Category Archives: Politics

IAN McAULEY. South Australia’s Electricity Problems: Jay Weatherill Should Follow The Coalition’s Example

Spare a thought for the people of South Australia. Large parts of Adelaide blacked out for up to 18 hours without notice. Trams stopped in their tracks across busy intersections. A bitter and partisan debate in state parliament about responsibility … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

DOUGLAS NEWTON. The “Political Correctness” – of the Right

In a recent speech to CEDA, John Howard denounced an “avalanche of political correctness”. In fact, Howard has helped promote a stifling version of political correctness – on the Right of Australian politics.  

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FRANK STILWELL and CHRISTOPHER SHEIL. The IMF is showing some hypocrisy on inequality

The IMF should practice what it preaches when it comes to inequality.  

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

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Scratching to find an alternative to Malcolm Turnbull.

A corner has been turned, a bridge has been crossed, a line has been drawn. Australian politics has changed: the idea that Malcolm Turnbull could be replaced as Liberal leader is no longer unthinkable.  

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JOHN MENADUE. Failed Leadership in Church and State!

From my experience and observation good leadership is about creating disequilibrium and a process to galvanise the group to change. Without disequilibrium there will be no worthwhile change.  

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Politics, Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

JOHN QUIGGIN. The case for renationalising Australia’s electricity grid.

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform – cheaper and more … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

ANDREW FARRAN. The Tactical Strike Force fighter to stalk terrorists – really!

Why does the Prime Minister extoll our expensive F-35s as instruments for killing terrorists in irrelevant conflicts when their purpose is to protect the nation against threats of strategic dimensions were they to arise, not now but in the decades … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

TREVOR COBBOLD. The Barnett Government Has Slashed Funding for Public Schools

The claims by the Western Australian Government that it has massively increased school funding in recent years are highly misleading. The fact is that the Barnett Government has taken to the axe to funding of public schools while boosting its … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. The Sydney metro – the doubt and mess continues.

A little more real information about Sydney rail development is coming to light. It is not dispelling the doubts about metro. A decision on Badgerys Creek rail, which would have been straightforward without the metro, is now ‘years off’. The … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Pauline Hanson’s youth support

A recent survey has found surprisingly high levels of support for One Nation among young voters in George Christiansen’s electorate in northern Queensland. At first sight this seems incongruous with the Brexit and Trump votes, which showed younger people were … Continue reading

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MICHAEL WEST. Australia’s march to corporatocracy.

Confounding the familiar government narrative of reckless spending binges by Labor, the Coalition actually has the record of greater profligacy when it comes to showering billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on external consultants.  

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

IAN VERRENDER. Malcolm Turnbull faces growing discontent from the middle, not just the fringes

Has there ever been a more demoralising time to be Prime Minister?  There’s been the expected sniping from the sidelines and the continued calls for the Coalition to shore up its base and prevent leakage to parties like One Nation. 

Posted in Economy, Politics, Taxation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PAUL CLEARY. How Australia wasted the mining boom.

The countries that have mastered the development of their resources, most notably Norway, worked out long ago that to truly prosper in the long run, the citizens who own these assets are entitled to share in the super profits derived … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Politics, Taxation | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. How we can do better on education. (Jean Blackburn Oration)

When you do so little to require the winners from economic change to compensate the losers, and then, whether by accident or design, you have an influx of immigrants, you end up with Trump, Brexit and the resurrection of One … Continue reading

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

NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent warnings that house prices would fall steeply under a Labor government confirm the underlying politics of housing policy in Australia. The default position for politicians is to sound concerned about housing affordability, but do nothing. … Continue reading

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

MUNGO MacCALLUM. The Abbott geyser.

Unless Malcolm Turnbull is prepared to take the pretender front on, to attempt to blow him away in the manner he is trying to dispose of Shorten, he will continue to cop the wrecking, sniping and undermining that Abbott is … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN & PETER PHIBBS. How the Property Council is shaping the debate around negative gearing, taxes.

We see their spokespeople quoted in the papers and their ads on TV, but beyond that we know very little about how Australia’s lobby groups get what they want. 

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DOUG CAMERON. Commonwealth can, and must, do more on housing and homelessness

The failure of the market to provide housing for all who need it is compounded by several political failures.  

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DAVID JAMES. Trump’s pro-globalisation critics miss the key questions

The most pressing question: Is the global system there to serve people, or are people there to serve the global system? They also never address a central contradiction of globalisation: that capital is free to move, but for the most part … Continue reading

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HAL SWERISSEN. Obesity: individual responsibility isn’t enough

When individual choices cost tax payers $5.2 billion in extra health and welfare services for obesity, the market has failed. When the market fails, it is legitimate for government to act.  

Posted in Health, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

JIM COOMBS. Do We choose reason and proportion or “Economic Reform” ?

So long as government vacates the field, the balance between rich and poor lurches further towards the rich. 8 individuals control half of the world’s wealth. Is that Balance or proportionate ? 

Posted in Economy, Politics, Taxation | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Political morality and preference deals.

Turnbull, having told us that he is now an agnostic on energy policy – whatever works, by which he means whatever is good politics has now become an agnostic, even an atheist, when it comes to political morality.

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PAUL BUDDE. Australia needs a proper NBN.

Regrettably it appears that on both counts – proper infrastructure plans and the need for affordable services – the government and the nbn company, despite spending something like $50 billion, have failed to come up with the right solution for … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Media, NBN, Politics | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

WAYNE SWAN. Coalition energy policy.

It’s a lost decade we couldn’t afford on climate change and energy policy – but when the consequences are felt in years and decades to come, it’s incumbent upon us all not to forget the political opportunists and charlatans who … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Economy, Environment, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull’s attacks.

But the real flaw in Turnbull’s strategy is its sheer negativity. The great dominators of parliament – Menzies, Whitlam and Keating most notably – all had something to say: they were policy powerhouses, intent on changing the nation in their … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN, OLIVER FRANKEL, JOHN MENADUE. Upcoming series on Making Housing Affordable.

After Easter, Pearls and Irritations plans to publish a series ‘Making Housing Affordable‘ addressing key aspects of the housing crisis and recommending solutions, with contributions from a range of experts and other key stakeholders, including economists, planners, demographers, housing providers … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Housing, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

OLIVER FRANKEL. Making housing affordable. Vancouver’s new “Empty Homes Tax”

Vancouver’s response to the housing affordability crisis,  now includes a new Empty Homes Tax at 1% per annum of the value of each empty home covered. Australian reports suggest that there may be 90,000 empty dwellings in Sydney and 83,000 … Continue reading

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

CAROLYN WHITZMAN. States drag feet on affordable housing, with Victoria the worst.

Moral panic over recent increases in visibly homeless people in central Melbourne has brought to the fore the critical shortage of affordable housing across the metropolitan areas of Australia’s wealthiest cities. But living on the street is only the tip … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Outlook for Australian politics and government in 2017.

The area of economic reform where the government’s performance has been most egregious is on policy to ease our transition to a low-carbon economy and honour our commitments at the Paris conference. Leaving aside Abbott’s role in our policy regression, … Continue reading

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

TREVOR COBBOLD. Resource Gaps Between Advantaged & Disadvantaged Schools Among the Largest in the World

Disadvantaged students in Australia are being denied equal opportunities to learn because they have less access to qualified teachers and material resources than advantaged students. The gaps in access to education resources between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia are … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment