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MACK WILLIAMS. Mindanao call to the Caliphate !!

Media coverage of the claimed IS connections of the jihadists in Marawi have highlighted their call for a “caliphate”. The intractable scene in Mindanao indeed is concerning but it is born out a much longer and different history than elsewhere – one where the US (and others) have long been involved. Australia needs to be very careful not to become militarily entangled. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | Leave a comment

CAVAN HOGUE. We always want an outside protector

The recent Lowy poll that showed a decrease in support for Trump but not for the alliance should not come as a surprise. It is consistent with Australia’s long standing desire for a protector. We should not be naïve about China but we do tend to look at the USA through rose-coloured glasses. Our future is uncertain. Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | Leave a comment

GEORGE RENNIE. Australia’s lobbying laws are inadequate, but other countries are getting it right

Lobbying is a necessary component of representative democracy, yet poses one of its greatest threats. Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics, Vested Interests | Leave a comment

GEOFF RABY. Where have all the grown-ups gone on China policy?

Malcolm Turnbull’s glib talk of ‘‘frenemies’’ does nothing to help the urgent debate over how we handle the rising power of China. Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politics | 1 Comment

TONY KEVIN. Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews – reflections on the first half of this current SBS miniseries

Oliver Stone gives Vladimir Putin a comradely easy time, but elicits interesting insights into the man and his policy framework. The second half will be worth watching, as will the first half in replay for those who missed it.     Continue reading

Posted in Current affairs, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy | 1 Comment

BISHOP VINCENT LONG. Fashioning a more equitable and participatory society

On 16 June 2017 Bishop Vincent Long spoke at the Sydney launch of Race Mathews’ book Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966. This is a transcript of his speech, in which he suggests Whitlam would have been appalled to see how governments internationally have allowed neoliberal economics to undermine social equity today, with most of the spoils going to the privileged few, leaving the many struggling to find secure, well paid work, and younger generations confronted by excessive housing costs and stagnant wages, often with casual or part-time employment. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | Leave a comment

CHRIS BONNOR AND BERNIE SHEPHERD. PART ONE: Losing the game? Do we now have another chance to lift school equity and achievement?

 

Amidst this week’s flurry of activity over the ‘Gonski’ legislation we seem to have forgotten serious problems, both old and new. In this first of two parts Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd consider the problems we still need to solve. In the second part they’ll indicate the new emerging problems we don’t even recognize. Losing the Game, their new publication with the Centre for Policy Development, has just been released.   Continue reading

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

CHRIS BONNOR AND BERNIE SHEPHERD. PART TWO: Losing the game? Do we now have another chance to lift school equity and achievement?

Amidst this week’s flurry of activity over the ‘Gonski’ legislation we seem to have forgotten serious problems, both old and new. In this first of two parts Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd consider the problems we still need to solve. In the second part they’ll indicate the new emerging problems we don’t even recognize. Losing the Game, their new publication with the Centre for Policy Development, has just been released.   Continue reading

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

FRANK BRENNAN. Seeking Clarity on Boat Turnbacks and the Utility of Offshore Refugee Warehousing


Erika Feller (former Assistant High Commissioner UNHCR) and Michael Pezzullo (Secretary, Dept of Immigration and Border Protection) spoke at this year’s ANU Crawford Australian Leadership Forum on borders and the movement of people.  The convenor of the forum is ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans. Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Refugees and asylum seekers | Leave a comment

JOAN STAPLES. NGOs and a clash of world views

Coalition Governments have been trying to stop NGO advocacy for 20 years.  Current attacks on the sector are a clash between a neoliberal old world order dominated by fossil fuels and a world view based on sustainability and equity.  Unfortunately, in the process our democratic freedoms are being trampled. Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics, Vested Interests | 1 Comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. Building submarines in SA simply sinks Australian dollars

Despite claims to the contrary by the defence industry minister Christopher Pyne, this sector is not driving growth in the economy or jobs. A defence economics specialist Mark Thompson has debunked these claims in a careful analysis just released by Australian Strategic Policy Institute.  Thompson concludes, “If we are going to use defence spending to grow the economy, we should get the most out of it, and that might mean importing more equipment to maximise access to global supply chains”. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Economy | 1 Comment

JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. “Great” Britain: how low can it go?

When I am in Hong Kong, I normally stay at Causeway Bay. Evenings and weekends, I frequently take a stroll in Victoria Park where invariably I pass in front of the majestically imposing statue of Queen Victoria. This allows me to reflect upon the remarkable rise of the British Empire of which Hong Kong was more than just a symbolic hub. In many ways, the history of Hong Kong, colonised following the First Opium War, reflected the determination and brutality of British imperialism. Continue reading

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | Leave a comment

RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The rise of China and the reaction of the United States

It has been stated that the Chinese are the “new kids on the block” and are getting a beating from the United States,because of China’s alleged behaviour in the South China seas. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Who can we trust?

In the series “Fairness, Opportunity and Security” last year I drew attention to the pervasive loss of trust in institutions . Essential Research revealed that the six least trusted institutions were: the news media, state parliaments, trade unions, business groups, religious organisations and political parties. The three most trusted institutions were all public: the ABC, High Court and Reserve Bank.    Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. Collapse of the Anglo-American Order – Implications for ASEAN and EU

The two architects of the post-World War 2 order were British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and America President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They met (for the first time) aboard the heavy cruiser USS Augusta in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland (Canada) and from there on 14 August 1941, two years after the outbreak of war, issued what came to be known as The Atlantic Charter. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | Leave a comment

KAI HE. How to save the Shangri La Dialogue

It was a sign of the Shangri-La Dialogue’s declining relevance when China sent a low-level delegation and India no delegation at all to this year’s talkfest. To ensure its future standing, this important meeting needs to shift its focus to achieving concrete security cooperation outcomes. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Policy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MICHAEL P. HUGHES. What went wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?

The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current – and aging – aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those things. Continue reading

Posted in ANZAC, Current affairs, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IAN VERRENDER. Why you’re about to pay through the nose for power

It was a rare moment of triumph for a Prime Minister frustrated in his dealings with a difficult Senate.

Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Politics | 1 Comment

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Tony Abbott is winning and Peter Dutton is paying hush-money.

Chief Scientists Alan Finkel’s report on energy is not yet dead, buried and cremated, but Abbott and his gang of avid colliers have already left it struggling on life support.  Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

GREGORY CLARK. Canberra’s new identity problem.

With its new citizenship rules requiring applicants to show proof of attachment to Australian culture and values, Canberra has triggered a national identity debate.  It is accused of showing xenophobic tendencies. But national identity could be much more complex than the critics realise. Ever wondered, for example,  why we get annoyed when people in a crowded train carriage begin speaking into their cellphones? But we do not mind so much when they talk loudly among themselves? Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Foreign Affairs | 1 Comment

GARETH EVANS. Trump’s US has abdicated global leadership

Following his presentation at the EU-Australia Senior and Emerging Leaders’ Forum last week, ANU Chancellor and former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans spoke with Melissa Conley Tyler, Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Evans said that by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and progressively shunning its allies, the US has finally abdicated its global leadership role. The days when the US led the world in developing international institutions and laws for the advancement of global goods were now over. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy | Leave a comment

Submission on foreign policy white paper – filling the void.

The election of Donald Trump has unsettled the global order. He will be the first US president to have no experience of governmental or military leadership. In his campaign statements he challenged the Western consensus on international issues, ranging from US alliances, national security, and nuclear weapons to trade, immigration, and climate change. In whatever ways he implements or moderates these policies, uncertainty and volatility will prevail from January 2017 onwards.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | Leave a comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. Prevention better than cure when it comes to terror

We shouldn’t  trash our own values to  support harsh anti-terrorism policies that don’t guarantee more security. There is a wealth of evidence about what does and what does not help to protect us from terrorism, and we’re doing too much of what doesn’t work. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | Leave a comment

FRANK BRENNAN. The origins and incoherence of Australia’s asylum seeker policy

During Refugee Week 2017, I would like to offer a historical perspective on how we got to where we are in the hope that we might be able to convince one or both of our major political parties to reset their policy, which is needlessly destroying lives, including the lives of children who are proven refugees still living in the no man’s land of Nauru. Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Refugees and asylum seekers | 2 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. The Australian again supports Trump against Turnbull.

Let’s face it, it was hardly surprising to find Malcolm Turnbull taking the piss out of Donald Trump. For starters, just about everyone does it – indeed, for much of the time The Donald seems to be doing it himself.   Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 2 Comments

CAVAN HOGUE. Our white man’s media.

For our media, the UK and the US are more or less ‘down town’.  Continue reading

Posted in Media | 1 Comment

JUSUF WANANDI. Tribute to ambassador Richard Woolcott

Jusuf Wanandi pays tribute to Dick Woolcott, former Ambassador to Indonesia and Secretary of the Department of FOreign Affairs and Trade, on his 90th birthday.   Throughout his long career Woolcott has been a friend to Indonesia. Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Foreign Affairs | 1 Comment

MICHAEL WALKER. Three strategies unions are considering for their survival

There are three strategies unions, in danger of lsing their relevance,  can consider for their survival:  Teaming up with other community groups, aligning with particular professions and finding members online.

Continue reading

Posted in Industrial relations, Politics | 1 Comment

GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. His speech at the Graham Freudenberg Tribute Dinner, 2 June 2017

On 2 June, the NSW Branch of the Labor Party hosted a dinner for Graham Freudenberg, former speechwriter for federal and state Labor leaders, including Arthur Calwell, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Neville Wran, Barrie Unsworth, Bob Carr and Simon Crean. This is a transcript of his speech at that dinner – personal reflections and recollections of the people he has travelled with in his more than 40 years of service to the Labor Party and to Australia.
Continue reading

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GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. Revising history 1914-2017

For octogenarians like me, the most astonishing development since the collapse of the Soviet Union is that so much of the West’s hopes for international sanity, civility and peace should now rest with, of all countries, Germany.   Continue reading

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | 7 Comments