March 28, 2020

Clashes in the highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG) formed part of a familiar cycle. At least they did until modern weaponry and foreign energy projects reignited historic tensions and escalated the conflicts with devastating effects. Where disputes were once able to contain themselves, with their own mechanisms for re-establishing relations and peace-building, attacks and counter attacks as well as further retaliation and revenge threaten to push the conflict beyond the point of reconciliation. Something must be done before it is too late. 

The conflicts can be traced back over hundreds of years, however, in its recent history there has been a change from arrows to AK-47s and fire to firepower. Older reports describe villages and crops being burnt to the ground, contributing to the massive displ...

February 1, 2020

The small Pacific island of Palau has been the first country to ban the sale and use of suncream. This is just one of the several environmental measures that will be adopted in order to endorse the Palau government’s Responsible Tourism Education Act of 2018. Despite a population of just over 20.000 people, the numbers of visitors are constantly increasing. The tourism sector heavily depends on the rich marine environment of the island. After witnessing these frequent arrivals, inhabitants raised concerns related to the preservation of the territory. Tourism is where citizens of Palau get over half of their GDP, thus the choice to focus on the environment is also strongly related to their economic survival. 

The concrete solutions implemented on the island, such as sun cream bans and fishing tar...

January 17, 2020

My country is burning. 

The Australian bushfires have turned the skies from blue, to a deathly black, to a scorching red. The fires have killed 25 people since September 2019, as well as 500,000,000 mammals, birds and reptiles – the equivalent of burning down the Bronx Zoo 125,000 times. 

Yet, despite the 5 million hectares of land burning in the country, the Australian government’s response has been tone-deaf, unsympathetic and - most importantly - too late. 

In the midst of multiple international news stories, the Australian bushfires find themselves repeatedly fighting to hold onto their presence in domestic and international media. Critically, both the government and the media continually forget this natural disaster in their discourses. This is not coincidental. The bushfires are sufferi...

January 1, 2020

New Zealand. Home of beautiful mountains, amazing butter and The Hobbit. More recently, it has made headlines thanks to its young, ‘woke’ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. However, there is a battle that has rumbled on under the surface of this small island country for many years - the battle over abortion.

New Zealand’s abortion laws date back to the 1970s, when inspired by the change in the UK and Australia, abortion was decriminalised. Despite this, the practice of abortion remains in the Crimes Act. This adds masses of bureaucracy to what should be a straightforward procedure; it means that abortions can only be performed if two doctors approve the procedure, and if it is for health reasons. Any reason other than this and mothers could be fined, or even face jail time. Since then, many of Arde...

September 1, 2019

In Australian politics, socio-economic inequalities and frustrations among indigenous communities are among a few of the many effects that the lack of Aboriginal representation brings about. Indeed, tensions have become heightened by calls for the Australian parliament to entrench a representative indigenous voice in the constitution. Conservatives would prefer a legal body implemented by parliament, rather than a constitutionally acknowledged group. This does at least demonstrate that even conservatives believe in a representative political group. Yet despite promises from government after government, each has failed to set up an aboriginal body to advise parliament over indigenous issues and so inequality persists.

The campaign for more representation has its foundations in the Uluru Statement...

September 1, 2019

New Zealand’s Labour coalition government has created the world’s first ‘Well-being Budget.’ The 2019 budget marks a historic shift in how we view economic growth; it is only a means to an end and no longer the end goal for development. Considering humanity’s gravest challenges,  New Zealand shows how governments can and must play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of their people and the environment. Indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have long played a hegemonic role in determining how governments set out their budgets. Yet, along the way, states have lost sight of who this growth is for. By seeking to generate not only financial capital but human, social and natural capital, this budget places New-Zealand back on track. It is a matter of urgency that other countries follo...

March 30, 2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s immediate response to the Christchurch shootings as a far-right terrorist attack have been praised. In vowing to never utter the name of the individual responsible for the killings, calling him an ‘extremist, criminal, terrorist’ in Parliament, in many eyes she has become a model for the world to follow.

Most victims of New Zealand’s worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees, with 50 people confirmed dead.Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack. The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, praised the handling of the leader of the Labour sister party. Across the pond, President Donald Trump expressed sympathy on Twitter. Most world leaders across the globe offered words of solidarity but failed to explicitly condemn it as a terrorist incide...

January 11, 2019

Even in these heady days of Brexit and Trump, Australian politics continues to lead the way in its example of absolute political chaos. In the time Angela Merkel has been German Chancellor, Australia has had six Prime Ministers, and so it is not surprising that at the recent G20 summit Merkel had to attend a meeting with the latest leader of the ‘ruling’ Liberal party, Scott Morrison, armed with a factsheet about her latest counterpart.

With Morrison and the Liberals expected to lose the next general election, coming in May, Australian politics is stuck in limbo, without a functioning government and with its international reputation in chaos.

The stability of the government has long been compromised by Houses of Parliament which are smaller than those of other nations such as the UK, which has 65...

November 14, 2018

The United States has been the dominant player in the Pacific since the end of World War Two and has a well-established military presence in the region. Knowing this, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been engaging in a systematic effort to draw Pacific nations closer to its sphere of influence by pouring aid into the region.

The PRC clearly hopes to reduce the influence of the United States and its allies. One such ally is Australia, whose Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has recently made it clear that Australia will not sit idly by whilst China gains economic leverage over nations in the South Pacific. They plan to counter China by establishing a ‘Pacific package’ that can be used by Pacific nations to build infrastructure, thus creating a bulwark against Chinese economic influence. In...

September 30, 2018

In 2008 Kevin Rudd came to power in Australia on a Labour Party platform that promised change for minorities and indigenous peoples in the nation. In his famous ‘apology speech’ Rudd apologised for a century of policies that aimed to make Australia a white Europeanised nation. Mr Rudd apologised for what is known as the white Australia policy that prevented Asian immigration and openly persecuted aboriginal peoples until as recently as the 1970s.

10 years on however, the apology that Rudd offered has largely been empty, with race and racism still amongst Australia’s biggest political issues, despite the former Prime Minister being amongst the most empathetic towards minorities in Australian political history.

You only have to look at the speech by Fraser Anning in August this year – in which the...

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