Subscribe to pearls and irritations
Most viewed recently
- JOHN MENADUE. The terrorists are over here because our troops are over there.
- GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. Revising history 1914-2017
- JOHN MENADUE. The question Leigh Sales didn’t ask Senator John McCain.
- LYNDSAY CONNORS. Schools Funding: unearthing the facts
- JOHN WARHURST. We need a royal commission into the corruption and decay of Australian politics.
- MACK WILLIAMS. Mindanao call to the Caliphate !! 23 June 2017
- CAVAN HOGUE. We always want an outside protector 23 June 2017
- GEORGE RENNIE. Australia’s lobbying laws are inadequate, but other countries are getting it right 23 June 2017
- GEOFF RABY. Where have all the grown-ups gone on China policy? 23 June 2017
- TONY KEVIN. Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews – reflections on the first half of this current SBS miniseries 23 June 2017
- Current affairs (2,963)
- Arts (29)
- Reviews (19)
- Defence/Security (540)
- ANZAC (46)
- Democratic Renewal (117)
- Economy (785)
- Taxation (61)
- Education (141)
- Environment (166)
- Climate change (127)
- Foreign Affairs (931)
- Australia and Asia (290)
- Health (355)
- Human Rights (307)
- Immigration (451)
- Indigenous affairs (36)
- Industrial relations (28)
- Infrastructure (121)
- Media (408)
- NBN (57)
- Politics (1,854)
- Federal Election 2016 (106)
- Religion and Faith (349)
- Science (1)
- Sport (39)
- Tributes (31)
- Vested Interests (149)
- Arts (29)
- Foreign Policy (13)
- Freedom, opportunity and security series (57)
- Making housing affordable series (15)
- Uncategorized (47)
- Current affairs (2,963)
Category Archives: Democratic Renewal
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.
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.
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.
We have many hard issues to confront but our present political elites are adept at avoiding them. It’s futile and dangerous to wait for a “leader” who will solve our problems. The task of leadership is one that falls on … Continue reading
In this interview, reported in The Wire on 31 January 2016, Noam Chomsky talks about the ravages of neoliberalism. this is a repost from 21 February 2016.
Increasingly, voters are frustrated with parties captured by special interests or catering to noisy minority activists. Citizens want competent governance that promotes the general welfare.
In recent years, the Federal Government has made an art form of undermining the autonomy of independent statutory offices established to hold it to account. One by one, statutory offices have been subject to forceful governmental and media assaults.
Protests are all very well, but only if they are seen to be ineffective. … It is yet another indication that serious dissent cannot and will not be tolerated.
If we are indeed open to Open Government a salient demonstration would be facilitating Australian Human Rights Commission access to what is happening on Australia’s behalf in offshore detention centres. That would be a fine national Christmas present from Turnbull, … Continue reading
Jenny Hocking has been researching and publishing some vital information about the dismissal of the Whitlam Government by Sir John Kerr . In that research, she has been denied access to the papers. She is taking legal action in the … Continue reading
After decades of halting debate, the momentum for political finance reform has never been greater. At a national level, this comes off a low base. Australia has the laxest political finance system of all our common law cousins: Canada, … Continue reading
Among the many self-inflicted wounds Malcolm Turnbull has sustained since the knifing of Tony Abbott, his biggest problem remains an unworkable and unpredictable Senate. The election result has raised once again a perennial question in Australian politics – how … Continue reading
There is a structural contradiction at the heart of the new parliament. Two diametrically different political systems co-exist. Incentives and expectations are at cross purposes. Until this contradiction is addressed the prospects for major legislative change must be judged … Continue reading
Since the 1980s Australia has become known for its laissez-faire or lackadaisical attitude to the role of money in politics. At the federal level Australia introduced public funding for political parties to reduce reliance on private donations, but … Continue reading
With the election of the new government, I have decided to repost several articles from our policy series that are still relevant. One of these is by Michael Keating (below) on the role and responsibilities of government. John Menadue … Continue reading
Vested interests and the subversion of the public interest. 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 … Continue reading
Our loss of trust in institutions. We speak often about the need for new ideas and policies to fill the void in the public debate. We will be examining these issues in this series Fairness, Opportunity and Security. But … Continue reading
In the series, Fairness, Opportunity and Security that Michael Keating and I edited there were several articles that are still particularly relevant. Several of them deal with the disappointment many of us feel about our institutions and the lack … Continue reading
It is only the most naive among us who equate democracy with majoritarianism. The ‘Brexit’ plebiscite certainly returned a majority in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, but the distress caused by the decision shows that the plan … Continue reading
On Saturday, Australia’s political system crossed a line. From the normal messiness of democracy into fragmented incoherence. From voter unrest to potential revolt. The implications are clear for anyone who wants to see. Instability is no longer a one-off … Continue reading
While the final outcome of the 2016 election will have to wait for a few days, a Hung Parliament or a Government with a narrow majority seems likely. The outcome for the Senate will take longer but will be … Continue reading
We have been warned time and time again about hung parliaments and the chaos that follows. The media which is so often more concerned about politics and personalities than good governance, joins in the chorus about the risks of … Continue reading
Longer term policy making in Australia. Longer term policy making in Australia is in a parlous state. The scale and significance of this problem is totally unrecognised. For example, since 1996 almost no contested measure that required legislative approval has … Continue reading
Bruce Wearne. Political questions that can’t be answered by our publicly funded public relations firms.
Last week, four days before the election was called, I received a “pre-election” letter from my “Parliamentary representative”. It began with the following disclaimer: Dear Fellow Corangamite Resident: Soon there will be another election and I write to apologise for the … Continue reading
Setbacks for democratic reform of war powers. Having taken one step forward, Australia’s major allies have now taken two steps back from reform of their war powers. In the UK, the Defence Minister has set aside years of bipartisan promises … Continue reading
Electoral reform in Australia is extremely important. The self-interest of the parties should not dominate it. I believe an entirely Independent Inquiry should be held about Australia’s electoral systems altogether, similar to the Royal Commission in NZ in the … Continue reading