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Category Archives: Vested Interests
‘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.
Where do you start? A total clean-out of the board and management of the Commonwealth Bank, a complete rethink of the role of our financial institutions, or a subjective investigation on the impact of new technology and whether it can … Continue reading
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
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
The fire in the Grenfell tower in London has heightened awareness of fire risks in tall buildings in Australia. The pressure to increase height limits and urban density, and to create sustainable and efficient buildings, must not lose sight of … Continue reading
JOHN MENADUE. Health Ministers may be in office but health providers are in power. Think medical specialists fees! (Repost from 19 April 2017)
‘Perhaps [we could consider] a review of what Pierre Trudeau and his government (in Canada) did in 1984 when they took on a system not dissimilar to ours – uncontrolled fee for service – and legislated that doctors could charge … Continue reading
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
Lobbying is a necessary component of representative democracy, yet poses one of its greatest threats.
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
This week’s ABC Four Corners program that revisited, after 30 years, Chris Masters’ revelations of police corruption in Queensland, “The Moonlight State”, brings to mind how widespread corruption in Australian politics has been since then.
“The rich are different from you and me” the saying goes. “They have more money“. But that’s not the only way they are different. In the updated Financial Review Rich List released on Friday, 45 of the richest 50 Australians are men. And they are … Continue reading
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Game of Mates: How favours bleed the nation. Get the book via gameofmates.com. Follow author Cameron Murray on Facebook and Twitter. Come to the Brisbane book launch on 23rd May, 6pm at Avid Reader, West End (Details and RSVP link).
That corporations wield enormous power is not news. That this power is wielded to benefit the corporation and its agents is not news either. Neither is seeking to counter the power of these corporations by public interest organisations, like the … Continue reading
Every year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports on competition and consumer issues in private health insurance (PHI), and recent reports show increasing consumer dissatisfaction with PHI. Most complaints relate to unexpected charges when claims are made and confusion … Continue reading
The peace of the world for future generations is anathema to the interests of those who profit from warfare. As we commemorate again the “war to end all wars”, and every war since, one can only wonder what the diggers … Continue reading
If all [of the above] fail to work perhaps a review of what Pierre Trudeau and his government did in 1984 when they took on a system not dissimilar to ours –uncontrolled fee for service- and legislated that doctors could … Continue reading
After Easter, we will be posting a ten-part series on making housing more affordable for all. One of the problems in housing affordability is the political muscle of some developers in gaming rezoning and reaping substantial capital gains from property. … Continue reading
WA is but the most glaring example of the way that Australia’s politics have been directly affected by the politics of the so-called ‘resource curse’, when a powerful economic sector uses its disproportionate influence to shape political outcomes.
JOHN DWYER. The parlous state of strategies to protect consumers from health care fraud. Part 2 of 3.
Credible scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness should underpin the delivery of health care. Satisfactory health outcomes and cost effectiveness require this approach. In Australia however pseudoscience flourishes as regulatory bodies fail to protect consumers from health care fraud and a … Continue reading
So much of the public attention is on care in general practice, but specialist healthcare has some very serious problems. The first is excessive remuneration of many specialists. In some cases it could only be described as greed. The second … Continue reading
CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. South Australia’s gambling tax highlights the regulatory mess of online betting.
The South Australian government will introduce from July a “point-of-consumption tax” to claw back some of the gambling tax revenue it is seeing disappear over the border. The new tax is a reasonable response to a growing problem, and probably won’t … Continue reading
It’s a lost decade we couldn’t afford on climate change and energy policy – but when the consequences are felt in years and decades to come, it’s incumbent upon us all not to forget the political opportunists and charlatans who … Continue reading
Here lies the exquisite dilemma for the Packer lobbyists: help push the Chinese side to get a better deal, perhaps an exchange program for their incarcerated staff, or strike another deal, leaving all those ill-gotten gains sloshing around Sydney and … Continue reading
The financial advice industry is on a journey towards professionalism”. While I can’t say exactly what this tired assertion means, I can say that it is invariably offered as an impatient response to pesky commentators who dare to suggest that … Continue reading
According to the World Health Organization, there are 3.3 million deaths attributable to alcohol use worldwide each year. Alcohol marketing, promotion and sponsorship are widespread in most of the world today and marketers are moving increasingly to digital and social … Continue reading
This is a repost from May 13, 2015. 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 seekers. … Continue reading