Category Archives: Politics

BOB CARR. Hidden Reality of Australia-China Relations

The best reading on the state of Australia-China relations is in documents we can’t see. That is, in the cables sent from Canberra to their capitals by ambassadors of Asian nations.

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MICHAEL KEATING. Why the coronavirus shouldn’t stand in the way of the next wage increase (The Conversation 26.5.20)

Wage increases are widely believed to pose a threat to employment. But this ignores their role in supporting demand growth. Instead, wage increases consistent with maintaining an equilibrium distribution of income are necessary to sustain economic growth and employment.

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MICHAEL WEST. The Virgin Brides: fate of airline on a knife-edge as bids lob and cash runs dry (MWM 19.5.20)

The government has tossed $130 billion at business, the corporate largesse is dripping all over the big end of town. Even highly profitable $8 billion property developers such as Mirvac are rolling in the free money, yet when it comes to Virgin … Continue reading

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JOHN TAN. Neoliberalism: IT’S TIME for progressive fiscal policies (Part1/2).

Central banks worldwide facegrowing criticism for putting money before people, for contributing to growing inequality and social disadvantage. But change is coming.

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia goes fishing in troubled waters.

A few weeks ago Foreign Minister Marise Payne condemned ‘ China’s  actions in the South China Sea’, adding that in recent days the Australian frigate HMAS Parramatta had been conducting exercises with two American naval vessels as they ‘passed through … Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Trump: the man who made America little again

Donald Trump, who campaigned on making America great again has presided over — indeed caused — an enormous fall in American prestige, moral authority and effective power in the world. It may still have, by far, the most military power, … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 5 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM If Bali lets you in – will Oz let you back?

When is a pandemic suppression order not a lockdown? When it’s in Indonesia.

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BRIAN TOOHEY. A star-spangled spanner in the works: how US secrecy controls Australian weapons (SMH 25.5.20)

The loss of Australian sovereignty within the American alliance is rarely raised amid the current alarm about whether the US is a reliable ally. 

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Historical amnesia: Great power behaviour and criticism of China

Between 1890 and 1920 the democratic US became a great power. It’s trajectory from western hemisphere state to global power has some economic, military and foreign policy parallels with authoritarian China’s growth in the twenty-first century.

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics, World Affairs | 11 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Shooting ourselves in the boot again

The announcement of the international inquiry to be conducted into international management of the Covid-19 pandemic did not achieve any of the particular purposes initially said to justify Australia’s putting its head above the parapets and attracting China’s ire for … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. Nev Power’s fossil mates still pushing doubt – Part 2

In 2008 David Michaels’ published a book – Doubt is their Product. How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens your Health – which was instrumental in the subsequent exposure of the systematic efforts of various industries to raise doubt about the … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 1 Comment

RODNEY TIFFEN. Malcolm Turnbull on the Murdochs, his Liberal opponents and the 2019 election

There is an established tradition in Australian politics that those in power or seeking power say nice things about Rupert Murdoch, while those distant from power or whose time has passed are more critical.

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JIM COOMBS. Post-virus reconstruction – ‘snap back or snap out of it?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a government that housed the homeless, fed the poor and had a high employment demand driven, suitably regulated, economy. I can dream.

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Angus Taylor’s thought bubbles: from the second rate to the already discredited

Our current government has become inordinately keen on producing road maps, and its most recent cartographer is our constantly embarrassed and embarrassing energy minister, Angus Taylor.

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments

HAMISH MCDONALD. Journalists on the ramparts (Inside Story 20.5.20)

Another triumph for Canberra and the Morrison government’s deft and resolute diplomacy, it would seem. Support for an inquiry into Covid-19 from more than half of the 194 countries at the World Health Assembly in Geneva was “a major strategic … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 6 Comments

NOEL TURNBULL. Nev is never in doubt

Reflecting on when the Prime Minister rang to ask him head the Government’s COVID-19 Task Force Nev Power said he couldn’t refuse the PM – reacting as any responsible citizen would.

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 1 Comment

ROY HARVEY. The Anzac spirit and the future of health policy

The policies adopted by the Australian governments to fight the Covid-19 crisis are the opposite of the policies that the Coalition Government has pursued for the past 70 years.

Posted in Health, Politics | 1 Comment

PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 24 May 2020

A guide to the Australian government’s plans for the post-COVID recovery and bureaucrats and scientists talk with feeling about Australia’s Climate Wars. Cyclone Amphan hits India and Bangladesh, providing a current example of the increasing frequency of strong tropical storms. … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 6 Comments


What people in other forums are saying about public policy

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

DAVID SOLOMON. They should have said: No Minister

One of the worst aspects of the sports rorts affair is the way elements of the public service turned a deliberate blind eye to what was known, or assumed, to be a failure by the Minister to be bound by … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

PAUL PERVERSI. Understanding anti-China Bias and other prejudices

Recent articles in Pearls and Irritations, such as those by Paul Malone, James Curran, Ramesh Thakur and Mike Scrafton, have highlighted the nonsensical nature of much analysis, reporting and opinion, particularly in relation to a trenchant and sustained bias against … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 30 Comments

STUART REES. Cowardice as a principle of foreign policy, what on earth are they thinking?

In relation to Israel’s decades of military occupation of Palestinian lands, a cowardice spreading pandemic has infected Australian politicians and public servants. Recent symptoms are evident in the Australian government’s submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that an investigation … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 13 Comments

ALEX MITCHELL. Don Harwin becomes cactus

In the halcyon days of the NSW Liberal Party’s ascendancy, Don Harwin was a fast-rising star. Then he hit a wall and fell from being one of State’s most powerful Liberal Ministers to the lowly status of an unloved backbencher. … Continue reading

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PETER DRYSDALE. Return to prosperity depends on mending China ties (AFR 20.5.20)

The global economy has taken a huge hit as the world’s major economies shut down economic activity in turn to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

IAN McAULEY.  Economic reflections on the lockdown

Changes in behaviour during the lockdown reveal the limitations of economic indicators.

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ANDREW FARRAN. State border closures and Section 92

It is surprising that there has been little comment on, let alone challenge to, the extent of the States’ overreach with their Covid-19 border closures in the face of Section 92  of the Australian Constitution. This may be changing

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CHEK LING. Unleashing the White Australia virus

It is such a shame that the PM and our Foreign Minister felt the need to goad China.

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 37 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS. Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Morrison Covid19 “proposal”

Assuming that the WHA will pass its “Covid Response A73/CONF./1” Resolution now that President Xi has declared his support in his surprise personal address, which will have influenced widespread endorsement from developing countries, Australia needs to take a very serious … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 4 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Dutton fights from the flank  

The Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, was rarely to be found when the discussion was fixing on how a cruise liner entered our borders and spread Coronavirus and Covid-19 across the continent – perhaps the most serious breach of … Continue reading

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JAI QINGGUO. China’s diplomatic response to COVID-19 (EAF 17.5.20)

The term ‘responsible power’ is finding its way into Chinese official lexicon more frequently — including in President Xi Jinping’s report to the 19th party congress. But being a responsible power is easier said than done. As China’s experience with … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments