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Deakin Speaking

Rise of the Far Right in a xenophobic, alt. fact world

President Trump’s first two weeks in office have continued to reflect that ‘tearing up the rule book’ approach to politics and diplomacy, as Australia’s beleaguered Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull discovered when Trump humiliatingly tweeted his response to the Australia-US refugee-swap agreement. Even China, the world’s rising superpower, has been shocked at President Trump’s approach to […]

Is East Timor run by a ‘stable’ govt or conspiratorial oligarchy?

It was no surprise when East Timor’s former resistance leader, president and prime minister Xanana Gusmao announced he would support the Fretilin Party’s candidate for the presidency, Francisco Lu-Olo Guterres. Gusmao had said as much more than a week ago, and the move had been expected since last year. Gusmao’s party, CNRT, is now also […]

Why Suu Kyi fiddles while Rohingya homes burn

As 2017 begins to unfold, the persecution of Myanmar’s ethnic Rohingyas has accelerated. Since the beginning of the year, the UN says more than 20,000 Rohingyas had fled Myanmar’s western Rakhine state into neighboring Bangladesh ahead of state-organised violence, bringing the recent total to close to 70,000. Human rights groups have described reports of organized […]

Australia-East Timor CMATS treaty dead in the water

East Timor has won a significant moral victory over the Timor Sea dispute with Australia agreeing to scrap the controversial 2006 Timor Sea treaty. However, East Timor’s optimism that this now spells the beginning of the end of that dispute, much less securing its economic future, may be optimistic. The agreement to scrap the treaty […]

Jokowi hanging by a thread as Indonesian general backs Islamists, rounds on Australia

Last week’s suspension of Australia-Indonesia military co-operation has been confirmed as fallout from Indonesia’s internal politics. Indonesian military commander General Gatot Nurmantyo has since “stood on the foot” of President Joko Widodo for diminishing the suspension. After leading a counter rally to Islamist rioting in Jakarta at the beginning of December, Gatot is now overseeing […]

Australia as whipping boy in Indonesia’s internal battles

There has been a lot of confusion about the recent abrupt cancellation of Australia-Indonesia military cooperation and, with the exception of language teaching, its resumption. As should have been clear from the outset, Australia has been used as a whipping boy for an internal Indonesian power play. The trouble started at the SAS base in […]

Games within games as the TNI cuts loose the ADF

Indonesia’s seemingly sudden suspension of military cooperation with Australia raises a series of questions about the alleged ‘offensive’ training materials and remarks and whether the suspension reflects another, or mixed, political agendas. Military cooperation between the two countries has been abruptly suspended following an exchange of correspondence regarding the ‘offensive’ materials. Indonesia’s military (TNI) spokesman […]

The hardening of the Middle-East’s battle lines

In the wholesale shift from ‘legacy media’, most of what is known about is going on in Syria comes from social media – most ‘legacy’ news concentrates on the ‘human interest’ of suffering and much less on the ‘bigger picture’. But, as has been widely noted, the shift to online sources of information has meant […]

Indonesia’s dead governor walking

  Jokowi and Ahok in friendlier times The trial for blasphemy of the Jakarta’s Governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as ‘Ahok’), has thrown into sharp relief key issues in Indonesian politics: Islamism, racism and the status of the presidency. But, most of all, it has posed questions about the nature and viability of Indonesia’s much […]

A year later, little has changed for some in Myanmar

It has been just over a year since Myanmar went to its historic elections, replacing its military-based government with one elected by the people. Yet in that time little has changed in Myanmar and, for the country’s ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority, the situation has become worse. In what a UN spokesman claims is ethnic cleansing, […]