• Politics and Policy

    Labor’s first term report card

    John Quiggin |  May 19, 2024

    The Albanese government’s electoral strategy has constrained it to do little more than tweak the policy settings it inherited from the previous government, and adopt them as its own.

  • Society

    Vaccines save lives

    Sheel Meru |  May 19, 2024

    The chance of living one more year is up to 44 per cent more likely thanks to the past 50 years of vaccines, according to new research. But global drops in vaccine coverage pose a risk to further progress.

  • Pacific

    The good, the bad and the ugly

    Alan Tidwell |  May 19, 2024

    America’s Congress cannot play games with funding of initiatives in the Pacific. Nor can policymakers merely continue with existing and outdated programs. Too much is at stake.

Latest Story

  • Women For Wik: What’s Working?

    Women for Wik     |      June 28, 2009

    Women for WikOriginally formed to support Native Title Legislation 12 years ago, Women For Wik are back in action to talk about What’s Working.

    Women For Wik is a network which respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait  Islander people’s rights and capacities to control their lands and communities. Despite the apology, progress has been slow and sometimes policies have gone backwards; often because of relentlessly negative reporting of crises and deficits. These ‘stories’ have led to drastic interventions, takeovers and funding shifts which weaken localcommunities and undermine the often under-reported progress.

  • Is it time for a bill of human rights in Australia?

    Matthew Tukaki     |      June 28, 2009

    What does a BoR's mean to us and what lessons can we learn from other similar countries?

  • Consultation receives over 34,000 submissions

    Fr Frank Brennan     |      June 26, 2009

    The National Human Rights Consultation Committee announced that they had received over 34,000 submissions as part of a nation-wide consultation on human rights in Australia.

    I would like to thank all those who have participated in our blog these past weeks.  There has been some very informed discussion. 

    I and my committee members now look forward to the public hearings in the Great Hall of Parliament House next week.

    There will be plenty of opportunity for public involvement at the hearings from 1-3 July.

    You can register for the public hearings at the National Human Rights Consultation website.

    The program is available here.

    After the hearings, I and the committee will be able to settle down to the task of writing a report drawing on the 35,000 submissions received and the 70 community consultations attended by 4,300 persons.

    The National Human Rights Online Consultation was closed at 5:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Friday, 26 June 2009. 
    Site Administration
  • Razzle Dazzle’em.

    Susan Merrell     |      June 24, 2009

    What's really going on whilst we're all entralled by the high drama of Utegate?

  • We Need an Australian Bill of Human Rights

    Bill Miller     |      June 22, 2009

    I am in no doubt that we need to enact an Australian Bill of Human Rights. The behaviour of State and Federal Governments over the past decade attest to that.

    Thomas Jefferson’s famous aphorism ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance‘ applies to the struggle for the protection of human rights.

    The struggle for a single law protecting human rights is, of necessity, eternal. There will always be people who will argue that it is unnecessary or unworkable or too costly and or deny that the unimaginable happens.

    We delude ourselves when we argue that human rights abuses haven’t, couldn’t, wont, happen in Australia, committed here and elsewhere by Australians. It has happened and it will again. It is part of the human condition it seems. So we must protect ourselves from ourselves.

  • Rights of Indigenous Australians

    lucyv     |      June 18, 2009

    The suspension of the racial discrimination act and mandatory detention in the NT have important implications for the National Human Rights Consultation.

  • Uncategorised

    National Human Rights Online Consultation closes

    editor     |      June 18, 2009

    NHRCC logoBetween 19 May – 26 June 2009, the National Human Rights Online Consultation received over 10 000 visits and gathered nearly 500 contributions. We would like to extend an enormous thank you to everybody who participated. Your comments are an invaluable part of our move towards a more deliberative democracy.

    The National Human Rights Consultation Committee will report to the Australian Government by 31 August 2009. Open Forum will keep you up to date as the outcomes of the consultation unfold.

  • People of the environment

    quagga     |      June 17, 2009

    Just because something is man-made doesn’t mean that it is not natural.

    This is a rebuttal of certain popular misconceptions which featured in the blog "People VS the Environment" by Hani Montan which appeared  here on Open Forum recently.

    That piece states a common misconception, specifically the "Maintenance of the balance in nature". The environment has no such a thing. There is NO balance of nature. If there was a balance of nature then things would never change, but unbalanced change is precisely what nature does. Infact we have even named this concept- it’s called…."EVOLUTION".

  • Freedom of Association & Human Rights

    sandie perry     |      June 17, 2009

    The so called "Bikie Legislation" leaves the door open to very dangerous and serious misuse and abuse of police power, particularly when people can be charged with a criminal offence "on the balance of probabilities". 

    I would like to share my concern regarding the so called "Bikie Legislation". 

    I wonder how many others realise that the new Laws can apply to many people outside of a "Bikie" profile? Via the police and media we are led to believe that the laws only affect bikie gangs, however if you look closer you will find that the laws extend to any particular organisation at the behest of the Police Commissioner of the States that passed these Legislations (SA, NSW, QLD). 

  • People VS the Environment

    Hani Montan     |      June 15, 2009

    Without population control environmentalism is doomed

    In the early stages of human history, the population and its interaction with the environment was at a sustainable level. Mental and physical capacities however, have allowed humans to live outside and in divergence from the law of ‘Maintenance of the balance in nature’, which normally applies to other species (Divergence from the law of balance in nature occurs in no other species besides the human). Around the world, the fast growth of population combined with the industrial revolution and urbanisation programs has tipped the balance against the environment.

  • Politicians Pay: A fair salary determining mechanism

    quagga     |      June 15, 2009

    Politicians are some of the only employees who can set their own terms and conditions of employment at will without having to bargain with their employers.

    Recently, due to the recent federal politician pay-freeze ruling last month, the issue of politicians pay has arisen once again. This has lead to various internet comments and proposals on the subject. What I outline in this article is an alternative mechanism for fairly determining the salary of a politician. This simple mechanism is based on the price determining principles found throughout society. This idea it is not new…I first heard from a work colleague over ten years ago and I guess it has been proposed elsewhere before then as well.

  • e-Security Small Business Checkpoints

    Bhuvan Unhelkar     |      June 11, 2009

    Smart e-Security isn’t about locking your clients out.

    Once upon a time there was a king who wanted to be totally secure. He built a castle which was indeed very secure – so secure there were no doors to the castle!

    e-Security Week logoElectronic security, particularly in small and medium enterprise sector is a similar challenge; it is really a balancing act between how secure you want to be and how easily you want to interact with the external world.

    In business, e-Security needs to be considered at the five important checkpoints; networks, databases, applications, processes and interfaces.