Category Archives: Current affairs

RICHARD BUTLER. Trump Tour: Unbound Cynicism

President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and then Israel served entirely cynical international and domestic political purposes. All contentious issues were ignored. The great power competition in the Middle East: US/Saudi and Russia/Iran has deepened.  

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JOHN WARHURST. Catholic Citizens needed within Church

Catholics must stand up and become active citizens not loyal subjects within their own church community. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has pointed to weaknesses in culture and governance within the Catholic Church in Australia. … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL. ‘The Attachment’ by Ailsa Piper and Tony Doherty.

The subtitle to this book is Letters from a Most Unlikely Friendship, and it consists of a series of letters with some occasional background comment between a “lapsed” Catholic (although none of the authors use that word) turned “agnostic with … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Where to for Commonwealth infrastructure policy?

Legend has it that Charlton Heston flashed a Rolex wristwatch during a chariot race in the 1959 Ben Hur movie. Some recent Prime Ministerial comments could be considered flashes of a policy Rolex in an infrastructure discussion fitted to the … Continue reading

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DAVID STEPHENS. Afghanistan infinitum or walking away? The possible cost of shared values

Where do Australia’s values come from and what are they? Ten years ago, Australia’s then Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson, was convinced that our Australian values were forged on the battlefield:No group of Australians has given more, nor worked harder … Continue reading

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EMILY FISCHER et al. Playing God: The Immigration Minister’s Unrestrained Power .

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection holds numerous discretionary powers that allow him or her to make substantial and lifelong decisions about the lives of vulnerable people. These powers lack transparency, accountability and are not amenable to review by … Continue reading

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JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. As China and US get closer, Japan is left in not so splendid isolation in Asia Pacific

Tokyo needs to make peace with its neighbours, especially those that were its former victim.

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LAURIE PATTON. The case for mandating governance training for NFP boards

The not-for-profit sector performs a vital role delivering services that meet important social needs. It provides a voice for some of our most disadvantaged groups and individuals. Not-for-profit status also allows organisations of professionals to represent their members under a … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Miners, taxation and donations. (Repost 17/10/2013)

In my blog of June 3 “the Miners Lament”, I pointed out that the large foreign owned  mining companies in Australia may yet regret that they rejected out of hand the Resources Super Profits Tax that the Rudd Government proposed. … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. The  Tangled  Education Web. Part 2 of 2: The Catholic Story

‘Sector-blind’ does not mean turning a blind eye to the shortcomings of any sector in distributing public funding received from government. 

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MUNGO MacCALLUM  So much for the miracle budget

Just a week after, it appears that nothing has really changed – another bad negative Newspoll, war on two fronts with the banks and the Catholics, and, of course, more brawling in the party room. There must be times when … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Trump and the Wahhabis

President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia does not sit well with a demand to fight the Wahhabi inspired terrorists but support for a dictatorship that suits American commercial and strategic interests is a long standing US practice. We may wonder … Continue reading

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MARK GREGORY.  A new broadband levy in another NBN bungle

The Turnbull government is set to introduce a new levy on telecommunications companies that offer 25 Mbps or faster internet connections to contribute towards regional and remote broadband. 

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 JIM COOMBS. Public Goods

Before the advent of the “free enterprise market economy” model’s dominance of economic thinking, there was a distinction made between private and public goods.  The idea was that some things had to be provided for a healthy, well-ordered society: such … Continue reading

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Book Launch: “Of Labour and Liberty”

Of Labour and Liberty Book Launch Event Information Join us as Bishop Vincent Long, Fourth Bishop of Parramatta launches Race Mathew‘s new book, Of Labour and Liberty at the Whitlam Institute, in partnership with Monash University Publishing. Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. The Tangled  Education Web  Part 1 of 2

Gonski 2.0 appeared to be a gift horse but over the space of little more than two week it is looking more like a Trojan horse.  

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LINDA SIMON.The future of VET remains uncertain!

The 2017 Federal Budget provided little new funding for vocational education and training, with its main focus the Skilling Australians Fund.  This Fund appears to only exacerbate the uncertain future of the VET sector with its narrow student application, dependence … Continue reading

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IAN DUNLOP. The Leaders We Deserve?

Rarely have politicians demonstrated their ignorance of the real risks and opportunities confronting Australia than with the recent utterances of Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan and other ministers promoting development of Adani and Galilee Basin coal generally, along with their petulant … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Press freedom is a minefield

Julian Assange has cleared the Swedish legal minefield between him and freedom. The two which lie ahead are British and American.

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia-as-Concierge: The Need for a Change of Occupation

Albert Camus, the renowned French philosopher, author and journalist, frequently recounted the story of the concierge in the Gestapo headquarters who went about her everyday business in the midst of torture explaining, “I never pay attention to what my tenants … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Policy | Tagged | 3 Comments

SAUL ESLAKE. Housing affordability and the 2017-18 Budget: a missed opportunity

Housing affordability was to be a key focus of the Government in this year’s federal budget, according to the ‘nods and winks’ that traditionally precede the Treasurer’s budget speech. A journalist who has often been privy to the thinking of … Continue reading

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CAMERON MURRAY.  Game of Mates: How favours bleed the nation

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Game of Mates: How favours bleed the nation.  Get the book via gameofmates.com. Follow author Cameron Murray on Facebook and Twitter. Come to the Brisbane book launch on 23rd May, 6pm at Avid Reader, West End (Details and RSVP link). 

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RAMESH THAKUR. The White Man’s Media — Part I

Ramesh Thakur highlights how a biased coverage of the war on terror and the Iraq War by the US media eroded US soft power.  

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RAMESH THAKUR. The White Man’s media – Part 2

In the second part, Ramesh Thakur extends his analysis of bias in the Western media to their coverage of Iran, Russia, Ukraine and India. 

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FRANK BRENNAN. The invidious choice for refugee advocates

Robert Manne’s latest piece on the future policy options for refugees on Nauru and Manus Island is now available here. The moral-political question is about the choice confronting those of us advocating a change of policy by the major political parties.

Posted in Refugees and asylum seekers | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

JOHN TULLOH.  Jockeying for the big prize in Iran

‘Trump’s rhetoric towards Iran is so harsh that to have someone on the other side who is equally harsh might provoke an unintentional confrontation’. 

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MICHAEL THORN. Countering vested interests

That corporations wield enormous power is not news. That this power is wielded to benefit the corporation and its agents is not news either. Neither is seeking to counter the power of these corporations by public interest organisations, like the … Continue reading

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PETER Sainsbury. Crisis … what crisis? Australian government discussion paper downplays climate change

By ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change in November 2016 the Australian government committed to a target of reducing Australian carbon emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. The government also agreed to review its climate change policies … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Environment | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

JULIAN CRIBB. The war drums are beating…

Australia risks being drawn into new US wars in Asia. Having been continually at war since 2001 at America’s behest, it is time the Australian people had their say about whether we should continue to engage in belligerent actions in … Continue reading

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BRIAN TOOHEY. How to repair neo-liberalism

The policy debate needs fresh ideas to fill the gap left by the lack of popular and political support for the neo-liberal economic agenda. Paul Keating, who championed that agenda, recently said neo-liberal economics “has run into a dead end … Continue reading

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