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Showing posts from May, 2016

Digital election campaign means less time to reflect on the issues

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More than any previous election campaign this one will be won or lost using digital media.

Millions of us are wedded to Facebook. It's a vast digital kingdom that each party will try to conquer.

These days we are living more in our heads and less in the real world. We have fewer embodied and spontaneous experiences with strangers, and more disembodied ones, although usually with people we have chosen to follow; people whose political preferences align with our own. It's made us more tribal, more like the followers of Donald Trump, given us more blindspots.

The upside is that many of us are able to engage directly with members of Parliament, even the Prime Minister. And fact-checking is easier once you establish which sources to trust.

Meanwhile, journalists are under siege. Those on the campaign trail are tethered to devices that won't let them rest, and they are encouraged to use them to engage with the public when they've time to spare – time they would have once us…

Twisted logic of an asylum policy now in disarray

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Papua New Guinea's decision to close the Manus Island detention centre after its Supreme Court unanimously declared it a denial of a right to personal liberty and illegal has been met with little more than a declaration that our government will never allow its residents to come to Australia.

Minister Peter Dutton's lines sounded well rehearsed. Regional processing and resettlement had stopped many people from losing their lives at sea. They also sounded false. It's a corrupted compassion that seeks to prevent drownings at sea but will tolerate what seems like indefinite life sentences for people who have committed no crimes.

Just this week Four Corners told us about one asylum seeker, Hamid Khazae, who paid the ultimate price. Doctors were key advocates in the program.

The first wave of health professionals to raise the alarm about care in detention centres spoke out as long as 15 years ago. I produced a documentary for ABC Radio National at the time, quoting the Austral…