MICHAEL KEATING. Lies, Damned Lies and [tax] statistics.

Last Saturday the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) published an article, which purported to show that “Middle and high-income earners will face some of the highest tax rates in the English-speaking developed world unless the Morrison government’s $158 billion tax plan is passed in full when the Parliament returns next month”. Unfortunately, I consider this article to be so misleading that it reminds me of the Mark Twain quote: “There are lies, damned lies and statistics”.   Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 4 Comments

RICHARD WOOLCOTT. If the US treats China like an enemy, then it will become one.

 It is time for Australia to accept the reality of the rise of China and a resurgence of Russia.   Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 2 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Flat earthers and ‘The Australian’.

About sixty years ago, as an undergraduate of Sydney University, I met a flat earther on the campus.   Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

PAUL COLLINS. A badly governed Church needs a new model. Catholicism continues to wrestle with the unrealized vision of the Second Vatican Council.

It is an understatement to say that Catholicism is in deep trouble. The sexual abuse tragedy and the secrecy and denial surrounding are obvious symptoms. A key element in the broader Church crisis is governance.

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Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Morrison faces the climate storm( Canberra Times 15 June 2019)

Climate change is no longer a matter of dry debate: it’s already a bigger threat to our national security than war and trade tension in our region. Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Roaming for relevance

Politicians hunting the grey vote stalk retirement villages and pensioner clubs. Handy because electors mustered in dining rooms and community halls lean to groupthink. Dissidents don’t do well in confined spaces where they’re condemned to stay mum or risk exclusion. Wrong spots. Hucksters should stake out the hills and river banks where independent thinkers and determined doers thrive and allegiances can be shifted – the backblock campgrounds.

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LISA MARTIN. Tampa refugee taken in by New Zealand wins Fulbright scholarship (The Guardian)

‘Given the chance at a new life, we have grabbed it with both hands,’ Abbas Nazari says. 

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TREVOR COBBOLD . The Facts About School Funding in Australia

Australia has an inequitable school funding system that continues to discriminate against public schools and disadvantaged students. Government funding has been badly mis-directed over many years with massive increases for the more privileged, better-off school sectors and students and far less for public schools. Continue reading

Posted in Education | 1 Comment

PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 23 June 2019

Poor planning seems to be endemic in the gas industry. Despite clear evidence that gas is not low in emissions, not needed for grid reliability, not a viable transition fuel and not cheap, governments and gas producers continue to peddle the myths and develop more gas production facilities. Michael Mann argues that system-wide changes, not personal behaviour changes, are required to avoid catastrophic global warming, and graphic evidence that renewables are increasing in parallel with fossil fuels, not replacing them. But first a good news story about eagles.

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

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MARK BEESON. The US Lobby and Australian Defence Policy, Vince Scappatura, Monash Publishing (a review)

One of the most enduring features of Australia’s foreign and strategic policies is the close relationship between this country and the United States. A number of other countries such as Britain and Japan also claim to have a ‘special relationship’ with the US, but no country has worked more assiduously to turn that rhetoric into reality. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a country that has made greater sacrifices of blood and treasure than Australia has on behalf of its American ally and notional security guarantor. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs | 2 Comments

JACK WATERFORD.  The leaking tap: cherchez le Pezzullo-haters (7 June 2019)

As usual with a leak inquiry, it’s not clear that the AFP means to solve the crime. It could be too embarrassing. 

(This article was posted two weeks ago in the Canberra Times but it is still very relevant. JM) Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

CAMERON LECKIE. Here we go again! Yet another false flag incident?

Sun Tzu in the Art of War stated that ‘All war is based on deception.’ We should keep this in mind whenever a major international incident occurs. The application of Occam’s Razor, keeping an open mind and considering a range of possibilities suggests that many of these incidents may have been false flag operations, including the recent attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

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Posted in International Affairs | 3 Comments

GAY ALCORN. Call to arms: how can Australia avoid a slow and painful decline? (The Guardian)

Australia has been warned it risks ‘drifting into the future’ if it fails to respond to challenges in a fast-changing world Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Absenting Ourselves From the World.

This is mainly about China, but more. We have excluded ourselves in many ways from the engines of modernity in Asia and more widely by our recalcitrance on so many issues and our unwillingness to engage with the new. We are not of such weight for others to care. We demonstrate an incapacity to maintain a progressive society in Australia. That fact and its consequences for our standing are the greatest threats to our national security. We need to be aware of and sensitive to large issues affecting China. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

J. BRADFORD DELONG. What to do about China? (Project Syndicate 5.6.2019)

By attempting to “get tough” with China, US President Donald Trump’s administration is highlighting the extent to which America’s star has fallen this century. If the US ever wants to reclaim the standing it once had in the world, it must become the country it would have been if Al Gore had won the 2000 presidential election.  Continue reading

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ELENA COLLINSON. Anthony Albanese and the People’s Republic of China: an overview (Australia-China Relati ons Institute, UTS)

Following the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) federal election defeat on May 18 2019, Bill Shorten stepped down as leader of the party. Anthony Albanese, a long-term ALP frontbencher, became the ALP’s leader-elect on May 27 after an uncontested leadership ballot, and was formally endorsed as Opposition Leader on May 30.  Continue reading

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PATRICK WINTOUR.  US joins four rogue countries seen as likely forces for bad, poll finds (Guardian, 20 June 2019)

The United States has joined Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran in a rogue’s gallery of countries perceived as likely to use their influence for bad. All five countries are also seen as less likely to use their influence for good than they were 10 years ago. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

MASSIMO FAGGIOLI. Massimo Faggioli explores how conflicting memories of Nazi-Fascism on two continents is impacting global Catholicism. The European and American Catholic divide

This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when the Allied troops invaded Normandy on June 6, 1944. Just two days earlier the Allies had carried out the Liberation of Rome, making the Eternal City the first capital to be freed from Nazi German occupation.

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The Chief of the Defence Force and political warfare

General Angus Campbell’s presentation at ASPI’s conference War in 2015 was thoughtful and provocative. Some of the CDF’s views are germane and apt are others contestable. He opened by saying, ‘I sense a renewed concern in the world for the potential for state-on-state conflict’; however ‘political warfare’ was his main concern.

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Posted in Defence/Security | 1 Comment

ROBERT FISK. Trump’s evidence about Iran is ‘dodgy’ at best. (Counterpunch 18.6.2019)

The crackpot president of the United States of America has so snarled up the gangplank to truth these past 29 months that no matter how much “evidence” he and his crew produce to prove that the Iranians have been trying to blow up oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman – or not quite blow them up – the pictures have a kind of mesmeric quality about them.  Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

TONY BROE. What do Aboriginal Australians want from their aged care system? Community connection is number one (The Conversation, 19 June 2019)

The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is ageing at a much faster rate than the non-Indigenous population.

Aboriginal Australians record high mid-life rates of multiple chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke, lung disease, and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, for example, is more than twice as common in the Indigenous population than the non-Indigenous population. Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. America- Australia’s Fool’s Paradise


Deeply ingrained into Australia’s collective psyche is the naïve conviction that the United States is the country’s most important, entirely reliable, and utterly benevolent ally. This obsequious sentimentalism was embarrassingly expressed in the words of former Prime Minister John Howard: “The relationship we have with the United States is the most important we have with any single country. This is not only because of the strategic, economic, and diplomatic power of the United States. But of equal, if not more significance, are the values and aspirations we share.” Continue reading

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CHAS FREEMAN. The Sino-American Split and its Consequences

To be able to compete effectively with rising powers like China and resurgent nations like Russia; to be able to do so with the confident optimism our country has always embodied, we must fix not only our diplomacy but the domestic policies and practices that now divide and weaken us.  We have a constitutional democracy that history has shown can facilitate orderly change.  To bring the immense talents and energies of the American people to bear on the unprecedented challenges our country now faces, we must adapt to new domestic as well as foreign realities.  We Americans have done this before.  And we can do it again.

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Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 2 Comments

CAROL GIACOMO. A New Trump Battleground: Defining Human Rights (The New York Times)

After the horrors of World War II, the United States led in adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, recognizing the “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights” of all people to life and liberty. For three-quarters of a century it has stood for the protection of human rights by the rule of law.

Now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is establishing a Commission on Unalienable Rights to “provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights,” according to a notice in the Federal Register… Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 1 Comment

CRISPIN HULL. Transport policy takes us on Argentine road (Canberra Times 7 June 2019)

Transport should not be a hostage to politics and ideology, but in Australia it has been since before the rival colonies of NSW and Victoria decided to have different railway gauges in the 19 th century and it is likely to continue and get worse with the re-election of the Coalition Government.

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Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

PETER STANLEY. Reading the Act: what is the Australian War Memorial for?

Dr Brendan Nelson’s pitch for the Australian War Memorial’s half-a-billion-dollar expansion is that the institution helps to heal traumatised war veterans. But is healing veterans even the Memorial’s responsibility? To answer that question we need to read the Memorial’s Act.

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Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Controversial reforms stalled until politicians win back our trust. (SMH 17.6.2019)

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

JOHN HUDSON. Pompeo pledges not to wait for Britain’s elections to ‘push back’ against Corbyn and anti-Semitism (Washington Post 8.6.2019)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in on British politics during a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders, saying he would not wait for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister of Britain to “push back” against him or any future actions he might take against Britain’s Jews.  Continue reading

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MARK BUCKLEY. The climate is now personal for us all

When the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned, and the last fish dead, we will discover that we can’t eat money. Continue reading

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