Category Archives: Politics

ANDREW TILLETT. Deputy PM Michael McCormack shelves inquiry into road pricing

A raft of economists have called for a road-user charge, including former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, in his tax review, and former Productivity Chair, Peter Harris.  [We continue to waste billions of dollars on more and more roads, but refuse … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. ScoMo’s Turnaround: Peter Dutton and Stuart Robert ride to the rescue

The Chronicles of a Fleeting Prime Minister And so he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from The Destruction. Then came the season of The Renewal, and now, The Turnaround is upon the people. With 50 … Continue reading

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MAX HASTINGS. Smoke and Mirrors (New York Review of Books, 27 September, 2018)

The United States spends more than $70 billion a year on the gathering and assessment of information about its enemies—and friends. Other nations lavish proportionate amounts, which can only increase now that cyberwarfare and information games have become inextricably entangled … Continue reading

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ROGER COHEN. Confirmed: an insidious presidency (the New York Times)

Trump believes that judges should be agents of those who appoint them. That would be the end of the rule of law.

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PAUL BONGIORNO. Political climate uncomfortably hot for Scott Morrison (New Daily 9.10.2018)

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison found himself in a very awkward spot on the day the world’s most authoritative climate science body released its latest report.  

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Morrison actually does something.

Sound the trumpets, fire the cannons, stop the presses – Scott Morrison’s fledgling government has actually managed a result.

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ROSS GITTINS. Why businesses are behaving badly. (SMH 6.10.2018)

While we digest the royal commission’s evidence of shocking misconduct by the banks and insurance companies, there’s another unpalatable truth to swallow: they have no monopoly on bad behaviour.   

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

ROSS GARNAUT. Where Australia’s at 10 years after climate change review. (AFR 8.10.2018)

Energy costs will be lower if there is more investment in renewables capacity.  

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WAYNE MCMILLAN. Insecure work by another name

The NSW Business Chamber and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) are leading the charge on behalf of employer business interests. It’s obvious that both their main concerns are to create a new class of insecure workers … Continue reading

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CHRISTOPHER BROWNING. The Suffocation of Democracy (New York Review of Books, 25.10.18)

As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and Europe in the era of the world wars, I have been repeatedly asked about the degree to which the current situation in the United States resembles the interwar period and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The failings of our corporate sector- and not just the banks and insurance companies.

Our politicians are rightly receiving a hammering for their failures . We really do need to restore public trust in our political system. I have suggested a national summit after the next election on democratic renewal, different in subject but … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 5 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Government sees no mental disease on Nauru.

Scott Morrison has announced that the productivity Commission is to inquire and report on how mental disease affects the Australian economy.

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PETER RYAN. ‘Big four’ accounting firms should face banking royal commission to prove independence, former ASIC investigator says (ABC News)

A former forensic investigator at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has called for the major accounting firms hired to audit and approve sensitive company reports to be brought before the financial services royal commission to prove their independence.

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TIM COSTELLO. The Alan Jones-Opera House row proves Sydney is in thrall to the gambling industry (the Guardian, 07.10.18)

Is this the tipping point? Will we one day look back and thank Alan Jones for drawing attention to the disgrace that is Sydney’s capture by the gambling industry with his nasty hectoring of Opera House CEO Louise Herron?

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GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

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

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and New World Order. North Korea Part 4

The most acute contemporary manifestation of the demand on China to demonstrate responsible leadership is the challenge of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Le Hong Hiep speculated on the prospect of a grand bargain between Trump and Xi when they met … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and New World Order. Rules Based Global Order Part 5

China recognizes that it has been a major beneficiary of the existing international order and it has proven to be a fast learner in operating as a responsible power within that order. Its primary goal therefore will not be to … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. 80 years after Munich.

The 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement passed without significant comment, although it was a pivotal event of the 20h Century. Perhaps it’s time for me to commit the ultimate political incorrectness and confess that I am a Municheer. I … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 5 Comments

JERRY ROBERTS. Is Ken Wyatt’s position tenable?.

Ken Wyatt is one of the few high-class acts in a low-class environment known as the Australian Federal Parliament. If he is driven out of the place it will be the Parliament’s loss, not Ken’s

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RAMESH THAKUR China and world order: Navigating the Thucydides and Kindleberger Traps Part 3 Asia–Pacific

Former Australian PM Paul Keating holds that as a non-Asian power, the US cannot remain ‘the strategic guarantor’ of Asia in perpetuity. It remains ‘important to the peace and good order of East Asia… [but] as a balancing and conciliating … Continue reading

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KIM WINGEREI. The Ghosts of Eureka.

The Ghosts of Eureka are still haunting us. Terra Australis has come a long way since the rebellion of 1854, but that last crucial step to become a fully independent nation again, remains elusive.

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JAMES FERNYHOUGH. Morrison’s willingness to tell brazen untruths proves he is just like Donald Trump (the New Daily, 03.09.18)

Australia’s new  prime minister Scott Morrison showed this week he has mastered one of US President Donald Trump’s most amazing tricks: the ability to make claims he and every one else knows are complete nonsense – and to make them with … Continue reading

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RICHARD WOOLCOTT. Over reaction in the South China Sea when US influence is waning and Chinese influence is rising

The present and recent Australian Governments seem to have become victims of their own China and Russia phobias.

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MARTIN WOLF. Donald Trump is wrong: China is not Mexico (Financial Times)

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.” This tweet of March 2 set out the aims and means of … Continue reading

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Susan Reid reviews ‘Adani and the War Over Coal’ by Quentin Beresford and ‘The Coal Truth’ by David Ritter (Australian Book Review, October 2018

Who can forget the image of Scott Morrison, as federal treasurer, juggling a lump of lacquered coal in parliament on 9 February 2017? Appearing pretty chuffed with his own antics, Morrison urged people not to be afraid. Eighteen months later, … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and the New World Order. China–USA Part 2

Westerners may believe that the growing integration and interdependence of China with the regional and international economy makes armed conflict too costly to contemplate and that the Pacific military balance is so heavily in US favour that China would not … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Nowhere to hide now for banks. (SMH 3.10.2018)

Last week must have been a terrifying wake-up call for Australia’s ruling class – not just our politicians, but also the chief executives and directors of our big corporations, both publicly and privately owned.   If they’re half as smart as … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 5 Comments

NICK BRYANT. How right-wing Scott Morrison became Australia’s sixth prime minister in 11 years.

It’s a measure of how far Australian conservatism has turned towards the Trumpian that Morrison was considered the mainstream candidate.

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PETER WHITEFORD. Relax. The divide between the taxed and the ‘taxed-nots’ isn’t new and doesn’t buy elections.

Might government benefits, and government employment, be a self sustaining machine – one in which those who benefit from government payments deliver the votes needed to ensure they continue?

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

RAMESH THAKUR. China and World Order: Navigating the Thucydides and Kindleberger Traps Part 1

There have been two big geopolitical storylines thus far in this century: the US has suffered a relative decline from its dominant position at the end of the Cold War; and China has acquired impressive power in both relative and … Continue reading

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