Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
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The edition asks the question: ‘Is there a crisis in democracy?’
In its 75th year, Meanjin continues a long tradition of being a journal of ideas. The Spring edition examines contemporary democratic life in Australia.
The “bumper” issue features essays, interviews and memoirs from diverse notable Australian voices, including a Meanjin Papers essay from Cheryl Saunders and Michael Crommelin that sets out principles for reform of the Australian Federation.
Professor Davis commented that it was a privilege to be invited, with Gwilym Croucher, to guest-edit Australia’s premier literary journal.
“It is a time of great challenges for our nation, so we thought it particularly important to ask prominent Australians their views on our democracy. I’m pleased that so many experts and thinkers were able to contribute to the issue,” Professor Davis said.
“We should all take the stewardship of our democracy seriously. It is a precious concept that is easy to break but incredibly difficult to rebuild. There needs to be more public discussion and debate about democracy.”
Also in the Spring issue, award-winning novelist Melissa Lucashenko argues that Aboriginal Australia invented the first Australian democracy. President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs examines the Magna Carta, executive power and democracy, and Nobel laureate Peter Doherty argues for the importance of evidence in forming policy.
Clive Palmer considers the rise of the professional politician, while Bronwyn Bishop reflects on the history and role of the Speaker in Australian Parliament.
The edition also features work from: Jim Chalmers, Dennis Glover, Michael Gordon, David Kemp, Kristina Keneally, Marcia Langton, Sharon Lewin, Carmen Lawrence, Sussan Ley, Stuart Macintyre, Christine Milne, Julianne Schultz, Suzanna Sheed, Lindsay Tanner and many others.
Meanjin is Australia's second oldest literary journal and was founded by Clem Christesen in Brisbane in 1940. The name, pronounced Mee-an-jin, comes from an Aboriginal word for the finger of land on which central Brisbane sits. It moved to Melbourne in 1945 at the invitation of the University of Melbourne and became an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing at the beginning of 2008.
The Summer issue of Meanjin (published in December 2015) will be the first from new editor Jonathan Green.
About the guest editors:
Professor Glyn Davis is Professor of Political Science, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Melbourne, and immediate past Chair of Universities Australia. Internationally, Professor Davis is a past Chair of Universitas 21, a grouping of 24 leading universities from around the globe, a member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, and a Director of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at King’s College, London.
Dr Gwilym Croucher is a senior lecturer in the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education and principal policy adviser in the Chancellery at the University of Melbourne.