History and PoliticsSubscribe to History and Politics

The role of the social sciences as the poor relation to science and technology, and their continued threat in the Australian higher education system, is the topic of a new book authored by the University of Melbourne’s Professor Stuart Macintyre, which will be launched by Sentator Kim Carr tomorrow.

Professor Gerry Simpson is the Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law at the Melbourne Law School, and is a Professor of Public International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  In this piece, he analyses how the 2010 British Election could unfold.You can read more about Professor Simpson at http://bit.ly/cWR9pj

The philanthropist and Jewish community leader Richard Pratt will be honoured with an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree by Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s President, Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, during the 2010 Pratt Memorial Oration this Thursday, 29 April.

The former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser will be speaking in a public lecture at the University of Melbourne tomorrow evening, Wednesday 31 March.

Australia is still a lucky country.  Our per capita income is higher than that of many affluent nations, including  Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom.  On the broader Human Development Index, which includes health and education levels alongside our material standard of living, we rank second, with a score virtually indistinguishable from that of the top-ranked Norway.  We reside in some of the world’s most livable cities.

The emergence of ‘hate crime’ as a socio-legal construct and its relationship to recent Australian incidents of violence against international students, particularly Indian students, will be the subject of the John Barry Memorial Lecture in Criminology at the University of Melbourne tonight, Wednesday 21 October at 6.30pm.

Australia has a vital role to play in the region in campaigning against the death penalty, says Fr Peter Norden AO.  "I dont think it's enough for Australians to say it's not an issue in this country.  We are based in a region where many countries execute their citizens and we are host to many overseas students studying in Australia from these countries.

"We need to engage with those students while they are studying here to be more creative in their thinking, because they're going to be the leaders in those countries when they return."

"We need to engage them in dialogue and conversation.  In their own countries many of them aren't even allowed to discuss this issue; there's no freedom of the press, there's no open discussion, they're too scared to sign petitions. 

Fr Norden, a Vice Chancellors Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, will be one of a number of key speakers at a rally tomorrow at the State Library as part of the International Day of Action Against the Death Penalty, organised by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. 

Final year Melbourne Law School student and Social Justice rep Alan Wu, barrister Julian McMahon Reprieve Australia President Rachel Walsh will also speak at the event.

Dr Pradeep Taneja says that while communism in China is dead 'practically', the 60th anniversary of the creation of the People's Republic of China is particularly significant.  "It comes about a year after China hosted the Beijing Olympics, so there's an added significance that China has demonstrated to the rest of the world that China is an important country and one that has achieved remarkable success in its economic development and modernisation."

A lecturer in Asian Politics in the School of Social and Political Sciences, Dr Taneja says that while there have been many changes over the past sixty years leading to increased personal freedom for the population, there are still many internal problems.  "These are problems not just of the Xinjiang province or Tibet, but for example employment in urban areas.  Literally millions of people have lost jobs due to China's market orientated economic reform policies."

"And in the rural areas too there is disquiet - the rural population in China feels they have not benefited as much from the economic reforms of the past thirty years as the people in the cities."

"Externally however, China's standing in the international system has grown tremendously.  China today clearly is important, there's no solution to any of our global problems without China's involvement.  That is why foreign powers - such as the EU, US and Australia - feel they have very little influence on China."

The following is the full text from the 2009 Law Week Oration by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans QC AO, held at the Melbourne Law School on 22 September 2009, in conjunction with the Victoria Law Foundation.  Video of the lecture can be accessed at http://live.unimelb.edu.au/episode/law-week-oration-2009.

Women wanting to birth their children at home and midwives in private practice have gained some breathing space from Health Minister Nicola Roxon, but the issue of control over birth will still be there in two years time, says gender studies researcher at the University of Melbourne, Dr Meredith Nash.