Burma and the blog

Just after I finished my previous post about the value or otherwise of blogging in politics, I saw this fascinating story from the BBC on the vital role bloggers are playing in letting the world know about the huge protests in Burma against the country’s military dictatorship. Burma’s bloggers are using the internet to beat…

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Reluctant Indonesians

Tonight I am introducing the public lecture and book signing for Dr Clinton Fernandes, author of the recently released, Reluctant Indonesians: Australia, Indonesia and the future of West Papua. I’ve written many times, see here , about West Papua, Indonesia and the fraught relationship with Australia and it is pleasing to see an account that…

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Re-visiting refugees

I wrote on this blog back in December 2004 about visiting a group of refugees from Vietnam on Christmas Island who were locked up in detention and were facing being sent back to Vietnam. All of them were eventually recognised as being legitimate refugee or humanitarian cases, although many of them had to endure close…

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The value of facing up to past wrongs –

There is an interesting piece over at Webdiary by Orville Schell on efforts by Tsuneo Watanabe, the Editor-in-Chief of Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, to more fully and honestly detail and acknowledge the reality of Japanese responsibility for aggression and atrocities in World War II and towards China in the Sino-Japanese war. “Watanabe, who is…

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An Enemy of the State?!

Media reports have stated that my name is on an “Indonesian intelligence agency watch list” in support of independence for West Papua. This report on the ABC Asia Pacific website says it is an ‘enemies list’ of prominent Australians and organisations regarded as being supporters of Papuan Independence. However, this story on ABC radio said…

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More on West Papua

It is now 2 months since 43 asylum seekers from West Papua arrived in Far North Queensland. They were whisked away to our nation’s most remote, expensive and rudimentary detention centre on Christmas Island, and still await news on the result of their claims. The changes announced by the Prime Minster last June require an…

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Rage against the dying of the Light

The public opposition to the pending execution of Van Nguyen by the Singapore government appears to be getting larger. I hope the outrage remains and spills over into stronger ongoing activity against the death penalty being carried out against anyone, not just Australians. Last night’s Lateline on ABC TV (transcript here) had a very powerful…

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Light some candles in the darkness

The Senate rises again today. Over the following two weeks, Senate Committees will be required to conduct full inquiries into the workplace relations laws, the terror laws and the welfare laws – not to mention legislation enabling a nuclear waste repository to be set up in the Northern Territory. Then the Senate sits again and…

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Bali – nothing to justify terror

As mentioned below, the Senate devoted most of Tuesday to a condolence debate on the Bali bombings. It isn’t a good idea to get stridently political too close to such a traumatic event. However, I do find it a bit irritating when I hear gratuitous demands of the Indonesian government that they ban Jemaah Islamiah….

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I is for Immigration AND Indigenous (and Indonesia)

One aspect of the controversies surrounding the culture of the Department of Immigration Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) that I haven’t seen mentioned is how it reflects on the sort of deal indigenous Australians are getting. The second ‘I’ in DIMIA stands for Indigenous, and the recently removed Secretary of the Department, Bill Farmer, oversaw…

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More impressions of Aceh & beyond

Just before leaving Aceh yesterday, our delegation was told we would probably be able to meet in the morning with the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It would be a good finish to a visit focused on the enormous human impacts of the tsunami and earthquakes in the region. The twin messages I got from…

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In Aceh

We left Jakarta at 6.30 this morning on the Government jet to Banda Aceh. It is further away from Jakarta than I expected – over 1800 kilometres – and is actually further west than Vietnam and Thailand and lies well north of the Equator. Accompanying us was Dr Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who is the Director of…

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