No Conor, Australia is not falling to COVID dictatorship

An excerpt from my newest post on Medium •

Australian democracy is not on COVID-induced life support

In 2020, American governments decided that it was acceptable to overwhelm their health system, permanently maim a potentially innumerable number of people with post-COVID syndrome, while slaughtering six hundred thousand of their own people in defence of their citizens’ right to go to a Denny’s. In 2021, the Australian states, who decided not to accept this outcome, ordered restaurants to use Uber Eats and click-and-collect: How utterly Orwellian?

At least, reasonable controls on movement during a pandemic being “Orwellian” appears to be the position of writer Conor Friedersdorf who sensationally questioned in The Atlantic whether or not Australia remains a liberal democracy.

His analysis lacks an engagement with the broader history of national emergencies in consolidated democracies and seems oversimplistic.

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Post image © Sam Wilson (CC BY SA)

Could one stack The New Liberals?

Victor Kline, leader of The New Liberals, an upstart party which seeks to replace the Liberals on the centre, tweeted to those seeking to join the party, but who were unable to pay the party’s modest $50 a year fee ($10 for unwaged people), that there were generous benefactors who would “sponsor” their fees. The party will likely need more members, and is currently applying for a new name, in light of a government bill which will increase the ballot access requirements for political parties.

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The Crisis in Samoa

Last month’s election in the small Pacific Island nation and the constitutional crisis that continues into this week has me asking: Was Samoa ever a democracy? By any intuitive account, yes. It has free elections for a parliament from which ministers are appointed and a head of state is elected, and the Samoan constitution grants several civil liberties, namely freedom of expression.

For some people, namely political scientists, these intuitive accounts are not enough. This post will take a more analytical approach, comparing a number of democracy indices, the background to the election campaign, analysis of the results, the myth of ‘dominant-party’ democracy, and remarking on the aftermath.

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Reflections on the campaign so far: Liberals and homophobia

The Liberal Party National Headquarters (RG Menzies House) with a pride flag superimposed over it. The faces of Alistair Coe and Zed Seselja floating in the background.

The Liberal-National coalition is the only major Australian party that seems to openly invite homophobes into their ranks. They do not nearly enough to openly condemn homophobia among their members and supporters and even have homophobes in public office.

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Why we can’t take Mina Zaki at her word on her dual citizenship

Mina Zaki, Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Canberra, may or may not be an Afghani dual citizen. We don’t know for sure because Zaki left a key piece of documentation off of her disclosure with the AEC. Here’s why she should, despite her objections, tell us more.

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Without realising, Turnbull made the best move of the election

No one realised at the time but Malcolm Turnbull forcing his detractors to sign the infamous letter against his leadership last August has proven to be one of the best tools of the election for those fighting from all directions but the right.


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Death and Pestilence: Three Days In The Life Of Malcolm Turnbull

To suggest that Malcolm Turnbull’s week has started badly would be an understatement. After arrogantly suggesting that the Super Saturday by-elections would be “close”, now he has to deal with a corruption scandal many months in the making and yet another thorn in the side of his Government’s offshore processing policy. And it’s only Tuesday.

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