Monthly Archives: June 2011

Unhappy 50th to Amnesty International

By Andrew L. Urban After many years of actively and financially supporting Amnesty Australia, I resigned in April 2007 with a heavy heart.  AI’s charter had always been to support and work for the release of non violent prisoners of … Continue reading

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Citizens assemblies & Julia Gillard PM

By Andrew L. Urban When Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced during the 2010 election campaign that she would establish a Citizens’ Assembly to deliberate on and find consensus for climate change policies, the idea was derided and ridiculed. It … Continue reading

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Policy debates – celebrities should know better

By Andrew L. Urban It is generally desirable to have everyone participate in democracy in some way, to maker it truly deliberative, whether by direct contact with local members, letters to the media, active membership in parties and organisations, election … Continue reading

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Democracy and freedom of speech

By Andrew L. Urban Democracy is a complex system of governing, unavoidably full of compromises and contradictions. Amongst other things it guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the press. One can feed into the other. The media can report … Continue reading

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The greatest moral challenge of our time … is not climate change

By Andrew L. Urban The uncomfortable truth is that Al Gore got it wrong. His urgent call for action on global warming (now it’s called climate change) was turbo-charged with the political slogan that tackling it was the greatest moral … Continue reading

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Orwell, newspeak and democracy today

In George Orwell’s 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, ‘newspeak’ was one of the key tools of the totalitarian State, used to diminish the range of words, hence thoughts, by the citizens. A propagandist language, it is characterised by euphemism, circumlocution and … Continue reading

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