A declaration, I think, is in order here. I do not much like Alfred Deakin. Some years ago, armed with a modest research grant, I set out to write a study of his political career, but the more I came to know him, the less I liked him.
Articles from Inside Story
Liu Xiaobo, China’s long-imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate, could find human dignity in the darkest of places. He found it working with the grieving mothers of young people killed in the 1989 Beijing massacre. He found it in occasional glimpses of warmth between guards and prisoners amid the grinding routine of prison life. And he wrote eloquently and often about dignity as he found it.
Nowra showground is a ten-minute walk from the centre of town: past Best & Less, Jolly Olly’s Discount Variety Store, the Postman’s Tavern and the Bowling Club, along a wide, tree-lined residential street. The gateway is a towering, seven-metre-high sandstone structure with four entrance archways, topped by parapets and crenellated towers, built just after the second world war. A life-sized bronze statue of a soldier, added after the war, stands in front of the gate.
Communism in east-central Europe after 1945, with its endless disjunctures between official rhetoric and lived experience, nurtured a rich black economy of mocking humour. The jokes of that era, as much as the region’s older folktales, are archetypal but come in national flavours. Some Czechoslovakian ones, for example, have an absurdism that subverts not just politics but life itself.
Whom should electors be permitted to elect? And do our electoral laws discriminate against newer and smaller parties? When two minor party senators from the class of mid 2016 – Bob Day and Rod Culleton – were recently ruled by the High Court to be ineligible to be elected, those should have been the central questions. Instead, attention focused on the legal minutiae of the cases, and on their consequences for the parties.
At long last, we are talking about the growing inequality that has marked Australia in the post-reform era. At last, we have a political party that is prepared to tackle at least part of the problem: the tax loopholes that allow so much income to avoid redistribution through the welfare safety net. And even the Coalition is taking some steps down that line.
The point of the very witty title of this piece is that, by chance, I saw two films within the space of a week that might qualify as road movies, and in both cases we’re talking French roads. In each of them, the relationship between two people develops as they make their often-culinary way through the French countryside.
The same-sex marriage referendum caravan has meandered into the home straight and, barring a successful High Court challenge, Australian opinion pollsters will soon be grappling with estimating voter turnout by demographic, as overseas counterparts have for decades. The ballots will be sent out in early September and the final results announced in mid-November.
East Timorese politics are in a post-election limbo as the parties elected to parliament just over a fortnight ago negotiate to form government. Despite early optimism that the broad outlines of a new administration might be known quickly, the most recent developments suggest an outcome is at least a week away, and possibly longer. Negotiations have begun in earnest now that the major parties have held conferences to determine their own approaches to the deal making.
If you think it isn’t long since your smartphone started using 4G, you’re right. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone switched on their networks between 2011 and 2013. Adoption was rapid. By the end of 2014, 40 per cent of Australia’s mobile customers were using 4G, although Optus has only recently shut down its 2G network and Vodafone’s is scheduled to close in a few weeks.