Australian politics, society & culture

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Russell Marks

Russell Marks is a writer and lawyer. He is an honorary associate at La Trobe University, and the author of Crime and Punishment: Offenders and Victims in a Broken Justice System (Black Inc, 2015). 

Articles by this author

Image of child looking at screen
Do smart devices in classrooms help kids learn?
Screen time, all the time
“Sometimes it’s really difficult to tear their attention away from the screens,” says Ruby. In her mid 30s, Ruby is a mother of two preschool children and also teaches prep and...
 
Image of Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre
How authorities lost control of juvenile detention
Call for backup
A 17-year-old boy is asked to take a shower. He refuses. An alert is called. Fourteen adults respond, five of whom drag him off the table he’s sitting on, lay him facedown on the...
 
Mistreatment of vulnerable people in detention is commonplace throughout Australia
Don Dale is the tip of the iceberg
The image of a hooded Dylan Voller, bound to a “mechanical restraint” chair inside Darwin’s Don Dale juvenile prison, is as iconic as those that leaked from Abu Ghraib. Adam Giles...
 
The Australian media prioritised personality over policy during this election campaign
An impoverished estate
Australians awoke on Sunday morning to the possibility of a second hung parliament. At this stage the only thing that seems clear is that Malcolm Turnbull’s days as prime minister...
 
Presenter John Hamblin on Play School
‘Play School’ celebrates 50 years of preschool education and entertainment
Through the windows
Allan Kendall, an Australian Open quarterfinalist, university dramatist and qualified teacher, returned to Sydney from the European tennis circuit in the mid 1960s and was given...
 
Pawno does little more than sell nostalgia for a mythic Australian monoculture
Unredeemed goods
According to nearly everything written about it so far, Pawno is the little film that could. “It’s fitting a film set on the rugged, vibrant streets of the Melbourne suburb of...
 
George Brandis sensibly reversed his planned cuts to legal services yesterday, but he didn’t explain why it was Coalition policy for 18 months
Why was this government policy?
On the eve of the 2013 election, the Coalition announced that it would be cutting $43 million from Indigenous legal services across the country. Unlike many of its later cuts...
 
The Abbott government and the renewable energy industry are 1,500 gigawatt hours away from an agreement on the RET...but Ian Macfarlane won't budge.
Up in the air
Yesterday, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) – the renewable energy industry’s peak body – suggested that the Coalition and Labor might split their differences on the...
 
Tony Abbott’s dubious record on travel entitlements, and political parties’ poor record on declaring donations, suggests the need for greater transparency and accountability
Trying it on
On Sunday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott flew from Brisbane to Sydney to attend NSW Premier Mike Baird’s election launch. He then flew to Melbourne on a VIP air force jet –...
 
This week, and possibly tonight, the Senate will pass legislation that authorises constant surveillance by the state of citizens’ electronic communications
The end of privacy?
The Senate is likely to sit late tonight so that the Coalition and Labor can see their metadata retention bill into law. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment...
 
The Moss review ignores the real cause of the abuse on Nauru, because the government won’t go there
Island of terror
Scott Morrison, who is now the minister for social services, said yesterday that he would not be apologising for having aired allegations that Save the Children staff were “...
 
Malcolm Fraser, 1930-2015
Malcolm Fraser passed away this morning after a brief illness. He was 84. The two periods of his political life – the first leading up to and including his prime ministership, the...
 
Budget 2015 is shaping up to be Tony Abbott’s latest book of nonsense
Fantasy land
Tony Abbott came to office declaring that Rudd-Gillard Labor had left the nation with a “budget emergency”. He promised that he would return the budget to surplus without raising...
 
Will Shorten Labor be able to secure protections for journalists, or will it vote for the government’s metadata bill anyway?
Press freedom or secret warrants?
At the time of writing, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten are in frenzied negotiations over amendments to the government’s metadata collection bill on the issue of securing protections...
 
Tracking the progress of Christopher Pyne’s higher education reforms
Backflip, split, crash, burn
On Sunday morning, Education Minister Christopher Pyne appeared on Insiders and confirmed that the government would proceed with its higher education reforms, that he...
 
The government’s new Whip brooks no dissent – inside or outside the party room
Whipping critics into line
On 1 November 2014, Dr Michael Powell, a lecturer in history and politics at the University of Tasmania and a former Labor candidate for a state seat, lambasted the Abbott...
 
An extract from ‘Crime and Punishment: Offenders and victims in a broken justice system’
Taking victims seriously
“How would you like it if you were the victim of the crime you committed?” is a question magistrates often ask offenders during the sentencing process. Sometimes a magistrate’s...
 
Glenn Lazarus ends Clive Palmer’s influence and the Abbott government’s chances of passing anything contentious
Not so united
“You can polish a turd for as long as you want; it’s always going to be a turd,” said Glenn Lazarus in January. He was talking then about the Abbott government’s proposed higher...
 

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