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Debating the point of international volunteering

Ashlee participated in a panel event at the University of Melbourne on 19 November 2015, hosted by the Australian Red Cross, to debate the merits of international volunteering.

The event was titled ‘Dispelling the White Knight Complex’. Panellists included: Marc Purcell, ACFID; Peter Devereux, Curtin University; Ashlee Betteridge, Development Policy Centre; and Chrisanta Muli, Oxfam Australia. The event was chaired by broadcaster Tracee Hutchison.

Summary of discussion here.

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Women, the workforce, resources and violence: getting PNG companies to respond

Ashlee interviewed Dr Linda van Leeuwen on the role of the private sector in combatting and responding to family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea.

Something that I would really like resource companies to do is to actually reconceptualise gender violence, not just as a community problem or a law and order problem, or a private matter to be dealt with away from the workplace, but as a workplace safety issue.Linda van Leeuwen

Read the full interview on Devpolicy Blog.

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Coverage of cuts to Australian Volunteer program in 2015 budget

Ashlee analysed the impact of the 30 per cent cut to the Australian Volunteers for International Development in the 2015 Federal Budget on the Devpolicy Blog.

In an analysis piece, she looked at what the cut could mean for the future of the program.

Consolidation seems to be the only logical step. But even then, hard decisions will be needed: fewer volunteers to Asia or fewer to the Pacific? If cost is the criterion – and it is hard to see why it wouldn’t be – the Pacific is bound to lose out.”

Read the full post here.

Ashlee also covered updates on the program post-budget on the blog–see below.

Red Cross no longer sending AVID volunteers
More details on the Australian Volunteers cuts

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Coverage of gender-based violence issues in PNG and the Pacific

Through the ‘In Brief’ section of the Devpolicy Blog and interviews, Ashlee has been covering the latest news and research on gender-based violence in PNG and the Pacific region.

Interview examples:

Event summary:

‘In Brief’ examples:

 

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Book review: Indonesia Etc. by Elizabeth Pisani

A recent book review of Indonesia Etc. for the Devpolicy Blog.

Elizabeth Pisani, a former newswire journalist who was based in Jakarta during the Suharto era before making a career change into epidemiology, has previously brought us The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS. Her latest offering, Indonesia Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation, takes a ‘random sample’ epidemiological approach to Indonesia’s 17,000ish islands to try to figure out just what holds the country together, against all odds.

Read the full review.

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Why is Timor-Leste trying to restrict the media?

This blog post analyses the proposed media law in Timor-Leste, which some commentators fear threatens press freedom, in the context of the wider challenges facing the Timor-Leste media.

In a context of increasing concern around corruption and public spending, the arguments of the government about the law being necessary for quality ring hollow, as does the reasoning that the law will enshrine journalism as a profession with protections.

This law will not solve the quality challenge facing the Timor press. New voices, increased competition and stronger demands from audiences are probably the best hopes, and they cannot be legislated into existence.

Instead, there is a real threat of increasing self-censorship by publications and individual journalists to mitigate their financial and legal risk in the face of the new sanctions that can be imposed under the law, and a real threat to the freedom and diversity of the Timor-Leste media.

Ashlee Betteridge

Read the full post on the Devpolicy Blog.