Overnight, South Korea’s defense minister offered his resignation amid accusations his department had failed to respond adequately to a surprise military offensive by his country’s secretive northern neighbour. With more threats of violence issued by the North in the last eight hours, and four people dead on the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong, the Korean peninsula is looking volatile.
So just what are the geopolitical implications of this most recent North Korean offensive? How will China, the US and Japan react to the North? And how real is the threat of all-out conflict in this highly sensitive part of Asia? For his considered views on these questions and more, Breakfast was joined by Dr Craig Snyder, Senior Lecturer at the School of International and Political Studies at Melbourne’s Deakin University.
With Melbourne Greens MP Adam Bandt successfully receiving the support of the government and three of the four Lower House Independents for his bill compelling MPs to consult with their electorates on same-sex unions, debate across the country and in all media outlets on this issue has been vigorous and sometimes emotional.
Over past days, The Advertiser’s letters pages have been given over to readers’ views on same-sex marriage and civil unions, and the issue has divided readers. With a controversial opinion piece penned by Tory Sheppard published two weeks ago and numerous editorials published touching on the issue, Anthony Johnson, Opinion Editor at the ’tiser, shared some fascinating insights with Breakfast.
With frontbench ALP MLAs increasingly on the nose, ever more critical press coverage becoming the norm, and unions and the public service rethinking their support of the Rann brand, state Labor’s halcyon honeymoon days seem a distant memory.
Meanwhile, Labor over the border looks ready to retain power, albeit with a reduced majority, after Victorian Liberal leader Ted Baillieu preferenced the ALP above the Greens in all seats.
Providing some analysis of these developments and more, Matthew Agius, our in-house political junkie, chatted with Tom.
With the first asylum seekers to be housed at disused defense housing at Inverbrackie set to arrive next month, the government is trying to win over Hills residents through further public consultation.
Speaking at Lobethal on Wednesday, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen found a crowd more receptive to his message than that which greeted officials from his own Department at earlier town hall meetings.
Rody Emblem, coordinator of the Hills Circle of Friends, a refugee support group whose members live in the region, has now been to a number of public consultation meetings in the Adelaide Hills dealing with the government’s Inverbrackie plans. To share some insights on how the community is preparing for the arrival of 400 new men, women and children, Rody Emblem joined Breakfast for a chat.
The federal government’s plans to use defense department property at Inverbrackie, near Woodside, as housing for up to 400 asylum seekers has met with strong opposition from some parts of the Hills community, as evidenced by numerous heated public meetings in town and community halls across the region over recent weeks.
With the federal Opposition accusing the Gillard Labor government of ‘rolling out the welcome matt to people smugglers’ through its choice of the idyllic Hills location for the detention facility, Liberal MP for Mayo Jamie Briggs joins Breakfast now from Canberra.
The government has come under fire from the Coalition this week as it moves forward, to borrow a phrase from the election campaign, with its plans for a fibre-to-the premises National Broadband Network. Refusing a call from shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to make the NBN business plan available to the public, Senator Stephen Conroy claims his government’s broadband plan is too important to be delayed. The opposition, predictably perhaps, disagrees.
In related news, in a report released this week the Paris-based OECD cautions that the national broadband network as planned risks being made obsolete by future technological developments. The government is defending its plans, however, and with the support of two independent MPs from New South Wales looks set to have the required numbers in the Lower House.
To help us understand some of the technologies being discussed, we are joined by Dr Matthew Sorell, senior lecturer in telecommunications and multimedia engineering in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide, and former Optus executive and current Liberal Member for the Sydney seat of Bradfield, Paul Fletcher.
Same sex marriage remains in the headlines, after state ALP MLC Ian Hunter’s co-sponsorship with Greens MLC Tammy Franks of a state same sex marriage bill, as Breakfast reported last week. There are similar bills being considered in both Tasmania and Victoria.
Yesterday the Greens upped the ante in the federal Lower House, with a motion introduced by Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt and carried by the ALP with support from three cross-benchers calling on MPs to consult with their constituents.
To discuss these developments, Breakfast spoke with Alex Greenwich, National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality, who is based on Sydney.
With the death of Ahmed al’Aqabi at Sydney’s Villawood facility earlier this week and another rooftop protest by asylum seekers detained there, scrutiny of conditions in Australia’s immigration detention centres is intensifying. Last year, Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry drew attention to some of the adverse mental health affects of long-term detention. With two suicides at Villawood Detention Centre in as many months, there are again calls from many quarters for the government to reassess its immigration detention policies.
To discuss Australia’s immigration detention centres, Ian Rintoul, of the Reguee Action Coalition Sydney, joined Breakfast.
Tune in to hear regular Breakfast political commentator Matthew Agius chat with Tom about the on-going Puglia trade fair controversy, recent hits on the city council campaign trail, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent foray downunder and more…