A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY “DEBATE” IN AUSTRALIA

by Laura Evans

Content warning: this article mentions homophobia 

It’s been quite a week in Australian politics. You might have heard that the Turnbull government (a coalition of the centre-right Liberal Party and slightly further-right-but-mostly-rural National Party) have been debating marriage equality and have launched something called a postal-plebiscite. To understand why this is a Big Complicated Deal, we have to go back to 2004.Continue Reading

JUNE 8TH, 2017: THE DAY JEREMY CORBYN SAVED THE LABOUR PARTY (PART 1)

by Elliot Folan

It was perhaps naïve, but I had hoped that the 2017 general election result had settled the argument about Jeremy Corbyn’s electability. It certainly settled it for me. However, a shrinking minority of critics continue to insist that he must go, insisting that as he lost the 2017 election, he will lose the next. In these two articles I’d like to avoid personalising the issue and simply demonstrate two things:

  1. Firstly, that winning the 2017 election outright was a Herculean task under any leadership – after devastating losses in 2010 and 2015, a minority government would have been the best possible result, and even then it was incredibly unlikely;
  1. And secondly, that Corbyn’s performance in June 2017 has all but guaranteed that the next government will be led by the Labour Party, either as a majority or minority government. I’ll examine this in Part 2.

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THE ROAD TO FULLY AUTOMATED LUXURY GAY SPACE COMMUNISM: PART 1

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by Rob Harding

Let’s leave the sordid world of Earth behind for a bit, and explore the potential of a concept that’s kind of easy to dismiss out of hand.

In his venerable Culture series, Iain M Banks describes a future society based around Minds, unimaginably super-intelligent AIs that control vast ships and space-going habitats, on which a massive collection of alternately hedonistic and depressed lesser-biological beings (assumed to be human, although it’s never made explicit) live pampered and comfortable lives. The Culture is semi-utopian, although, if it resembles any society, it resembles the US in its relations with other civilisations, The books frequently focus on both the skulduggery necessary to keep the civilisation running and the injustice of being born outside it. Nonetheless, it is a portrait of a society in which humans (probably) are protected, cared for and treated equally through advanced technology.

Because utopias aren’t easy or fun to write, few societies like the Culture have appeared in fiction before or since. There is one notable version, however, in the form of an oddly idealistic leftie meme: Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism.Continue Reading

WE NEED TO HAVE THE AVIATION CONVERSATION

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By Olivia Hanks

Like many people I know, I have felt vaguely guilty about flying for several years now, on an intellectual level. I knew it was bad for the environment, but I was living away from the UK for a while, which at the time seemed to serve as a sort of justification.

Recently, though, my response to this issue has become much more emotional, more gut-level. The widely used aphorism about needing three planets to support your lifestyle has slid into focus: we are stealing. Stealing resources from the poor, stealing the future from the unborn. The view implied by our government and our individual actions – that it’s all worth it for the sake of those £25 tickets to Croatia – is sickening if you think about it for long.Continue Reading

THE ARCTIC

By Gunnar Eigener

Recent events have focused media attention on changes to the environment of Antarctica, brought about by both natural and anthropogenic effects. Yet the Arctic should remain higher on the list of priorities, for challenges it faces are not merely regional, but global. 

The Arctic Council, which consists of the eight countries with territory within the Arctic Circle, produced a report ‘Snow, Water, Ice, Permafrost in the Arctic’ (SWIPA), which stated the area of sea ice has decreased by over 50% over the past 30 years. The report goes on to estimate that the Arctic will be ice free by 2040 (although some other reports suggest 2037). Regardless of the exact year, the thickness of Arctic sea ice is falling dramatically. In the central Arctic ocean, the ice has declined by up to 65% between 1975 and 2012. It was in 2012 that the lowest area of was recorded, at 4.1 million square kilometres. The previous record was set in 2007 with 4.17 million square kilometres.Continue Reading

ITALY’S FASCIST WATERMELON

by Alex Valente

CW: racism, sexism, fascism

There’s an old home-grown metaphor that runs in the Italian side of my family – which may have been acquired by my great-grandfather through his context and peers, I just have never heard it anywhere else – which goes as follows:

Italy is a watermelon. The thick, green skin on the outside is democracy, the Republic. The thin white layer that keeps everything inside together is the Democrazia Cristiana (Christian Democracy, the centre party that governed Italy after WWII, and the ancestor of pretty much all centrist politicians since). The red pulp is the Socialist, Communist heart of the country. But the seed, the black seed from which it all grows – that’s Fascism.

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ANTARCTICA: THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE

By Gunnar Eigener

The calving of a 5,800 square-kilometre section of the Larsen C ice shelf has been recorded. Although it is only half the size of the largest ever recorded iceberg (B15 broke off from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in 2000, measuring 11,007 square-kilometres), it nonetheless represents yet another loss of ice – not just in Antarctica, but globally.Continue Reading