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Deakin Speaking

Myanmar and the Responsibility to Protect

As the world looks on, seemingly helplessly, the Myanmar military – Tatmadaw – continues its campaign of violence to repress protests aimed at restoring the country’s fledgling democracy. Despite a proposed pause, with the Tatmadaw saying they will only respond to events that undermine broadly conceived security, the protests are likely to continue and the […]

On Facebook and the news media

On Facebook and the news media: the real question is about how to retain quality journalism, or what’s left of it, in a time when advertising revenue has deserted ‘legacy’ media. In terms of Facebook benefiting from legacy media being posted on its platform, yes, it’s (a small) part of the mix. However, all those […]

Why Myanmar’s military launched a coup, and what it means

Myanmar’s recent military coup was a shock, especially for subscribers to the view that democracy is inevitable. But it was not, for anyone who has watched the country, a surprise. The country’s National League for Democracy (NLD, headed by the revered Aung San Suu Kyi, recorded a strong, 60 per cent, majority in the country’s […]

Myanmar’s generals take charge again

When I awoke before dawn on the day of Myanmar’s 2015 elections – the first more or less free elections in over five decades – my sense as an election observer team leader was the day would unfold as a happy occasion helping transition the country towards a better future, or there would be a […]

China-Australia: Australia has only itself to blame

It may be an uncomfortable truth, but Australia has monumentally mishandled its relationship with China. If the future with our largest trading partner is now uncertain, we overwhelmingly have ourselves to blame. China is Australia’s largest trading partner – it has been sheer luck that Australia has had the commodities that a booming China wants […]

Is the US now a fragile democracy?

Watching the US 2020 elections, some election observers have started to apply the lens to it they have previously reserved for emerging and fragile democracies. As a former model for the rest of the world, that the US electoral process should even be open to such scrutiny is a mark of how much has changed […]

On the Kerr letters

Re the Kerr Letters, in response to a friend who said former G-G John Kerr’s principle failure was in not informing the Queen of having sacked Australian PM Whitlam, my reply: There is absolutely nothing in parliamentary convention, much less the Constitution, which even remotely suggest the G-G can or should canvass advice from the […]

Joko Widodo’s visit to Australia

In discussion with the ANU’s Ass.Prof Greg Fealy and the ABC’s Tom Switzer, on Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit to Australia:                                                                     […]

Australia’s diminishing aid budget

Australia’s aid budget is the lowest it has been, as a proportion of GDP, since aid began. From its mid-1960s peak of 0.48 per cent of GDP, the aid budget is now less than half that, at 0.21 per cent. The simple reason for aid cuts has been to save money to balance budgets. The […]