International Relations & Peace Report March 2017

By Georgina Pickers

NCWQ International Relations & Peace & Human Rights Adviser

While the feminist heart in me wanted Hilary Clinton to finally break the most powerful ‘glass ceiling’ in political history, my pragmatic head had to concede, that as distasteful as many remarks made during the election campaign, President Donald Trump certainly struck a chord in the minds of voters who believed they have been forgotten. History will be the critical judge of this new era but how Australia will fit into relations with the U.S.A. is opaque. The underlying theme of President Trump’s speeches emphasised business, meaning what’s good for America. Australia’s close relations and treaties have mostly been defence orientated. With anticipation of revising existing trade agreements it’s more critical than ever that Australia asks “What’s in it for us?”.

With trade and business in mind, it’s sad to read the global corruption perspectives index 2016. While Australia is ranked 13th out of 176 countries (Denmark was first, Somalia 176th ) the listing is a reminder that all levels of government, business and judiciary will always need scrutiny. Globally it’s indefensible that the potential economic growth and living standards of so many countries are robbed due to individual or corporate greed or compromised governance. For more information visit:

It has been amazing to see the endless amount of mainstream and social media energy expended in forensically analysing every word the new U.S. president utters. You might think there is nothing else of importance happening in the world so it is concerning that while so much attention is being focused on Trump and the U.S. administration other political events take second stage. For international Relations and Peace stable predictable relationships are essential. The recent political events in the U.S.A. have emboldened other countries to become introspective, with ambitious political leaders appealing to the populist views of the voters. The move towards the conservative right of politics, while in itself not necessarily bad, can cross a fine line between those views and authoritarian actions governments may impose in the name of preserving security and ‘democracy’.

The plight of asylum seekers especially those waiting for relocation in off-shore detention centres have been made a fine example of at great taxpayer expense. If or when they are relocated in any third country who will accept them, or chose to be sent back to their country of origin Australian immigration has made their point. The speedy resettlement of these people, wherever it may be, needs to become a reality.

The Queensland government has taken the initiative in combating domestic violence though early intervention counselling of first time offenders. The success of the trial will be evaluated and expanded subject to available resources. Several fatal incidences in Queensland have occurred due to domestic  Violence offenders either breaching their Domestic Violence Orders (DVO) or bail conditions. In Queensland, thousands of DVO breaches occurred, as many times as they are applied for by police or private applicants. (19,208 in 2015). D.V Connect spokesperson Di Mangan concedes in an interview that the figures raise the question of what can be done to protect victims of family violence. “Many women are protected by those orders,” she said. “But some men won’t take notice of those orders because their sense of entitlement won’t abide by any law.”

With the rolling electronic, social and print media constantly assaulting us with depressing negative news stories let us take a moment to remember the unsung individuals, the true peace-makers of the world, the non-government organisations or charity organisations who tirelessly strive to make a positive difference in people’s lives, even if it is only one person at a time. Their kindness helps balance the fragile scales for humanity.

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