AMY VERDUN. What to Make of the Win of the AfD in Germany? (Australian Outlook 13-9-19

On 1 September 2019, the German far right-wing political party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) had a historical win in state elections. It won 28 percent of the votes in Saxony and 24 percent of the votes in Brandenburg — the state that surrounds Berlin — gaining respectively 18 and 12 percentage points compared to the last elections that took place in 2014. Continue reading

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GEORGE FRIEDMAN. US Military Options in Iran (Geopolitical Futures 17-9-19)

The United States has openly accused Iran of being behind the drone and cruise missile attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refinery. Continue reading

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NICOLA NYMALM. Washington’s old ‘Japan problem’ and the current ‘China threat’ (East Asia Forum 11 Sep)

In April 2019, Kiron Skinner — former director of policy planning at the US State Department — described Washington’s new China strategy as built on the understanding that the current clash with Beijing ‘is a fight with a different civilization and a different ideology and the United States hasn’t had that before’. With China, Skinner proposes that ‘it’s the first time that [the United States] will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian’. Her comments were widely interpreted as referring to Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’. Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. 181 CEOs take on Milton Friedman

When 181 US chief executives, organised by the Business Roundtable, issued a “collective statement on the purpose of the corporation” it caused fury among some investors and economists; joy among some activists; cynicism among other activists; and, horror among conservative commentators.

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ANDREW FARRAN: A diplomatic niche in early Australian-Afghan Relations

Given that Australia has been engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, in addition to military/civil reconstruction and stabilisation efforts, in the provinces for over 18 years, it is only appropriate that we should greet the publication of a considered history of our relations with that country, explaining how we came to be so deeply involved in a country that previously we knew little about and seemingly cared less until this time. Continue reading

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CLINTON FERNANDES. Worried about agents of foreign influence? Just look at who owns Australia’s biggest companies (Conversation 12-9-19)

The attention being given to possible covert influence being exercised by China in Australia shouldn’t distract us from recognising that very overt foreign influence now occurs through investment. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. Abbott, more than an embarrassment

Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s ignorance of history and of the Europe European Union, and his tragic adulation of all things British, is simply embarrassing. His licensing of a permissive setting for white supremacists and white replacement conspiracy theorists is dangerous, irresponsible, and inexcusable.

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ERIC HODGENS. Where Do We Find the Authentic Catholic Voice?

Cardinal Pell got his voice heard from prison. Furthermore, surrogate Pell voices are heard from bishops he has promoted in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. But, on three current issues polls show that most Catholics disagree with them. So, which voice is authentically Catholic? Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

IAN McAULEY. Reclaiming the ideas of economics

Against all evidence there is a widespread belief that the Coalition is more competent in economic management than Labor. In part this is because it has appropriated the language of economics to suit its own ideological agenda. Continue reading

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TIMOTHY L. O’BRIEN. Trump Is Cornered by the Saudi Drone Attacks (Bloomberg 16-9-19)

Regarding the drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities, writes the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion: “Not everyone is telling the truth here (although everyone might think they are) and any prudent response to the attacks hinges on more factual certainty.” Continue reading

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GARETH EVANS. Emotion, reason and nuclear disarmament

I first came to Hiroshima in 1964 as a twenty-year old student, and it was one of the most formative experiences of my life. Nothing had quite prepared me for the experience of standing at the epicentre of that first nuclear bomb strike, and being overwhelmed by the almost indescribable horror of what had occurred here just two decades earlier Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 2 Comments

HAJO DUKEN. Australian values

What a great and timely question Allan Patience asked on P+I on 7 August. Whilst I agree with him that most of the Australian value talk is simply humbug, I feel that, in times of Trump and Brexit, the Uluru Statement from the Heart and raids on the ABC, we more than ever need to have a serious discussion about what the values of a nation in general, and Australian values in particular, are and who determines them.

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GEORGE GRUNDY. Already Gone

As the Democratic field narrows and the political commentariat speculate which candidate is best placed to defeat Donald Trump in 2020, America’s national conversation continues to ignore an elephant in the room – the profound threat to democracy posed by this irascible, irrational president. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are auditioning for a role they may never be allowed to play. Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. PM in gaffe-strewn Indonesian TV interview

Scott Morrison has given a rambling error-littered interview to Indonesian TV where he fudged the figures of casualties in the 2002 Bali bomb blast. The Prime Minister told English-speaking journalist Andini Effendi that “more Indonesians were killed than Australians” when the reverse is true. The official final death toll of 202 men and women in the 12 October terrorist attack was 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, 23 Britons and 53 from other nations.

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MOUIN RABBANI. Jerusalem and the Trump administration

In December 2017, the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump upended seventy years of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In doing so, it also effectively recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the city. Continue reading

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MARK BUCKLEY. Voters of Australia You’re doing it all Wrong

These days, in the dumbed–down media, there are often articles which tell the reader she has been brushing her hair wrongly, or he has been cutting the avocado incorrectly. I thought I would explain to the voters of Australia just where they got it so terribly wrong. Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. We have surrendered our sovereignty to a very dangerous and violent ally. An update

As China reasserts its historical world role, its influence will grow in Australia and elsewhere. But that influence is minimal compared with the US which has ‘agents of influence’ thick on the ground in Australia. Our media ,including the ABC, is saturated with US content and a large part of it is controlled by an American citizen with close ties to Donald Trump. We have a reasonable degree of domestic political autonomy despite foreign ownership of our major companies but we have ceded effective foreign and defence  power to the US military,industrial and intelligence complex. All our major political parties are happy to maintain our quasi colonial status.

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JOHN CARLIN. Let Them Shoot Themselves

Boris Johnson will go down in history, not as a Churchill he so much admires, but the prime minister who led his country into humiliation and global irrelevance. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

GILL HOFFMAN, KHALED ABU TOAMEH, OMRI NAHMIAS. Netanyahu Vows to Annex All Settlements, Starting with Jordan Valley (Jerusalem Post 11-9-19)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that if reelected, he will apply sovereignty over all settlements in Judea and Samaria, starting with the Jordan Valley. Continue reading

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Chris Mills: When the Wind Blows, Water Flows

This is the paradox: as towns run out of potable water, our livestock and crops die, and water to fight infernos dries up, how can a Nation ‘girt by sea’ use unlimited volumes of sea water to slake a parched land? Wind and solar generated electricity costs have continued to decline, facilitating economic desalination of sea water and operation of water-pumping as an essential component of Australia’s response to the deleterious effects of climate change and climbing temperatures. Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 2 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Proud to be dumb.

David Littleproud has a somewhat unwieldy title – Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disasters and Emergency Management. But, keeping it simple, he is happy to live up to his name: he knows very little, and is bloody  well proud about it. Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The Afghanistan failure

President Trump’s muddled and reactive approach to foreign and strategic policy regularly distracts the media and commentators away from the geopolitical consequences of America’s actions under his stewardship. The coverage of the negotiations with the Taliban and proposed withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is a perfect example. After eighteen years of war the US is understandably keen to extricate themselves from a costly conflict. When they do peace will continue to elude the Afghans. Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Politics and the rustle of folding money (Canberra Times 13-9-19)

I wouldn’t hang a dog on the evidence so far assembled in support of the proposition that Gladys Liu, Liberal MP for Chisholm, is an active agent of the Chinese government, engaged in nefarious and illegal activities against Australia. On the other hand, one cannot help cynically feeling that were Ms Liu to be accused, in China with similar evidence to that presented here of being an agent for Australia, she would probably be summarily convicted and shot. Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. ‘Things you learn along the way’.

Occasionally friends suggest to me that I should write my autobiography.  Ruefully I explain that I wrote ‘Things you learn along the way’ twenty years ago. The book sold about 8,000 copies but as far as I know is no longer available. 

The book covers many aspects of my life: The early days as a footloose son of the Methodist manse;  seven years in the ‘wilderness’ working for Gough Whitlam in Opposition;  working for Rupert Murdoch in his better days;  Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet to both Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, including the Dismissal;  enjoyable family days in Japan as Ambassador;  the most meaningful job of my life as Secretary of the Immigration Department during the Indochina Refugee Program;  and a few years at Qantas where I found that Directors and my views were not necessarily the same.  

See link below if you are interested in reading.  (link also on home page ‘about John Menadue’.)

   ‘Things you learn along the way’.

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JOHN ENGLISH. Canada goes to the polls: “It can’t happen here”.

Looking south as Canadians must and can do invariably provokes the comment, “It can’t happen here.” But it already has. While Donald Trump certainly cannot be replicated, the nativist, populist, and authoritarian tendencies of American Republicans have often appeared in Canada. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

KIM WINGEREI. Defining bribery is more important than an ICAC

As much as we should welcome the long overdue Federal ICAC, without redefining what should be the limitations of political influence it will be another toothless body which will struggle for relevance and fail in its intent.

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MACK WILLIAMS. Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities: Trump “Locked and Loaded”?

Whatever the real story behind the damaging attacks on the Saudi oil facilities, tensions in the Gulf and Middle East more widely have been significantly elevated. US attempts to engage the Iranians in direct and secret dialogue to try to wind back the US “extreme pressures” on Iran which Trump had claimed were underway when questioned about French President Macron’s attempt at mediation are clearly in jeopardy. Whether Trump’s tweeted threat that the US was “locked and loaded” to respond militarily to the attacks heightens concerns about further escalation in the Gulf area have yet to be seen.

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ABUL RIZVI: Morrison’s Mixed Messages on Migration

A string of immigration related articles in The Australian on 5 September 2019 and on 7 September 2019 again dutifully conveyed the Government’s mixed messages on immigration policy without asking a single question about the inherent inconsistencies and loss of control over Australia’s visa system. The Government continues to promote three very separate messages on immigration to three separate constituencies. Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. How good is Gladys?

According to Scott Morrison, Gladys Liu is the most innocent of innocent bystanders — a naïve and trusting immigrant, embroiled in a brutal conspiracy engineered by the evil inquisitors of the Labor Party. The worst that can be said is that she slipped (or more likely was entrapped) over an interview in which she was a little clumsy about her relationship with communist Chinese controlled bodies working in Australia. But she has issued a statement (or had it issued for her) clearing all that up, so nothing to see here. Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Kashmir: the international dimension (Strategist 10 Sep 2019)

India’s decision last month to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy and statehood, break it into two union territories and merge them fully with the Indian union caught everyone unawares. The changes give effect to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s vision of India as one nation and one people under one constitution. Indians have reacted with jubilation (majority), concern at the lack of consultation and the military lockdown in Kashmir (many), and criticism of the threat to Kashmir’s cultural identity, especially if India’s sole Muslim-majority state’s demographic balance is altered (minority). Continue reading

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