AQ – Volume 87, Issue 1 – Special Edition

2016 Special Edition – Ethics

AQ 87.1 Jan-Mar 2016 Cover

Indefinite Disinformation: The Political Capital of Fear

The arrival of the Tampa in Australian waters in 2001 marked a dramatic turning point in Australia’s response to boat people. Judgment in the Tampa litigation was handed down at 2.15pm on 11 September 2001. Nine hours later the attack on America happened, and John Howard had a potent new political weapon.

Suddenly there were no terrorists: only Muslim terrorists. And no boat people: only Muslim boat people. Suddenly, boat people were “illegals”. Suddenly, fear and loathing were part of Australia’s political dynamics.

And, as a country, we began to betray the values we so prided ourselves upon.

Julian Burnside


Being Human: The Ethics, Law, and Scientific Progress of Genome Editing

Genome editing can be viewed as a disruptive technology – fundamentally changing how scientists alter genomes. With the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 technique there is now a real possibility that we can precisely, accurately and easily change almost any part of any genome, including plants, animals, and human beings.

Yet with such a game-changing procedure now available, we risk leaving the important question of ethics behind in our rush to embrace change.

Ainsley Newson and Anthony Wrigley


A Rough Climate for Migration: Ethics, Climate Change and Forced

A changing climate will inevitably lead to population movement, which in turn will lead to ‘climate refugees’. To avoid compounding the human crisis of climate migration, we need to develop an ethical international framework – a foundational duty of hospitality.

Where should a country’s obligation to its neighbours begin? Does a country’s obligation to a person only begin when that person crosses a border? Or should wealthy countries be morally responsibility for assist these people before they are driven off their land by climate change to become refugees?

Elaine Kelly


Ethics in the Information Age

90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years and many of us could not imagine life without the benefits of the internet. Yet as the world becomes increasingly plugged in and switched on, are we failing to apply a moral compass to the technology we use and develop?

When governments are the ones doing the spying, are ethical codes even applicable? Can we have ethical technology?

David Tuffley and Amy Antonio