On non-compulsory voting in Queensland state elections

The Queensland Government has opened up a discussion paper regarding electoral reform. It covers a lot of things, but one issue that has been making people take notice is the proposal to remove compulsory voting in state elections, meaning the responsibility of turning up at the ballot booth would become entirely optional.

Many writers have already thrown down their two cents, but I have a few idle thoughts regarding this development.

Whatever your political views, I think that introducing voluntary voting this is fundamentally a bad idea.

Many think that being forced to vote is fundamentally undemocratic, but … Read the rest

Adieu Rave

On the 26 June, Brisbane’s best street press Rave Magazine abruptly ceased publication after 21 years and 1047 print editions. I had been contributing to the magazine for almost two years, signing on as an indie reviewer in August 2009.

This started off a long, meandering piece lamenting the magazine’s death, but after reading Justin Edward’s great tribute, I’ll simply say that I was always very proud of having the opportunity to contribute to the publication.

Despite not being able to be as prolific as many other contributors, I wrote nearly 100 record reviews, 9 video game reviews, conducted … Read the rest

Australian politics and integrity.

I happen to be reading Plato’s Republic, and am deep into his treatise on how democracy should work and his ideal of the philosopher king. It’s fairly interesting, though I’m not sure of its contemporary practical value and can see why some of the more psychopathic dictators of the past have been inclined to Plato’s ideas, but it serves as an interesting sidenote to another article I happened to read this week regarding the current health of contemporary Australian politics.

Should personal integrity the most important facet of being a politician in Australia? Gregory Melleuish argues that it should Read the rest

Thinking about arguing

Came across this fascinating video about how one can think about arguments and prepare themselves to objectivily evaluate them. This one came via The Intepreter.

In this video Julia Galef from Measure of Doubt discusses some techniques that can help you think about the true meaning behind argumentation, herself arguing that the process should be more about striving towards having true beliefs rather than ‘winning’. She discusses argumentation as collaboration rather than combat, encouraging one to try visualise the process as seperate from ones own body or ego. Other techniques she discusses include:

  • Visualising being wrong.
  • Taking a long
Read the rest

The problem of IP: SOPA, PIPA, development economics and Down Under

The whole world has been going a bit crazy over the issue of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills that have been proposed for voting in US Congress. As you might know, Wikipedia and reddit closed down their sites for 24 hours and many other prominent web hubs have expressed their concerns regarding the potential for these bills to censor the Internet. It looks like the actions of these sites have signalled the death knell for these bills, but it is worrying that they even saw the light of day.

While my knowledge on … Read the rest

Some initial concerns on selling uranium to India

Uranium mining is a particularly divisive topic in Australia. It was only ten years ago that news headlines were dominated by those protesting the development of a uranium mine at Jabiluka in the Northern Territory. However, yesterday, the Australian discourse surrounding uranium took an unexpected detour, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard openly courting the idea of selling uranium to India.

While Australia has been selling uranium to other states for some time, the significance of this move is that the Prime Minister is considering selling Australian uranium to a state who is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty … Read the rest