Sovereignty and self-determination: The wider implications of Israel and the West Bank

By Mike Scrafton | Australia’s Prime Minister recently said that Australia always respects the sovereignty of other nations, and simply expects the same in return. But cases like Kosovo, Crimea, Jammu-Kashmir and Hong Kong illustrate the tension between sovereignty and self-determination – and the significance of precedent-setting. Recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank requires careful, nuanced consideration. What position will Australia take?

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COVID-19: ‘Dirty hands’ and political leadership in a crisis

A moral crisis arises when the expected outcome of all choices will contravene a moral principle, a personal value, or a social norm. COVID-19 presents such a problem – choice between ethically unpalatable options.

Choosing a mitigation strategy over a suppression strategy strikes a particular balance between expected loss of life and maintaining economic activity. Accepting the real possibility of a greater loss of lives than otherwise might occur has a ‘dirty hands’ feel about it – an example of the challenge of ‘governing innocently’ in a crisis.

The broader lesson for leaders and institutions is the need to prepare themselves not only for rapid action but also for the opprobrium that will come from confronting moral dilemmas.
Governments will face many more unavoidable ‘dirty hands’ type decisions.

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COP25 Official Photo 2019

Democracy & ignorance: climate deniers and climate believers

It may be unrealistic to expect the normal citizen to become an expert on climate change, but excuses don’t wash for politicians – they should be well-informed, and government policies should be firmly-rooted in the best evidence and science.

Failed policies based on marketing undermine our political institutions, and Australian Prime Minister Morrison’s 29 January 2020 address to the National Press Club doesn’t cut it.

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