Author Archives: Carol Summerhayes

JOHN AUSTEN. Transport for an incoming NSW Government.

NSW faces an election in March.  This note – to help an incoming government – draws on transport matters identified in Pearls etc.  It won’t be in the incoming government’s briefs.  Never mind – people who matter read Pearls! 

Posted in Infrastructure | 2 Comments

BOB DEBUS. How close to Armageddon do we have to get?

The 2019 OECD Environmental Performance Review for Australia, launched recently and reported in The Guardian if hardly anywhere else, makes horrible reading. “Australia is home to a 10th of global species and is seen by many as synonymous with pristine … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | Leave a comment

MARY CROCK AND DANIEL GHEZELBA. It’s high time we stopped playing politics with migration laws.

Ordinary Australians are tired of the casual cruelty of hard-line border control policies. The medical evacuation bill was introduced by Dr Kerryn Phelps to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island can access the medical care they … Continue reading

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SHEILA A. SMITH. US policy in Asia heads from bad to worse.

If the past year is any indication of the year ahead, US policy in Asia will be erratic and self-serving. The beginnings of an Indo-Pacific strategy notwithstanding, the Trump administration continues to work out its issues with countries in the region bilaterally … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Who could have predicted that Kenneth Hayne would turn out to be such an old softie?

For months the stern, uncompromising judicial figure has presided over his royal commission with imperial authority,  a veritable Judge Dredd inspiring fear and trepidation among scores of witnesses ever wary that at any moment he could reach for the black … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 6 Comments

ANTHONY PUN. A relapse of China panic.

Three media reports in the Sydney Morning Herald could be seen as a “Relapse of the China Panic” since it went into remission last December.  It came in a period where Chinese Australians celebrate the Lunar New Year and indeed … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics | 1 Comment

KEVIN BAIN. Refugees going nowhere – can nothing be done?

In their November 2015 Foreign Affairs article and subsequent book “Refuge – Transforming a Broken Refugee System” (reviewed here), economist Paul Collier and refugee academic Alexander Betts put forward a radical re-think of the refugee support system on the grounds … Continue reading

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JEFFREY D. SACHS. Trump’s Syria withdrawal is a chance for peace.

From Donald Trump’s point of view, a US-installed Syrian puppet regime that would push out Russia and Iran is neither central to US national security nor practicable. And, here, Trump is right for a change.

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NOEL TURNBULL. A climate of hope.

Despite Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and others there is a significant change of opinion on climate change around much of the western world – particularly in the US of all places – for the better. 

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

EVAN JONES. The gaping hole in the Royal Commission’s final report.

The Banking Royal Commission’s Final Report has generated much froth and bubble in the media. Hayne has chosen to emphasise the sins of the finance sector in the ‘wealth management’ arena (financial advice, insurance, super – the last superficially). Media … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

TED EGAN. Matthew Flinders: Conditor Australis.

Two items  are prominent in the news at the moment:  Matthew Flinders’ remains have been unearthed at Euston Station, London; and there is heated debate in Australia about the most appropriate day to recognise as ‘Australia Day’. 

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | 6 Comments

CAVAN HOGUE. Brazil – somebody down there loves Donald.

The newly elected Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, is a right wing, socially conservative former army officer who is a fan of Donald Trump and is following many of his foreign policy adventures like pulling out of the Paris Climate accords … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. How a desert book festival outshone the chill over Davos.

Last week two major events on the calendar of global gatherings kicked off the New Year.  They could not have been further apart.  Some 20,000 attendees, mainly middle aged and older, made their way up the snow blanketed steep valleys … Continue reading

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DANIELLE WOOD, CARMELA CHIVERS AND KATE GRIFFITHS. Tasmania’s gambling election shows Australia needs tougher rules on money in politics.

Today’s Commonwealth donations data release is a stark reminder of the deep flaws in our political donations system. Contributions to political parties are revealed up to 19 months after the event, and sometimes not at all. With most states now operating far more transparent … Continue reading

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JOCELYN PIXLEY. Trying to revive Howard-Costello market slogans.

The Coalition’s strategies for 2019’s election include reiterating Howard-Costello slogans. Australia’s 1996-2007 racist divisiveness is a factor while its economic policies copied decades of attacks (UK and USA) on social justice. But the sainted banks delivered the GFC just as … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

BOB DOUGLAS. Would Australian politicians contemplate a strategy for human survival?

Why are governments around the world  avoiding the constellation of threats to survival of humans on the planet? 

Posted in Environment and climate | 3 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. January 26….. and our Declaration of Dependence.

As we approach another Australia Day, public interest quickens and rhetoric escalates. On both sides of the front line the old trenches are reoccupied and well-known strategies rehearsed. The hostility of indigenous Australians looms large in the thinking of both … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

DEAN BAKER. The Green New Deal is happening in China.

One of the Trump administration’s talking points about global warming is that we’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while the countries that remain in the Paris accord are not. Well, the first part of this story is clearly not true, as … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. China needs a grown-up foreign policy for a changed era.

At the key 19th Party Congress in October 2017, Xi Jinping set out his signature policy – Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era – which, unusually early on in his term, was inscribed into the Party’s Constitution as … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. The roads that ate the Australian economy Part 2 of 2

  Australia’s current approach to road spending will soon generate up to $20 billion every year in new public sector debt – making it impossible for any new Commonwealth government to benefit from much-needed tax reform and revenue increases.  This … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN QUIGGIN. Socialist utopia 2050: what could life in Australia be like after the failure of capitalism?

From four-day weeks to unconditional basic income to free education, it’s possible to imagine a future where society’s focus has moved from consumption to quality of life.

Posted in Economy | 2 Comments

LUKE FRASER. The roads that ate the Australian economy – Part 1 of 2

Australia’s current approach to road spending will soon generate up to $20 billion every year in new public sector debt – making it impossible for any new Commonwealth government to benefit from much-needed tax reform and revenue increases.  This also … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

VINCENT MAHON. Will the Greens learn from the Victorian election?

The Victorian Greens entered the State election with eight MPs. It ended with only four, losing fifty percent of its parliamentarians. The Greens prioritised lower house seats to the detriment of the five upper house seats it held where it … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

NICK DEANE. Unravelling the fabric of the Australia/US alliance.

John Menadue has articulated the problems with the Australia/US alliance very clearly. Those who are concerned to change its nature need a weak point at which to challenge it. To unravel the fabric of the alliance, start by opposing the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 14 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. WestConnex inquiry report.

The Parliamentary inquiry into WestConnex is the type of thing that should happen before any major infrastructure project starts.  However, it let the project off too lightly.

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ABUL RIZVI. Is The Australian making excuses for incompetent immigration administration?

Nick Cater writing in The Australian (see here if you can get past the Paywall) seems to think people trying to manipulate the visa system is news. Has he been as asleep to this while our intrepid government has allowed … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

STUART REES. Redefining anti-Semitism erodes freedom of speech.

Claims about western values usually include praise for the freedom enjoyed through governments’ respect for freedom of speech. Yet, even in democratic states, those principles are being treated as outmoded, not least in regard to criticism of Israeli policies towards … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

LORRAINE CHOW. Ten grim climate scenarios if global temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees celsius.

The (Northern) summer of 2018 was intense: deadly wildfires, persistent drought, killer floods and record-breaking heat. Although scientists exercise great care before linking individual weather events to climate change, the rise in global temperatures caused by human activities has been … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. If specialists cannot be fair in their fee charging – should we not be supporting a Royal Commission into medical fees

Well done John Menadue for starting 2019 off with something that must strike at the heart of all Australians- out of pocket medical expenses. Some of the highest in the world and showing no sign of slowing and driven by … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 6 Comments

JAKE JOHNSON. Facebook let corporate partners read users’ private messages.

Just hours after civil rights groups called on Facebook’s top executives to step down from the company’s board for allowing “viral propaganda” and “bigoted campaigns” to spread on the platform, demands for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to resign intensified after a bombshell New York … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 1 Comment