Category Archives: Community

Aceh whippings hide deeper problem with Indonesian Islam

Reporting of two gay men being publically whipped in the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh has sparked concerns that Indonesia’s long-vaunted ‘tolerant’ Islam is turning fundamentalist. Islam in Indonesia is in a process of change and a more fundamentalist version of the faith is increasingly prominent. The ‘Aceh whippings’, however, may be misleading. Aceh was […]

The Manchester Attack and the fundamental(ist) divide

The world – or at least the Anglosphere – is recoiling with horror at the bombing of the Manchester arena, in an attack that appears to have been aimed at children. Already shocked by the barbarity of the gross excesses of Islamist violence, this latest outrage has many struggling to comprehend not just why an […]

Some things change, some don’t in Timor-Leste

Alberto da Silva stood on a rise, in a red tightly zipped jacket against the ‘cool’ of the  morning,  surveying the voters for Timor-Leste’s presidential election lined up in the village of Leohitu just below. Leohitu sits at the end of about six kilometres of varyiable dirt road at the end of an often shaded […]

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 […]

Myanmar’s compromised elections

On 8 July 2015, Myanmar’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) government announced that Myanmar would go to elections on 8 November. This raised the prospect of whether Myanmar’s process of reform and liberalization – what US President Barak Obama had earlier called the country’s ‘real but incomplete’ process of democratization – would continue. In […]

Submissions to family violence royal commission reveal a fragmented system

On Monday, the public hearings for Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence began. The public hearings follow the completion of community consultations and the close of written submissions in late May. Nearly 1000 Victorians – advocates, experts and policy stakeholders – provided submissions to the commission. They called for change in the justice, health, social […]

Fall-out from execution of Chan and Sukumaran

The execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran has had a riveting, almost cathartic, effect on many Australians, including its political leaders. The overwhelming response has been one of rejection, sadness and, in some cases, anger. Given that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said last year that this issue would not be allowed to affect […]

Time running out to avoid Western Sahara war

The world has many almost forgotten trouble spots, where conflict has not been resolved but appears to have been contained. In Western Sahara and Morocco, that may be about to change, with potentially wider implications. The western-most corner of Algeria, near the border with Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania, is a desolate and unforgiving place, […]