The final act in the landmark ‘Palace letters’ case seeking access to the Queen’s secret correspondence with the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, relating to Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam government will play out in the High Court later this month. Continue reading
The discovery of an error of $60 bn in the costing of JobKeeper raises the issue of what should be done with this money? However, as JobKeeper was always incomplete these deficiencies should be the first call on this extra money. Continue reading
The new Global Talent Independent (GTI) visa provides a direct permanent residence for ‘highly skilled professionals in high growth sectors’. According to the Department of Home Affairs, processing times range between two days and two months with many being decided within a week or two.
The Trump administration’s lack of interest in a global response to COVID-19, or even extending a helping hand to its allies and partners, is bringing home the possibility that US leadership may be gone for good. Beyond exposing a diminished American will to lead, the pandemic response is revealing a new reality — that of US incompetence.
Who governs NSW – Premier Gladys Berejiklian or NRL boss Peter V’landys? One is elected, the other isn’t. One is a blue-stockinged Tory from Sydney’s North Shore, the other is a Labor supporter from working-class Wollongong. Who will prevail? Continue reading
A ‘self-help’ state is back, and nationalism, populism, xenophobia, trade, and territorial disputes are on the rise.
Our security lies in our capacity to work together for the common good, rather than in weapons that terrify other humans. Roadmaps to address our two biggest threats, nuclear weapons and climate change, are ready to go. We’re not waiting for a vaccine, but simply for governments, including our own, to learn that increasingly alarming warnings require urgent action. Continue reading
The Market Forces UniSuper divest campaign details continuing UniSuper investments in fossil fuels despite many concerns expressed by academics and despite the progressive climate change crisis. Do the Universities have responsibilities? Continue reading
In recent domestic policy and international engagement Australia is demonstrating two contrasting personalities. One is demonstrated through our response to COVID 19 and the other through our troubled inability to form responsible climate and energy policy. Why do we have two personalities? Continue reading
The advent of Covid-19 following on so closely from the centenary of Spanish influenza has led to a renewed interest in that last great pandemic. Yet, more than 100 years after the event, there is still a wide discrepancy in the estimates of how many it killed. Continue reading
On the weekend of the 7 and 8 June, ABC Classic will be conducting its Classic 100 Countdown for 2020. Being the 250th anniversary of his birth, it is devoted to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. Continue reading
The RBA is bound by its mandate from government. This mandate needs to be re-worked by a progressive government. Continue reading
On 26 May, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said if Australia’s mortality rate matched the UK’s, we’d have had 14,000 Covid-19 deaths. This is just tautological rubbish. It would be just as true and equally pointless to say if Australia’s mortality rate matched Vietnam’s, we’d have zero deaths.
The Covid-19 virus discriminates against the old. The young are hardly affected. The lockdowns around the world required everyone to live in a cage, young and old. Now that the restrictions are being relaxed, it is inevitable that governments are going to have to discriminate in the same way the virus does – against the old who will be the ones who need the confinement to protect their health, not the young who need jobs and a future. Continue reading
The best reading on the state of Australia-China relations is in documents we can’t see. That is, in the cables sent from Canberra to their capitals by ambassadors of Asian nations. Continue reading
Wage increases are widely believed to pose a threat to employment. But this ignores their role in supporting demand growth. Instead, wage increases consistent with maintaining an equilibrium distribution of income are necessary to sustain economic growth and employment. Continue reading
The downward spiral in Australia-China relations must stop. The Australian government must take a lead towards a major and long overdue reset. Continue reading
It is five years this week since Pope Francis published perhaps the most radical and important papal encyclical ever issued, Laudato si’, mi’ Signore (‘Praise be to you, my Lord’) on ‘care for our common home.’ Continue reading
Reliable sources of information on Australian ties with China do not include the ultra-nationalistic PRC Global Times when it applauds Australia receiving a “slap to the face,” or the Vision Times, which reports that people have recovered from COVID-19 after reciting the “Nine Sacred Words” of the Falun Gong sect. Nonsense spreads like wildfire through social media. Those looking for objective or nuanced reporting have to work harder.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, has introduced new, comprehensive powers for ASIO. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 repeals ASIO’s existing questioning and detention warrant framework and introduces a reformed and extended compulsory questioning scheme. The Bill is not all bad. But there is quite enough in it to cause those with a concern for the protection of civil liberties, sleepless nights. Continue reading
With international travel at a standstill, arts organisations are grappling with the dilemma of future programming. There is no lack of local work to showcase – but what about international connections? Continue reading
I strongly encourage all readers of Pearls and Irritations to watch this remarkable new documentary from the National Film Board of Canada on PM Jean Chretien’s decision to say no to the Iraq War in 2003. Continue reading
Central banks worldwide facegrowing criticism for putting money before people, for contributing to growing inequality and social disadvantage. But change is coming. Continue reading
A few weeks ago Foreign Minister Marise Payne condemned ‘ China’s actions in the South China Sea’, adding that in recent days the Australian frigate HMAS Parramatta had been conducting exercises with two American naval vessels as they ‘passed through the waters.’ Continue reading
The solution to the South China Sea imbroglio lies with the US, not China. Continue reading
Donald Trump, who campaigned on making America great again has presided over — indeed caused — an enormous fall in American prestige, moral authority and effective power in the world. It may still have, by far, the most military power, and enormous economic resources, but the practical management of the Covid-19 crisis invites only derision. Continue reading
When is a pandemic suppression order not a lockdown? When it’s in Indonesia.