Tension in Korea — The Artillery Exchange at Yeonpyeong

BY BEN HABIB. The exchange of shell fire overnight between North and South Korea is symptomatic of the tense new dynamic on the Korean peninsula, stemming from the North’s muscular new stance as a nuclear weapons power. This comes only months after the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan, another serious provocation widely blamed on Pyongyang.

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2010 Victorian Election — Benambra Candidates Forum

BY BEN HABIB. This event represented an exiting first for Wodonga, with the Border Mail, ABC Goulburn Murray and La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga joining forces to host a candidates forum for the Victorian state seat of Benambra, in the lead-up to Saturday’s state election. The discussion covered a lot of ground, on the back of some excellent questions from the audience and the panel.

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Interview with Bruce Pennay — The Role of the Border Region in Our National Story

On this podcast, Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga is privileged to talk local history with Professor Bruce Pennay OAM. Bruce Pennay is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at Charles Sturt University, Thurgoona Campus. In a fascinating discussion, Bruce takes us back in time to examine some key periods of local history with great significance to the story of Australia: the gold rush, federation, and the post-World War II migrant influx—in which we touch on the border region’s rich migrant history, antagonistic water politics dating back to the 19th century, and much more.

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Getting to Know the Neighbourhood — Understanding East Asia

BY BEN HABIB. During the past week, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been in Vietnam representing Australia at the East Asia Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. East Asia—comprising China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Russia, Taiwan and the United States as a vested external player—is a complex strategic environment characterised by ongoing rivalry and historic animosity. It is a region vital to Australia’s economic and security interests. Because of these broad economic and security interests, it is important that we in Australia come to a better understanding of the dynamics of international politics in the East Asian region.

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Questioning the Sustainability of ‘Perpetual’ Economic Growth

Part of living lightly involves acknowledging that some of our ideas that have served us well in the past are no longer appropriate for the times we are moving into. One of these sacred cows is the concept of perpetual economic growth. On a finite planet, bound by the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, perpetual economic growth is impossible without the severest of consequences human societies and the ecosystems that support them. We need to be honest about our current predicament, educate ourselves about possible alternatives, and work together to build the foundation for a post-growth economy.

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Transitions Towns and the Post-Carbon Future of Albury-Wodonga — An Interview with Ian Longfield

In this edition of the Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga podcast we’re joined by Ian Longfield from Transition Towns Albury-Wodonga. Ian has campaigned on peak oil issues since 2007 after becoming aware of the problems of energy descent during a 2005 land planning seminar. It was through his professional involvement in property development and agency that he became increasingly concerned at our unsustainable pattern of urban development, incompatible with a future dominated by peak oil and climate change. Our interview discussion ranges from geopolitics to individual action and everywhere in between, so buckle up and enjoy this engrossing conversation.

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Healthy Mind, Healthy Community, Healthy World — Interview with Marie Jackson

One of the enjoyable aspects of administering Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga has been the opportunity it has given me to interview all kinds of interesting people from across the local community. One of those interesting people is today’s guest, Marie Jackson. Marie is a local legend, best known through her role as a much-loved DRU Yoga instructor in Wodonga. She has been nominated for Australian of the Year for her community work and has a wealth of wisdom to share on many matters spiritual, emotional and practical. We cover a lot of terrain in this discussion, but it is a fascinating journey…

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Various perspectives on the asylum seeker debate

BY BEN HABIB. Regular readers of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga will note that the asylum seeker debate has received regular attention on this blog. With the race card well and truly back on the poker table of Australian politics, now seems as good a time as any to examine the many different angles on the asylum seeker story. Like all complicated public policy problems, this issue is far from black and white (no pun intended).

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Final thoughts on the Election Campaign—We’ll Get the Government We Deserve

BY BEN HABIB. Like many people, I have been intrigued by this federal election campaign and like many others, I will be pleased when the spectacle is over. As we move into the last two days before the poll on August 21st, I would like to offer my thoughts on the election campaign and what it says about Australian society…

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Surviving Stalin, Hitler and White Australia

BY BEN HABIB.
Fear and ignorance are a poor basis for making any kind of decision, including the decision we make at the ballot box on election day. In this posting I will tell the story of my grandmother, a Ukrainian peasant girl who survived the evil crimes of Stalin and Hitler to find a home amidst the racial intolerance of white Australia. She knew the real meaning of fear and rose above it.

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Federal Election 2010: Candidates Forum for the Electorate of Farrer

Podcast interviews with each of the candidates for the seat of Farrer in the 2010 federal election: Sussan Ley (Lib), Christian Emmery (ALP). The candidates were asked a set of similar questions on local issues, the state of political debate in Australia, climate change, the economy, and border security. This framework provides a basis to directly compare the positions and policy proposals of each candidate and the party they represent.

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