Category Archives: Vested Interests

FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Timorese have had a win but could still lose big-time

Without any media fanfare, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop published a statement on 9 January 2017 announcing that Australia and Timor Leste had agreed to terminate the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS).  

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FRANCIS MARKHAM & MARTIN YOUNG. When it comes to election campaigns, is the gambling lobby all bark and no bite?

The gambling lobby’s influence in overriding popular opinion and the public interest in Australia is well-known. But is its electoral power exaggerated? A look at this year’s ACT election suggests that perhaps the gambling industry is less influential than it … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Private Health Insurance vs dental care.

Australian health would be much improved if the $11 billion subsidy for private health insurance was abolished and part of those funds allocated to universal dental care within Medicare.  

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JOHN MENADUE. The new squatters on public land.

The new squatters on public land are being given a leg-up as they were in the 19th Century to seize and occupy public land.  

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Gambling industry finds plenty of political guns for hire to defend the status quo.

“Responsible gambling”, like “responsible drinking”, is a clever-sounding way of deflecting attention away from the product.  

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 1 – Who’s been left behind?

In “developed” countries the benefits of 35 years of economic growth have been unevenly distributed. Many people who once had well-paid manufacturing jobs and many who live in the country have fallen behind. While this has been most starkly manifest … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 2 – The response of those left behind

It would be hasty to attribute the Brexit and Trump votes to a “swing to the right”, or to an ill-informed electorate. The most compelling explanations are in terms of protest votes. People’s anger of electorates has given an opening … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 3 – Globalization takes the rap, unfairly

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.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 4 – Issues re-framed

Contrary to some interpretations, the trend in “developed” countries is still towards social and economic liberalism. But there is a strong reaction against the social exclusion that has accompanied liberalization. The economic models that guide public policy are not up … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 5 – How we lost trust in government

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.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 6 – Who exploited discontent and how

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.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 7 – The left went AWOL

Contrary to right-wing conspiracy theories, there is no significant “anti-business” force in Australia. In fact the left has never been weaker: the traditional unionized left has been weakened by structural change, and the “progressive” left has dealt itself out of … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 8 – Don’t wait for a “leader”: we need leadership.

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

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Chomsky interview on the ravages of neoliberalism.

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. 

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WAYNE SWAN. The blindness of affluence and the need for a more inclusive form of prosperity.

This is a repost from 15 November 2016. Just over two years ago I was in New York working with Larry Summers and Ed Balls to prepare a report for the Center for American Progress on inclusive prosperity. One morning … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. A timely call to end massive public subsidies of the private health insurance industry

The private health insurance industry is a parasite on the health system and the public purse. The government-funded rebate on private health insurance premiums goes to the insurers, not the health care providers, and allows the government almost no control … Continue reading

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How inefficient private health insurance, drug manufacturers and distributors drive up costs.

In parliament, forty years ago on 27 September 1967, Gough Whitlam described the factors driving up the high cost of healthcare in Australia. The same vested interests drive up costs in Australia at the expense of the taxpayer and the … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. Packer kowtows after cash cow slough, Macau Crown row.

James Packer’s ignominious retreat from his once-lauded international strategy is continuing apace as 17 staff from Crown Resorts, the company he controls with 48% of its stock, continue to languish in Chinese detention centres.

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HAZEL MOIR. Evergreening of patents and the cost of pharmaceuticals.

A low standard for granting patents can mean lengthy delays generic medicine availability. In one case this is shown to have cost taxpayers almost $A3 billion extra in Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme outlays. A solution is to grant patents only for … Continue reading

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ROSS GARNAUT. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Part 2.

The Challenge of Globalisation. This is the second of a two-part series of extracts from an address which Professor Ross Garnaut gave to the Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney, 7 September 2016.  The full text of his address can be … Continue reading

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BRUCE ARNOLD. Testing the body politic? Lobbying by the pathology industry.

  Pathology testing in Australia is big business, getting bigger as the population ages and we rely on high-tech medicine for intractable ailments. Advocacy by commercial interests and government pathology service providers shapes public policy. It potentially affects elections rather … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Blood money: pathology cuts can reduce spending without compromising health

In the coming weeks I will be posting articles on the high costs and corporate nature of pathology in Australian. The following article by Stephen Duckett in The Conversation, even though posted in February this year, helps set the scene. … Continue reading

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MARK BEESON. Crown: the trials of a tributary state.

Of all the indicators of Australia’s evolving relationship with China, Crown Casino’s current problems are some of the most striking, unexpected and revealing. They present an unflattering but painfully accurate vignette of this country’s increasingly dependent relationship with the People’s … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Dental Care – Medicare – Private Health Insurance.

  Funding a Medicare dental scheme instead of the subsidy to PHI.  The PHI subsidy of over $10 billion p.a. would be much better spent on a Medicare dental scheme. In the following article Jennifer Doggett in Croakey, reports that … Continue reading

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GRAEME ORR. Party Over? Reforming Australian Political Finance

  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

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JOHN MENADUE. ‘Faster economic growth demands better chief executives’.

  There was a revealing heading in a recent article by Ross Gittins, the economics editor of the SMH, ‘Faster growth demands better chief executives’. He concluded his article by pointing to the need for business leadership to seize the … Continue reading

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The creeping Americanisation of Australian healthcare.

In this blog, I have repeatedly posted articles about the threat to Medicare in the $11 billion pa. subsidy which the Australian government provides to support private health insurance companies in Australia. We are sleep walking into the destruction of … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The new compradors in the China Australia relationship.

  In this blog on 14 October last year I wrote. Compradors are sometimes described as those who help a foreign country exploit their own. I was reminded of this when I read that the ALP Caucus had compromised its … Continue reading

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MARIAN SAWER. Democracy for sale?

    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

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JOHN MENADUE. Medicare, Private Health Insurance and the ALP

In my article, ‘Down a different path in Melbourne: how Medibank was conceived’ written in 2000 for the Medical Journal of Australia (see link below), I described the history from 1967 to 1975 which led to Medibank/Medicare.  In that article, … Continue reading

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