Voting for social justice

June 14th, 2013  |  Published in Power & Politics


On 7 September, 2013, we go to the polls in Australia, and I want to know candidates’ views on issues of social justice. I have drafted some questions; improvements welcome.


Discuss four of the following terms:

  1. Power relations
  2. Human rights
  3. Social justice
  4. Marginalisation
  5. Othering
  6. Discrimination
  7. Kyriarchy
  8. Privilege
  9. Hierarchical power
  10. Transparency (and hence, accountability)


Spell and define the remaining six.


Write 1000 words on each term for which you scored less than 90%, and 2000 words on any term(s) you spelt incorrectly.


Read the following articles and comment on common themes (apart from the fact that all appeared in print media over two days).


State your position on the following:

  1. Boat people (that is, people seeking asylum)
  2. Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the constitution
  3. Workplace bullying laws
  4. Marriage equality
  5. National Disability Insurance Scheme
  6. Representation of women in leadership positions
  7. Royal commission on child sexual abuse


Describe social justice projects and campaigns you have been actively involved in.


For the sake of sceptics, what evidence can you provide that your social justice credentials are authentic?


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4 comments on “Voting for social justice”

  1. Alex Bhathal says:

    Hi Joan, great questions – question three is daunting (Though i recognise prob tongue in cheek – I hope so anyway!)

    and I would do this survey, minus q 3, no worries!

    some very important political concerns covered here.


    • joanbeckwith says:

      Hi Alex, good to hear from you. And, yes, question three is probably more a flashback to past life as an academic than seriously intended in this context, although I do sometimes wonder if some politicians lose sight of their own privilege, for example, especially when you look at positions on issues such as people seeking asylum. I don’t know if you’re serious about doing the survey (and, actually, I think I could probably predict quite a few of your answers based on your own facebook page) but here’s a thought: you could take them bit by bit and post them and your answers on FB, or get someone to do an interview with you for publication or broadcast, or organise a round-table, or…not sure, but do think that if we could build discussion of issues and get people thinking it could shift political discussion in useful ways as well as being collectively uplifting.
      Best wishes, Joan Beckwith.

  2. joanbeckwith says:

    Thanks for asking, Ruth. Are you wondering if I’ve had a stream of politicians banging down my door to answer my questions? Well, no. But, then, they’ve all probably been a bit busy. Since I wrote this post, Kevin Rudd has replaced Julia Gillard as prime minister, and a whole raft of ministers have resigned, and a new front bench has just been formed. Oh, and the 14 September election date has been cancelled and we don’t know when the replacement date is. Nonetheless, when the dust has settled, I might do some door-banging myself…Joan Beckwith.

  3. Ruth Miller says:

    Brilliant! But, have you had any takers?

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