Why Western leaders love dictatorships

My weekly Guardian column: Western-friendly dictators can die in peace, knowing they’ll be lauded as soon as they stop breathing. So it was for Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who recently passed away at the age of 91. Tributes poured in from across the globe. Barack Obama called him “visionary” while Australian prime minister…

How Australia is importing Tea Party style politics

My weekly Guardian column: It’s the swaggering and unthinking bravado that hits you. Australian prime minister Tony Abbott threatens to “shirtfront” Russian leader Vladimir Putin when he arrives in Australia for the G20. Moscow responds via Pravda by comparing Abbott to Pol Pot and Hitler. Australian senator Jacqui Lambie then praises Putin as a “strong…

Australia's role as dutiful US client state

My weekly Guardian column: Back in July, Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten delivered a speech… at the Australian American Leadership Dialogue at the New York academy of sciences. It was full of motherhood statements – “We are bonded, we are blood cousins” – praise for Israel’s “innovation” (no mention of the Palestinians) and clichéd rhetoric about…

Why do so many Australians embrace spying?

My weekly Guardian column: Australians feel… very comfortable… with spying on our friends and enemies. During his visit to Canada this week, Tony Abbott, the prime minister,… backed… the Five Eyes intelligence sharing structure between America, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and Australia, saying “our intelligence gathering has got to be done in a way that is decent and fair…

My #MarchinMay speech to thousands in Sydney

Yesterday thousands of Australians marched around the country to reject the extremism of Tony Abbott’s government. I was asked to speak in Sydney to a crowd of around 10,000 people (some great photos by Jaroslaw L Gasiorek here). This video features 15 minutes of highlights (I appear at 7.24): A slightly expanded version of my…

On anti-Semitism, BDS, Palestine and justice

My essay in New Matilda is here: As the BDS campaign starts to gain traction, accusations of anti-semitism should be treated gravely – whether from pro-Palestine advocates or Israel’s defenders, writes Antony Loewenstein The charges of racism were serious. University orientation weeks, reported Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper,… The Australian,… in early March, “have been marred by a series…

It's time for Australia to face up to its dark military past and present

My weekly Guardian column is published today: Official, government-mandated story telling should be treated with suspicion. How else to to separate the truth from hagiograhy? Australian prime minister Tony Abbott was in Darwin last week-end to… attend a welcome home ceremony… for soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. “Australians don’t fight to conquer”, he said in a voice…