Category Archives: Politics

NOEL TURNBULL. They did what they were trained to

They did what they were trained to do, a friend and fellow Vietnam veteran said about the new film, Danger Close, when we caught up this week. This was not to denigrate in any way the sacrifice and bravery of … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Raising the racist flag

The ironies were stark and troubling. On 17 August most Indonesians joyfully commemorated their nation’s proclamation of independence from the Netherlands 74 years ago. A few weren’t having fun. Next afternoon young Papuans studying in East Java and who are … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind

“They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”, according to the Book of Hosea in the Old Testament. Not in the Australian federal system of government, they shan’t. Not when it comes to education policy.

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JIM COOMBS. Crime is down,Gaols are bursting. Why?

It is essentially a failure of administration.The nation’s foremost collector of information on this, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics (BOCSAR) recently reported that nearly a third of the NSW prison population is on remand, i.e., awaiting trial.

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 2 Comments

TONY SMITH. Capital punishment will not stop gun violence

It is perhaps understandable that in their anger and grief, people who have lost loved ones in gun violence call for the perpetrators to be executed. It is however, inappropriate for political leaders to pretend that capital punishment is an … Continue reading

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MARK BUCKLEY. Conservatives in Australia

A friend of mine asked me the other day why I seem to only criticise the Liberals. My answer was that they have been in power for six years now, so if anything is conspicuously wrong with the country, it … Continue reading

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TONY WRIGHT. Spy versus spy: in Canberra, cover is where you find it. (SMH 16.8.2019)

I have wondered occasionally whether ASIO has a few grainy pictures of me sauntering to the front door of the forbidding embassy of the USSR in Canberra. 

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IAN McAULEY.  Tuvalu, climate change and Westminster

The conventional wisdom is that Morrison’s intransigence on climate change, which has badly damaged our relations in the Pacific, is due to the arithmetic of his slim parliamentary majority. But why do we have to assume that our two-party “Westminster” … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Can Knut Morrison hold back the tides?

We’ve lost influence over China and the US, and over Hong Kong and Kashmir and the world may be slipping into recession. It is beginning to look as if we are drifting, more or less without a pilot, into the … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. A conference of moaners in Sydney

The Conservative Political Action Conference held in Sydney last weekend should not be dismissed lightly. It must be dismissed heavily, so here goes. The elite reactionaries gathered in their luxury hotel not to celebrate, but to moan. The parade of … Continue reading

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DUNCAN MACLAREN. Will the last PM of the UK please put out the lights?

The dissolution of the United Kingdom is now bruited abroad on a daily basis as a likely outcome of a No Deal Brexit. This applies not just to Scotland, the likeliest candidate to be first to leave, but also to … Continue reading

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TREVOR WATSON. Hong Kong Chaos – Beijing weighs its options.

As Hong Kong’s anti-administration protests grow stronger and increasingly violent, fears of a Tiananmen Square style response by Beijing also mount. Trevor Watson looks at the difficulty faced by China watchers as they attempt to predict the next move by … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. Things haven’t been this bad between Australia and China in 30 years (Crikey, 14 August 2019)

The Morrison government’s increasing ties to the Trump administration is, by consequence, achieving quite the opposite of its previous goal of “resetting” Australia’s relationship with China.

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GRACE BLAKELY. Why the rise of Boris Johnson is the last laugh of a decaying elite (New Statesman America 14-8-19)

Right-wing populism is a symptom of a crumbling capitalist order that no longer promises a better future for most people. 

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 18 August 2019

A new report from the IPCC focusing on land and climate change draws together many threads from the environmental and social crises facing the world. CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are of course the major cause of global warming but … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health, Politics | 3 Comments

SATURDAY’s GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media

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STUART REES ‘Australia’s Authoritarian Future? CPAC & The High Court’

In early August, two events cast a shadow over Australia’s democracy. The US Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) met in Sydney to fight to ‘protect the future.’ The High Court ruled that the government may restrict the right of public … Continue reading

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Are “moderates” failing to keep us safe?

Could it be “moderates” – through lack of vigilance, or is it apathy? – who most threaten our safety and existence? Yes, this seems a ridiculous, even immoderate assertion. But let’s think about it. The US, the UK and Australia … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Brexit in the Antipodes

There is a growing air of desperation in the cross-party efforts to stymie British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s threat to by-pass parliament, and even to ignore a motion of no confidence against him and his government by the House of … Continue reading

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TONY BROWN. Who calls the shots? Don’t mention the ‘C’ word

It should come as no surprise that those who trivialise our nation’s deadly alcohol toll or seek to inculcate and normalise alcohol into every aspect of Australia’s culture, regardless of the true cost, are the very same who profit from … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Julian Assange One case dismissed: one to go.

From the Australian mainstream media most readers won’t know it, but on 29 July a Federal Court in New York dismissed the Democratic National Committee’s case against Julian Assange for publishing leaked internal emails in 2016.

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MICHAEL KEATING. The US-China trade relationship:Why Trump’s policies are doomed to fail.

Donald Trump is deluded if he thinks that raising tariffs will reduce the US trade deficit. That deficit represents the fact that the US is spending more than it earns. Unless this fact is altered – and Trump has increased … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. ‘Australia agrees to everything’

Australia and the United States see the world through the same eyes, Scott Morrison told sailors on USS Ronald Reagan during the Talisman Sabre war games on 12 July.But after hearing what Mike Pompeo and John Joseph Mearsheimer had to … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Morrison prepares for war

Scott Morrison is not too keen on history.When it comes to politics – or at least the politics of the Liberal Party, which to him is all that matters – history began with his election as Prime Minister. Everything that … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Politics | 13 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Broken government: it’s the engine as well as the drivers

Ministers and bureaucrats seem only able to manage spot fires, not policy review beyond three-word-slogans. Ken Hayne, the former High Court judge who conducted the banking royal commission is quite right in suggesting that the political and bureaucratic system is … Continue reading

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ERIC HODGENS–The Fascinating Christian Story.

We all have our personal story. And it is just one part of the bigger story of our family, our tribe, our nation – the things that have shaped us. Institutions, too, have a life of their own – and … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Time to stop this marginal madness

The reputation of the New South Wales Coalition Government in the area of environmental management has taken yet another tumble. Along with decimation of National Parks, poor management of Murray-Darling water, failure to act on carbon emissions and ignorance of … Continue reading

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ANTHONY PUN. Cambodia – a breakout from US encirclement

The encirclement of China with US and allies bases, has its roots in preventing the spread of Communism in SE Asia after WW2.  At the height of the Cold War the host countries had no objections as it provided protection … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The changing face of planet Earth

With atmospheric CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas concentrations now above 500 ppm and average global warming approaching 1.5oC, there is a clear shift in the world’s climate zones, displayed for example on maps of the expanding wet tropical zones, drying sub-tropical latitudes and polar-ward … Continue reading

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MARTA KWASNICKA. Habits of the heart: the problems facing Polish Catholicism

“Really, there is nothing to talk about,” my mother said when I asked her about her conversion to Catholicism. When I did persuade her to tell her story, it had none of the tumult and drama of English nineteenth-century converts … Continue reading

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