19 August 2016

Each fortnight on the Policy File we round-up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at the bombings in Thailand, Australia’s #censusfail, and Indonesia’s role in the South China Sea dispute. 

A string of bombings in Thailand last Saturday left four people dead and dozens injured. On Policy Forum, Paul Sanderson looks at the implications of the attacks for the ruling Thai junta, in the wake of the constitutional referendum cementing their position in Thai politics.

At New Mandala, Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat assesses whether the Thai blasts could be related to the stalled peace process with southern militants. Shawn Crispin at The Diplomat also suggests the evidence points to Thailand’s troubled south.

On the topic of terrorism more broadly, Philip Seib argues that news organisations need to explain terrorism better, rather than attempt to starve terrorists of publicity. Meanwhile Melanie O’Brien looks at whether counter-terror measures are infringing on privacy and individual rights, as she reflects on a disturbing experience passing through security at a German airport.

The cyber incident that caused the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ census site to go belly-up on its big night has become a source of embarrassment for the department. Michelle Price argues the upshot of the debacle is that cybersecurity is now firmly in the public eye where it belongs. On Policy Forum Pod, she joins Liz Allen and Cassandra Cross in discussing what went wrong, and the implications going forward. Peter Grabowsky explains the difficulties of even knowing the scope of cyber-crime, and why cybersecurity has a big future ahead of it.

To celebrate its Independence Day on Wednesday, Indonesia scuttled 60 foreign vessels it had captured fishing within its waters, in a move largely seen as a statement of sovereignty against territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Muhamad Arif looks into the domestic factors behind Indonesia’s ambivalent policy position on the South China Sea issue. At the National Interest, Mike Scrafton explains the growing security dilemma in the region, and why China is unlikely to back down on its territorial claims, while Gavin Briggs takes a look at how superpowers set the rules of engagement in the South China Sea.

Want more for your weekend? You can catch up with our Policy Forum podcast series via iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. If you like what you hear, please give us a review on iTunes and help us get the word out.

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