Civil Defence: The Role of Troops in Domestic Threats

The Australian Government has today announced new powers, to clarify and expand the role the Australian Defence Force may play in responding to domestic terrorism threats. The exact details, and how these new powers are to be expressed in legislation, are yet to be revealed. But already they have provoked a strong and varied range…

75 Years – The Fall of Singapore

Singapore was promoted as a fortress, an icon of British influence and prestige in the far east, and a point from which the empire could exercise power over its dominions in the Pacific. The reality of Singapore was quite different. Far from being an icon of British power and prestige, it typified an empire that…

The Media After Trump

These are perilous times for the media. At best media organisations are in a slump, while they search for a new and sustainable business model in a changing world. At worst, they are in a terminal decline as that changing world leaves them behind. Once, those titans who owned the print presses and the broadcast…

Reframing the 18C debate – The One Question

The debate about s 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has reemerged. It’s not a debate most Australians asked for, yet a vocal minority of mostly conservative white males have managed to garner it an inordinate amount of attention. For those not familiar with the Act, s 18C and its companion provision 18D were introduced…

Killer Story – A Savage Wombat Tale

In the country of killer crocs, killer snakes, spiders under every toilet seat, and drop bears in every tree, nothing makes for as potent click-bait as a tale of animal versus human. Just look at the NT News. So one can imagine the relish of Canberra Times’ editors when given the opportunity to write this headline:…

Toyota Makes Three: Death of an Industry

Toyota Motor Corporation has today announced that its Australian subsidiary is to cease manufacturing vehicles and engines by the end of 2017. A statement quoting the company’s president Akio Toyoda cites market competition, a strong Australian dollar and the forecast reduction in Australian automative manufacturing as key factors behind the decision. The future of Toyota’s…

Telling Our Story: History, Orthodoxy and Ideology

On an autumn day, in a church in The Rocks, an Aboriginal farmhand from the Shoalhaven married the daughter of a Yorkshireman. Such a union is hardly controversial by today’s standards, but in 1864, a time when prejudice relegated Aboriginal people to a status afforded little recognition and few rights, it was enough to attract…

Higher Education Cuts: It’s Now That Counts

The headlines were stark; $2.3 billion is be stripped from higher education to help fund the Commonwealth’s school funding reforms. $900 million will be taken from universities directly via an efficiency dividend, while the remainder will come from changes to the Student Start-up Scholarship and abolition of the HECS upfront contribution discount. Student groups wasted…

Once More into the Breech

On an April afternoon in 1996, a man walked calmly into the Broad Arrow Café carrying a sports bag. He ordered a meal and sat on the deck overlooking Mason Cove; the ruins of the harsh, colonial era penitentiary opposite, reflected in the water. Nearby patrons observed the man talking to himself and appearing increasingly…