JENNIFER RANKIN. Group led by Thomas Piketty presents plan for ‘a fairer Europe’ (The Guardian 10.12.18)

A group of progressive Europeans led by the economist and author Thomas Piketty has drawn up a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe to address the division, disenchantment, inequality and rightwing populism sweeping the continent. Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI. Dutton Sets New Asylum Seeker Application Record

Why did 50,000 asylum seekers arriving by boat represent a crisis for our border sovereignty while the arrival of a similar number over the past two and a half years by plane is just ho hum? Peter Dutton in 2017-18 has set a new record for the number of asylum seeker applications received. His record surpasses that set in 2012-13 under the Rudd/Gillard government. This is the result of a crisis in our visa processing system (see here) which is likely to be creating a honeypot for people smugglers. The new record will likely be exceeded in 2018-19 as Home Affairs is reducing frontline staff and IT contractors (see here). Outsourcing visa processing will make the problem worse. Tackling the chaos in our visa processing system will cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly north of a billion dollars and take many years. Is the Government’s border protection mantra a diversion from its real border protection failings?  (Note:  Please print this post to obtain a clearer view of the tables) Continue reading

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MICHAEL PASCOE. Irony: Record number of asylum seekers arrive on Dutton’s watch (The New Daily, 09.12.18)

For all the government’s tough-on-asylum-seekers rhetoric, protection visa applications have blown out to record numbers on Peter Dutton’s watch. Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The Occupation of the Australian Mind.

Fear and apathy have taken up residence in the collective political consciousness of Australia. Indeed, it may be that they have achieved that most desirable of states for governments seeking to remain in power, or oppositions sensing their imminent ascendency to it: a state of collective unconsciousness that consents to its own increasing subservience and essential irrelevance while believing that it is being kept safe.   Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Protecting buffoons.

According to at least one member of the New South Wales Liberal executive, Sally Betts, the member of Hughes, Craig Kelly, is a bully, a thug and a disgrace.   Continue reading

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CECILIA MERRIGAN.“Is That an Advent Wreath?”

An Advent tale about a small father-less family from South West Africa that has been granted asylum in Australia. This is their first Advent in a new country.  Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. War and the national Interest.

Since the Korean War in the early 1950s, the US has committed a series of political and strategic misjudgements in its war decisions. Does this give us confidence about its future decisions and for a policy of going along with those decisions even when they do not directly involve our national interests? Nationalism and irrationality are on the rise, increasing the chances of conflict today  more than for decades. Continue reading

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HELEN DAVIDSON. Gareth Evans and Bob Carr join call for Labor to increase Australia’s foreign aid. (The Guardian 7.12.2018)

Former ministers want party’s national conference to commit to target of 0.7% of gross national income.   Continue reading

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KIM WINGEREI. The Particracy Rules!

If this week of political machinations, tactical manouverings and partisan grandstanding hasn’t proved beyond doubt what the real problem with our democracy is, I don’t know what will. We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a particracy.   Continue reading

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ANTHONY PUN. Advances in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.

From a rubber band lizard tail shooter to a molecular biologist and later medical scientist, it took a life time to understand why the lizard loses its tail and is able to regenerate it completely. The advancement of molecule biology in science and medicine has created sophisticated tools for looking into the stimulation and mechanism of tissue repair and led to the introduction of the field of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. A current example of fingertip regeneration is presented.
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ABUL RIZVI. Dutton Sets New Asylum Seeker Application Record

Why did 50,000 asylum seekers arriving by boat represent a crisis for our border sovereignty while the arrival of a similar number over the past two and a half years by plane is just ho hum? Peter Dutton in 2017-18 has set a new record for the number of asylum seeker applications received. His record surpasses that set in 2012-13 under the Rudd/Gillard government. This is the result of a crisis in our visa processing system (see here) which is likely to be creating a honeypot for people smugglers. The new record will likely be exceeded in 2018-19 as Home Affairs is reducing frontline staff and IT contractors (see here). Outsourcing visa processing will make the problem worse. Tackling the chaos in our visa processing system will cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly north of a billion dollars and take many years. Is the Government’s border protection mantra a diversion from its real border protection failings?  (Note:  Please print this post to obtain a clearer view of the tables) Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

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

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Private-public partnerships – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Partnerships between public agencies and private providers demand unusual degrees of vigilance of both parties to ensure that the contract between them explicitly states – in great detail – their individual expectations and accountabilities.  Values will differ.  The agreement should, if possible, be tested component by component before “going live.” Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Scott Morrison – a politician out of his depth?

Can Scott Morrison inspire the nation to reach for a better future for our children and grandchildren? Does he have a vision for the country? Or is he floundering as he tries to ride two tigers simultaneously – his right foot on the back of the alt-right tiger with Tony Abbott’s rictal grimace spread across its face; his left foot on the back of a tiger of panicking moderates? If the tigers head off in opposite directions, Morrison will fall flat on his face.  Continue reading

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HAMISH MCDONALD. Christian Missionaries and Their Mistaken Message from God (AsianSentinel, 05.12.18)

As fans of the old The Phantom comic strip will recall, an island in the Bay of Bengal is the location of the Skull Cave, home base of The Ghost Who Walks, established by an ancestor washed ashore in a “half-drowned” state after an attack by “Singh pirates” and nurtured back to life by the island’s devoted natives. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

CHRIS BURGESS. Genuine immigration reform still alien to Japan.

On 14 October 2018, a number of marches were held across Japan to mark what the organiser — the Japan First Party — labelled ‘anti-migrant day’. The target of the protestors’ wrath was the government’s proposal to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act to introduce two new types of residence status for foreign workers in industries currently undergoing labour shortages. Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The ascendancy of the age of Thorby (PART 1 – the state’s justification for requiring passive citizens)

Contrary to popular belief, modern democracy does not welcome an active, engaged citizenry especially between election campaigns because its interventions would hinder the operations of the state. The preferred condition is one of citizen passivity in which the authorities go about their business of securing the national interest as defined by themselves through an ever-increasing array of “national security” arrangements contrary to any robust definition of accountable and responsible democracy.  In Australia this is justified by fiat and pseudo theory, and practised in plain sight. Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The age of Thorby (PART 2 – The addictive denial of transparency and the protection of malfeasance)

Where matters defined under the rubric of national security are concerned, the intelligence agencies of the state demand nothing less than the indulgence to act with unwarranted secrecy – secrecy beyond that which is absolutely essential.  Over the last 80 years, as detailed in Part 1, this arrogation and its putative rationale have been explicit especially in the politicised legal casuistry of the Attorney-General. “We, the people” should understand our place as unknowledgeable actors in the drama of governance and desist from dissent; indeed, against an abundance of evidence, we should trust the state – it is the repository of secret information and our guardian. A spelling revision of “citizen” is required: sitizen.  Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. NSW farce rail

NSW Premier Berejiklian says her Government will ‘deliver a fast rail network slashing travel times across the State.’  Work will commence in the next term of Government and won’t wait for the Commonwealth – NSW will go it alone!  Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Unmasking history: the Queen, the governor general and the Whitlam dismissal (The Guardian newspaper, 06.12.18)

The ghosts of the dismissal of the Whitlam government 43 years ago were on display at an appeal hearing before the full bench of the federal court last week: Gough Whitlam, the deposed prime minister; Sir John Kerr, the governor general who dismissed him; Malcolm Fraser, the leader of the opposition appointed by Kerr to replace Whitlam; and David Smith, the governor general’s official secretary. Continue reading

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RICHARD ECKERSLEY. The demise of the official future

Americans are more likely to think the US is heading in the right direction since Donald Trump’s election. Why? Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit: Law versus Process as next drama erupts

Theresa May suffered three defeats in just a few hours in the British Parliament this Tuesday which doesn’t auger well for her EU Withdrawal Agreement next Tuesday. The various coalitions that have been the drivers to date may not hold well together thereafter.  Continue reading

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KIM WINGEREI. The Italy of Asia.

Assuming that come May next year Australia will have had its 7th Prime Minister in ten years, it puts us on par with Italy – the erstwhile lead exponent of revolving door politics. Despite being the fourth most populous country in Europe, Italy is also the perennial underachiever on everything from economic growth to political clout. Political stability matters. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 2 Comments

MARK BEESON. China’s Rise and the rules-based liberal order: Implications for Australia

The prosperity of millions of Australians has become dependent on the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This unambiguous material reality explains why Australian policymakers and commentators spend so much time fretting about how to manage the relationship. The sheer material importance of the Chinese economy to Australia means that policymakers in this country have no other option other than to try and get the relationship right – even if they are not happy about what China’s so-called rise may mean for other elements of Australian foreign policy. In some ways, this relationship presents new and novel problems for Australia. In some ways, it reflects longstanding debates about ‘our’ relationship with Asia and the region of which we are a significant, but perhaps increasingly less important part. If we want to understand why Australia’s relationship with China (and the region) is so controversial at times, we need to put it in historical context and think about the different, often contradictory foreign policy goals that have been pursued over the years. Continue reading

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JOHN ELDER. Coulda been a contender: Why Tony Abbott keeps on punching (The New Daily).

Two significant events happened this weekend: Boxer Anthony Mundine was knocked out in 96 seconds by Jeff Horn, ending a career that was never wholly satisfying for the man or his followers.

Meanwhile, Tony Abbott put his gloves up once more, telling The Australian newspaper on Saturday that he’s ready and able to join the front bench, perhaps even to be prime minister again. Continue reading

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PATRICIA EDGAR. Kids Technology and the Future: The Case for Regulation of Australian Children’s content (Part 3).

In the dynamic media environment we have in Australia, broadcasting regulation has become an exceptionally tricky exercise. If regulations are to work, they require creative application and on-going monitoring as commercial players will always seek to outmanoeuvre them, especially when they affect programming decisions. Bureaucracies move slowly. It takes time to define, then to pass legislation and once regulations are in place, too often assumptions are made that the job is done. That may be the case in legislating for seat belts or banning smoking in public spaces, but when the desired outcome is a cultural, educational purpose, where judgments must be made about appropriate program content, it is a very different matter. For culturally-based children’s programming to succeed today, a simpler regulatory approach than quotas and program approval should be taken.  Continue reading

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JORGE HEINE. The BRICS, their bank and beyond (India Inc.)

A strategic expert traces the origins of what brought Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa together and what the future holds for these emerging economies of the world. Continue reading

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BEVAN RAMSDEN. Caught in the middle of US-China contention, Australia sides with the US in their efforts to contain and keep China out of the Western Pacific.

Australia is currently facing a major change in strategic circumstances and the argument for pursuing a truly independent foreign policy, for the economic benefit and security of the Australian people, has never been so great.  Continue reading

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EAST ASIA FORUM-Preparing for the Next US Recession

One thing was clear from this weekend’s G20 summit. Asia and the world face many risks, and most of them emanate from the United States of America. Continue reading

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PATRICIA EDGAR. Kids Technology and the Future: The programs and projects children want to see (Part 2).

Children are now on the move. Their phone is their companion for reaching out to friends, texting, referencing, looking up what they want and need to know, viewing YouTube, playing games, taking photos and videos. They can click through what’s on offer: a cornucopia from which they are learning and having fun. They have led the way in showing tech companies how versatile a smart phone can be. They go online for a myriad of purposes and attracting their attention for any length of time is a challenge. Yes they enjoy stories but they are looking for diversity and innovation. Continue reading

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