Who should really benefit from aid?

My article in the Guardian: Foreign aid has the power to save lives but also to corrupt nations. It’s regularly used as a political football as some argue for more financial support to the world’s most vulnerable people while others believe more money should be spent at home. It’s a false distinction, however, because the…

Torturing asylum seekers in secrecy and proud of it

My column in the Guardian: The recently released… Nauru files… reveal an inventory of horrors unleashed by Australia on brown and black bodies away from public or media scrutiny. These people now have a voice, albeit in often… banal… descriptions of sexual abuse, rape, violence and psychological breakdown. After more than two decades of brutalising asylum seekers on the…

How drugs have always perverted human wars

My Guardian book review appears this weekend: In October 2015 a Saudi prince was arrested at Beirut international airport accused of trying to smuggle… nearly two tonnes… of the… amphetamine drug Captagon… through the country. Two months later, Lebanese officials claimed to have confiscated 12 million Captagon pills heading to the Gulf. The synthetic drug, invented in 1961, has…

How occupation truths about Palestine often hidden by politicians and reporters

My column in the Guardian: New South Wales Premier Mike Baird… recently visited Israel… and Palestine, the first for a sitting leader of the Australian state. After travelling to the occupied West Bank and seeing the Aida refugee camp, Baird… wrote on Facebook… that the situation was “heartbreaking.” He continued: “I don’t know where the cycle of thousands of…

What the Sanders and Corbyn movements say about Australia

My column in the Guardian: Charisma and persuasion matter in politics. Though neither trait guarantees fair policies or outlook – think Tony Blair… backing the catastrophic war… against Iraq, or Malcolm Turnbull hailing himself as a free speech champion before… pressuring the ABC… over its robust journalism – image is apparently more captivating than ever in the 21st century.…

The war on drugs has failed, end it now

My column in the Guardian: It takes a brave politician to advocate for the legalisation of all drugs in the current political climate. In Australia, Greens leader Richard Di Natale is… pushing… for the decriminalisation of illicit substances, arguing that drug-taking is a health issue rather than a criminal offence. Selling and distributing drugs would still be…

How Australia is inspiring Europe's immigration policies

My column in the Guardian: Australia first… introduced… onshore detention facilities in 1991 at Villawood in Sydney and Port Hedland in Western Australia. Mandatory detention came in 1992. Bob Hawke’s government announced it was because “Australia could be on the threshold of a major wave of unauthorised boat arrivals from south-east Asia, which will severely test both…

Boycotting companies making money from immigration detention

My column in the Guardian: The Australian maintenance, construction and detention centre company Transfield Services officially… changed… its name last month, to Broadspectrum. The firm claimed it was “a better representation of the company’s business”. Clearly there was an element of necessity too: the corporation’s founding members… withdrew permission… to use the Transfield name and logo over ongoing allegations…

On Bernie Sanders and ending privatised prisons and detention camps

My column in the Guardian: US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is… on the warpath… against private prison contractors. “Corporations should not be allowed to make a profit by building more jails and keeping more Americans behind bars,” he wrote on… Facebook… in August. The following month he introduced a bill in the Senate, the justice is not for…