AQ 92.4 - October 2021 - Out Now!
Transparency is an important foundation for trust. In this issue we tackle some of the biggest political and social issues, many underpinned by the need for transparency – from the justice system, to political scrutiny, to science itself.
State of the Nation - Unlocking the Academic Library: Open Access
The world is awash with information but the best information is the most difficult to access, locked up behind paywalls by gatekeeping publishing houses. Yet there is a global push for Open Access to scientific knowledge, that will not only benefit our own citizens researchers, but will open up a world of opportunity for people in the Global South, unlock the potential for innovation and levelling the playing field for everyone. So what is Australia’s position and how can we support the goals of knowledge without borders?
“Move Carefully and Discuss Things”: Taking back our Public Square
As humans moved from isolated tribal groups into larger communities, the public square was the meeting place of ideas and discussion, arguments and agreements that underpinned social cohesion and iterated the concept of the common good. Today our public square has fragmented, dominated by powerful online platforms that have placed themselves as the gatekeepers of our public debate. As such, we are seeing increased polarization and an inability to bridge the divides between us, with dramatic consequences. What will the future be if do not take back our public square?
Why the Era of Big Tech Self-Regulation Must End
Few people watching the insurrection in Capitol Hill were left feeling like American society was in a healthy place – or that the Big Tech companies mediating our public discussion did not have something to do with this. For too long, new media and technology has escaped strict regulation, including in Australia. Yet these companies have direct lines into everyone’s brains, a raging profit motive, and a history of abusing their powers…The era of Big Tech self-regulation must end.
Rys Farthing and Dhakshayini Sooriyakumaran
The Senate, The Executive and Henry VIII
When a Liberal Senator breaks ranks to tell the government that they are undermining the proper function of the Parliament and are lacking in transparency…you know that something is seriously wrong. ‘Delegated Legislation’ enables the Executive to make regulation outside the purview of the Senate – meaning that the government can utilise these powerful tools to make sweeping changes without scrutiny. The increased use of delegated legislation is eroding the proper democratic role of the house of review, and is a dangerous trend towards autocracy.
Peer to peer: Covid-19 and transforming jury trials in Australia
Jury trials are a keystone of our justice system – so what happens when Covid stops us from squeezing 12 of our peers into a jury box? The justice system has had to adapt, but reduced capacity, a cautiousness towards technology, and the impracticalities of in-person trials, has slowed things down – with a very human toll. What are the lessons for the court system from the pandemic?