Saturday’s good reading and listening for the weekend

What people in other forums are saying about public policy Continue reading

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The Australian Government regards China as a strategic competitor, a revisionist power, and one that must be resisted.

At last the contradiction that over the past four years has been at the heart of Australian foreign and security policy towards China has been resolved. In a series of important announcements, the Australian Government has now made it clear that it regards China as a strategic competitor, a revisionist power, and one that must be resisted. Continue reading

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Australia’s pro-Israel media fights facts and ends careers

The day after Scott Morrison set the date for the mid-May 2019 federal election, Labor lost one of its star women performers. International lawyer Melissa Parke, the Member for Fremantle, a shrewd “get” by Kevin Rudd back in 2007, announced her resignation from politics.

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Lies and distortions about western policies in Asia. The media and the Tiananmen massacre myth – part 2

We are told that on the night of June 3, 1989, there was a massacre of protesting students in Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square. The New York Times story reduced Bob Hawke to tears – troops with machine-guns mowing down hundreds of peacefully protesting students at the centre of the Square. Continue reading

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The 2020 Defence Strategic Update: Finding coexistence with China

There is little to quarrel with in Hugh White’s assessment of the uncertainties in East Asia. His counsel to the government on the way forward for strategic policy, on the other hand, is less satisfactory. Continue reading

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The structural and ideological foundations of Australia’s economic malaise: Can we avoid one crisis after another?

The dramatic and sudden shuttering of businesses following the imposition of coronavirus social-distancing rules has propelled the Australian economy into what is increasingly looking like a deep recession contradicting the rhetoric that the fundamentals are strong and provide a springboard for a speedy recovery. Continue reading

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Moslem MP branded a terrorist. Is there a fair go?

Armed police and a media lynch-mob terrorised Labor Upper House MLC Shaoquett Moselmane, his family, neighbours and friends. His parliamentary rights, civil liberties, privacy and reputation have been trashed. Continue reading

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Defence Strategic Outlook lacks a civilian perspective.

The Defence Department’s Strategic Update is somewhat servant to the past rather than the future. It’s just one way to see the world and should be subordinated to a civilian perspective in less adversarial terms. The government’s endorsement of the Update is tragic and dangerous. Continue reading

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VACY VLAZNA. Smashing the Chinese golden goose egg

In the fragile recovery from mega-bushfires, floods, drought and the pandemic, Australians are looking for competent, trustworthy and decent political leadership. If the Eden-Monaro by-election was a leadership testing ground, both major parties  failed. Continue reading

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Increased military expenditure unjustified; social needs must be paramount.

The government’s $279 billion allocation over 10 years to military spending is not justified by fear-mongering and is at the expense of health and other urgent social needs. Continue reading

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The Therapeutic Goods Administration must do better.

Almost 2 years after complaints about numerous hangover products were submitted to the TGA they have finally published one outcome. The TGA agreed there was insufficient evidence to support claims related to hangover relief. Continue reading

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Coronanomics – We need good leadership in turbulent times.

As the world tackles the Coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a lot of talk about leadership and trust, not just between nations but within nations as well. Continue reading

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Avoiding a century of humiliation for ourselves.

The “Century of Humiliation” is indelibly imprinted in the psyche of modern China. Australia’s current position towards China is inviting our own century of humiliation as we ratchet up tensions alongside a United States whose hegemonic power is rapidly collapsing. Continue reading

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Childcare – why should it be subsidised at all?

Increased subsidisation of childcare seems to be the received wisdom these days, so perhaps I am the only one in step. But please tell me again why other members of the community should pay to subsidise those parents who want to farm out the care of their young children so they can do other work in lieu. Continue reading

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Japan is handling relations with China better than Australia.

Scott Morrison is shortly to have a virtual meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe, to be followed by an official visit to Japan when COVID 19 permits. Morrison is taking Japan seriously. Good.

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Lies and distortions about western policies in Asia: The Sino-Indian frontier dispute. Part 1 of 2

Most governments lie and distort, sometimes blatantly.  For me, one of the worst examples has been over the hostilities along the Sino-Indian frontier.  I give details since I was once personally involved. 

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Is our alliance with America worth it?

Almost eighty years ago Prime Minister John Curtin prepared a New Year’s Eve message for the Australian people. It was written three weeks after the war with Japan had begun. Continue reading

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How the Powerhouse Museum was saved

In an extraordinary about-turn, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that she will retain the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo and build a new museum at Parramatta. Continue reading

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Neoliberalism: Attacks on the ABC and academia are entirely logical.

Funding attacks on the ABC and the social sciences in academia by Scotty from Marketing: they fit perfectly with Noam Chomsky’s propaganda model. Continue reading

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Marshall’s SA Government – Just like a duck

Moderate Marshall is calm on the surface – but paddling like mad underneath… Continue reading

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Scared of the same bogeyman? Let’s cooperate.

Was Indonesia alerted ahead of the PM’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan announcement? The presumption is that key people were tipped off, largely because there’s been no blow-back.

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BREXIT and the WTO

According to a report of the House of Lords on various BREXIT outcomes: “Trading with the EU under WTO rules alone would be the most disruptive option … this option is therefore unattractive for UK-EU trade in goods and in services.” Continue reading

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Constitutional recognition, representation and affirmative action in India

Indigenous Australians have been seriously disadvantaged for far too long. It’s time for a treaty and a radical affirmative action program to close the gap in one or two generations. There are significant lessons to be drawn from India’s pioneering Constitution, the first to specifically commit to affirmative action. Continue reading

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China won’t care what we think or do about Hong Kong

One can look at the future of the seven million people of Hong Kong only with the deepest foreboding. Continue reading

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The really big and tough issue is the environment says Ken Henry

In last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald, Jessica Irvine quizzed Ken Henry on his preferences for tax reform. Ken emphasised the critical importance of a clear, settled allocation of roles between the Commonwealth and the States. Continue reading

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United States and Australia, so little in common ?

Australia identifies with and supports US democracy, yet values and dominant modes of thought in America have produced a form of governance so dysfunctional that Australians should question their assumptions about the two countries’ similarities. Continue reading

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Equality or austerity after COVID?

Can the COVID crisis help drive a more equal Australia? The crisis reveals an alternative is possible, focuses attention on social needs and exposes the macroeconomic risks of growing economic insecurity. However, the shadow of debt and ‘snap back’ loom large. Continue reading

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Humanities Fightback:  CASSH Skills VS STEM.

Just how do Universities respond to Minister Tehan’s diabolical plan to neuter the brainpower of the next generation through engineering their debt burden by more than doubling fees for Humanities Degrees? Continue reading

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The Coalition is just following orders

To understand how and why Australia has ended up where it has, with a series of governments which seem to become more and more damaging to our way of life, year on year, we need only to look back to 2013. If you think they are waging a relentless war on the nation’s most vulnerable, they are.

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Marshall’s SA Government – just like a duck

Moderate Marshall is calm on the surface – but paddling like mad underneath… Continue reading

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