Defeating violent Islamic extremism has been a high priority for all western countries, including Australia, since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. However, the threat we face doesn’t so much come from zealots flying planes into buildings as from young people barely out of childhood and who have their entire lives before them. Altering any kind of ideological belief — whether religious or political — is very difficult. Once we get into our heads ideas about the difference between good and evil, right and wrong or innocent and guilty, they can be hard to dislodge. To do so requires more than a government program. De-radicalisation has been dismissed by some as a pseudo-science designed more for our own benefit to help us deal with a phenomenon most of us simply do not understand. De-radicalisation programs are unlikely to be completely successful. They may well do some good although they will not magically fix the threat of radicalised youths without us having to do anything more. The threat of radicalised youths is likely to confront our society for some time to come. This collection of essays looks at what more we must do and asks whether the beliefs that feed terrorism can be changed.
The Battle of Ideas: can the beliefs that feed terrorism be changed?
19 September 2016 | OP149
07 February 2018 | OP164
Australia is in a period of economic malaise. GDP per person has been growing slowly ever since the GFC. Australia’s performance is mediocre compared to other developed countries; by contrast, we outperformed before the GFC. Household incomes and wages are also growing at slow rates, though some of this is caused by the end of the mining boom. One likely…READ MORE
05 February 2018 | OP163
Trigger warnings, cultural appropriation and safe spaces. Who decided to bestow guardian status to Australian universities? And why should we let this proliferation of politically correct ideals become the norm, prescribing, censoring or outright banning texts, gagging speech and curbing the exchange of ideas? “The radical transformation that universities are undergoing today is no less far-reaching than the upheavals that…READ MORE
30 January 2018 | OP162
Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA hacked the internet as a key part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence program. Since these revelations in 2013, legislation has largely served to give a secure legal backing to what was previously an undisclosed, covert and sometimes informal national surveillance program. In the private sphere, we are now on the brink of an…READ MORE
10 December 2017 | OP161
Australia entered an era of economic reform in the mid-1980s as policymakers resolved to liberalise the country’s economy and strengthen its public finances. Fiscal reform, which is the subject of this paper, was an important part of the process. These reforms included management of the fiscal balance and public debt, tax reform, expenditure management, efficiency improvements, fiscal federalism and improvements…READ MORE
23 November 2017 | OP160
Reason, repentance, and the individual are three of the principal roots of Western civilization. They are, moreover, roots that are set firmly in the rich soil of our Judeo-Christian heritage. But the danger is that as our commitment to that heritage weakens, so, too, does our capacity to defend the roots of the West that sustain our society, our democracy,…READ MORE