Category Archives: Current affairs

MUNGO MacCALLUM. We are in dreadful peril.

You might not have known it, but Australia is in deadly peril. National security is endangered on all fronts, the most obvious indicator the imminent arrival of fleets of boats poised to descend on our sacred shores, ready to wreak havoc … Continue reading

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BRUCE THOM. Disaster preparedness and climate change: a national conundrum

Australia’s  policies on climate adaptation and disaster preparedness are not being brought together across jurisdictions to make the nation more resilient to inevitable shocks, let alone the insidious effects of reduced rainfall and water supplies. Professor Bruce Thom suggests how … Continue reading

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Chris Bonnor Vale Bernie Shepherd

Every profession has them: those people with an extraordinary range of interests and talents who change the lives of others and sometimes the profession itself. Bernie Shepherd, who has just lost his battle against cancer, was one of these. He … Continue reading

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IAN DUNLOP. Facing “Disaster Alley”, Australia shirks responsibility

The first responsibility of a government is to safeguard the people and their future wellbeing. The ability to do so is increasingly threatened by human-induced climate change, the accelerating impacts of which are driving political instability and conflict globally. Climate … Continue reading

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BRUCE DUNCAN. A scorecard on Pope Francis

Unexpectedly, Pope Francis has emerged as one of the most significant world leaders. Largely unknown before his election, Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis has assumed the moral stature of a new Mandela, and not just among Catholics.

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TONY SMITH. The political ugliness we cannot hide

Half a century ago in The Australian Ugliness Robin Boyd reminded us what  happens when architectural planners embrace utilitarianism and abandon aesthetics. During the days of the Howard Coalition Government, examining the invasion of Iraq and policy on asylum seekers, … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. John Menadue talks to John Faine about Rupert Murdoch, the great rentseeker

In an interview  on 22 June 2017 with Jon Faine of 774 ABC Melbourne Radio, John Menadue highlights how the Murdoch media attacks people like single mothers and dole ‘bludgers’ for wanting handouts from government, yet the Murdoch organisation depends … Continue reading

Posted in Current affairs, Media, Politics | 3 Comments

IAN MCAULEY. This time, let’s get electricity pricing right

Consumers are understandably annoyed about recent electricity price rises. But that does not mean they would necessarily react negatively to a price rise associated with adoption of the Finkel Report recommendations. People are more likely to accept a price rise … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 1 Comment

ROBYN SAMPSON. Ending child immigration detention is just a matter of time.

Momentum is growing around the world to end child immigration detention. All major human rights experts now agree that immigration detention is a child rights violation. Meanwhile, more and more countries are passing laws that prohibit child immigration detention.

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

JIM COOMBS. Crime Down, Gaolings Up. Why ?

Sources of accurate information, such as the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) under their Director, Dr Don Weatherburn, have for some years reported that crimes of all types have been decreasing. This is due to better police … Continue reading

Posted in Current affairs, Vested Interests | 2 Comments

OISÍN SWEENEY & KEVIN EVANS: Coalition governments have abandoned nature. Can we turn this round?

 As the Coalition’s relentless internal struggles over energy ideology capture media headlines, a dramatic roll-back of protections for nature is underway. At State and Commonwealth levels Coalition governments have defunded environment programs and unpicked key legislation. Even fundamental conservation actions … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Environment | 1 Comment

FRANK JOTZO. Reviewing the Finkel Review and the political response

Alan Finkel’s electricity review offers a chance to break the political impasse over climate and energy policy. Its key recommendations, including for a clean energy target – which would support a gradual transition from coal to renewables – are supported … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Mindanao call to the Caliphate !!

Media coverage of the claimed IS connections of the jihadists in Marawi have highlighted their call for a “caliphate”. The intractable scene in Mindanao indeed is concerning but it is born out a much longer and different history than elsewhere … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | 1 Comment

CAVAN HOGUE. We always want an outside protector

The recent Lowy poll that showed a decrease in support for Trump but not for the alliance should not come as a surprise. It is consistent with Australia’s long standing desire for a protector. We should not be naïve about … Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | 3 Comments

GEORGE RENNIE. Australia’s lobbying laws are inadequate, but other countries are getting it right

Lobbying is a necessary component of representative democracy, yet poses one of its greatest threats.

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics, Vested Interests | 1 Comment

GEOFF RABY. Where have all the grown-ups gone on China policy?

Malcolm Turnbull’s glib talk of ‘‘frenemies’’ does nothing to help the urgent debate over how we handle the rising power of China.

Posted in Australia and Asia, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politics | 2 Comments

TONY KEVIN. Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews – reflections on the first half of this current SBS miniseries

Oliver Stone gives Vladimir Putin a comradely easy time, but elicits interesting insights into the man and his policy framework. The second half will be worth watching, as will the first half in replay for those who missed it.    

Posted in Current affairs, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy | 7 Comments

BISHOP VINCENT LONG. Fashioning a more equitable and participatory society

On 16 June 2017 Bishop Vincent Long spoke at the Sydney launch of Race Mathews’ book Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966. This is a transcript of his speech, in which he suggests Whitlam would have been appalled … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR AND BERNIE SHEPHERD. PART ONE: Losing the game? Do we now have another chance to lift school equity and achievement?

  Amidst this week’s flurry of activity over the ‘Gonski’ legislation we seem to have forgotten serious problems, both old and new. In this first of two parts Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd consider the problems we still need to … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR AND BERNIE SHEPHERD. PART TWO: Losing the game? Do we now have another chance to lift school equity and achievement?

Amidst this week’s flurry of activity over the ‘Gonski’ legislation we seem to have forgotten serious problems, both old and new. In this first of two parts Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd consider the problems we still need to solve. … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN. Seeking Clarity on Boat Turnbacks and the Utility of Offshore Refugee Warehousing

Erika Feller (former Assistant High Commissioner UNHCR) and Michael Pezzullo (Secretary, Dept of Immigration and Border Protection) spoke at this year’s ANU Crawford Australian Leadership Forum on borders and the movement of people.  The convenor of the forum is ANU … Continue reading

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

JOAN STAPLES. NGOs and a clash of world views

Coalition Governments have been trying to stop NGO advocacy for 20 years.  Current attacks on the sector are a clash between a neoliberal old world order dominated by fossil fuels and a world view based on sustainability and equity.  Unfortunately, … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics, Vested Interests | 1 Comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. Building submarines in SA simply sinks Australian dollars

Despite claims to the contrary by the defence industry minister Christopher Pyne, this sector is not driving growth in the economy or jobs. A defence economics specialist Mark Thompson has debunked these claims in a careful analysis just released by … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Economy | 1 Comment

JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. “Great” Britain: how low can it go?

When I am in Hong Kong, I normally stay at Causeway Bay. Evenings and weekends, I frequently take a stroll in Victoria Park where invariably I pass in front of the majestically imposing statue of Queen Victoria. This allows me … Continue reading

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RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The rise of China and the reaction of the United States

It has been stated that the Chinese are the “new kids on the block” and are getting a beating from the United States,because of China’s alleged behaviour in the South China seas.

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Who can we trust?

In the series “Fairness, Opportunity and Security” last year I drew attention to the pervasive loss of trust in institutions . Essential Research revealed that the six least trusted institutions were: the news media, state parliaments, trade unions, business groups, … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. Collapse of the Anglo-American Order – Implications for ASEAN and EU

The two architects of the post-World War 2 order were British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and America President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They met (for the first time) aboard the heavy cruiser USS Augusta in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland (Canada) and from … Continue reading

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KAI HE. How to save the Shangri La Dialogue

It was a sign of the Shangri-La Dialogue’s declining relevance when China sent a low-level delegation and India no delegation at all to this year’s talkfest. To ensure its future standing, this important meeting needs to shift its focus to achieving … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Policy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MICHAEL P. HUGHES. What went wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?

The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft … Continue reading

Posted in ANZAC, Current affairs, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IAN VERRENDER. Why you’re about to pay through the nose for power

It was a rare moment of triumph for a Prime Minister frustrated in his dealings with a difficult Senate.

Posted in Climate change, Politics | 1 Comment