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POLITICALLY/SOCIALLY SPEAKING

Politically and Socially Speaking

Why the world should be worried about the rise of strongman politics

The rise of ‘strongman’ politics, exemplified by Donald Trump & Vladimir Putin,brings with it considerable   risk. EPA/ Anatoly Maltsev Back in 2016, The Financial Times’ Gideon Rachman advanced the view in a commentary for The Economist that the “strongman” style of leadership was gravitating from east to west, and growing stronger. “Across the world – from Russia to China and from India...

Migration helps balance our ageing population – we don’t need a moratorium

Cutting immigration to Australia will impact the country’s demographic composition, with consequences for the working age population and income tax base. Andrew Seaman/Unsplash Australia’s population is set to reach 25 million in the coming weeks. This is much earlier than expected. Eighteen years ago, projections estimated Australia’s population wouldn’t get to 25 million until 2041. Western Australian Liberal Senator Dean Smith last week proposed a moratorium...

Is the ‘Zero Hour’ youth climate march a turning point, or more of the same?

Young activists rallying in Paris before the landmark 2015 climate summit. Julien Odde/Crowdspark/AAP This weekend, young climate activists will march through Washington DC’s National Mall. The rally, part of the Zero Hour movement, is another sign of the concern and dismay felt by young people after 30-plus years of prevarication and hesitation by their elders. Just as young Americans are realising that their...

Grattan on Friday: Disillusioned voters find it easy to embrace a crossbencher like Rebekha Sharkie

Liberal candidate Georgina Downer, Greens candidate Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner, Centre Alliance candidate Rebekha Sharkie and Labor candidate Reg Coutts at the Mayo candidates forum More than two decades ago Alexander Downer stood aside as opposition leader for John Howard, paving the way for the 1996 Coalition election win. This week Howard was in Mayo, his former foreign minister’s one-time...

What Australia’s convict past reveals about women, men, marriage and work

Male-dominated sex ratios in Australia’s history still affect attitudes today. Wikimedia Success for women often comes at a cost. Award-winning, election-winning and high-earning women are more likely to be divorced in a strange trend that may affect other aspects of our lives. However, divorce may not be the price for success, but a remnant of our convict past. Attitudes and ideas outlive generations, meaning misfortunes for...

A growing mistrust in democracy is causing extremism and strongman politics to flourish

As democracy loses favour around the world, support for alternatives, such as strong man governance, continues to rise. Pixabay Nearly every indicator of a healthy Western democracy is failing globally. Public trust and voter engagement have declined over the past decade in established, core democracies around the world, including in the US, Europe and Australia. The percentage of Americans who say they “can...

Must love jokes: why we look for a partner who laughs (and makes us laugh)

There are many reasons why those who laugh and can make others laugh are attractive mates. Shutterstock Whether we’re looking for love or lust, we look for someone with a good sense of humour. Studies of courtship on Tinder and Facebook show that a sense of humour is the most valued quality in a potential mate. A philosophy of humour as a virtue sheds light...

Grattan on Friday: The price of greasing squeaky wheels ahead of the election

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the present system is out of kilter and needs reform. Joel Carrett/AAP The Turnbull government is finally tackling the issue of how the GST is divvied up between the states. It’s a fraught task because reslicing the pie means some get a smaller portion. That is, unless you throw in extra flour, to make the bake...

Madonna or whore; frigid or a slut: why women are still bearing the brunt of sexual slurs

Sarah Hanson-Young on David Leyonhjelm: “He is — for lack of a better word … slut-shaming me”. AAP/Lukas Coch Senator David Leyonhjelm’s sexist slur on Senator Sarah Hanson-Young during parliamentary debate raises many issues about how women’s credibility can be undermined by implications that they are sexually more active than is deemed “acceptable”. This is a long-standing tactic, based on sexist assumptions that...

How forced pregnancies and abortions deny women control over their own bodies

Contraception is sometimes controlled in   abusive relationships. from www.shutterstock.com For most women in Australia, the decision about whether or not to have a baby is a profoundly personal one. But for some, control over this decision is taken away from them, usually by an abusive male partner. This can happen via the use of verbal pressure, threats, blackmail, physical...

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