GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

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

On ABC’s Saturday Extra this weekend (in case you missed it):

A post-US midterm election interview with Bruce Wolpe, visiting fellow at the US Studies Centre.

Timor Leste and an alleged Australian espionage operation – the case of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery, with Jonathan Pearlman, editor of Australian Foreign Affairs.

What does the Morrison Government’s investment in the Pacific region mean?

Former Irish President Mary Robinson talks about climate change and the stories in her book, Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future.

The League of Nations has produced a treasure trove of documents that includes some interesting stories about Australia. Professor of History at the University of Melbourne, Joy Damousi is one of the editors of League of Nations: Histories, Legacies and Impact.

A look back at Australian Indigenous military involvement and why they were so loyal to a nation and empire that gave them so little. Joan Beaumont, professor emerita at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU and co-author, with Allison Cadzow. of Serving our Country: Indigenous Australians, War, Defence and Citizenship.

Other commentary

“Australian women who won the vote and inspired the world” is the title of historian Claire Wright’s Dymphna Clark Lecture, recorded and re-broadcast on the ABC’s Big Ideas. It’s a story not only of Australia’s world leadership in (“white”) women’s franchise, but also of the 1901 to 1914 era when Australia was seen as the proving ground for democratic idealism, about which a journalist could write that “the purest type of democracy the human race has ever known flourishes today beneath the Australian sky”. Wright reminds us that  “Gallipoli, with its militarist narrative and youthful sacrifice – not youthful optimism – was not the birth of the nation; it was the death of the nation that we were well on the way to becoming”.

It will be some time before there is a thorough analysis of the US mid-term elections. On Phillip Adams Late Night Liveprogram, regular US commentator Bruce Shapiro has given a quick summary of the House vote. The Republicans did well in Trump’s rural base, while the Democrats enjoyed a strong swing in the urban areas – including the suburbs – according to Shapiro. Waleed Aly, writing in the Fairfax media, makes a similar finding – the Republicans have solidified their rural base, but have “sacrificed their support in the once-Republican suburbs of America”. Also on the election John Hewson, writing in the Fairfax media, warns  “beware the Trumpification of politics”. He notes that the Trump “strong-man” style seems to be having an influence on politics in our country, and not only in One Nation.

“Everyone knows it’s the old who are the deserving poor – except it ain’t true.” Ross Gittins takes us through the recently-published findings of the Centre of Excellence in Population and Ageing Research. Gittins outlines four pillars of retirement income support for older Australians – the pension, compulsory superannuation, voluntary superannuation (supported by generous tax lurks), and the benefits of home ownership. For the most part, public policy is serving older Australians well, but some are missing out, particularly those who don’t own their home.

Scott Morrison’s critics suggest that his marketing background is showing through, but as a marketing exercise his “one of the boys” nationalism, with the props of baseball caps and schooners of beer, looks awkward and gauche. First Dog on the Moon can’t understand how he gets it so wrong.

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