Category Archives: Politics

IAN McAULEY. Doing without private health insurance

Every year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports on competition and consumer issues in private health insurance (PHI), and recent reports show increasing consumer dissatisfaction with PHI. Most complaints relate to unexpected charges when claims are made and confusion … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. A rigged gas market and market failure.

Yesterday, the government announced that it would impose an Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism on gas exports from July this year.  This will give the government authority to limit companies’ gas exports if they are emptying Australian gas reserves to … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Malcolm’s Anzac Day Gift. Australian troops will be in the Middle East for the ‘long term’.

The Prime Minister’s statement that Australian military forces will need to remain in Afghanistan and the “Middle East” indefinitely must be clarified as must be the powers under which such decisions are legitimately made. 

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JOHN TULLOH. Trump’s first 100 days – so what?

   The media have been besides themselves in anticipation of Donald Trump’s first 100 days in the White House this weekend. It’s as if this is some magic marker by which to judge his next 1359 days in the Oval … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. The Liberal Party’s French Connection

The political future of Kelly O’Dwyer, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services (presently on maternity leave) is uncertain, as Liberal Party members in her electorate move to disendorse her. On one level this conflict can be seen as the shenanigans … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics, Taxation | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

ALLAN PATIENCE. How much lower are we going to go?

The current Australian values and new immigration visa debates, blusteringly initiated by Malcolm Turnbull and his would-be successor Peter Dutton, represent one of the lowest points in recent Australian political history. Are these panicking populists capable of dragging the country … Continue reading

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SUE WAREHAM. The Australian War Memorial and weapons manufacturers.

The peace of the world for future generations is anathema to the interests of those who profit from warfare. As we commemorate again the “war to end all wars”, and every war since, one can only wonder what the diggers … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Turnbull’s lunge to the populist right.

And this is the big glitch in last week’s announcements – there was a lot of sound and fury, but it was hard to see just what, if anything, will really change – except, perhaps, the squalid dynamics within the … Continue reading

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PETER HUGHES. Citizenship Test Mark II – How much juice can you squeeze out of an orange?

It seems that Coalition governments have developed a habit of squeezing the citizenship “orange” for political advantage when there are some community concerns about migrants. Last week’s announcement by the Turnbull Coalition government, at a time of poor government performance … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Dog whistling about Australian values.

Housing will not be a centrepiece of the forthcoming budget, our Prime Minister assures us, while remaining vague about what, if anything, will be.  

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JOHN MENADUE. The unfairness and waste of private health insurance and the threat to Medicare.

History is repeating itself. Medicare was created by the Whitlam government because of the abject failure of private health insurance or, as it was then called voluntary health insurance.  As a result of the growth of private health insurance (PHI) … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. It’s time for Labor to think big about policy – a people’s bank!

Tony Abbott is not the only one anticipating a change of government at the next election. Voters across the board are increasingly fed up with the Coalition and there are even signs that some of its most devoted cheer leaders … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

DAVID JAMES. Deconstructing the privatisation scam

It is increasingly evident how pernicious the privatisation myth is. Two recent examples have underlined it: the failings in Australia’s privatised energy grid and the usurious pricing in airport car parks. Both examples demonstrated that it is folly to expect … Continue reading

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DUNCAN MacLAREN. UK General Election: clever cunning or miscalculated folly?

Theresa May’s snap general election decision can be seen as hypocritical in that she ruled this out consistently (and as recently as 20th March) until, the Anglican vicar’s daughter hinted, God told her while hiking in Welsh Snowdonia over Easter … Continue reading

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JULIAN CRIBB. When political fantasy trumps scientific fact

During the 1930s, around ten million Russians and Ukrainians starved to death in a horrific event known as Holodomor. Historians have attributed this disaster in part to the quack theories of Trofim Lysenko, Stalin’s hand-picked boss of Soviet agricultural science. … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Environment, Politics, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. 457 visas and our temporary residence system.

In light of government announcement on 457 visas, I have reposted below an article originally posted on 18 November 2016.  See also at end, a link to an article by Joanna Howe in The Canberra Times yesterday.  John Menadue. Oversight … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Immigration, Industrial relations, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull on superannuation and housing.

But that means nothing to the ideological right, which is now shamelessly defying Turnbull on every level. Naturally Tony Abbott is front and centre of the rebellion, with most of the usual suspects on the backbench.   

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MUNGO McCALLUM. Turnbull’s Passage to India.

He may not have landed any concrete results, but he continues to give the myths and legends a good workout.  

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JAMES O’NEILL. Scientific evidence exposes the falsity of US government claims about Syrian gas attack.

The irresistible conclusion is that those same senior politicians know that the White House claims are false and misleading and therefore highly dangerous to Australia’s national security. That they should maintain their silence on this while continuing to perpetuate a … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

ALLAN PATIENCE. The seduction of pessimism.

It seems that the end is nigh of much of what we know and love about our planet as climate change intensifies across the globe. Climate change science is painting a depressingly pessimistic picture of the future. Is there no … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Environment, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Trump is Ignorant of History and So is His Chump Sean Spicer

This article by Middle East expert, ROBERT FISK, was first published in The Independent on 12 April 2017. Fisk comments ‘Gas, cruise missiles, barrel bombs, Hitler and the American media. Mix them all up and I suppose you get Trump’s … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Tide turns as solar, storage costs trump ideologues and incumbents

Looking at the machinations over the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin this week, or seeing certain Coalition Senators howling at the moon over wind turbine “emissions”, or the Treasurer brandishing a lump of coal in parliament, it is … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Economy, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ALLAN PATIENCE. Is it time to resurrect the Albury-Wodonga city plan?

The housing crisis, hitting young Australians in particular, is one of the cruelest consequences of economic rationalist policy making to which both our major political parties remain super-glued. Neither party has a clearly articulated, long-term solution to this ideologically generated … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Housing, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. Why was Malcolm Fraser Hidden at Yarralumla When Sir John Kerr Dismissed Gough Whitlam?

Revelations from the secret correspondence between the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, and the Queen in the months before the dismissal of the Whitlam government have shed new light on a persistent puzzle. When Kerr dismissed Gough Whitlam at 1pm on … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. US Missile Attack on Syria

The US missile strike on Syria was an act of aggression the consequences of which could be immense. The facts of what happened at Khan Sheikhun must be established. 

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

KEITH JOINER. Negating the Impact of the Future Submarine at Next Election

Australia’s future submarine project has already been a factor in Australia’s political pulse, in both the fever of pre-elections and in the now omnipresent prime-ministerial instability between these all-too-frequent elections. South Australia’s Xenophon factor has become powerful, and appointments like … Continue reading

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RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The importance of better security and trade policies.

The relationship between the United States and China is now the most decisive bilateral relationship in the world.  It works on two levels, one public and one private.

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IAN McAULEY. Can we please have a more intelligent debate about corporate taxes

The simple explanation behind the Commonwealth’s proposal to cut corporate taxes is in terms of a struggle between the interests of business and of the broader community, but it is also about the Coalition’s determination, under pressure from vested interests, … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Another distraction, but what a distraction.

The starting point is putting a price on carbon – some form of emissions trading policy. But this is total anathema to the coalition party room – worse even than negative gearing. 

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