston St, Melbourne  

get smart

– – Today The Monthly magazine launched a new free daily called ‘PoliticOz’. As I have yet to actually see a PoliticOz posting, I’ll leave it up to The Monthly to explain this new project: PoliticOz delivers the best of Australian political writing and journalism to your inbox every weekday. It’s a selection of the day’s major stories, key quotes and essential commentary, as well as videos, interviews and the latest polls. A one-stop shop for followers of Australian politics, PoliticOz highlights the best of the nation’s top political sources, including newspapers, blogs, think tanks and new media. Knowing The Monthly, I think this could be a great new resource for anyone wanting to keep abreast of Australian politics. Register for PoliticOz here. – And while we’re on the subject, I may as well let you know about The Monthly‘s first daily. ‘The Shortlist Daily’ is a bite-sized newsletter showcasing a small handful of links to ‘the best reads from around the world’. (That should really be amended to ‘the best reads from the English-speaking world’, but no matter.) This …

wikileaks at the wheeler centre

–   If you’ve been following the WikiLeaks story, or that of it’s now famous (or infamous) Australian founder, Julian Assange, you may be interested to know about an upcoming free event at The Wheeler Centre called ‘WikiLeaks, Assange and Defending Democracy‘ on Thursday 19 April. The event will feature a panel comprising Assange’s mother, Christine Assange; Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlum; lawyer Lizzie O’Shea; Crikey‘s Canberra correspondent, Bernard Keane; and barrister and writer Greg Barns. Even though this is a free event, you’ll still need to book a ticket online. You can do this through the Wheeler Centre’s website. It’s always best to secure your place as early as possible because events do sometimes book out.   WikiLeaks, Assange and Defending Democracy Date: 19 April 2012 Time: 6.30pm-8pm Venue: BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne Tel: 9094 7800 Free  


Qanda – that word won’t mean much to non-Australians. To be honest, it probably doesn’t mean much to a fair slice of the Australian population, either, but I wish it did. It refers to Q&A, the live panel-discussion television show aired by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) every Monday night, in which questions are put to a panel by audience members. Moderated by veteran journalist Tony Jones, the panel generally features five experts or public figures of some kind: political and social commentators, writers, politicians, economists, academics…  anyone with something to say. (This week’s show, for example, featured Australian feminist Germaine Greer and conservative American ‘porn pastor’ Craig Gross, among others.) During the show, twitter comments using the hash-tag ‘qanda’ are also aired, giving it an interactive element. If you’re new to the country, much of the discussion of domestic politics on Q&A will probably go over your head; even so, the show may be useful in helping to wrap your brain around how Australian politics works and, more interestingly, how Australians view different issues. But it’s not all politics. …

brain food

Those of you who are hankering after some decent long-form Australian journalism should consider picking up a copy of The Monthly.  Established only seven years ago, this sprightly spring chicken of the publishing industry has already built up a loyal following and has one of the fastest-growing readerships of any publication in the country. And for good reason. The Monthly publishes some of Australia’s best writers and thinkers, and its essays – discussing everything from politics and current affairs to society, art and culture – occasionally make headlines even in the news media. It was The Monthly, for example, that first published Chloe Hooper’s Walkley Award-winning essay ‘The Tall Man: Inside Palm Island’s Heart of Darkness’, which  Hooper went on to expand into a critically acclaimed book. (A documentary based on the book was in turn released last year.) The magazine also regularly features pieces by Australian politicians, which often make waves within the domestic political sphere. The Monthly‘s past issues can be read online for free, and a current issue will set you back $8.95. A yearly …