Border protection: are we really the envy of the world?

As the domestic audience we are told by the Government that “We are the envy of the world when it comes to strong border protection policies”.  Yet heavily redacted documents released under Freedom of Information laws relating to our bid for the United Nations Human Rights Council suggest that in diplomatic circles the view is that our border protection […]

Pine Gap: Full Knowledge & Concurrence

In honour of the late Professor Des Ball Heavily redacted documents produced in accordance with Freedom of Information laws appear to imply that the Australian government has full knowledge of current and future operations taking place at Pine Gap and that it is given the opportunity to approve or deny proposed future conduct carried out at […]

Bipartisan silence

In response to criticisms from Amnesty International that the Iraq government and coalition carried out “disproportionate” and unlawful attacks to take back Mosul, a Senior British Commander, Major Gen Jones, said recently that ‘it is naive to think a city such as Mosul, with a population of 1.75 million, could be liberated without any civilian […]

War and democracy: who decides?

Sydney University 21 September 2017 I’d like to thank the, Australians for War Powers Reform, the Sydney Democracy Network and Dr Sue Wareham for the invitation to be a part of tonight’s discussion. The late American historian and social activist, Howard Zinn, warned us that “When governments kill in large numbers they always do so […]

White phosphorus: an unfortunate correction to have to make

It’s not often you find yourself having to correct an article you wrote based on different responses you receive to a Freedom of Information request but that is exactly what I’m doing here. Earlier this month, in response to a Freedom of Information request for copies of documents, cables or correspondence relating to the use […]

Different country, different rules

By its nature war is brutally indiscriminate. Reports of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC giving an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s  elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children, is only one part of the story. The other is the system that creates […]