JOHN MENADUE. Negativity and a policy vacuum win the day.

On Saturday, the quiet Australians that Scott Morrison spoke of so fondly voted for self-interest and in fear of change. All the democracies are suffering from a disgruntled working class that wants to blame outsiders and has thrown in its lot with the extreme Right . That is why they chose Brexit and Trump and now Morrison without thinking through the dire consequences.  Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Scott Morrison, the opportunist.

History, declared Henry Ford, is bunk. And last Saturday, the Australian electorate agreed.

Rather than punishing the coalition punishment for nearly six years of civil war, policy inertia, dysfunction and backstabbing, the voters rewarded them.  Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. The Morrison Government’s Economic Policy

The Morrison Government has been returned – and it is the Morrison Government – which has been returned without the semblance of an economic policy. And this lack of a credible economic policy did not stop Morrison winning an election in which the economy appears to have been the deciding issue.   Continue reading

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MARGARET REYNOLDS. Where do we go now?

It’s a sad day for Australian Politics when  national  reform is rejected and  voter priority is reduced to individual benefit .

But why should we be surprised ?  Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. The election confirms my environmental pessimism

Saturday’s election result suggests four questions to me:

  1. What does the result tell us about democracy in Australia? I mean no implied criticism of any individual or group or of any part of our democratic process. It is a genuine question to which I hope to see some empirically based answers in time.
  2. What are the likely consequences of three more years of a Morrison Coalition government for the state of the Australian environment, principally but not only regarding greenhouse gas emissions and land and marine biodiversity?
  3. What should be the environmental movement’s priorities over the next three years?
  4. What does the result of the election tell us about humanity’s capacity to avoid an environmental, and consequently also human, catastrophe? I will focus on this question here.

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IAN MCAULEY.  Dutton knew what he was doing when he booted out Turnbull

Australia’s Trump/Brexit moment came on Saturday night, when Antony Green called the election for Morrison. Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS. Parochialism Reigns Supreme

The Coalition, like many of those who voted for it, seem incapable of grasping the big-picture evidence required to deal with global warming. Morrison says he always believed in miracles, but unfortunately that’s not going to work for climate change.

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SUSAN RYAN. Older Australians, winners or losers?

In this election , there was an extra 300,000 voters aged over 65 compared with the 2016 election. The parallel increase for young voters was 135,000 , less than half the older voter increase. Did older voters exercise this voting strength in the interest of their age cohort? It seems not. I see more losers than winners among older Australians.   Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. Writing from the ‘Blue Ribbon’ north.

Queensland has delivered a killer punch to the Australian body politic, not for the first time.    Continue reading

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PATRICIA and DON EDGAR Family Views the Election Results


Last Saturday evening we sat as a family to view the election results. There were four grandchildren present, aged 18 to 24 who had voted that day and taken their decisions seriously. They were waiting to see how the evening would unfold. They are rightly concerned about their future, particularly climate change, and as the votes came rolling in they watched in disbelief. One leader had offered them a detailed plan for their future, the other had run around the country, behaving like a clown, spouting slogans: ‘Cut taxes’, ‘I stopped the boats’, ‘Kill Bill’, ‘How good is that?’ Yet the clown was getting the votes.

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 19 May 2019

The shocking loss of biodiversity and the threat it poses for human welfare have been highlighted recently with reports on the global crisis and New Zealand’s parlous record. Threatened by climate change, Torres Strait Islanders have challenged the Australian government at the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that the government is obliged to do more to save their homes. How best to communicate about climate change is summarised in an article in the New York Times. And while many nations are declaring climate emergencies, a young Australian sounds a note of caution. Finally a visual tribute to Bob Hawke.

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A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Bob Hawke’s open letter to Australians

On Wednesday Bob Hawke sent an open letter to Australians — a short message reminding us that Bill Shorten is ready to lead a united Labor team to contribute to a prosperous, fair and environmentally sustainable Australia. Here is the full text. Continue reading

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ANTHONY PUN: Chinese Australian Community Tribute to the late Hon Bob Hawke, AC.

On 16 May 2019, the nation mourns the loss of a great Prime Minister the Hon Bob Hawk, AC. The Chinese Australian community also felt the sad loss of a great humanitarian benefactor who almost single handedly, made a decision to allow 42,000 Chinese students to remain in Australia, despite stiff opposition from his colleagues. Beneficiaries of his legacy and magnanimous gesture should bow their head in silence for a minute to pay respect to the great Australian statesman and Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Bob Hawke: A larrikin, chairman and nation builder (Canberra Times 17.5.2019)

Bob Hawke’s lasting monument is the Australian society of today. A modern open economy, which he skippered out of sheltered waters, for good or ill, mostly good, into the open sea. Reformed national institutions, some now, sadly, in poor shape again. Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. President or Prime Minister? 

The current political cult of personality obscures the fact that Australian prime ministers are not American presidents. The Prime Minister told voters that they had a clear choice between him and Bill Shorten. No they don’t Scomo! They have a choice between two parties and cabinets that take decisions.   Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Housing for use value or exchange value

In this election the Coalition and the property industry with the help of the media have obsessed on the financial value of property,property as a commodity and property for wealth creation. Surely housing policy should be about housing as a human right where in homes we raise families, entertain friends and where we can close off from markets and business.

My grand children’s generation is unlikely to have fair access to the housing market unless my generation is prepared to accept, indeed welcome, a steady and substantial reduction in property prices.My wife and I have done nothing to earn or deserve the large increase in the value of our home. Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Unquantifiable strategic madness of war on Iran

There have been reports that President Trump is less enthusiastic about attacking Iran than his advisers. For the moment, an unanticipated source of sanity. The current US posturing against Iran seems confected. It also seems mad. A US attack on Iran would be blatant and naked aggression. The knock on consequences could have strategic dimensions that are difficult to fully comprehend.

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ANTHONY HOGAN. The Christian Left – a case study of value driven social progressives?

Perhaps being socially progressive and Christian are not such mutually exclusive value positions after all? Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

KOBI MAGLEN. Improving the outcomes for older women at risk of homelessness

Older single women are the fastest growing cohort of people experiencing homelessness in Australia, though their plight remains for various reasons invisible to many. Designing solutions to this problem involves first understanding the root causes of the problem, including structural gender inequality, and then identifying the drivers of better outomes for such women. Not least amongst these is the need for more social and affordable housing, appropriate to their needs.

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ERIC HODGENS: A Possible Australian Church Contribution.

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (RC) is one of the most thorough investigations of its kind worldwide. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) have made a combined response accepting virtually all the commission’s recommendations. This puts them further down the track of adaptation than most countries in the world. If it works out, Australia has the chance to be showing the way for other nations, the Roman Curia and even the Canon Law itself. Continue reading

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MARK SWIVEL. ‘To be without a home. Like a complete unknown. Just like a rolling stone’. – Bob Dylan.

Having a home one of the most basic human needs. We talk about housing or shelter as a human right – as we should. But that is not what we want. Not just the bricks and mortar but the sense of place and belonging. It’s why homeless people gather. Sure there’s safety in numbers when sleeping rough but we need each other and want to be together with others. Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Human Rights | 1 Comment

TANYA PLIBERSEK. Education in an election year

As we approach the election, I’m thinking carefully about how a Shorten Labor Government will be remembered for our reform of education. It feels like every week, I meet someone in their 60s or 70s who reminds me about how Gough Whitlam was responsible for them going to university. I’m struck by the way they passionately talk about this – even after so many decades. They tell me how the opportunity of a university education transformed not just their life, but the course of their family’s life.   Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI. The loss of control of our air borders and with the AAT drowning

The backlog of migration and asylum cases at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) reached a record 57,597 at end April 2019. That includes an astonishing 19,469 applications for asylum. The AAT is drowning. With the Dutton/Pezzullo engineered chaos in our visa system and loss of control of our air borders (see here and here), the situation at the AAT will get quite a lot worse before it gets any better irrespective of who wins the forthcoming Election. Continue reading

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ANNIKA DEAN. We cannot afford inaction on climate change

There has been a lot of recent speculation in the media about the economic costs of each party’s climate policies. But so far, there has been little talk of the costs of inaction.   Continue reading

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BRENDAN COATES AND JOHN DALEY. Someone has to lose for first homebuyers to win: This is who it should be. (ABC 14.5.2109)

The one thing that would actually help home buyers the most:  letting housing prices fall.   Continue reading

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Election lies we cannot afford


The choice that citizens – not mere “voters” – will exercise on Saturday is primarily between socially beneficial policies, a gender-equal leadership team, a leader who can pause, listen and think – up against a leader weirdly bereft of team or original thought, but ample in promises of yet more protections for corporate and wealth interests. And bursting with self-belief. That’s an opinion, of course. Yours may differ. So maybe we should also consider how this election is positioning facts, analysis and information up against misinformation – lies, con jobs – raised to an art form.

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MACK WILLIAMS . North Korea : Any movement?

North Korea has been squeezed out of the media headlines in the months since the Hanoi Summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un failed to achieve a breakthrough in February. This has been a factor both of there not being much new to report and the seeming plethora of other crises – at home and abroad – which Trump has on his agenda.

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In a tweet to President Rouhani in July 2018, President Trump warned: Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. Similar threats to Kim Jong-un in 2018 did not result in war with North Korea. Could they now, in Iran? Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The Newspeak road to four degrees Celsius warming.

While a price placed on the Earth, estimated at $5000 trillion (New Formula Values Earth), belongs to the unthinkable, the haggle by conservatives over the price of mitigation of climate change underpins the reality of the Faustian Bargain.   Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment