Category Archives: Current affairs

PAUL COLLINS. Marriage equality – some thoughts for the perplexed.

Throughout human history all types of arrangements have evolved to nurture children, of which a common form is a reasonably stable relationship between woman and man. Whether or not this was seen as marriage varied widely.  So, use of the … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. The good news.

The good news for Malcolm Turnbull is that his government is not in immediate danger of falling – at least, not any more than usual.  

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and the North Korean nuclear challenge

On a superficial reading, China is feeling the squeeze to take effective action to bring North Korea to heel over its rogue nuclear program. On a deeper reading, China’s gains from the crisis exceed the costs. On a wider reading, … Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Foreign Affairs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ANDREW FARRAN. We should discuss Pine Gap!

Whether the leaked documents from the US National Security Agency were revealing, as claimed by the ABC’s Background Briefing on Sunday morning (, enough has been known about the Pine Gap facility long enough for some searching questions about its … Continue reading

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The Myth About Marriage

Paul Collins’ recent article, An Open Letter to Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher, has attracted record numbers of readers for this blog.  The following article by Garry Wills elaborates on the ‘myth about marriage’. In his article in the New York … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

TONY SMITH. In Defence of the Yarra Council

Local government leading the way on an important political issue? Who would have thought it? Well, anyone with an eye to federal ossification on Indigenous policy will welcome the move to stop calling 26 January ‘Australia Day’ as a potential … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Multi-Culturalism | 1 Comment

MACK WILLIAMS. The South Koreans are a critical part of the equation

As the shouting match becomes more heated between Kim Jong Un and President Trump the role of the popular new President Moon has become more difficult. The most likely casualties in any outbreak of military exchanges would be the population … Continue reading

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STAN GRANT. America tears down its racist history, we ignore ours

I passed by Hyde Park this week in the heart of Sydney and looked again on the statue of Captain James Cook. It has pride of place, a monument to the man who in 1770 claimed this continent for the … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 4 Comments

ANDREW FARRAN. John Howard and the Coalition’s views on war powers could lead to conflict in South China Sea

Recent comments by former Prime Minister John Howard is indicative of just how easily conflict situations can engage quickly and end badly in the hands of a ‘strong’ Prime Minister who takes the Howard view that the Executive alone has … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

MICHAEL LAMBERT. The shambles of Australia’s national electricity policy.

Australia has rich energy resources, both fossil and renewable, and a well considered electricity market design, as evidenced by the National Electricity Market (NEM), so why is our electricity market policy overall in such a shambolic state?  Successive national governments … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Infrastructure | 4 Comments

RANALD MACDONALD. ABC deal comes back to haunt the Government (Episode Two).

Last week I began my summary of the Government’s complex negotiations aimed at getting its Media Reform Bill through the Senate with the words:   “Make a deal for political expediency and then unforeseen consequences usually follow.   The ABC and its future … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 2 Comments

GEOFF MILLER. Korea: Missiles or exercises or both?

  Despite President Trump’s latest supercilious Tweet, North Korea may still seek to make the cancellation of exercise Ulchi-Freedom Guardian the price of not firing its missiles into waters near Guam. 

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | 2 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. An Open Letter to Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher

I am disturbed by your identification of your personal views on marriage equality with those of the Catholic Church… The saddest thing is that you have linked Catholicism with some of the most reactionary and unattractive political forces in the … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 23 Comments

JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. Why the West and Japan should stop preaching to a rising China

Jean-Pierre Lehmann says the imperialist powers of old should acknowledge their own bloody history of plunder and exploitation, and work with Beijing to find a path to a peaceful rise, which so far is unprecedented.

Posted in Australia and Asia, Foreign Affairs, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

JIM COOMBS. Electricity and Banks.

A belief, without foundation, that “the market” is the best way to deliver any product, has our politicians gibbering, when the provision of Public Goods (see my previous article) is properly to be determined by the principle of universal access, … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 2 Comments

GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. “Which of us is safe?”

Graham Freudenberg, of German, Scottish and Irish descent, whose Prussian-born grandparents were declared enemy aliens in 1915 after 50 years prolific residence in Queensland, has recently held a séance with King O’Malley (an American pretending to be a Canadian and … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

JOHN McCARTHY. The West needs to talk about Russia.

The place Russia occupies in the political maelstrom in Washington, the recent sanctions bills in Congress and Putin’s cuts to the American diplomatic presence in Russia are driving the US’s relationship—and hence the West’s relationship—with Russia from bad to worse.  … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy | 4 Comments

BOB DOUGLAS An algal industry ready to bloom

A high level Roundtable held in Canberra in November 2017 concluded that  algal technology can help to  protect the Great Barrier Reef and create new jobs and growth  for regional areas.

Posted in Economy, Environment | 1 Comment

MICHAEL SAINSBURY. Religious and ethnic persecution sours ASEAN’s birthday party

Against the backdrop of a rising China, positive news out of the region is being undermined by several major crises.

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‘It’s time to act’: Liberal MP calls for Australia to take refugees from Manus and Nauru

The Victorian Liberal moderate Russell Broadbent has called in Federal Parliament for “genuine refugees” in offshore detention to be settled permanently on the Australian mainland once the US resettlement deal has run its course.

Posted in Immigration, Refugees and asylum seekers | Leave a comment

MICHAEL KEATING. Is it legitimate to pay for a postal plebiscite using the Advance to the Minister of Finance?

This article questions the legitimacy of by-passing the need for Parliament’s approval by using the Advance to the Minister of Finance to pay for the Government’s postal plebiscite regarding attitudes to marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Posted in Current affairs, Politics | 8 Comments

IAN McAULEY. Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Turnbull, and the ABC – a Faustian bargain

Turnbull’s deal with One Nation, to require the ABC to be “fair and balanced”, looks innocuous at first sight, but if implemented it would see the ABC cast into the wasteland of moral relativism.

Posted in Media | 3 Comments

PAUL BUDDE. NBN goes against the very principles of conservative government

That the NBN goes against the very principles of conservative government became very clear to me in my discussion with the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network. When addressing the various well-documented problems of the NBN the chair … Continue reading

Posted in Media, NBN | 3 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Infrastructure in Australia- the continuing policy confusion and advisory mess.

Infrastructure Australia’s ‘reform’ reports and its updated priority list – which assesses particular projects – add to evidence about problems with infrastructure advice.  This article deals with the latest reform report – corridor protection – and the resulting depressing high … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Transport | 2 Comments

LEANNE WELLS. Health insurance: the big shift that’s left patients short

The transformation of big health funds into for-profit business enterprises sheltered by significant government subsidy and regulations has failed to prompt a complementary  response from federal governments, Coalition or Labor, to even the playing field for consumers.

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

STEPHEN DUCKETT. Why it costs you so much to see a specialist – and what the government should do about it

Australians pay too much when they go to medical specialists. The government can and should do more to drive prices down. A current Senate Inquiry on out-of-pocket costs will hopefully lead to some policy action.

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

RICHARD ECKERSLEY. What most concerns us about our personal lives and the societies we live in?

Our quality of life is about much more than our standard of living.

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JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. Aug 15: A day to mark Western imperialism

The date marks the 70th anniversary of the independence and partition of India, an event that has its roots in Western colonial conquest of the Indian sub-continent. It should also be remembered by the imperialists who plundered the planet.

Posted in Australia and Asia, Foreign Affairs | 1 Comment

MARK BEESON. The unconventional wisdom

When it comes to military matters, there is – forgive the pun – a remarkable uniformity of opinion. Sensible and serious observers agree that not only is the ANZUS alliance the indispensable bedrock of national security, but Australian policymakers would … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 1 Comment

RICHARD BUTLER. Has Bishop’s time come?

The publication by a leading journalist of an extraordinary puff piece on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her leadership skills, is bound to set political hares running. But, where to?

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | Leave a comment