AQ: Australian Quarterly 90.2 – April 2019
On the eve of the 2019 Australian election, it only takes only the barest inclination of foresight to predict the inevitable battlegrounds: a withered Medivac scare campaign, ham-fisted rehashes of the asylum seeker=terrorist argument, the banking royal commission. What we won’t hear about is removing the corrupting influence of money from our politics, or how structural change to the system is required to start returning voters’ faith in our democracy…
All this and more in the new AQ!
State of the Nation: The Human Factor
It’s the Brave New World of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Trying to lose weight, you can go to the chemist and pick up a diet spit-kit. If you’re looking for romance, you can access ‘genetic match’ dating services. If you’ve run out of humans in your family to test, you can pay for a genetic profile of your pet. Yet how is direct-to-consumer genetic testing changing the way we think about the possibilities of genetic research? And how prepared are we, as individuals and as a community, to make responsible calls?
Alan Finkel AO
Democracy before Dollars: Money in Australian politics
Political donations, lobbyists ‘buying time’ with politicians, a revolving door between politics and industry; the influence of money is distorting our democracy. A slow erosion of safeguards, poor adaption to our changing world, and lack of political will to tip over the trough, has led Australia to the verge of oligarchy – a system run for the few, not for the many. Yet the system can be fixed. What are the practical measures we can take right now to protect the integrity of our democracy?
More Important Than Ever: Antarctica – The Last Frontier
You have to go to the end of the Earth to find the place where science holds a central role in governance. That place is Antarctica. While the lofty ideals of the Antarctic Treaty are often tested, Antarctica’s central role in our planet’s future is more important than ever. As the importance of Antarctic science increases, the cost does, too. There is a pressing need to develop new ways to build on Government funding and support the scientists doing some of the most important research on Earth
Emma Johnston AO and Tony Press
Our Decomposing Democracy
As Australia’s population expands, citizens are losing their political power and influence. The reason for this is that our electorates are bloating, as more and more people are crammed into each constituency. The root cause of this deterioration in our Parliamentary democracy is the limits imposed by section 24 of the Australian Constitution that restricts the number of Members of the House of Representatives to twice the number of seats in the Senate. Worse is to come with Australia’s population estimated to double by 2066.