US and Australian responses to China’s maltreatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and Israel’s blockade of Gaza reveal glaring double standards. But no worse perhaps than those of many Muslim states hungry for China’s largesse. Continue reading
Brexit is again on the cusp. Boris Johnson’s lowest common denominator Withdrawal Agreement (WA2) is before the Parliament either for a ‘meaningful vote’ or for a Second Reading as a Bill. Whether passed as a meaningful vote, it cannot of itself secure Brexit as that is conditional on the passage of separate and complex enabling legislation which may be subject to amendment and may take a long time to enact. If however Boris chooses to crash out regardless and take his chances with regard to Parliament and the law, Britain will be in a turbulent state as never before.
Trump’s agreement on the telephone with Erdogan that Turkey could go ahead and invade Kurdish Syria was a disaster; local and, geo-political. Continue reading
For the last forty years or more, economic orthodoxy has assigned the principal responsibility for macroeconomic demand management in the advanced economies to monetary policy. In recent years, however, inflation targets have been under-shot and incomes have continued to stagnate, while asset prices have boomed. This article discusses how these policy failures have led to increasing questioning of the future role of monetary policy, and the orthodox macroeconomic model on which it is based. Continue reading
The courts, DPP and justice officials agree to deny FOI access to trial transcripts. Criticism of their roles can thus be called ill-informed. Continue reading
Ongoing urging of infrastructure proposals for Commonwealth funding exacerbates already high moral hazard. Yet nothing is done to discourage the possibility of illegal behaviour costing Australia dearly. Continue reading
If Japanese officials have conducted any clear-eyed, hard-headed analysis of the government’s policy options on North Korea’s nuclear challenge, they have managed to keep it well hidden. Continue reading
Many, but not all, of the fifty States of the USA have statutes that prevent members of the clergy (of whatever faith) from reporting to civil authorities information about child abuse or neglect that the clergy person acquires in a confidential setting. An effort to repeal or revise these statutes is underway and this effort is rooted both in the sense of urgency placed on the subject by the American people and in a critical moral value that is being violated. Continue reading
The treatment of the Catalans by the Spanish government over the last decade has meant that support for an independent Catalonia has tripled. If Madrid had agreed to a referendum years ago it is almost certain that the vote for independence would have been lost. Continue reading
At last Scott Morrison’s torpid government realises that it is in danger of being mugged by reality. Continue reading
The current Coalition response to just another drought is pathetic,short term, divisive and dishonest. All it is doing is managing the drought politically. Continue reading
As the Morrison government moves ever closer to the Trump administration’s approach to our region and the world, it is time to look more closely at the ‘expertise’ that underlies Trump’s China policy. It draws on some very curious sources. Continue reading
Review of Kavita Puri, Partition Voices: Untold British Stories (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 297 pp.
This is an important, interesting and elegantly written book. ‘It is no crime to be a refugee’, says one of the persons interviewed for the book. The story of refugees is the story of transience, fragility, rootlessness and impermanence. With refugees turned migrants, doubly so. For the children of refugee-turned migrants, their past ancestral land now often lies in ‘enemy’ territory. Continue reading
We live in a particracy – the party-room rules and we are run by clever politicians, not leaders with courage and the fortitude to make tough decisions. Or as Charlie Chaplin put it in The Great Dictator – “we are run by machine men, yet we need kindness more than cleverness”.
Prime Minister Morrison’s verbal assault on what he described, in relation to multilateral institutions, “as negative globalism that coercively seeks to impose a mandate from an often ill-defined borderless global community…and worse still an unaccountable international bureaucracy” – is of course simplistic political rhetoric. But in the light of generational changes in the balance of the global order it raises serious questions for the present day and future that need to be addressed.
The most recent poll, commissioned by Canada’s national broadcaster, the CBC, has the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, at 31.7%. the Liberals, led by PrimeMinister, Justin Trudeau, are at 30.8%, the New Democratic Party, led by Jagmeet Singh is sitting at 8.5%. Continue reading
In a country as dry as Australia, surely it is a no-brainer that we have in place a coordinated, national drought response that can be rolled out the same way that the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements are triggered when the country experiences cyclones, floods or bushfires. Continue reading
Investments in renewables are increasing but not fast enough. Oil and gas companies continue investing to produce yet more greenhouse gases, including burning coal underground to produce gas in SA. On current trends Australia’s economy is going to take a big hit from climate change, particularly the property and agricultural sectors. Rising sea level is one among multiple threats to Pacific islands. Don’t come back as a tiger in Laos.
A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media Continue reading
The headline economic news this week is that the IMF has revised down its forecast for the Australian economy. That should not have come as a surprise; it has been obvious for a few years that the Australian economy is not growing well. The underlying reason is low wage growth, and the real issue is why and what to do about it. Continue reading
The Department of Defence is planning a $430 million plus upgrade of its naval training facility at South Head in Sydney. The project will be examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and requires endorsement by Parliament. There is scant rationale for locating the Navy’s training base in this highly confined national park area. The site is incapable of expansion should training capacity need increasing. The training facility would be better located at any number of alternative locations.
We have a government led by a former Minister for Immigration that’s obsessed with playing power games around the idea of security: who has it, who threatens it, and – most especially – who should define and control it. But while those games grind on, true “insecurity” is being lived daily by hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Australians lacking security in housing, safety – and food.
Country electorates have the most disadvantaged people, the poorest health and inferior health services. But the National Party does very little about it. Continue reading
The request came from out of the blue. A neighbor in rural Chiba whose wife had royal family connections had sent a message via her husband that the crown prince, Naruhito, want to talk with me. He was said to have had read an article I had written for a Nagano prefecture regional newspaper about Japan’s little known Southern Alps. He himself was planning a trip to the area. Would I and my wife be willing to visit him and have chat about it? Continue reading
The Government has failed to respond to Australia’s continuing economic downturn despite both increasing unemployment last measured at 720,000 and underemployment of 1.14 million. Continue reading
“God bless Australia.”
Scott Morrison chose these three words to close his acceptance speech on winning the ‘miracle’ election’. In doing so he has taken Australia into unchartered territory. Continue reading
At the risk of beating the same old drum, this current Government seems to be heading steadily down the ethical and moral drain, ever since the unexpected election win. So much of the country’s malaise, however, can be traced back to the ascension of one Tony Abbott, firstly as Opposition Leader, and then, unbelievably, as Prime Minister.
To those who are frustrated by petty restrictions getting in the way of their plans, the term “deregulation” has appeal, but it makes no sense, and can be economically irresponsible, to consider markets in terms of more or less regulation. Continue reading
Earlier in the week Telstra chair, John Mullen, conceded that the company must accept some of the blame for our flawed National Broadband Network due to its ‘recalcitrance’ back in 2007/2008 when it submitted a bid that didn’t meet the requirements of the government tender to build a nationwide network. As Mr Mullen also observed, “whether we like it or not, the NBN is here to stay”. Having admitted that it failed to submit a genuine bid back then the least Telstra should do now is help fix the NBN. Continue reading