There are many good reasons to support the latest plans to find a constitutional referendum question to encapsulate the principles of the Uluru statement from the heart. There’s the fact that it represents a good idea and good ideal – perhaps one, as some say, that is essential to a mature nationality for Australia and a reconciliation with indigenous Australia, so cruelly displaced, to this day, by white settlement. Continue reading
The New South Wales deputy premier wants to allow logging in a national park in the state’s Riverina. John Barilaro says he intends removing statutory protection of the 42,000 hectare Murray Valley National Park – either by de-gazetting the entire area or reducing its size. Continue reading
Australians are dissatisﬁed with private health insurance. Premiums are rising and consumers are dropping their cover, especially younger people, who are less likely to need health services. Those who are left are more likely to use services, driving insurance costs up further. Government subsidies for private health insurance and private medical care – currently running at more than $9 billion every year – and ﬁnancial penalties to encourage people to take out private insurance are becoming less effective. The industry fears a death spiral. Continue reading
Scott Morrison really likes quiet Australians – as quiet as possible. So it was really no surprise that his response to his minister, Ken Wyatt’s modest and tentative proposal to consider reviving an Indigenous Voice through the Uluru Statement from the Heart was simple and direct: bloody well shut up and do what you are told. Continue reading
In an editorial to mark Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit, The Times of India alluded to US policy incoherence in urging Washington to make up its mind between dealing with India as an ally or a frenemy. Earlier, in February Washington broke from its traditional non-committal stance on India–Pakistan skirmishes to side openly with India’s narrative on the Pulwama militant attack and retaliatory missile strikes on Balakot. This was followed by the successful pressure on China to lift its hold on designating Pakistan-based Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Continue reading
The muffled roar of applause last week was coming from Scott Morrison and the coalition, cheering,, of all things, the Supreme Court of Victoria. Justice Peter Riordan reserved his decision over the maverick union leader John Setka’s appeal to block Anthony Albanese’s attempt to expel him from the Labor Party. Continue reading
Australia’s options for defending itself are in the news with the release of Hugh White’s How to Defend Australia. Will it shake up thinking? Or is it too hard to change the way we do Australia’s defence because there is no appetite for change? Continue reading
The distance from hubris to delusion is short and the Trump administration is bent on covering it in a sprint in its India policy. Diffuse reciprocity is the diplomatic glue that holds international relationships together. A healthy and long-lasting bilateral relationship rests upon a history of shared interests and values that embody common expectations, reciprocity, and equivalence of benefits across different domains rather than equal benefits in every single sector individually. Continue reading
Addressing the National Press Club during NAIDOC Week, Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Australians said: ‘I will develop and forward a consensus option for constitutional recognition to put to a referendum during the current parliamentary term. That means working through until we reach a point in which there is consensus across all the relevant groups who have a stake in it.’ Continue reading
The comments from Sir Kim Darroch, British Ambassador to Washington, in a wad of his classified messages to London are a juicy read. President Trump “radiates insecurity” while his administration is “uniquely dysfunctional” and riven by “knife fights”. Trump could very well “crash and burn”. Leaked to the Mail on Sunday, they have cost him his job. Continue reading
While every Australian must wish Ken Wyatt well in the portfolio of Indigenous Australians, he still must operate in a system which has shown itself unsympathetic to the needs of first Australians. His intention to present a referendum on recognition might be a good one, but he will succeed only if political leadership on the issue is strong. While the Uluru Statement languishes, this seems unlikely.
Pope Francis is an equal opportunity offender. No matter where you place yourself along the Catholic Church’s broad spectrum – right, left or center; conservative or liberal; traditional or progressive – if you are not challenged and even disturbed by some of the things this pope says and does, then you are not paying attention.
The ALP supports the Adani mine in the Senate, assisting Australia’s exported carbon emissions to increase greatly. The USA’s coal industry continues to decline but not without first screwing the workers and the environment to maximise short term rewards at the top. Bill McKibben identifies three strategies for tackling the urgency of climate action, while Barnaby continues to express his passion. Fortunately Victoria delivers a couple of pieces of common sense.
A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media Continue reading
The Government has at last revealed some details of its 2019 Budget forecast for a record breaking level of sustained NOM. The key is a significant increase in the net contribution from temporary visa holders. This would mean the current stock of around 2 million temporary entrants in our population must rise even more rapidly. Are we on the way to transitioning from a migrant settler nation to a guest worker society? But if there is a shortfall in forecast NOM, what would be the implications for the Prime Minister’s job creation pledge and for its ten year tax plan? Continue reading
Canada tries to differentiate itself from the USA but because of its proximity and similarities this is not easy. Australia has the opposite problem: we try to find similarities. Canada’s geography makes it easier for it to defy requests to get involved in US wars but Australia has the opposite problem. We have to shout to be heard which is why we get involved in wars we should keep out of and votes we should change. But the world is changing and we have not kept up with the changes. Continue reading
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on journalists from News Corporation and the ABC have caused very considerable community consternation. The fact that these raids occurred in the immediate aftermath of the recent election and within a day of each other served only to animate public concern. These events have prompted a re-appraisal of the state of media freedom in Australia. The AFP has defended its actions, journalists have been up in arms, media’s management has complained of intimidation, and the government has denied any responsibility. In their own way, each has responded understandably. The basic problem does not lie primarily with their actions. Instead, it is the law that is problematic. Continue reading
The 17 April Indonesian elections and fallout could have been big news in Australia. According to some experts they should have been.
Instead media consumers Down Under got more of US President Donald Trump’s distant domestic political shenanigans than they did of the blood and fire crises facing their neighbor nation and its re-elected President Joko Widodo.
The result from the world’s third largest democracy staging the world’s biggest one-day election will impact many countries, but most particularly the adjacent southern continent.
In an excellent new essay titled “We’re Not the Good Guys — Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?”, Tom Engelhardt criticizes the way western media outlets consistently describe the behavior of disobedient nations like Iran as “aggressions”, but never use that label for the (generally antecedent and far more egregious) aggressions of the United States. Continue reading
With the Love called Cancer Continue reading
Professor Hugh White’s recent suggestion that Australia might need to consider nuclear weapons is highly provocative and dangerous. He is helping to legitimise these instruments of terror, and gives credence to the deeply flawed notion of nuclear “deterrence”. Australia must instead support global efforts for nuclear weapons elimination, especially the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Continue reading
On Wednesday and Thursday this week The UK and Canadian Governments are hosting a conference called Defend Media Freedom. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne is participating. Yet only a few miles away from the London conference venue Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks and journalist, languishes in Belmarsh Prison as he awaits a request by the United States to extradite him for revealing the war crimes of the United States and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Facebook’s Libra launch has the potential to propel Facebook into a major player in consumer payments and credit services and may turn out to be one of the most profound change to world’s financial systems since the abolishment of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971.
If reportedly a quarter of the population of the country or city where you live go out on the streets to demonstrate, there is a serious problem. We can quibble about whether it was indeed two million that demonstrated in Hong Kong on Sunday 16 June, or a half of that or less. But for once the eyes could not lie: the whole of the central area was crammed with people, many of whom had already been demonstrating only a few days before. Continue reading
In 2016, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed Australia’s commitment to a ‘step-change’ in its engagement with the Pacific Islands. The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper sketched the skeleton of this ‘step-up’ but it wasn’t until 2018 that those bones were fleshed out. While Australia is set to implement several meaningful labour mobility, security and diplomatic initiatives, simultaneously counterproductive domestically driven policies could undermine the ability of those programs to improve engagement with Pacific Island states. Continue reading