Tag Archives: The Conversation

JOHN QUIGGIN. People have lost faith in privatisation and it’s easy to see why. (Repost from 22 August 2016)

From the viewpoint of ordinary Australians, privatisation is a policy that has consistently failed but is remorselessly pushed by the political elite. It is little surprise that voters are turning to populism in response.  

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BEN NEWELL, CHRIS DONKIN, DAN NAVARRO. worried about shark attacks or terrorism? (Repost from 21 April 2017)

The world can feel like a scary place.  Today, Australia’s National Terrorism Threat Level is “Probable”. Shark attacks are on the rise; the number of people attacked by sharks in 2000-2009 has almost doubled since 1990-1999. Travellers are at a … Continue reading

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GREG AUSTIN. Australians have little to fear from terrorism at home – here’s why. (Repost from 24 October 2016)

According to an ANU poll, more than half of the country’s adults are concerned Australia will be a target for terrorism at home and strongly believe the government needs to introduce greater preventive measures to combat it. But the reality … Continue reading

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NICK BISLEY. Learning to live with a nuclear North Korea?

North Korea perceives it is isolated in a world that is hostile to its existence. However loathsome the regime may be and however badly it misallocates resources to bolster the ruling elite, the reason for acquiring nuclear weapons is entirely … Continue reading

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JOHN DALEY and BRENDAN COATES. The latest ideas to use super to buy homes are still bad ideas.

Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to use the May budget to ease growing community anxiety about housing affordability. Lots of ideas are being thrown about: the test for the Treasurer is to sort the good from the bad. Reports that the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. How the gaming of land rezoning by vested interests keeps housing unaffordable.

After Easter, we will be posting a ten-part series on making housing more affordable for all. One of the problems in housing affordability is the political muscle of some developers in gaming rezoning and reaping substantial capital gains from property. … Continue reading

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MICHAEL WEST. Gas crisis? Or glut? Why Japan pays less for Australian LNG than Australians do.

It is bizarre that gas customers in Japan buy Australian gas more cheaply than Australians. Some of this gas is drilled in the Bass Strait, piped to Queensland, turned into liquid and shipped 6,700 kilometres to Japan … but the … Continue reading

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JOHN QUIGGIN. The case for renationalising Australia’s electricity grid.

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform – cheaper and more … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent warnings that house prices would fall steeply under a Labor government confirm the underlying politics of housing policy in Australia. The default position for politicians is to sound concerned about housing affordability, but do nothing. … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN & PETER PHIBBS. How the Property Council is shaping the debate around negative gearing, taxes.

We see their spokespeople quoted in the papers and their ads on TV, but beyond that we know very little about how Australia’s lobby groups get what they want. 

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. South Australia’s gambling tax highlights the regulatory mess of online betting.

The South Australian government  will introduce from July a “point-of-consumption tax” to claw back some of the gambling tax revenue it is seeing disappear over the border. The new tax is a reasonable response to a growing problem, and probably won’t … Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS and NICOLE GURRAN. Why housing supply shouldn’t be the only policy tool politicians cling to.

If politicians were serious about the affordability crisis, they would be trying to support the important but underfunded affordable housing sector. Better targeting tax breaks towards new and affordable rental housing, rather than fuelling demand for existing homes, would also … Continue reading

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KAREN WILLIS AND SOPHIE LEWIS. Increased private health insurance premiums don’t mean increased value.

A topic of discussion at many barbecues this summer will inevitably be private health insurance. Is it worth it? Do we need it? Every year it gets more expensive. The average 4.8% increase in premiums just announced will have more … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Health | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

KATHLEEN McPHILLIPS. Royal commission hearings show Catholic Church faces a massive reform task.

In research prepared for the Royal Commission, 7% of priests were identified as perpetrators. By far the worst offenders were in religious orders: for example, over 40% of John of God Brothers, 22% of Christian Brothers and 20% of Marist … Continue reading

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DAVID PEETZ. Why everybody knows CEOs are overpaid, but nothing happens.

That CEOs are overpaid is something, as Leonard Cohen would say, “everybody knows”; including the directors and shareholders who ultimately decide their pay. Yet firms are unwilling to do anything about it, because to do so would damage internal relations, … Continue reading

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FRANK JOTZO. New coal plants wouldn’t be clean, and would cost billions in taxpayer subsidies.

Following a campaign by the coal industry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued for new coal-fired power stations in Australia. But these plants would be more expensive than renewables and carry a huge liability through the carbon emissions they produce. … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

AHMAD RIZKY M. UMAR. ASEAN countries should find a solution to end the persecution of Rohingya.

ASEAN’s non-intervention is aggravating the plight of ethnic Rohingya Muslims suffering widespread abuse by the Burmese military in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The Rohingya are one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic minorities.  

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PHILIP CLARKE & PETER SIVEY. Why don’t we know how many people die in our hospitals?

Unfortunately no one yet has been able to overcome the federal/state divide in order to combine Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data held in Canberra with hospital and mortality data from each state. Making this type of data available would facilitate research … Continue reading

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STEVE GEORGAKIS. How professional sport handicaps youth sporting culture.

The recent spate of incidents and reports of doping, match-fixing and wall-to-wall TV coverage of betting, alcohol and junk food advertisements has stimulated considerable debate about the impact of commercialised sport on Australian youth.  

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FRANCIS MARKHAM & MARTIN YOUNG. When it comes to election campaigns, is the gambling lobby all bark and no bite?

The gambling lobby’s influence in overriding popular opinion and the public interest in Australia is well-known. But is its electoral power exaggerated? A look at this year’s ACT election suggests that perhaps the gambling industry is less influential than it … Continue reading

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GETHIN DAVISON & EDGAR LIU. Neighbours’ fears about affordable housing are worse than any impacts.

Housing affordability is a hot topic in Australia. Governments are increasingly recognising that more needs to be done to provide a greater range of affordable housing options, especially in the major cities. It is well documented, however, that proposals for … Continue reading

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ALAN MORRIS. Why secure and affordable housing is an increasing worry for age pensioners.

There is no doubt that an increasing proportion of older Australians on the age pension will be dependent on the private rental sector in coming decades. This is because of the housing affordability crisis and increasing divorce in later life, … Continue reading

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Gambling industry finds plenty of political guns for hire to defend the status quo.

“Responsible gambling”, like “responsible drinking”, is a clever-sounding way of deflecting attention away from the product.  

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RICHARD TANTER. Fifty years on, Pine Gap should reform to better serve Australia.

Pine Gap has capabilities that could genuinely contribute to the defence of Australia. This would depend on the will and resolution of an Australian government capable of identifying these.  

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BRIAN McNAIR. The empire strikes back.

Just five short years after (literally) eating humble pie live on national TV for presiding over the most corrupt, criminally minded, bin-raking, sleaze-mongering crowd of press hacks ever to spread their poison in the English-speaking world, Rupert Murdoch is back … Continue reading

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LAURENCE TROY. Sydney needs higher affordable housing targets.

  The release this week by the Greater Sydney Commission of city-wide draft plansmandating some measure of affordable housing in new developments is a step in the right direction. However, the target of 5-10% on rezoned land is too low … Continue reading

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ANDREW MARKUS. Australians more alarmed about state of politics than impact of migration and minorities.

There is no shortage of expert commentary on current shifts in public opinion, understood as a revolt against political elites. Within Europe and the United States interpretations are supported by the British vote to leave the European Union, the increasing … Continue reading

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CHRISTIAN DOWNIE. Why China and Europe should form the world’s most powerful ‘climate bloc’.

  Filling the void created by Donald Trump! It seems almost certain that US President-elect Donald Trump will walk away from the Paris climate agreement next year. In the absence of US leadership, the question is: who will step up? … Continue reading

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MARK BEESON. Trump’s America: the irresponsible stakeholder?

Will China fill the void that will be created by Trump? How times change. A decade or so ago, former World Bank president and deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick suggested to China that it needed to become a “responsible … Continue reading

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PETER CHRISTOFF. The Paris climate deal has come into force – what next for Australia?

  The Paris climate agreement comes into legal force today, just 11 months after it was concluded and 30 days after it met its ratification threshold of 55 parties accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By … Continue reading

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