JAMES LAURENCESON. China in a time of change.

 China and the Technology Race

To deliver rising living standards to its citizens, China needs to move up the production value chain. Technological progress and innovation are at the heart of this. That is why US measures to restrict China’s access to technology are viewed by Beijing as far more serious than tariffs: the former is tantamount to an attempt at containment. China spends nearly the same amount the US does on research and development (R&D), closing in on $US500 billion every year.   Continue reading

Posted in China Series | 2 Comments

IAN DUNLOP. A call to the Australia people – demand serious action on climate change before it is too late.  PART 1. CONTEXT

The Real Climate Challenge

After three decades of inaction, human-induced climate change is the greatest threat, and opportunity, facing this country, far outweighing the issues dominating our domestic political discourse, such as the US/China impasse, a faltering economy and religious freedom.  The world faces the same threat. Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 5 Comments

JAMES CURRAN Our China panic is stepping into the world of paranoia (AFR 10.12.2019)

The China debate is close to losing all sense of rationality and proportion. Where’s the confidence in our institutions?

Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Politics | 4 Comments

IAN McAULEY. Reclaiming the ideas of economics: Capitalism

Economics and public policy are influenced by a nineteenth century model of capital, and therefore of capitalism, that is no longer fit for purpose. Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 3 Comments

ABUL RIZVI: Re-emergence of Dodgy VET Colleges

Since January 2018, the Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA) has cancelled the registration of around 450 private VET colleges. This is after years of such cancellations being relatively rare. A spokesperson for ASQA has said this reflects an improved “ability to better target regulatory activities on providers demonstrating the highest risks to VET in Australia”. But what does this mean for the merits of qualifications issued by these colleges? Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education, Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

PAUL BARRATT. Morrison’s Public Service “reforms” do us no favours.

The mergers of Australian Public Service Departments announced by Scott Morrison on 5 December will do nothing to advance the cause of good government. The claims of efficiency gains that invariably accompany such announcements always turn out to be illusory, and, far more importantly, result in matters that ought to be debated out in full Cabinet being tucked away in individual portfolios. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

MAURICIO GARCÍA VILLEGAS. Levelling the Playing Field

The millions of people protesting in different Latin American countries have a variety of complaints. A main one in Chile and Colombia, is the lack of equality of opportunity which is normally provided by good public education. In those countries, the rich are educated in well-resourced private schools while the poor are sent to second rate and poorly resourced public ones. Apart from the social tensions that such segregation and inequality creates, the country misses out on the benefits that clever children from poor families can provide. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

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GEOFF RABY. China in a time of change.

The Chinese Communist Party: Does It Stay or Does It Go?

Contemporary China cannot be comprehended without understanding the role of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).   With 85 million members it represents a tiny share of the total population (1.4 billion) but is the world’s largest political party.  Continue reading

Posted in China Series | 4 Comments

JOHN DWYER. What a mess! Insurance for health care, both public and private, is increasingly dysfunctional with sensible and equitable solutions held hostage by “vested interests”. PART TWO

At least 50% of the money private health insurers pay out annually to those insured is absorbed by just 5% off their customers.  Most of these patients have chronic medical problems and have multiple admissions per year .While private hospitals need bottoms on beds to be profitable, public hospitals and private insurers are desperately in need of a  reduction in hospital admissions. Numerous strategies for achieving this are being floated but sensible reforms are difficult as those with vested interests in the status quo have undue control of government initiatives.  Continue reading

Posted in Health | 4 Comments

STUART REES Julian Assange, A Court of Star Chamber, Cruelty Beyond Belief

In the 15th century, King Henry VII of England established a Court of Star Chamber. Operated by Privy Counsellors and judges, it developed a reputation for arbitrary power leading to cruel and unusual punishments. There was no due process and no rights of appeal for the accused. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 11 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM . Can young voices get into elders’ ears?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s Cabinet selection has been met with widespread dismay by liberal progressives. There have been some weird choices noted here https://johnmenadue.com/duncan-graham-dont-cry-for-me-indonesia/

The most disturbing was making Widodo’s bitter and brutal rival Prabowo Subianto, 68, Defence Minister, even though the former general with a suspect human rights record had been decisively rejected by the electorate. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

GEORGIA BEHRENS. Future doctors demand climate change action now (Insight Plus 18-11-19)

THE MJA-Lancet Countdown released its much-awaited 2019 report on climate change and health in Australia on 14 November 2019. This report provides a critical update on  how Australia is managing climate change, which the World Health Organization has acknowledged as “the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century”. The report’s message is clear: the time for action — by individuals, local groups, and at all levels of government — is now. Continue reading

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LAURIE PATTON. Unintended consequences: How NSW planning laws have stolen democracy from ratepayers

One of the fundamental principles of the democratic system enjoyed in Australia for more than 200 years is the right to make representations to your local MP, or in the case of local government to your elected councillors. Regrettably, changes made last year to NSW planning laws have denied ratepayers this ability and effectively handed unbridled power to unelected council bureaucrats. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

DAVID SHEARMAN. I have a Dream; Resurrection of Westpac as a Sustainability Bank

I have a dream that the outrageous performance of Westpac could lead to fundamental reform and the genetic engineering of one of the identical quads, the BIG4 banks which do not fulfil community needs or financial stability. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

MOBO GAO. China’s enduring core values.

 China: Social Changes that Impact Relations with Australia

The economic takeoff that has pushed China up to become a middle-income country has certainly brought great social changes. Economic development has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of absolute poverty, but one marked social change is increasing disparity as a result of sharp stratification of social classes.   Continue reading

Posted in China Series | 2 Comments

KISHORE MAHBUBANI. ASEAN’s quiet resilience (East Asia Forum, 8 December 2019)

ASEAN should have begun to crack and fall apart from the strain of the rising geopolitical rivalries in Asia between the United States and China, if what critics say about its fragility were true. But ASEAN steadily marched through another difficult and challenging year and quietly delivered many positive results that will improve the wellbeing of its 650 million people. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

JACK WATERFORD. Chinese checkers in the great game

Active spying need not mean an invasion, or war, is imminent Continue reading

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WANNING SUN. Adversarial Journalism in the coverage of China

Australian media’s coverage of China has shifted to adversarial journalism. To change this status quo requires leadership and serious action. Continue reading

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

GEORGE BROWNING. Morrison Government you are a disgrace

NSW is alight, and it is still not the right time to talk about Climate Change!!!!! What message of commitment did we have to give the world community in Madrid? – nothing. You said Australia is reducing its emission year on year.  Your own department’s graphics shows this to be untrue. Asserting untruth does not make it true. How is it possible to believe anything you say?   Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 6 Comments

ABUL RIZVI: Dysfunction in Home Affairs officially confirmed

The dysfunction in the Home Affairs Department that has been long reported on (see here, here, and here) has now been officially confirmed in a survey conducted by the Australian Public Service Commission. Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

PETER RODGERS: Australia’s silence over Israeli settlements

Following the Trump Administration’s shift on the legality of Israeli settlements I wrote the following article for Plus61JMedia. The Morrison Government’s silence on this issue is striking. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

JOHN DWYER. What a mess! Insurance for health care, both public and private, is increasingly dysfunctional with sensible and equitable solutions held hostage by “vested interests”. PART ONE

We Australians have for decades now made it clear that we want  a health care system that delivers quality care in a timely manner with availability based on need not personal financial wellbeing. Increasingly it is obvious to all that the system should  better fund programs to prevent illness not just treat it.These are the principles we wish to see Medicare embrace and we are willing to have our tax-dollars pay for the benefits. Continue reading

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VACY VLAZNA. Israel’s Aussie Mensch

The Zionist Federation of Australia bestowed in November its 2019 Jerusalem Prize for “exceptional in strengthening Australia-Israel relations” or as Prof. Stuart Rees puts it, ‘for sucking up to Israelis,’ on an exemplary recipient, the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison. Continue reading

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WANNING SUN. China finding its place in the world.

China.  Chinese Australians are feeling the heat, whether they support China or Australia

Chinese migration to Australia has always been an essential part of Australian multicultural history. Various diasporic Chinese communities in Australia have played important roles in Australia’s political, social, cultural and economic maturations. Yet now their loyalty to Australia has been unfairly questioned.  Continue reading

Posted in China Series | 4 Comments

KEN HENRY. The political economy of climate change

Myopia, loss aversion and free-rider problems undermine the provision of public goods, including global public goods like climate change mitigation.  It’s easy to understand why climate policy has been a failure in Australia.    But what happens when the central case of long-term projections, something outside of the bounds of what has been considered probable in the near-term, comes crashing into the present?  That’s what our politicians were dealing with through 2006, following several years of drought.  Eventually, entrenched positions were abandoned.  Could we see this happen again? Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 9 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Economic stagnation continues

Last Wednesday’s release of the national accounts for the September quarter confirmed what we already knew – economic stagnation continues. Most importantly, it is hard to see why the economy will ever improve under present policies. Instead we need a new and different economic strategy. Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 2 Comments

TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI. Our Leaders Fiddle While Australia Burns

As homes and communities go up in flames, Australian politics descends into new depths of silly-season absurdity. Enough is enough. It is time for Australia’s leaders to face up to the nation’s greatest security threat. Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI. Highlights of 2018-19 Migration Program Outcome

Minister Coleman has at last allowed the 2018-19 Migration Program report to be published in early December. These are usually finalised each July. Two highlights: (1) the Partner visa application pipeline has reached almost 90,000 and is certain to grow much further in 2019-20; and (2) the backlog of employer sponsored visa applications is falling fast and will require Coleman to back-track on the ham-fisted changes to these visas made by Peter Dutton. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

GEORGE BROWNING. Peace on Earth, Good will towards all: Tale of Two Jerusalem Prizes

The holy city’s name focuses the universal longing for peace: the hope, indeed the expectation that diversity and difference do not need to issue in animosity, injustice and violence, but in mutuality, enrichment from the other’s difference.  It is associated with blessing from Melchizedek the mysterious the King of Salem to Abraham, ancestor, founder and prophet shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city is sacred to all three.  Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 1 Comment