Category Archives: Politics

MICHAEL KEATING The Fiscal Outlook: Is the projected Budget surplus sustainable and should it be? Part 2

With a stagnant economy, there are strong arguments for a fiscal stimulus package that would almost certainly postpone the return to Budget surplus for a couple of years. But what of the longer term? This article uses the Medium Term … Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Thin pickings from big bikkies

Britain’s ‘war’ on organised crime is failing, and it’s probably the same here Some fresh and depressing evidence for those who, like me, fear that federal law enforcement is a good deal less effective and efficient than it could be, … Continue reading

Posted in Drug Reform, Politics | 2 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM.  Reserve Bank gives up on Morrison

The Reserve Bank, like so many economic pundits, has finally given up on the government of Scott Morrison. After months, years, of pleading for a sensible stimulus policy to drag Australia out of its torpor, Philip Lowe has conceded that … Continue reading

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LAURIE PATTON. Time to stop digging our way out of trouble. A lesson from the past?

For the foreseeable future Australia will rely on mining for economic growth and to maintain our current standard of living. Yet unresolved debates over a number of proposed coal mines have exposed a rift in political circles that may well … Continue reading

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JERRY ROBERTS Income management by the Cashless Debit Card

The Cashless Debit Card when seen in the context of robots and drug testing at Centrelink, tax cuts for the comfortable, religious protection laws, the Witness K trial and open slather for financiers adds to the impression that our country … Continue reading

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JOHN CARLIN. Wrestling with Pigs

Trump deserves to be dismissed, but the impeachment process will only play into his hands. It will give him the opportunity to wage a populist war in which anything goes. Boris Johnson has ditched the admirable English tradition of fair … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. Economic Update Part 1

The recent release of the National Accounts data confirms that the Australian economy is stuck in secular economic stagnation. This article argues that current policies are unlikely to restore economic growth sufficiently to allow Australia to realise its economic potential. … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM.  Morrison joins the dark side.

The conservative line about Donald Trump used to be that really, he himself was not all that important. What mattered was the unbreakable link between Australia and the United States, our great and powerful ally.

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The real basis of Morrison’s foreign policy

The Prime Minister’s speech ‘In our interest’ to the Lowry Institute is curious, befuddled, and a little disturbing. As is normal with such presentations, it was peppered with political bromides and Morrison did not drill deeply into the details. The … Continue reading

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FIONA STURGES. Snobs,Brexit and Lady Hale (The Guardian, 27 September 2019)

For all the talk of an industry in crisis, you have to hand it to the British media for their ability to get to the nub of a story. It was, one imagines, with a gasp of triumph that the … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 6 October 2019

Synopses of two books: why climate change is happening quicker than expected and why civilisation will look very different soon. Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing problem, not helped by spraying antibiotics on citrus trees in the USA. Microplastics … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

RICHARD WHITINGTON. David Combe obituary

David Combe was a significant and accomplished figure not only in Australian politics but in business and international trade, with an unwavering commitment to social justice and civil liberties. He deserves to be remembered for more than the “Iraqi Donations” … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. Something big – but very different – is happening in Texas

In the 43 years since the last Democrat Presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter, won Texas there has been increasing speculation that it could happen again.

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DANIEL BRAMMALL. The financial advice changes nobody is talking about

 The long-suffering consumer of financial services has plenty to be pleased about thanks to sweeping industry reforms. The initiatives mark the end of a gravy train culture and a renaissance in genuinely independent financial advice. They are reforms, however, of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

MARK BUCKLEY. This Born Again, No Plan Government

Last year, and until the federal election this year, the Liberal National Coalition believed it was heading toward electoral oblivion, and some of the Government’s behaviour looked at best to be dodgy. They made sure they would reap the benefits … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Trump’s impeachment:By any decent standard?

  The Republicans have ensured that there is no decent standard under Trump. They will need to think again or allow Trump to burn down their house as he seeks to save himself from impeachment.

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MARK BEESON. Morrison’s surprising character defects: faith and optimism

Being a leader, even of a lucky country like Australia, isn’t getting any easier. To be fair, these are difficult times for any leader, even the most competent ones. It’s worth asking how FDR, Churchill or even Bismarck would have … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALUM. Morrison shock troops chase Greta

Not only Donald Trump in the USA and Boris Johnson in the UK struggling to bluff and bluster their way out of their self-inflicted problems, but even the previously untouchable Canadian Justin Trudeau was embroiled in decades old controversies over … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

ALISON BROINOWSKI. Julian Assange – ‘Find Justice and Make It Quick’ (American Herald Tribune 28-9-19)

With the US on the warpath and Australia sending military, air, and naval support for American activities in the Gulf, three Australian and British nationals are being made an example of in Iran, where they are in solitary confinement on charges of … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Media, Politics | 2 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. The judiciary is a part of government too (Canberra Times 27-9-19)

Australian politicians given to complaining that unelected judges are usurping the functions of ministers and of parliament would do very well to study this week’s British Supreme Court ruling holding the prorogation of the British Parliament by the Queen at … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Tribalism runs riot

In the age of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, it is tempting to assume that partisan tribalism has taken over – that a new wave of irrational loyalty to the leader, right or wrong, is the only proper way to … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 29 September 2019

Six deep transformations in the structure of society will be required to meet the SDGs and the Paris goals – but are the proposals deep enough? Net zero emissions is ‘Mission Possible’ though for the hard-to-reduce industrial and transport sectors … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, International Affairs, Politics | 2 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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NOEL TURNBULL. Max Weber’s Politics as a Vocation in 2019

A century after Max Weber’s Politics as Vocation was published – and 101 years after he delivered the speech on which it was based – it is fascinating to use the speech as a yardstick against which one can evaluate … Continue reading

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MARK BUCKLEY. Unknown Man Takes Over Country

Scott Morrison was originally elevated to the Prime Ministership by pretending not to be a candidate, and then by swooping in on the prize when it came down to a choice between himself, and a man almost universally loathed by … Continue reading

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PETER MILLER. Politicians who become lobbyists can be bad for Australians’ health

The ‘revolving­ door’ of people between government and the alcohol, tobacco­ and gambling industries is now recognised as an increasing threat to public policy making. In a new study by Deakin University researchers this revolving door has revealed for the … Continue reading

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GEORGE MONBIOT. For the sake of life on Earth, we must put a limit on wealth (Guardian 19-9-19)

It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musicians and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by giving other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Justin Trudeau is trashing his own brand

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau is caught in a messy hypocrisy scandal, not a racism scandal. To be absolutely clear: Trudeau is not a racist, was never a racist and, in my judgment, has never behaved in a racist manner – … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. A updated post: A Commonwealth Hospital Benefit similar to the existing Medical Benefit to replace the $11b private health insurance subsidy.

The wasteful and unfair $ 11b  per annum cost to taxpayers of the subsidy to Private Health Insurance should be abolished and the savings used in three possible ways – part funding a Medicare dental scheme, additional funding for public … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. A Repost and update: The scourge of lobbyists and crony capitalism.

Abuse by lobbyists is back in the news .The most recent appalling example has been Crown Resorts. With Ex Labor and Liberal  ministers and officials on the payroll  of Crown neither the Liberal or Labor Parties raised the Crown scandal … Continue reading

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