Category Archives: Vested Interests

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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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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JOHN MENADUE. Health Ministers may be in office but health providers are in power. Think medical specialists fees!

The special pleading of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) is not surprising for a group that represents the interests of medical providers. (DAVID M SCOTT and PETER SEAL. Medical specialists – maintaining a high standard and duty of care.) … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Physicians ‘outed’ on fees – Time for Patients to take more control.

If all [of the above] fail to work perhaps a review of what Pierre Trudeau and his government did in 1984 when they took on a system not dissimilar to ours –uncontrolled fee for service- and legislated that doctors could … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. How the gaming of land rezoning by vested interests keeps housing unaffordable.

After Easter, we will be posting a ten-part series on making housing more affordable for all. One of the problems in housing affordability is the political muscle of some developers in gaming rezoning and reaping substantial capital gains from property. … Continue reading

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TIM COLEBATCH. Why gas prices went sky-high, and what governments need to do about it

There is an overwhelming consensus that the centrepiece should be an emissions intensity scheme, as proposed by the draft Finkel report, by the government’s handpicked Climate Change Authority, and by electricity generators and big users alike. This would give the energy industry … Continue reading

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MARK BEESON. WA and the politics of the resource curse. Take on the miners at your peril!

WA is but the most glaring example of the way that Australia’s politics have been directly affected by the politics of the so-called ‘resource curse’, when a powerful economic sector uses its disproportionate influence to shape political outcomes.  

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JOHN DWYER. The parlous state of strategies to protect consumers from health care fraud. Part 2 of 3.

Credible scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness should underpin the delivery of health care. Satisfactory health outcomes and cost effectiveness require this approach. In Australia however pseudoscience flourishes as regulatory bodies fail to protect consumers from health care fraud and a … 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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JOHN MENADUE. Medical specialists – high fees and poor accountability.

So much of the public attention is on care in general practice, but specialist healthcare has some very serious problems. The first is excessive remuneration of many specialists. In some cases it could only be described as greed. The second … Continue reading

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. South Australia’s gambling tax highlights the regulatory mess of online betting.

The South Australian government  will introduce from July a “point-of-consumption tax” to claw back some of the gambling tax revenue it is seeing disappear over the border. The new tax is a reasonable response to a growing problem, and probably won’t … Continue reading

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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

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. A shonky affair.

Here lies the exquisite dilemma for the Packer lobbyists: help push the Chinese side to get a better deal, perhaps an exchange program for their incarcerated staff, or strike another deal, leaving all those ill-gotten gains sloshing around Sydney and … Continue reading

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GEOFF DAVIES. Brexit, Trump and a Rigged System. Part 2 of 2.

Neoliberalism let loose the anarchic forces of free markets just at the time when we most needed them to be restrained and redirected so as not to wreck our planetary home.

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GEOFF DAVIES. Brexit, Trump and a Rigged System. Part 1 of 2.

Behind the votes for Brexit and Trump lies a simple and widespread perception: the system is rigged in favour of the rich. That perception is accurate. People may lash out at scapegoats and follow false prophets, but their disgust and … Continue reading

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

ROBERT BROWN. Financial advice reform – when will the journey end?

The financial advice industry is on a journey towards professionalism”. While I can’t say exactly what this tired assertion means, I can say that it is invariably offered as an impatient response to pesky commentators who dare to suggest that … Continue reading

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THOMAS BABOR, DAVID JERNIGAN, CHRIS BROOKES. Alcohol marketing: the simple truth

According to the World Health Organization, there are 3.3 million deaths attributable to alcohol use worldwide each year. Alcohol marketing, promotion and sponsorship are widespread in most of the world today and marketers are moving increasingly to digital and social … Continue reading

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John Menadue. Democratic Renewal; Vested interests and the subversion of the public interest?

This is a repost from May 13, 2015. There are many key public issues that we must address such as climate change, growing inequality, tax avoidance, budget repair, an ageing population, lifting our productivity and our treatment of asylum seekers. … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, FREEDOM, OPPORTUNITY & SECURITY Policy Series, Media, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Timorese have had a win but could still lose big-time

Without any media fanfare, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop published a statement on 9 January 2017 announcing that Australia and Timor Leste had agreed to terminate the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS).  

Posted in Economy, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

FRANCIS MARKHAM & MARTIN YOUNG. When it comes to election campaigns, is the gambling lobby all bark and no bite?

The gambling lobby’s influence in overriding popular opinion and the public interest in Australia is well-known. But is its electoral power exaggerated? A look at this year’s ACT election suggests that perhaps the gambling industry is less influential than it … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Private Health Insurance vs dental care.

Australian health would be much improved if the $11 billion subsidy for private health insurance was abolished and part of those funds allocated to universal dental care within Medicare.  

Posted in Health, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. The new squatters on public land.

The new squatters on public land are being given a leg-up as they were in the 19th Century to seize and occupy public land.  

Posted in Environment, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Gambling industry finds plenty of political guns for hire to defend the status quo.

“Responsible gambling”, like “responsible drinking”, is a clever-sounding way of deflecting attention away from the product.  

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 1 – Who’s been left behind?

In “developed” countries the benefits of 35 years of economic growth have been unevenly distributed. Many people who once had well-paid manufacturing jobs and many who live in the country have fallen behind. While this has been most starkly manifest … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Education, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Health, Industrial relations, Media, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 2 – The response of those left behind

It would be hasty to attribute the Brexit and Trump votes to a “swing to the right”, or to an ill-informed electorate. The most compelling explanations are in terms of protest votes. People’s anger of electorates has given an opening … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Democratic Renewal, Economy, Education, Health, Media, Politics, Refugees and asylum seekers, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 3 – Globalization takes the rap, unfairly

Globalization has been only one of the developments that has led to widening inequality and social exclusion. Countries that have globalized have also introduced a raft of neoliberal domestic policies, against which people are reacting.

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Education, Environment, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Health, Industrial relations, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 4 – Issues re-framed

Contrary to some interpretations, the trend in “developed” countries is still towards social and economic liberalism. But there is a strong reaction against the social exclusion that has accompanied liberalization. The economic models that guide public policy are not up … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 5 – How we lost trust in government

We have lost trust in our governments and in mainstream political parties. Politicians, the media and corporate interests have been responsible for alienating governments from the people who elect them, creating fertile ground for populists.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 6 – Who exploited discontent and how

A turning point in Australian political life was the 2013 election when Abbott set about destroying what remained of trust in government and of trust in social and political institutions, including traditions of dispassionate and objective inquiry.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 7 – The left went AWOL

Contrary to right-wing conspiracy theories, there is no significant “anti-business” force in Australia. In fact the left has never been weaker: the traditional unionized left has been weakened by structural change, and the “progressive” left has dealt itself out of … Continue reading

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