Understanding the conflict in the Philippines

Ben Reid The ongoing armed conflict between government forces and Islamist rebels in Marawi, the Philippines, has taken a familiar turn. Evidence is emerging of increased US and Australian military support for the government of Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine military. The fighting in Marawi – t...CONTINUE READING

Liberal Party’s ‘fair go’ failure

Ben Reid It's a peculiar image to launch a website with. Picture a ramshackle milk bar somewhere in suburban Victoria, accompanying an opinion piece headlined “From laissez faire to much, much fairer”. Such is the way that thefairgo.com – the Liberal Party’s foray into online campaigning – chose to...CONTINUE READING

Martial law in the Philippines

Ben Reid Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the southern island of Mindanao on 23 May in response to an outbreak of fighting between the military and the “Maute group”, in Marawi City. Thirty-one years after the so-called “people power” revolution brought an end to the...CONTINUE READING

Duterte and Obama tiff: temper tantrum or real?

Ben Reid Newly elected Philippine president Rodrigo R. Duterte has entered into a very public tiff with US president Barack Obama. The controversy stems from Obama’s mild criticisms of the widely reported wave of killings of suspected drug traffickers in the Philippines, which has occurred since Du...CONTINUE READING

Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine politics

Ben Reid The main outcome of the Philippine elections on 16 May was the victory of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. His win is another reflection of the country’s deep economic and social problems and the failure of democratisation, after the end of the Marcos era in 1986, to address these i...CONTINUE READING

Budget aid cuts: is this the worst government on Earth?

Ben Reid One of the biggest cuts in the 2015 budget is to foreign aid. Although the usefulness of aid is often questionable, the cuts represent a significant reduction in assistance to some of the poorest people in the world. The budget forecasts a 19.5 percent cut in total aid over this financial...CONTINUE READING

Philippines Bangsamoro agreement unlikely to bring peace

Ben Reid The resolution of a secessionist conflict in southern Philippine island of Mindanao is unlikely to create any lasting peace. Instead it will be part of an increased US military presence. The southern provinces of Mindanao, mostly inhabited by Muslim Bangsamoro (the Moro people), enjoyed a...CONTINUE READING