Money can’t buy me love: nor can it buy me wealth Continue reading
The Government’s new submarine project continues to be subjected to serious criticism. I have written on the ill-conceived SEA 1000 project since before the decision was made to award the contract to the French company NAVAL Group Australia (formerly DCNS) in April 2016. I now argue that we must face up to the underlying issue, which is that the two critical decisions, to buy sub-optimal diesel-electric boats, and to design them for missions off the coast of China, are fundamentally incompatible. Continue reading
On 1st January this year, the National Archives of Australia published a set of highly redacted Commonwealth cabinet papers dealing with a decision by the National Security Committee of the Howard coalition cabinet in September 1997 to allow the establishment of a Joint Australia-United States Relay Ground Station (RGS) at Pine Gap. Continue reading
I follow migration matters closely, so Tim Watt’s survey of the White Australia Policy and subsequent immigration policy was familiar territory. For those who don’t, there is much to recommend in the story he tells and his demonstration of the economic benefits of skilled migration. But his analysis has flaws. Continue reading
The religious right is casting a darkening cloud over Australia’s democracy. Continue reading
Arriving at agreement on a new Irish Constitution following a post-Brexit Border Poll would expose the cracks in Irish identity. There is little public evidence that any government—in the Republic, Northern Ireland, or the UK—has given serious thought to the steps that would need to follow a double yes vote.
The global crisis of democracy is yet one more challenge for a Church fighting for social justice.
This article takes issue with a recent article by John Menadue which argues that a largely unchallenged and powerful oligarchy is wielding untrammelled political power. Instead, a number of other reasons are proposed as to why our political parties have fragmented, and how that has made the achievement of necessary policy compromises more difficult. Nevertheless, there is a way forward for a progressive party. Continue reading
The ALP Reviewers certainly deserve recognition for facing some of the issues which led to its recent Federal election defeat. The Review Team has put on the record the factors contributing to misunderstanding and failure to capture the public imagination. Recommendations are a welcome start in charting new directions. However, the fundamental issue of factional control is not considered as a major factor in community alienation. Continue reading
“How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? …You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.We will not let you get away with this.” These were the words of sixteen-year old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg as she addressed the United Nations climate conference on 25th September this year. Continue reading
Last week, New York Times columnist Timothy Egan had a piece headlined “Why Doesn’t Mark Zuckerberg Get It?” The piece then goes on to document how Facebook has become a medium for spreading lies and nonsense all over the world, that many ill-informed users have come to believe. Continue reading
Re-reading a bit of political philosophy, I came across a 1939 quotation by the French philosopher Raymond Aron (1905-1983) who warned of ‘notre époque de religions politiques.’ If Aron were around today, he would have much to wrote about.
Did Morrison win that election? Or did Labor simply blow it? Continue reading
There is, in front of me, a book entitled “Not my family: never my child”. The title of that book is so right. WE are on the front line. We are affected. It is OUR families and our children who take these drugs. It is OUR children that suffer and die and cause us grief. Continue reading
The Canberra hawks hope that our tough stance on China will encourage US resolve. But that underestimates the flightiness of Donald Trump. Continue reading
One of the best ways to determine how history will judge a politician is not to tot up what they achieved but to try to evaluate the depths they sometimes sank to as they pursued their careers. Continue reading
For old-time Asia watchers, there was a delicious irony in the way Chile has decided it does not want to be the site of this year’s planned APEC annual meeting. Continue reading
Homo sapiens suffers from a cognitive defect in that we have evolved to deal with immediate and concrete threats, but not ones that happen to us slowly over time, like climate change. Those with Asperger’s syndrome see the world differently, and it is interesting to think that the rest of us might have to learn something from people disabled and often mocked. Continue reading
When France’s president wants to carry European concerns to the world stage to find solutions for climate change, trade tensions or Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he no longer calls Washington. He flies to Beijing. Continue reading
The latest ad hoc response to the current drought cannot be criticised in terms of the politics of the situation we are now in. If it rains in, say, by March, or in the first six months of 2020, then we will be back to the status quo of drought policy. We simply don’t have a National Drought Policy, nor can I see one being agreed between the Commonwealth and the States which will ever be agreed by all parties and commentators, or which may have predictability or flexibility. The debate about the Murray Darling Basin plan, after30 years of development, is in the same basket. There are so many actors with so many responsibilities that everyone cannot be satisfied. Continue reading
Many pundits are arguing that if Labor is to become competitive at the next election it must focus on economic growth and jobs and abandon or at least downgrade its policies for income redistribution and to combat climate change. The evidence, however, is precisely the reverse. It is these policies that are the key to future economic growth and jobs. Continue reading
Labor’s post-election post-mortem demonstrates conclusively that Scott Morrison’s victory was no miracle. It also shows why so many people thought it was. Continue reading
A hundred years ago the victors marked the first anniversary of Armistice Day. Our own memorialisation of the war, then and now, has been mostly in the spirit of ‘Take a bow, Australia’. But we need to lift our eyes from our own narrow horizons and question our ingrained instinct for self-congratulatory narratives. Continue reading
Due process has been missing in action with the proposed Australian War Memorial demolition and expansion. Wide-ranging and serious concerns from many people have been dismissed, as AWM Director Dr Brendan Nelson continues to be given green lights in his quest to have the Memorial display yet more of the machinery of warfare. One wonders whether that’s the sort of commemoration the World War 1 diggers would have wanted. Continue reading
One of the best ways to determine how history will judge a politician is not to tot up what they achieved but to try to evaluate the depths they sometimes sank to as they pursued their careers.
As this year’s election result became clear, Bill Shorten stated, “We were up against corporate leviathans, a financial behemoth, spending unprecedented hundreds of millions of dollars advertising, telling lies, spreading fear – they got what they wanted.” That is the voice of a hapless victim, complaining about forces beyond his control, and not the alternative leader of the country. Continue reading
Here we have two wombats, Lofty and Rorty. They’re stranded on the median strip in the middle of a busy freeway, on their way home from a meeting where, against most expectations, they were outflanked in their bid to take over the Association of Australian Native Animals (AANA). Continue reading
There are two basic components to the Morrison government’s latest A$1 billion package response to the drought affecting large parts eastern Australia. One part involves extra subsidies to farmers and farm-related business. The other involves measures to create or upgrade infrastructure in rural areas. Continue reading