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PETER MANNING. Liberals on another planet

It disturbs me a great deal that it was the Federal Council of the Liberal Party that called by a large margin for the privatisation of the ABC. Not the rambo Young Liberals. Not a local branch in Sydney’s southern Shire or Northern Beaches. Not a state Branch gone troppo. But the full Federal Council. Continue reading

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. North Korea and the Trump Bashers

President Trump declared at his post-Summit press conference in Singapore on 12 June  that US-ROK war games were expensive and provocative and he  would abolish them, starting with ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ next August. His decision has drawn some surprising reactions. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | Leave a comment


Grimly ideological neoliberals in the ranks of the young fogies at the Liberal Party’s recent federal council sponsored a motion to privatise the ABC. In an astonishing display of shooting themselves in the foot, the old fogies present (including Ministers Mitch Fifield and Julie Bishop) glumly and dumbly let the motion pass, thereby handing the Turnbull government a hefty political migraine for the by-elections on 28 July and the coming general election. Continue reading

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RICHARD GLOVER. Move over, Emmanuel Macron. Australia has the true Trump whisperer. (Washington Post 19/6/2018)

Australia is the last U.S. ally standing. We’ve escaped America’s new tariffs, our leader has yet to be labeled weak or a liar, and the United States has even agreed to accept some of Australia’s unwanted refugees. President Trump called that refugee arrangement “the worst deal ever,” but he has allowed it to be implemented.  

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2018 Lowy Institute Poll – Climate change, renewables and coal.

Despite the debate and political rhetoric, most Australians have not been persuaded to support coal over renewables for the nation’s energy security. Almost all Australians remain in favour of renewables, rather than coal, as an energy source. In 2018, 84% (up three points since 2017) say ‘the government should focus on renewables, even if this means we may need to invest more in infrastructure to make the system more reliable’. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Politics | Leave a comment

SOPHIE VORRATH. Coal to be kaput in Australia by 2050, as renewables, batteries take over

Australia’s coal-fired generation capacity could be little more than a twinkle in Tony Abbott’s eye by as early as 2050, when it will have been all but snuffed out by cheap renewables and battery storage, and household energy investments. Continue reading

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DER SPIEGEL Italy Sends a Jolt Through Europe.

Euro-skeptic Italian populists are posing a serious threat to the European Union. Following the drama over Greece and Brexit, the political situation in Rome could throw Europe into its next major existential crisis. Continue reading

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LEE JEON-HO. China adds to nuclear arsenal amid military modernisation drive

China now has 280 warheads, according to think tank, which calls nuclear states’ renewed focus on deterrence and capacity ‘a very worrying trend’ Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | Leave a comment

LOWY SURVEY-Donald Trump a ‘critical threat’ to Australia’s interests as trust in US hits record low.

Australians’ trust in the United States as a world leader has dropped to a record low as two out of five people consider President Donald Trump a “critical threat” to Australia’s interests, according to the latest Lowy Institute poll. 43 percent of those surveyed thought that Chinese President Xi Jinping would act responsibly compared with only 30 percent for President Trump. Continue reading

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CAROL GLATZ. Dictatorships begin with taking over media, warns pope

Individuals are tempted to destroy by spreading scandalous news, Pope Francis said during Mass. Media outlets are also put in the hands of unscrupulous people. Continue reading

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LAURIE PATTON. You can’t privatise an organisation that doesn’t make a profit!

The ABC earns around $100 million a year from its commercial activities (mainly ABC shops). Its annual operating budget is more than a billion dollars. Continue reading

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MICHAEL PASCOE. Liberals’ lurch to the right is straight out of Trump playbook

“What federal council meeting? Oh, that federal council meeting – privatising the ABC, following Trump on moving our embassy to Jerusalem? No, nothing to see here. Move along.” Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 3 Comments

GEOFF RABY. How Kim Jong-un can bring his economy in from the cold.

In the early spring of 1990, Pyongyang was more prosperous than many foreign analysts, who had never been there, had thought. The CIA, for decades, had believed the country was on its knees, on the verge of economic collapse, although the Agency had not had any first-hand contact there.

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Posted in Asia, International Affairs | Leave a comment

GARRY EVERETT. The Catholic Church at the crossroads.

The cross has long been a radical and confronting symbol among religious groups. In a similar way, at the crossroads of life, we are challenged by choices which will lead us to either good or ill. The Catholic Church in Australia  has reached the crossroads and there is an urgency to the choices that must be made. The old ways have run their course and new ways must be found. Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

JOHN DWYER. Health care reform – Part 2.

Without acceptance of a ten year plan and the creation of an instrument to implement that plan we will not be able to engineer the evidence based structural reforms to our health care system that will improve quality, equity and cost effectiveness. Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS. No longer eight cents a day.

For a lumbering, slow-moving, accident prone government, the Liberals moved like Speedy Gonzales to reassure us that they wouldn’t “privatize” or “sell” the ABC as recommended by a Young Liberal motion at the recent Liberal federal council meeting. Energy minister Josh Frydenberg rushed in to assure us that “the ABC is an iconic national institution, it provides valuable services. It is not going to be sold and never can be sold.” Just in case you missed it, he repeated, “The government’s policy is not to sell the ABC.” Scott Morrison chimed-in with similar sentiments. Continue reading

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

ABUL RIZVI. Will Dutton’s high stakes gamble wrong-foot the Treasury?

Peter Dutton is gambling with a long-standing pillar of Australia’s economic and budget success. By making the biggest cut to permanent skilled migration since the recession of the early 1990s, combined with a throttling of skilled temporary migration, Dutton will significantly reduce net migration and therefore our population growth rate. The 1.6% per annum population growth assumption in the recent Budget could be too high by between 12% and 25%. Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | Leave a comment

ATUL ANEJA. India rebalancing ties with Pakistan to open path to Eurasia

In a significant gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain shook hands and exchanged pleasantries after a press conference by the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) here on Sunday. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | Leave a comment

JOHN AUSTEN. Australian freight policy: after the chainsaw? Part 3

A recent report on freight and supply chains leads Governments astray. This is the last of three articles seeking to put them back on course. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Coalition legacies.

There are six major issues that dominate public life today and require resolution. Those issues are –the dire consequences following the Iraq invasion, tax cuts during the mining boom that result in continuing budget deficits and debt increases, the threat of climate change and increased carbon pollution,  the NBN debacle, hostility to refugees and asylum seekers, and problems with foreign influence and political donations which are producing an anti-Chinese sentiment.    Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | 5 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON: NATO 2018 and Communique Dread

Dread and angst must be haunting the corridors of Europe’s foreign and defence ministries. The NATO Heads of State and Government will meet over 11 to 12 July 2018 in Brussels and the question of the communique will already be weighing heavy on ministers, advisers and officials. NATO is a consensus decision-making body but the prospects of an agreed communique seem slight at this stage. NATO has been the spine of the Western alliance and the liberal international order. Discord among its members can only benefit states interested in weakening the bonds holding the current order in place.  Continue reading

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MUNGO MACALLUM. An apology to the victims of sexual abuse

Malcolm Turnbull has always regarded John Howard as some sort of political mentor.  But Howard refused to apologise to the stolen generation Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

ISHAAN THAROOR. Is Trump gaslighting the world on North Korea.

Critics of President Trump routinely accuse him of “gaslighting” — that is, of deliberately repeating misinformation to the extent that the public starts doubting verifiable facts and believing in Trump’s self-serving talking points. Trump told us after the Singapore Summit that ‘I may stand before you in six months and say “hey, I was wrong”. I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that,but I’ll find some kind of an excuse’ Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

JENNIFER DOGGETT and LOUISA GORDON Out-of-pocket costs for healthcare are a problem for all Australians

Editor: Jennifer DoggettAuthor: Louisa Gordon (introduction by Jennifer Doggett)on: June 13, 2018In: Co-payments, health financing and costs, Healthcare and health reform

Out-of-pocket health costs (OOPs) are a major challenge facing the Australian health system.  Australians pay for a higher proportion of total health care in OOPs than do citizens of almost all OECD countries. In fact, OOPs are the third largest funder of health care in Australia, after Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments.

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Posted in Health | 1 Comment

JOHN DWYER. Health care reform – Part 1.

Without acceptance of a ten year plan and the creation of an instrument to implement that plan, we will not be able to engineer the evidence-based structural reforms to our health care system that will improve quality, equity and cost effectiveness.  Continue reading

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

German chancellor’s tense standoff with hardline interior minister “endangers existence of gvernment as substantially as the stability of the country”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing strong pressure to tighten her country’s refugee policies to avoid the collapse of her coalition government as the heated row over the handling of migration intensifies. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

KEN MOAK. US-led naval operation will not change China’s posture.

At the 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue, the defense ministers of France and the UK announced that their governments will send warships to join those of the US in challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea  (Naval Today, April 6). However, they did not specify how many ships the two European powers will commit to the US-led FNOPs  (freedom of navigation operations) or whether they will sail within the 19-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ), suggesting that neither country wants to irk China. Continue reading

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

RICHARD BUTLER. Singapore: Sound and Lights  

Trump told us that, in Singapore, he would make it up as he went along. It appears that he kept his word on that. Afterwards he told the world that if it all tanks, he will “make up an excuse for it”. His central motive for the Summit was domestic distraction and, the usual addiction to self- aggrandizement. A potentially heavy price was paid in Singapore, by all affected by DPRK policies and, the US domestic distraction was not achieved.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

STEVE RINTOUL AND STEVEN CHOWN. Antarctica has lost 3 trillion tonnes of ice in 25 years. Time is running out for the frozen continent.

Antarctica lost 3 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, according to a new analysis of satellite observations. In vulnerable West Antarctica, the annual rate of ice loss has tripled during that period, reaching 159 billion tonnes a year. Overall, enough ice has been lost from Antarctica over the past quarter-century to raise global seas by 8 millimetres Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

MUNGO MacCALLUM. America’s frightened allies.

Donald Trump has spent the last three years scaring the crap out of his allies, but suddenly it has become serious.  His predilection for ruthless dictators, traditionally anathema to America and its allies, has now got to the point where those same allies are disposable.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments