Category Archives: Politics

SPENCER ZIFCAK. The Trouble with Section 44: the constitutional provision afflicting our Parliament

It’s been quite a month. At least seven members of the Federal Parliament have been referred to the High Court to determine their eligibility to have been elected, and there is a real prospect of an outcome that could cost … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Current affairs, Politics, Religion and Faith | 6 Comments

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.  

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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?

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TERENCE BEED. Turnbull’s postal “plebiscite” and the Australian Bureau of Statistics: next step in its fall from grace?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has another debacle approaching brought on by its direction to conduct the government’s proposed postal plebiscite on same sex marriage. Little more than an outmoded postal survey it will be flawed from the start, plagued … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Strong leaders carry out their promises – Malcolm Turnbull.

It is impossible to imagine Gough Whitlam, Paul Keating or even John Gorton being so cowed by the vengeful has-beens and disgruntled bigots who are now calling the shots in what is laughingly described as the government. 

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Turnbull’s Appalling Statement

Australia is not compelled to accompany the US in a war on North Korea, as PM Turnbull has asserted. His recent statement would seem to reflect his need to distract attention from the serious disputes within his government. That it … Continue reading

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

John Menadue. Rent-seekers and the hollowing out of democracy (Repost 12/2015)

‘Rent-seeking’ is a term understood by most economists. It refers to the ability of powerful groups to extract special concessions and favours at the expense of the wider community.  

Posted in Economy, Media, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull and Eric Abetz in furious agreement on same sex marriage.

The recalcitrants will call it a backdown and it will certainly be a change: but, as John Maynard Keynes memorably said: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” But then, for much of his … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Trump: A Sideshow? (This is a repost from 27 January 2017)

It is not only Trump that has assumed power in the US but also a set of deeply ideological and introverted Republicans. Both will shape US policy and actions. Australia should now review the conduct of its relationship with the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. A $30 million gift to the great rent seeker, News Corp.

Inevitably a scandal over $30 million of taxpayers money to Foxtel tended to get lost in the rush. But it remains a scandal nonetheless, especially when the government admits – no, boasts – that there is no record of the … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 3 Comments

John Menadue. Murdoch’s Media Tax. (Reposted from 29/12/2015)

Rupert Murdoch complains that he faces unfair competition from a taxpayer funded public broadcaster like the ABC and SBS. Yet in effect, he imposes his own consumption taxes on consumers.  

Posted in Media, Politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

MICHAEL KEATING. Electricity Prices.

Electricity prices are a hot topic at present. Amidst the welter of claim and counter-claim as to what is the cause of higher electricity prices, there has been remarkably little use of the available evidence.  

Posted in Economy, Politics | 4 Comments

CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Pokies, sport and racing harm 41% of monthly gamblers: survey

For the first time, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey has turned its attention to gambling, revealing that around 1.4 million Australians are directly harmed by the activity.

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IAN MARSH. Australia’s gridlocked Parliament. (Repost from 9 September 2016)

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 slight. … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

DUNCAN MACLAREN. The UK heads towards a cliff.

If Australia were the UK and heading for a suicidal plunge off an economic, social and cultural cliff-face, wouldn’t you be worried?

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Another fine mess the constitution has got us into.

We bar dual citizenship from the parliament, but the head of it – the Queen of England one who presides over ceremonial openings when she happens to be in the country, is not only a dual but a multiple citizen … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

JOHN QUIGGIN. People have lost faith in privatisation and it’s easy to see why. (Repost from 22 August 2016)

From the viewpoint of ordinary Australians, privatisation is a policy that has consistently failed but is remorselessly pushed by the political elite. It is little surprise that voters are turning to populism in response.  

Posted in Economy, Politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

RICHARD BUTLER. Off With Their Heads

Article 44 of our Constitution defining who may or may not run for Parliament needs authoritative interpretation because it’s hopelessly out of touch with today’s Australia. This need not augur a grotesque Hansonite event reiterating that non-Christian barbarians are at … Continue reading

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Politics | 2 Comments

WILLIAM GRIMM. Why have US Catholics turned right? And Paul’s epistle to the Fallopians

  American Catholics have traditionally supported the Democratic Party, but a combination of episcopal intransigence, Democratic abortion policies and a primitive cast to US society have brought about a change.

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. News Corp – a rogue organisation (Repost from 23 June 2014)

The high farce of Ken Cowley’s interview by the Australian Financial Review, and the denials within 24-hours in The Australian, got me thinking again about News Corp*. I had worked with Rupert Murdoch and Ken Cowley for seven years in … Continue reading

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

GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 5 of 5)

Part 5: Narrative Overview and Conclusion  The emphasis in our military history and remembrance on asking how we fought does not inherently preclude an interest in what we were fighting for. The two narratives could co-exist and interact. But not … Continue reading

Posted in ANZAC, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Politics | 2 Comments

GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 4 of 5)

Part 4. A race strategy to save ‘White Australia’  Political manipulation of the society’s racially inflected anxieties was a major factor in the imperial ascendency over national defence policy in the Commonwealth in 1911. The secret implementation of a race … Continue reading

Posted in ANZAC, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Malcolm Turnbull – Mr. 300%. (Repost from 18 November 2016)

Malcolm Turnbull has announced a submarine building program that has an effective rate of protection of 300%. Yes 300%. That is the additional cost we will pay compared with buying at best price in the international market.  

Posted in Defence/Security, Economy, Politics | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

STEPHEN LEEDER. Review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

  The Medicare Benefits Schedule, or MBS, is the basis for Medicare payments made for medical care in the community. It runs to over 900 pages and contains 5,700 items. Well over $2Ob pass through its ledger each year. It … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 3 of 5)

Part 3. Empire over nation.  In 1914-18, the fight for Empire against Asia minimised independent Australian national interests. Ambiguous, interchangeable use of the terms ‘empire’ and ‘nation’ also protected that ‘imperial’ bias in our political culture. 

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JOHN AUSTEN. Road spending incurs billion dollar new debts annually – nobody notices (Repost from 27 June 2016)

It’s traditional that election time in Canberra brings out the road lobbies who ask for ‘all that extra cash’ which governments raise from fuel excise to be ‘put back into our roads’. The problem is that the facts no longer … Continue reading

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