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JOHN TULLOH. My first foreign news assignment 50 years ago – the Six Day War.

This article was first published in Foreign Correspondents’ Association Australia and South Pacific website.  Next week, John Tulloh will be writing on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.

It was mid-afternoon Sydney time on a winter’s Monday 50 years ago that events were set in train which to this day remain a major running news story. On June 5, 1967, Israel staged a pre-emptive strike against Egypt to launch what became known as the Six-Day War. It ended with Israel more than trebling the land under its control stretching from the Golan Heights in Syria all the way to the Suez Canal.   Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN. Gonski in An Age of Budget Repair

School funding is a very complex issue in Australia. It’s now a poisonous political cocktail. David Gonski who had been the poster boy for Julia Gillard’s bold education reforms has now been showcased by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham announcing their new deal for school funding.   Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. The UN draft treaty to ban the bomb is an important milestone on the road to nuclear abolition

The recently published draft text of a convention to ban the bomb provides a good basis to complete negotiations of a treaty to prohibit the acquisition, development, production, manufacture, possession, transfer, testing, extra-territorial stationing and use of nuclear weapons as major steps on the road to abolition.   Continue reading

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GEOFF MILLER. One dance too many – a new quadrilateral defence grouping.

Recently Paul Keating, in launching Allan Gyngell’s book on Australian foreign policy, said that smart countries did not tie themselves too closely to fixed positions in foreign policy—rather, they “danced around”.  He said this in the course of arguing that Australia should not be so overawed by its alliance with the United States that it felt it had to join in every US policy initiative; some haven’t been successful, he said, and we should decide on what we did based on our own interests and consideration.   Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Our White Man’s Media again on display in London (Manchester) terrorist attack.

The following article was posted on 27 March 2017. Substitute ‘Manchester’ for ‘London’ and the story is very similar.  John Menadue

I have often commented that a person from Mars reading or listening to our media would conclude that Australia is an island parked off London or New York. We saw that last week in the coverage of the London terrorist attack. We continue to cling to the coat tails of the London and New York media.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Media | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Trump Tour: Unbound Cynicism

President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and then Israel served entirely cynical international and domestic political purposes. All contentious issues were ignored. The great power competition in the Middle East: US/Saudi and Russia/Iran has deepened.   Continue reading

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JOHN WARHURST. Catholic Citizens needed within Church

Catholics must stand up and become active citizens not loyal subjects within their own church community. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has pointed to weaknesses in culture and governance within the Catholic Church in Australia. Within the church the normal tenets of liberal democracy, including inclusiveness, transparency, equality and responsiveness do not apply.   Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

KIERAN TAPSELL. ‘The Attachment’ by Ailsa Piper and Tony Doherty.

The subtitle to this book is Letters from a Most Unlikely Friendship, and it consists of a series of letters with some occasional background comment between a “lapsed” Catholic (although none of the authors use that word) turned “agnostic with pantheist leanings” and a well known Sydney Catholic priest, Tony Doherty.  Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Where to for Commonwealth infrastructure policy?

Legend has it that Charlton Heston flashed a Rolex wristwatch during a chariot race in the 1959 Ben Hur movie. Some recent Prime Ministerial comments could be considered flashes of a policy Rolex in an infrastructure discussion fitted to the setting of Ben Hur – in ancient Rome.  Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Transport | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

DAVID STEPHENS. Afghanistan infinitum or walking away? The possible cost of shared values

Where do Australia’s values come from and what are they? Ten years ago, Australia’s then Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson, was convinced that our Australian values were forged on the battlefield:No group of Australians has given more, nor worked harder to shape and define our identity than those who have worn – and now wear – the uniform of the Australian Navy, Army and Air Force. They forged values that are ours and make us who we are, reminding us that there are some truths by which we live that are worth defending.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

EMILY FISCHER et al. Playing God: The Immigration Minister’s Unrestrained Power .

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection holds numerous discretionary powers that allow him or her to make substantial and lifelong decisions about the lives of vulnerable people. These powers lack transparency, accountability and are not amenable to review by the courts.  Continue reading

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JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN. As China and US get closer, Japan is left in not so splendid isolation in Asia Pacific

Tokyo needs to make peace with its neighbours, especially those that were its former victim.

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Posted in Foreign Affairs and Trade | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

LAURIE PATTON. The case for mandating governance training for NFP boards

The not-for-profit sector performs a vital role delivering services that meet important social needs. It provides a voice for some of our most disadvantaged groups and individuals. Not-for-profit status also allows organisations of professionals to represent their members under a regulated legal framework. The sector oversees the collection and expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars of other peoples’ money. So it’s critical NFP’s are well run according to the highest levels of good governance.   

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Posted in Democratic Renewal | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Miners, taxation and donations. (Repost 17/10/2013)

In my blog of June 3 “the Miners Lament”, I pointed out that the large foreign owned  mining companies in Australia may yet regret that they rejected out of hand the Resources Super Profits Tax that the Rudd Government proposed. Politically of course the miners will never admit it but I suspect that at some point the wiser heads amongst them will look again at a tax arrangement based on profit performance rather than royalty taxes that the States are now increasingly levying. Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Economy, Education, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

LYNDSAY CONNORS. The  Tangled  Education Web. Part 2 of 2: The Catholic Story

‘Sector-blind’ does not mean turning a blind eye to the shortcomings of any sector in distributing public funding received from government.  Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM  So much for the miracle budget

Just a week after, it appears that nothing has really changed – another bad negative Newspoll, war on two fronts with the banks and the Catholics, and, of course, more brawling in the party room. There must be times when even the unquestionably optimistic – and egotistic – Malcolm Turnbull wonders why he bothers. 

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Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

CAVAN HOGUE. Trump and the Wahhabis

President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia does not sit well with a demand to fight the Wahhabi inspired terrorists but support for a dictatorship that suits American commercial and strategic interests is a long standing US practice. We may wonder whether getting involved in religious disputes is a good idea.  Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

MARK GREGORY.  A new broadband levy in another NBN bungle

The Turnbull government is set to introduce a new levy on telecommunications companies that offer 25 Mbps or faster internet connections to contribute towards regional and remote broadband.  Continue reading

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 JIM COOMBS. Public Goods

Before the advent of the “free enterprise market economy” model’s dominance of economic thinking, there was a distinction made between private and public goods.  The idea was that some things had to be provided for a healthy, well-ordered society: such basics to our notion of civilization as universal water reticulation and sewerage (the most significant public health measure ever), electricity and gas services, public transport, education and telecommunications. These were to be provided generally and largely (as possible) equally to all, and NOT at the direction of “market forces”, which would discriminate in favour of the rich.  For most of the last century these were provided by government monopolies, to guarantee fair and equal access. Seems quite sensible. 

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Posted in Education, Transport | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Book Launch: “Of Labour and Liberty”

Of Labour and Liberty Book Launch

Event Information

Join us as Bishop Vincent Long, Fourth Bishop of Parramatta launches Race Mathew‘s new book, Of Labour and Liberty at the Whitlam Institute, in partnership with Monash University Publishing.

Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966 arises from the author’s half a century and more of political and public policy involvement. It’s a response to evidence of a precipitous decline in active citizenship, resulting from a loss of confidence in politics, politicians, parties and parliamentary democracy; the rise of ‘lying for hire’ lobbyism; increasing concentration of capital in the hands of a wealthy few; and corporate wrong-doing and criminality. It questions whether political democracy can survive indefinitely in the absence of economic democracy – of labour hiring capital rather than capital labour. It highlights the potential of the social teachings of the Catholic Church and the now largely forgotten Distributist political philosophy and program that originated from them as a means of bringing about a more equal, just and genuinely democratic social order. It describes and evaluates Australian attempts to give effect to Distributism, with special reference to Victoria. It documents as grounds for hope the support and advocacy of Pope Francis, and ownership by some 83,000 workers of the Mondragon co-operatives in Spain.

About the speakers

Race Mathews is a former Chief of Staff to Gough Whitlam, Federal MP, Victorian MP and Minister, Local Government Councillor, academic, speech therapist and primary teacher. He has held numerous positions in the Australian Labor Party and the co-operative and credit union movements and has written and spoken widely about their history, attributes, and activities. A major focus of his research has been the great complex of worker-owned co-operatives at Mondragon in the Basque region of Spain and its origins in the social teachings of the Catholic Church. He is married to writer Iola Mathews, and lives in Melbourne.

The Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD, Fourth Bishop of Parramatta, was born in 1961 in Dong Nai in Vietnam. Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, his family has been dispersed: his mother, a brother and a sister are in Melbourne, three brothers are in Holland, a sister remains in Vietnam, and Bishop Vincent is now in Parramatta. Bishop Vincent is the first Vietnamese born bishop to lead a diocese outside of Vietnam and the first Vietnamese born bishop in Australia. He was Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Peace and for Social Services and was Chair of the Catholic Education Commission (Victoria). Nationally, he serves as the Bishops Delegate for Migrants and Refugees, Chair of Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and member of the Permanent Committee. In 2016, he was appointed the 4th Bishop of Parramatta in succession to Bishop Anthony Fisher OP following his appointment as Archbishop of Sydney in 2014.

Date and time

Fri. 16 June 2017

10:30 am – 12:00 pm AEST


Whitlam Institute, Female Orphan School

Conference Room 1, Building EZ, Western Sydney University

Cnr James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere, NSW 2116

Free event, refreshments provided, but please register at:

The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University exists not simply to preserve the legacy of the Hon Gough Whitlam AC QC through the Prime Ministerial Collection, but to ensure that his legacy lives through our commitment to bold public policy and social reform and through our efforts to nurture an interest in and understanding of our democracy.

Click here to read more details about “Of Labour and Liberty

Click here to view map and directions


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LYNDSAY CONNORS. The Tangled  Education Web  Part 1 of 2

Gonski 2.0 appeared to be a gift horse but over the space of little more than two week it is looking more like a Trojan horse.  
Continue reading

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LINDA SIMON.The future of VET remains uncertain!

The 2017 Federal Budget provided little new funding for vocational education and training, with its main focus the Skilling Australians Fund.  This Fund appears to only exacerbate the uncertain future of the VET sector with its narrow student application, dependence on revenue generation and outcomes focus.  Continue reading

Posted in Education | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

IAN DUNLOP. The Leaders We Deserve?

Rarely have politicians demonstrated their ignorance of the real risks and opportunities confronting Australia than with the recent utterances of Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan and other ministers promoting development of Adani and Galilee Basin coal generally, along with their petulant foot-stamping over Westpac’s decision to restrict funding to new coal projects.  Likewise, Bill Shorten sees no problem in supporting Adani.  Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Economy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS. Adrift in  the South China Sea?

While Washington is paralysed by alleged White House scandal the US has taken its eye off the South China Sea. Continuing developments in the region have reinforced China’s position. Australia cannot afford to delay its own examination of our long term national interests in our neighbourhood.  Continue reading

Posted in Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

JOHN TULLOH. The winds of change in Iran.

‘Iran’s nation chose the path of interaction with the world, away from violence and extremism’. President Hassan Rouhani on his election victory looks forward to a fresh new era for Iran.  Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Press freedom is a minefield

Julian Assange has cleared the Swedish legal minefield between him and freedom. The two which lie ahead are British and American. Continue reading

Posted in Foreign Policy, Media | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia-as-Concierge: The Need for a Change of Occupation

Albert Camus, the renowned French philosopher, author and journalist, frequently recounted the story of the concierge in the Gestapo headquarters who went about her everyday business in the midst of torture explaining, “I never pay attention to what my tenants do.”  Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Foreign Policy | Tagged | 3 Comments

SAUL ESLAKE. Housing affordability and the 2017-18 Budget: a missed opportunity

Housing affordability was to be a key focus of the Government in this year’s federal budget, according to the ‘nods and winks’ that traditionally precede the Treasurer’s budget speech. A journalist who has often been privy to the thinking of those at the highest levels of the Abbott and Turnbull Governments wrote that the budget would represent “the most comprehensive intervention by a federal government into the life cycle of home ownership”, involving “every aspect” of the housing market. Continue reading

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CAMERON MURRAY.  Game of Mates: How favours bleed the nation

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Game of Mates: How favours bleed the nation
Get the book via Follow author Cameron Murray on Facebook and Twitter. Come to the Brisbane book launch on 23rd May, 6pm at Avid Reader, West End (Details and RSVP link).  Continue reading

Posted in Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. The White Man’s Media — Part I

Ramesh Thakur highlights how a biased coverage of the war on terror and the Iraq War by the US media eroded US soft power.   Continue reading

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