Writing in the Canberra Times John Warhurst examines the wealth of the Catholic Church, a topic that has come to prominence in terms of its capacity to provide monetary compensation to victims of sexual abuse.

Phillip Adams interviews Professor Shae McCrystal of the Law Faculty at the University of Sydney, on Australia’s industrial relations system. McCrystal explains developments leading up to present arrangements and problems with the Fair Work Act.  She calls for restoration of aspects of the twentieth century arbitration system to compensate for workers’ loss of bargaining powers.

“The Australian Government should consider setting up, or at least subsidise, a major domestic and exporting cigarette industry in Australia, even if the subsidies go to foreign companies or that the domestic industry is run by foreign companies” writes Crispin Hull in the Canberra Times. Before you send him an angry E-mail, have a look at his well-reasoned argument.

Private health insurance is back in the news, with articles by Fairfax journalists Esther Han and Ross Gittins.  Esther Han explains why people are giving up private insurance, while Ross Gittins says private insurance is a “con job”: private health insurance is “such bad value that, when John Howard sought to prop up the private system, he had to make it subject to a tax rebate”.

Barnaby Joyce and the changing landscape of the news media – Tim Dunlop

Barnaby Joyce has leapt to international prominence – New York Times.

Labor’s energy spending spree has electrified the South Australian election – the Guardian

Daniel Ellsberg worries about nuclear war – New York Review of Books

On Saturday Extra the 17th February, Andrew West fills in for Geraldine Doogue. Items include: cleaning up the cleaning business, an accreditation scheme for companies doing the right thing by their employees with UTS associate professor Sarah Kaine; what will be the geopolitical hotspots for the Trump government in 2018 with the University of Melbourne’s Timothy Lynch and University of Sydney’s Brendon O’Connor; how can the Centre Left combat rising populism, anti-immigration parties with Flinders University’s Rob Manwaring; journalist Anneliese Rohrer discusses the conservative/far right coalition ruling her country Austria and US academic Marie Griffith on why sex has fractured US politics. That’s Saturday Extra


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