PETER VARGHESE. Australian Universities and China. Part 1 of 2

 My remarks today are very much a personal perspective, drawing on my past engagement with China as a foreign policy practitioner and informed by my current role, but it is not an official University of Queensland position.

Today I wish to talk about what China means to Australian universities: what are the issues we face, how best to think about the relationship with China and, importantly, how do we manage risks while expanding opportunities. Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Have we got to a tipping point in our cruelty to refugees?

Recent developments suggest we might be prepared at last  to act with humanity and decency. Prime Minister Scott Morrison  seems to be interested in taking up with New Zealand its long-standing offer to take 150 refugees from Manus and Nauru.   Continue reading

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MICHELLE FAHY. Invictus Games, glossing over inconvenient truths-the arms trade and the British royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived and the media frenzy has erupted, fuelled by news of the royal pregnancy. As media coverage goes, the Invictus Games team couldn’t have managed it any better. Yet, when it comes to the actions of the royal family, all that glisters is not gold. Continue reading

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Let us stop the Queen’s death watch (Editorial SMH 18.10.2018)

The visit by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Australia has been delightful, especially since the happy surprise that they are expecting a baby. Back in Britain, however, there is reportedly growing impatience at Australia’s uncomfortable impasse on whether to become a republic.   Continue reading

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CHRIS GERAGHTY. Faith-based Beliefs or Long-held Prejudices.

The recent “conversation” as to whether faith-based schools should be permitted by law to discriminate against gay boys and girls, or against teachers who belong to the LGBT cohort, has resulted in a magnificent own-goal scored by so-called liberal conservative politicians and their ecclesiastical lobbyists. Another victory to the forces of evil! It’s so embarrassing to see just how out of touch some of our leaders, political and religious, have become. Continue reading

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GAY ALCORN. ‘Australia is in trouble’: majority media and lobbying destroy trust in politics, Garnaut says.

Economist Ross Garnaut tells conference the independent centre is being drowned out by business interests,main stream media and lobbyists.

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JIM RUTENBERG. Reality Breaks Up a Saudi Prince Charming’s Media Narrative.

Just six months ago, American media outlets presented a sunny-side-up portrait of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia as he made a good-will tour of New York, Hollywood and Silicon Valley and dining with Rupert Murdoch. Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Rendering ‘rules-based order’ to meaninglessness.

The constant reiteration in speeches of a “Rules-Based Order” is reducing the concept to relative meaninglessness, lacking either content or policy. There is already in existence a rules-based order which is undergoing change. The question is: what kind if change should that be.  Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Whose rules? What order?

As baby diplomats we learned always to vote in good company. Countries, we understood, were judged by the company they kept. Not any more. The countries Australia rubs shoulders with now, and the hips we are joined at, make people who used to represent Australia overseas wonder how much worse it can get. Other Australians who come back after a decade abroad say they can’t believe what we have become.  Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The extraordinary determination of China to have the world embrace its traditional medicine. (Part 3 of 3.)

The artemisia annua plant has been used for centuries in China to fight malaria. In 2011 a Chinese scientist, Tu Youyou, discovered how to extract the ingredient responsible for the anti-malarial effect (now called Artemisinin) and her reward was a Nobel Prize. Where there is good anecdotal evidence that something in a herb or plant can help with certain diseases, it’s more than appropriate for modern scientific techniques to be used to try and identify, purify and standardise the responsible chemical. This has nothing to do with the concepts associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  Many of the drugs we use today are derived from plants thought to have medicinal properties in numerous cultures. Continue reading

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MICHAEL PASCOE. Scott Morrison’s Australia resembles the 51st American state (the New Daily, 17.10.18)

 “We’re a sovereign nation,” said Scott Morrison. And then proceeded to act as if we were not, as if Australia was not merely an American vassal, but a Donald Trump toy. Continue reading

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JIEH-YUNG LO. Morrison attempts his own Australia-China reset.

When you see a Prime Minister wonder into a marginal seat, you know a federal election is on the horizon. Scott Morrison did just that at the start of this month when he joined local member David Coleman in the ultra marginal seat of Banks. The purpose: to reconnect with the electorate’s large Chinese-Australian population and at the same time send a message to our largest trading partner.  Continue reading

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JERRY ROBERTS. Pomp and circumstance. The Royal tour.

There is some debate whether it was H.L. Mencken or P.T. Barnum who said that nobody ever went broke under-estimating the intelligence of the public.  Either way, the executives of Australia’s self-proclaimed Royal Network followed the advice faithfully when preparing for the current Royal tour.  They assumed that the entire population of our continent is brain-dead.  Judging by Channel Seven’s coverage of the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the assumption was warranted.  Continue reading

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RICHARD DENNISS. Trump’s tax cuts will increase inequality. Australia shouldn’t follow his lead.

The fiscal policies of conservatives like Trump and Scott Morrison are eating away at the fabric of society. 

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JULIE INGERSOLL. Why Trump’s evangelical supporters welcome his move on Jerusalem (the Conversation, 08.12.17)

President Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 6 that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel received widespread criticism. Observers quickly recognized the decision as related not so much to national security concerns as to domestic U.S. politics and promises candidate Trump made to his evangelical supporters, who welcomed the announcement.. Continue reading

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Trudeau refuses to let ‘politics slip into’ decision on Huawei (Globe & Mail, 16.10.18)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa refuses to let “politics slip into” the decision to allow Huawei equipment into Canada’s next-generation mobile networks even as the U.S. and Australia have barred the Chinese telecom giant on grounds of national security.

The Prime Minister’s comments come just days after two U.S. senators took the unusual step of publicly urging the Liberal government to ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Mark Warner warned that Canada’s telecommunication safeguards are insufficient to address the risks posed by the Shenzhen company. They both sit on the U.S. Senate select committee on intelligence and Mr. Warner is vice-chair. Continue reading

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BERTIL LINTER. China’s shifting view on the Korean Peninsula (Asian Times, 10.10.18)

As US-China relations deteriorate on various fronts, the last thing Beijing wants is for North Korea to fall into Washington’s sphere of influence Continue reading

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‘Divisive’: Former RBA governor Bernie Fraser turns on neoliberalism (the New Daily, 17.10.18)

Former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser has called for a radical rethink to policy-making, saying the way to a fairer, more equal society is with a pragmatic approach. Continue reading

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SOPHIE VORRATH. Coalition backing “big coal” over climate, says Sachs: “Unbelievably irresponsible”.

US economics professor Jeffrey Sachs has slammed the Australian federal government as “unbelievably irresponsible” for its inaction on climate change, and suggested that policy progress in the Coalition – alongside the current US Trump administration – has been held hostage by major fossil fuel interests. Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The extraordinary determination of China to have the world embrace its traditional medicine. (Part 2 of 3)

Remarkably and unfortunately politics, not clinical effectiveness, is powering the global penetration of Traditional Chinese Medicine into health care systems. The term “Traditional Chinese Medicine” (TCM) was dreamt up by Chairman Mao Zedong in a cynical response to the Communist Party’s inability to provide evidence-based health care for the then 500 million Chinese. Mao knew that TCM was largely useless and was derogatory about TCM practitioners but he none-the-less set about its expansion. This saw a reversal of a progressive acceptance of scientific medicine in China which started in the 19th century.  Continue reading

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BOB CARR. How the Israeli Lobby operates.A repost

The letter was in the bulging file marked ‘Premier’s Invites’. The invitation was to an annual dinner where a peace prize was presented to a person chosen by the Sydney Peace Foundation at Sydney University. This year they had decided to present the award to Hanan Ashrawi. I knew her from CNN and had been impressed by her dignity. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 5 Comments

JOHN MCCARTHY. The Jerusalem Embassy,Iran and our national interest

Prime Minister Morrison’s announcements of a potential move of our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and less newsworthy  but nonetheless significant, of a review of our support for the Iran Nuclear Deal, threaten seriously to prejudice  the Australian national interest. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 7 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Will behaving like the 51st state of the United States win Wentworth for the Liberals?

Prime Minister Morrison has been channeling Donald Trump for the Wentworth By-Election, on two key policies and in his handling of the truth of important matters. Continue reading

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GREG AUSTIN: Australia, Israel and the Pentecostal PM

Israel may prove to be the biggest winner from the prime ministership of Scott Morrison. Events this week raise not only a legitimate question about the degree of political influence being exercised by Israel in Australia but also a question about Morrison’s political common sense.   Continue reading

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GEORGE BROWNING. The Jerusalem Embassy thought bubble.

To contemplate moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to shore up the chances of the Liberal candidate for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, is a small but very significant example of what is horribly wrong with Australian politics and why so few Australians now have any trust in the political process. That the Prime Minister denies any connection between the thought bubble and the weekend byelection stretches credulity and pokes fun at the electorate’s intelligence. What is it about our present government that it would even contemplate such a course?  Please Mr Morrison you can do better than this, Australia certainly deserves better than this. Continue reading

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MEDIA WATCH TRANSCRIPT (Paul Barry). News Corp’s contempt for climate science revealed in its coverage of last week’s IPCC report


Hello, I’m Paul Barry, welcome to Media Watch.

And last week’s dramatic report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change really sounded the alarm on the future of our planet, with scientists predicting the Great Barrier Reef could be wiped out by 2050 if we don’t act to slow down global warming..

Why does News Corp hold climate science in such contempt?…Presumably because Rupert Murdoch is a non believer….and not just in Australia. Back in 2012,America’s Union of Concerned Scientists audited News Corp’s coverage in the US and concluded:Representations of climate science on Fox News Channel and in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages are overwhelmingly misleading Continue reading

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WILLIAM PESEK. In Asia, ghosts of crises past return amid Trumpian trade war.

In a region where traces of the 2008 and 1997-98 carnage linger, Washington’s assault on Asia’s biggest growth engine could ignite another disaster.  Continue reading

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KIM WINGEREI. Wentworth Democracy

Our Prime Minister has declared that the Wentworth election threatens the stability of our country unless a majority vote for the Liberal candidate. It may be the most hotly contested in living memory, and the Wentworth by-election also reveals much about why our democracy is broken and needs fixing! Continue reading

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SHIRO ARMSTRONG. Japan’s high stakes diplomacy with the US and China. (East Asia Forum 14.10.2018)

Japan is now fully embarked on navigating a course through the economic and national security minefield that lies between the United States and China. Continue reading

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GRAEME STEWART. Growing inequality in access to health care is curable.

It has been sad to observe the growth in out-of-pocket expenses for patients seeking expert medical consultation and the resultant rising inequality in access to timely care and in health outcomes (“Specialists charging extreme fees”, March 6. These twin inequities are deeply felt in western Sydney. Continue reading

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