Although carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, new modelling demonstrates that it is still technically and economically feasible to keep global warming below 1.5oC, with many advantages for the world’s economy, jobs and public health, but the influence of fossil fuel companies makes it politically unlikely. And yet with just 1oC of warming, life in Africa and Bangladesh is already pretty tough. Indonesia’s plastic waste is causing problems for northern Australia and there would be mutual advantage from the two countries working together on the problem.
A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media Continue reading
Do you want God?”
The retreat director’s question to me, a young nun preparing to renew her vows as a Good Samaritan Sister, was uncharacteristically blunt. The much-revered Benedictine priest must have picked up something in my attitude during our daily one-on-one encounters. Continue reading
In an appeal to Secessionists in his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln appealed to ‘the better angels of our nature’. Today we lack the bi-partisan leadership on refugees that would appeal to our better angels. I have yet to hear Julia Gillard make an informed case for generosity towards refugees who are amongst the most vulnerable people in the world. She competes with Tony Abbott to show how tough she can be. Tony Abbott in his opportunism appeals to our darker angels. The Holy Family was indeed lucky when it fled as refugees to Egypt that the Pharaoh did not have a policy to ‘stop the donkeys’. Continue reading
A recent US war exercise involving US Marines landing, capturing and securing an island off the coast of Okinawa is touted as a new US military strategy to use in its challenge to China in the South China Sea. Is the imbedding of US marines in war exercises on HMAS Adelaide, which has been fitted with amphibious landing gear, part of US strategy to involve Australia in future hostile actions in the South China Sea ? Continue reading
In his 9 April post on this website ANU Professor Ramesh Thakur put the question: Who Will Bell the Sydney Airport Security Madness? The expert on disarmament then asked:
Is it possible that pranksters with a perverse sense of humour are in charge of security procedures at Sydney InternationalAirport? Perhaps they are trying to test the limits of traveller tolerance.
Health policy reform is difficult. There are an abundance of powerful stakeholders whose number one priority is definitely not optimum health care for all Australians. But most Australians do share the view that our health care system (which isn’t really a system) needs improving. There are two broad aspects to optimising health. The first is equitable timely access to high quality care. The second is addressing all those factors outside the health system which affect health. These are the social determinants of health and of productivity. Healthy people are more productive. The key social determinant is income inequality, both absolute and relative. Continue reading
Those pushing for regime change in Iran are overestimating the Iranian people’s dislike of their theocratic regime and are mistaking that dislike for a willingness to embrace a foreign invader. Like the Bush Administration with Iraq, the Trump Administration appears to have given little or no strategic thought to the future of Iran beyond any possible removal of the clerical regime. If attacked, Iran has the capability to retaliate against its neighbours, in a war that could easily spread across the region. The security challenges that Iran continues to pose will be best addressed by policy that is formulated using reasoned, expert-based strategic analysis.
The toughening of China’s policies in the South and East China Seas is widely regarded as a defining characteristic of Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. But while it is true that the PRC has become more assertive in its maritime disputes under Xi, China had already been on such a trajectory since 2006. Many changes in China’s maritime dispute behaviour under Xi may be better understood as continuities. Continue reading
Have Indonesia’s oligarchs performed their final farewell tour? More than two decades after the fall of second president Soeharto’s authoritarian New Order government a commoner has retained the presidency. Continue reading
Julian Assange faces extradition to the United States to face a grand jury’s secretly concocted charge of ‘computer intrusion’ to obtain and reveal classified information. Reaction to Assange’ arrest shows powerful people protecting establishment interests, which, over centuries, have involved lying, deceit, corruption, wars and other forms of violence. Continue reading
The Thodey review has stimulated a wide variety of diagnoses of what’s wrong with the APS, but one has been missed. Could it be that its problem is hubris? Continue reading
In Eric Bogle’s haunting song : “And the band played Waltzing Matilda”, there is the heart-wrenching line sung by the young soldier who has just had both legs blown off by a Turkish bomb. He sings:”And when I saw what it had done, well I wished I was dead. Never knew there were worse things than dying”.
The 75th anniversary of the establishment of Kosciuszko State Park falls on Good Friday, 19 April 2019. The Park was famously established by Premier William McKell to protect the nationally important mountain water catchments, to restore soil erosion caused by burning off and over-grazing by stock and to provide opportunities for visitor use and enjoyment. Kosciuszko is one of the Australia’s greatest national parks; it is a National Heritage Property protecting priceless Australian heritage and receives more than 1 million visits a year. The Park enjoyed 74 years of bipartisan support for conservation until regressive 2018 legislation was passed to retain thousands of feral horses within the Park. Continue reading
Morrison’s words are a plea to trust his government, but his tactics seem to be aimed at spreading mistrust, not only of Labor but also of democratic institutions more generally. Continue reading
In April 2014 John Howard surprised an audience in Sydney by saying that war with Iran would be next. He didn’t know then about Syria but his alarming prediction about Iran looks like coming true.
Labor’s bold stance on housing tax reform and investment makes this one of the likely policy flashpoints in the coming election campaign. How does the Coalition government’s housing record stand up to scrutiny? What would be in prospect in a third Liberal-National term? And exactly what is Labor’s alternative pitch? Continue reading
During Lent, Christians are asked to think much more concretely about our short, precarious lives. We swear off chocolate, alcohol, or, in my case, swearing itself. Continue reading
The Morrison Government has for months argued Australia is on track to meet its international greenhouse gas emissions abatement targets “in a canter”. Continue reading
Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a new letter blaming the continuing Catholic clergy abuse crisis on the sexual revolution, developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council, and modern society’s aversion to speaking about God. Continue reading
The Chinese Australian community warmly thanks Prof Bob Carr for speaking out for the Chinese Australians and giving a detailed analysis of China panic over a period of more than 2 years. Prof Carr’s suggestion of a community response based on the Jewish model is a great suggestion and plans can be made to initiate the implementation. However, the successful implementation would depend on the unity of the 1.2 million Chinese Australian diaspora. Continue reading
The law to censor violent content rushed through Parliament last week connected dots between two Australians abroad, when Julian Assange was “extradited” from Ecuadorian territory, in London. I examine the linkages. Continue reading
Indonesia goes to the polls on 17 April, with the same presidential candidates as five years ago: the incumbent, Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi), a self-made former furniture exporter and former governor of Jakarta, and Prabowo Subianto, a former general who was once a son-in-law of Soeharto, the authoritarian former president who ruled for three decades until 1998. Continue reading
The final jobs for the boys and girls have been squared away, the pointless tit for tat over taxpayer advertising and who is closer to the Chinese have been shelved, and Melissa Price has obediently signed off on Adani, as ordered by the Queensland Nats. Continue reading