AQ 92.1 - January 2021
Despite it being an arbitrary point on the long arrow of time, there is still a certain relief in turning the page on 2020.
Protest has been forefront in 2020: George Floyd and BLM; anti-lockdowners and QAnon believers. This edition has a strong flavour of protest – looking both at the past and the potential future of resistance.
Remember that the status quo always appears to be immutable – until suddenly it isn’t, whether that’s due to a pandemic or a huge groundswell of protest. And while many of Australia’s leaps forward have been due to sustained protest, COVID has also provided an important break in the status quo, through which a different future might yet be glimpsed.
Some Rights, Some of the Time – The State of Human Rights Across Australia
Australia is one of only three countries in the world that doesn’t have a Charter of Rights – the other two being Vatican City and Brunei. Instead, the rules governing and protecting your basic human rights are a patchwork of guidelines and legislation that result in Australians having differently protected rights depending on where they live. Increasingly, the states have adopted their own Human Rights Charters, and now COVID is providing us insights into the benefits that a national human rights framework could provide.
Sophie Rigney and George Williams
COVID, Capital, and the Future of Work in Australia
When COVID struck in March 2020, several million Australians were retrenched or had their working hours reduced. At the same time, 32% of working Australians began ‘working from home’ digitally. Yet these outcomes were not simply the consequence of a rare epidemic that damaged a healthy economy. Rather, COVID impacted on a society already experiencing a decades-old process of major social, financial and technological disruption.
That disruption is far from over – so what might the future of work look like in Australia?
Judith Bessant and Rob Watts
The Changing Nature of Protest in Australia: Historical Reflections
Australia has a proud history of protest: from the goldfields, to the Franklin, to Lock the Gate and beyond. Some resistance has been met with success, while others failure – what does the changing nature of protest tell us about the times from which they were born? What has changed and what has stayed the same? And what has been left out of the ‘official’ versions of Australia’s protest history?
Welfare to Warfare – Police Militarisation and Fortress Australia
In Australia, there has traditionally been a strict demarcation between the police and the military – yet in recent decades this delineation has faded. The weaponry, culture and tactics of the police are increasingly militarised. And while this has repercussions for all Australians, the real weight of this shift is not felt evenly, with those on the fringes of society most likely to be marked as ‘the enemy within’. Fed by trends overseas, the militarisation of Australia’s police forces is at risk of turning us into ‘Fortress Australia’.