As I looked over the articles for this edition I realised that many of them address opportunities; those that are before us and those that threaten to be lost.

Chris Smyth of the Australian Conservation Foundation and Trixi Madon from the Commonwealth Fisheries Association tackle the Commonwealth’s Marine Reserves Network proposal. The key question is whether the balance between environmental conservation and the futures of those engaged in the fisheries industry is correct.

Prof Charles Samford from Griffith University’s Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law lays out the legal mechanism used to authorise Australia’s involvement in Iraq and offers some more robust and accountable alternatives. With the International Criminal Court obtaining jurisdiction, from 2017, for crimes of aggression, Australia needs to seize the opportunity now to ensure that our law makers do not end up in the dock.

In terms of opportunities lost, Kim Weinert of Bond University’s Centre for Law, Governance and Public Policy argues that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission missed the chance to enforce serious reform in the sector. Meanwhile, Mission Australia’s Dr Prin Ralston faces the reality that the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness is unlikely to continue past mid next year just at a time when much of the hard groundwork has been done.

Rob Oakeshott MP, Independent Member for Lyne, and Malcolm Mackerras, a long time commentator on politics in Australia, debate the merits and results of Australia’s second minority government. For those who are desperate not to have another one, you can take comfort in Malcolm Mackerras’ observation that there is only a five per cent chance of us having one due to our electoral system.

Paul O’Rourke, Viewpoint’s former editor and now CEO of Emily’s Voice, asks how it is possible for nations to interpret the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as it suits their position on abortion.

Finally, Dr Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist and author, reveals the widespread ignorance of sexual health issues and the reasons for it.


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