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
14 September 2020 | OP175
After three decades of prosperity and relative peace, Australia suddenly confronts a trifecta of crises: a pandemic, a recession, and a radically changed strategic outlook. In these circumstances, Australia must adapt quickly, always putting its interests first and being prepared to lead when necessary. Notwithstanding China’s growing assertiveness and doubts about US pre-eminence, Canberra can still ride two horses simultaneously.…READ MORE
21 July 2020 | OP174
We find ourselves living in an age when a small but highly vocal, and zealous, minority are availing themselves of the power of social media, and of sections of the printed press, to seek to force their opinions and attitudes on everyone else. In normal circumstances, this would simply be tedious: if, say, the public were being pressured to watch…READ MORE
10 April 2020 | OP173
Calls for protections of rights are often made without much reflection on what it is, exactly, that needs protecting. In this Occasional Paper, Peter Kurti argues that behind any claim about rights lies a moral claim, and that this claim is essentially about human dignity. Rights describe a sphere of personal sovereignty from which others are excluded and which also…READ MORE
02 October 2019 | OP172
2019 John Bonython Lecture – Creativity in the Age of Constraint The proliferating dos and don’ts of political correctness, the predations of ‘gotcha’ identity politics and the hypersensitivities of the #MeToo movement are battering and boxing creativity. There is a danger in faithfully following this host of concocted rules and dutifully avoiding stepping on a plethora of toes. Among other…READ MORE
28 July 2019 | OP171
The rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has helped make Australia rich, but it is also posing challenges to its values, interests, alliances and thus its identity. Xi Xinping’s ambitious New Era represents a decisive break with the Old Era under Deng Xiaoping when China’s foreign policy was to ‘hide’ its strength and ‘bide’ its time. China is…READ MORE