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Three Spanish Women Golfers in Australia - Recari just a little bit Korean

26 February 2015 9:34 AM

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Bureaucratic murder

12 February 2015 9:52 PM

I feel a heavy weight in the pit of my stomach as I write this. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been moved to Nusa Kambangan, where Indonesia's prisoners are executed. They are killed by firing squad.

Their death is now +-3 days away. After many years, the bureaucratic wheels are now moving more quickly.

I understand that Indonesia wants to stop the drug trade, for good reason, even though the drugs in question were bound for Australia. Had it not been for the Australian Federal Police tipping off the Indonesian police, these two men would not now be facing the ultimate penalty, which is not applied in the country the federal police of which is ultimately responsible for handing then over.

I so, however, understand that the laws of other countries apply in those countries. Our governments keep reminding us of this, and it is wise to take note. Once convicted of a crime elsewhere, even if it is not a crime in Australia, there is precious little that the government can do.

I also understand taking a life in self-defence. Drastic circumstances may call for drastic measures, and I have seen such circumstances (though, thankfully, not acted upon them).

It is even understandable, if not allowable, that one might take a life in a moment of passion or anger. This is wrong, but it is at least not pre-planned.

I also understand the necessity of due judicial process which can prolong final outcomes for years. We must have due process, exhausting all legal avenues of appeal, for whatever outcome it might be.

What I struggle to understand is that, having made a decision many years before, the bureaucracy of a state grinds over its slow and deliberate wheels to process the taking of life, and then does so. For me, regardless of the crime, having the intent and planning, this is bureaucratic murder.

No country should do this - not Indonesia, not the United States - no-one. The bureaucratic taking of life does not speak to the sins of the condemned, but about the intrinsic values of the condemner. For this reason, I oppose state murder, everywhere, always.

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East Timor's domestic and foreign policy after the resignation of Gusmao

11 February 2015 3:51 PM

The resignation of East Timor’s Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, and the appointment of a new cabinet marks a fundamental change in the young country’s political landscape. Gusmao’s resignation was expected, having been initially flagged during the passing of the budget almost a year ago, but has raised questions about the country’s future direction.

Gusmao’s successor is former Fretilin Deputy Prime Minister under Jose Ramos-Horta’s prime ministership, and Fretilin Health Minister, Rui Araujo. At 50, Araujo is considered to be one of the ‘young generation’, and is widely liked and respected. Araujo’s appointment indicates that a long-discussed ‘government of national unity’ has come to fruition.

Araujo is known for being methodical and having a strong grasp of the country’s finances. As a former independent, before formally joining with Fretilin, Araujo is seen as a moderate who is able to maintain good relations with major donor countries, notably Australia and the US.

One of the principal concerns about Gusmao’s resignation has been the continued stability of East Timor. There is no doubt that, while not universally popular, he has been both the towering figure of East Timorese politics and a great stabilising influence, especially after the chaos of 2006-7.

A ‘government of national unity’ would, by bringing East Timor’s major political groupings into the same government, very likely provide a much more stable political environment than one in which there continued to be a high level of political division. The disadvantage with such an arrangement is, however, that it will leave the government without a viable opposition, which could reduce political accountability.

If such an arrangement was in place until the next elections, scheduled for 2017, this might be seen as an adequate post-Gusmao period of transition. If it went beyond 2017, however, it might start to look more like some other ‘dominant party’ states, such as Malaysia, where coalitions rule effectively unchallenged.

As for Gusmao himself, it is likely he will remain either in a ministerial role or in an advisory capacity, at least for the time being. The President, Taur Matan Ruak, is also expected to keep a close watch on the post-Gusmao environment; it is no coincidence that his name, a nom de guerre, translates as ‘Two Eyes Watching’.

East Timor’s foreign relations are unlikely to shift under the new regime, with perhaps the new Prime Minister being slightly less combative than Gusmao has, on occasion, been in the past. Araujo is widely regarded as consiliatory, although this should not be taken as a sign of softness in protecting East Timor’s interests.

There is also hope that the Greater Sunrise LNG field dispute, worth tens of billions of dollars, may be resolved under the new government. However, there is no particular indication this will be the case.

More importantly, however, East Timor will continue to push ahead with its desire to see a permanent maritime boundary established between it and Australia. As Gusmao was resigning, East Timor’s parliament passed a law establishing a maritime council which will have oversight of settling permanent boundaries with Australia. If successful, this will mean overturning the current 50-year arrangement in which the resources of the Timor Gap are shared between the two countries, based on an earlier Indonesian agreement that favored Australia.

While Australia has opposed such a move, it has agreed to enter into discussions over the boundary question outside a judicial setting. This has been variously interpreted as East Timor believing it is getting closer to some form of agreement, or Australia just buying time. Whatever the circumstances, this is not likely to destabilise other elements of the bilateral relationship, which East Timor is keen to maintain.

East Timor has faced the challenges common to many, perhaps most, newly independent states. But it now appears that it might now be moving past initial teething problems.

With an orderly transition from the leadership of the country’s dominant political actor, it may be that East Timor is now moving towards a phase in its development when it can concentrate on planning its future rather than be distracted by its present. It will need to, if it is to survive the challenges of improving the livelihoods of its people, and sustainably manage the all-important petroleum fund that underpins the country’s economy.
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iTunes U

Sexuality Education Matters - Deakin University

Sexuality Education Matters is a Deakin University series of videos showing footage of pre-service teachers and lecturers discussing their experiences and challenges, as well as some examples of teaching and learning activities in action.

Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific Seminar Series - Deakin University

The Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific (CHCAP) seminar series aims to bring together academics and practitioners to discuss key issues facing cultural heritage and museums. The CHCAP is a leading research centre in the heritage and museum studies field, based in the Alfred Deakin Research Institute and the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University. Established in 2001, as part of an agreement signed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Deakin University, the aims of CHCAP are: - To develop a critical knowledge base in which to understand the diverse ways in which cultural heritage (embodied in places, collections and exhibitions as well as in intangible forms of cultural production) constitutes a medium to value and understand the relationship between past, present and future as well as the need to conserve, manage and interpret cultural heritage. - To advocate for an understanding of heritage that not only influences and shapes cultural identity, but fosters cross-cultural understanding within our increasingly globalised world. - To inform the development of policy and practice in the interrelated field of heritage and museum studies by undertaking research which is both nationally and internationally relevant and addresses the most pressing issues in this field.

Environmental Science - Deakin University

Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology) allows you contribute in a professional capacity to the study and management of wildlife populations both in Australia and overseas. Wildlife and Conservation Biology has a strong focus on hands-on fieldwork. Environmental Science (Environmental Management and Sustainability) provides you with the skills and knowledge to manage the interaction between people and the environment, and to satisfy society's needs for clean water, fresh air and healthy soils through the sustainable use of natural resources, environments and ecosystem services.

Changing Contours of Global Order - Noam Chomsky

Professor Noam Chomsky presented a lecture 'Changing Contours of Global Order', a look at our drastically changing world, and the implications for domestic and world order on 4 November 2011. This was a free public lecture and was Professor Chomsky's only public appearance in Melbourne, Australia. Professor Chomsky was an invited guest of Deakin University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Social Media & Technology in Australia - Deakin University

Social media and mobile technologies have taken off in Australia. This collection of audio and video content looks at the various perspectives from business to sporting organisations to security and families.

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