Power & Privilege

There are 24 posts in this category

Freedom of speech? Not if it offends the boss!

May 3rd, 2015   

Freedom of speech is always a hot topic, particularly in relation to the media, and particularly on “World Press Freedom Day” (3 May) the theme of which for 2015 is “Let Journalism Thrive”. Given that, today seems a good time to talk about Scott McIntyre, who was sacked as a journalist for tweets reported to his boss by an MP. No ‘thriving’ for Scott, and not for journalism either, under such circumstances, would you think?..Joan Beckwith.

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“TRUST US” on metadata retention has a hollow ring for whistleblowers

April 3rd, 2015   

Whistleblowing is not for the fainthearted and the new metadata retention laws in Australia add another layer of potential intimidation to an already precarious undertaking. Framed as making us safer from criminals and terrorists, they will have the effect of making us less safe from abuses of power by governments and other institutions. The pool of whistleblowers willing to report such abuses is unlikely to increase under conditions of mass surveillance…Joan Beckwith.

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Why should we care? About the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

January 11th, 2015   

There are many reasons to be concerned about the TPP, and perhaps the most concerning is the secrecy. At a time of low confidence in government, there is growing need to know what is happening behind the closed doors of international negotiations that will undoubedly affect everday life…Joan Beckwith.

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Doing a GISH GALLOP on lefty feminists

November 26th, 2014   

Have you heard of the Gish Gallop? I hadn’t either until I was complaining to a friend about the sweeping generalisations and jaw-dropping assertions made by Mark Latham (former leader of the Labor Party) in his recent polemic against “left feminists” and their putative dislike of children. The main point, though, is to raise an alert on the Gish Gallop and its popularity with current policy-makers…Joan Beckwith.

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ISLAM IN A BIGGER PICTURE: A letter to Ayaan Hirsi Ali

October 4th, 2014   

Dear Ayaan Hirsi Ali, with all the recent hype – about terrorism and counter-terrorism – I’ve been distracted from writing to you about your books, “The Infidel” and “Nomad”. Of course, they’re relevant, given they’re about your views on Islam, although they’ve also been criticised for presenting a narrow view. I’ve had some thoughts about a bigger picture and wonder if they might be of interest…Joan Beckwith.

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Swimming with Tony Abbott

August 23rd, 2014   

No, I’m not trying out for Team Australia, or Team Abbott, or even Team Tony. There’s no danger of that. But I do need to talk about a disturbance of the peace that arose at my local swimming pool around the time he was elected. I reckon there’s some connection, and I would really welcome your input…Joan Beckwith.

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Re-boot needed on government values

June 3rd, 2014   

This post provides a marker of a few days in the Australian media soon after the federal budget of 13 May 2014. It lists 10 values I think underpin government policy under Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Please feel warmly invited to add your comments…Joan Beckwith.

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Whose freedom? What speech?

April 8th, 2014   

The current debate on freedom of speech in Australia, as I see it, is a struggle to own the right to determine whose freedom and what speech we are talking about. We, as members of community, need to make sure our voices are heard by those who are making the decisions…Joan Beckwith.

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Six ways political protest is more than self-indulgence

March 4th, 2014   

I lost faith in the power of political protest on 19 March 2003 – when millions of people out on the streets across the world failed to avert allied invasion of Iraq. At the same time, I do not see rallies as purely self-indulgent, and so diverge from a recent critique of protest in Australia. I still occasionally attend rallies, and here are six of my reasons for doing so…Joan Beckwith.

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Playing with words to play with lives

February 16th, 2014   

Words come with baggage; some more than others; “sinful” more than most; and “illegal” is fast catching up, at least in its application to asylum seekers in Australia. This, anyway, is where my thoughts wandered as I watched “Philomena” at the cinema recently … Joan Beckwith.

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