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RANALD MACDONALD. Stop the presses.

Well, they have almost stopped running around this country with so few papers being sold nowadays, but let us stop them anyway. Continue reading

Posted in Media | Leave a comment

COLIN STEELE. Who Owns Australian Research?

Who owns the results of Australian research? Certainly, not Australian researchers, as they, and their institutions, continue to give away publicly funded research to multinational publishers. As a result, Australian research is largely locked up behind expensive multinational publishing firewalls, constituting a form of information feudalism. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education | Leave a comment

RICHARD BUTLER. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms; and to use them.

Guns and arms are embedded in US culture. It seems unable or unwilling to fix this, even though its people want it fixed.Its arms manufacturers are opposed to any solution. This shapes US foreign policy. Our engagement in this syndrome endangers us.

Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | Leave a comment

BERNARD KEANE. Amid denialism on company tax cuts, the ABC lets us down.

The ABC’s censorship of Emma Alberici in response to pressure from Malcolm Turnbull comes at a time when the national broadcaster’s mainstream media competitors are also increasingly failing to properly inform Australians. Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Turnbull’s dead albatross: the National Party

Barnaby Joyce’s downfall has exposed the National Party as an outfit more concerned with dealing with corporate rent-seekers than with attending to the interests of its traditional rural base. It has also exposed Turnbull’s lack of resolve in dealing with deep fissures in the political alliance between the Liberals and the Nationals. Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNER. Indigenous education: closing – and opening – the gaps.

The reports and narratives around the strategy to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians are quite well-known, if only because they don’t change much from year to year. With the possible exception of education, not many targets are being reached. The gains in education in numeracy, reading and school retention will be welcomed by schools more used to wearing all the blame for deficiencies in student achievement. We seem to be closing the gaps that we measure, but a new report from the Centre for Policy Development shows that we risk widening the gaps that we choose to ignore – especially those created by where indigenous students go to school.  Continue reading

Posted in Education, Indigenous affairs | Leave a comment

JOHN MENADUE -Joined at the hip Mr Turnbull goes to Washington this week.. Part 1 of 2 Repost

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally. Apart from brief isolationist periods, the US has been almost perpetually at war; wars that we have often foolishly been drawn into. The US has subverted and overthrown numerous governments over two centuries. It has a military and business complex, almost a ‘hidden state’, that depends on war for influence and enrichment. It believes in its ‘manifest destiny’ which brings with it an assumed moral superiority which it denies to others. As the US goes into relative economic decline, it will be asking allies such as Australia for more help and support. We are running great risks in committing so much of our future to the US. We must build our security in our own region and not depend so exclusively on a foreign protector.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 6 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Joined at the hip, Mr. Turnbull goes to Washington this week. Part 2 of 2. Repost

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally. Apart from brief isolationist periods, the US has been almost perpetually at war, wars that we have often foolishly been drawn into. The US has subverted and overthrown numerous governments over two centuries. It has a military and business complex, almost a ‘hidden state,’ that depends on war for influence and enrichment. It believes in its ‘manifest destiny’ which brings with it an assumed moral superiority denied to others. As the US goes into relative economic decline, it will ask allies such as Australia for more help and support. We are running great risks in committing so much of our future to the US. We must build our security in our own region and not depend so exclusively on a foreign protector. 

In Part 1 yesterday I outlined the facts and reasons for the US being almost always at war. Today I highlight that  the risks pre date Trump and discuss the role of the media and others in keeping us in denial about the risks in our dependence on the US.  Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

SCOTT BURCHILL. Class power Australia

If you are someone with power and privilege in a state capitalist society such as Australia, it is vital to maintain class consciousness for yourself, while eliminating it in others. It is particularly important that the broader community does not see themselves as a group exploited by an inequitable economic system. Class solidarity and a concern for others must be driven from their minds. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Trickle down economics and the Emma Alberici article.

The ABC says that their decision to withdraw Emma Alberici’s article was because it represented an opinion for which there is allegedly no evidence.  In fact there is plenty of evidence that increasing corporate profits will not lead to any increase in investment or employment and wages if aggregate demand continues to remain weak.  Furthermore this evidence has been endorsed by the IMF, the OECD and others.  Can the ABC cite anyone or provide evidence to the contrary, other than the ramblings of Scott Morrison and the Business Council?  

The following is a repost of Michael Keating’s article of 18 January, Trickle-Down Economics and a Company Tax Cut. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 6 Comments

MICHAEL PEMBROKE. North Korea: Why negotiations can’t wait for denuclearisation

Few people know the true story of the Korean War; few understand the reasons for North Korean bitterness toward the United States; most are unaware of the extent to which Washington shares responsibility for the creation and perpetuation of the mutual hostility that has persisted for almost 70 years. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

JOHN WATKINS. An ode to nurses: hospital stay highlights immense compassion and skill

In hospital this week after surgery, I learnt some things I already half knew. That I don’t cope well with pain, that time slows down in the middle of the night, (I swear I saw the hands of the clock in ICU move backwards sometime after 3am) and that nurses are a most precious resource, more valuable to our nation than iron ore and more deserving of recognition and celebration than our Test cricket team. Then I read the Herald’s warnings about a long-term recruitment crisis in nursing and was disturbed by the news that nurses were virtually priced out of certain areas of Sydney due to house prices. We ignore these warnings at our peril. Continue reading

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

MARC HUDSON. It’s 20 years since privatisation lit the spark under South Australia’s livewire energy politics

February 17, 2018, marks the 20th anniversary of a momentous day in South Australian energy politics. The then premier, John Olsen, announced that, despite repeated promises during the previous year’s state election campaign, his Liberal government would be putting the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) up for sale. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate | Leave a comment

MICHAEL MULLINS. Joyce’s schooling is the real scandal

It is unhelpful to judge Barnaby in the way the prime minister Malcolm Turnbull did on Thursday. It’s better to focus on a critique of the culture. His leadership of the Nationals may be no longer tenable, but the best thing our political class can do for the long term is to make laws that foster respect for women. Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 4 Comments

MAX HAYTON. Political pregnancies and Opposition renewal in New Zealand.

Political pregnancies are the subject of public debate on both sides of the Tasman.  In Australia, the Deputy Prime Minister faces a career crisis over his indiscretions.  In New Zealand, the Prime Minister is due to give birth in June.  Continue reading

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QUENTIN DEMPSTER. Has the ABC buckled to PM Malcolm Turnbull by removing   critical ‘analysis’ of the claimed benefits of corporate tax cuts?

The ABC’s chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici stands by her ‘analysis’.  Significantly the ABC, through Ms Alberici’s editorial superiors Gaven Morris, the director of ABC News, and Alan Sunderland, director of editorial policies, do not.In a promoted article posted on February 14 after the broadcast of an ABC News item reporting that many Australian companies did not pay any tax, Ms Alberici intro-ed her analysis with this sentence: “There is no compelling evidence that giving the country’s biggest companies a tax cut sees that money passed on to workers in the form of higher wages.”   Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 10 Comments

LINDA JAKOBSON ET AL. China and Australia Relations-Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security

 I am grateful to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) for this opportunity to comment on the Bill. Please note that this submission is a duplicate of my submission to the PJCIS regarding the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2017. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

NICK SEDDON. Democracy in danger. Or, how to get GetUp.

Proposed amendments to the Electoral Act if enacted will profoundly constrain or shut down political advocacy that is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy. Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 1 Comment

RICHARD BUTLER. The Alliance: Deeper Thought Required Urgently.

This is not the time to deepen our commitment to the alliance and, become ever more involved in the US’ imperium and need for enemies. We need to think freshly about our international relations and security. The recent Foreign Policy White Paper, constructed by Julie Bishop, was depressingly free of any such fresh thought. The new US Ambassador clearly sees his role to ride shot gun on Australia’s  military role in the Alliance.

Continue reading

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KEN HILLMAN. Patient safety, a new perspective.

Patient safety in acute hospitals is often described in limited terms such as infection rates and pressure areas without considering that many people gain little or no benefit from being admitted there in the first place. We also ignore the impact on patient safety when management make decisions such as closing hospital wards, prolonging waiting lists and reducing front line health care delivery. Continue reading

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

JIM COOMBS. Trickle Down – My Hat !

The orthodoxy of the Neoliberal Economics (Let’s call it Nasty prehistoric Unfair capitalism, NPUC for short) asserts in the face of universal contradictory evidence, that giving capitalism free reign benefits the poor and the weak. Pull the other one! Continue reading

Posted in Economy, International Affairs | 1 Comment

JERRY ROBERTS. The American Empire, China, the Region and Australia

As the American Empire weakens we see a tendency to look to China and seek security in a nebulous concept of “the region.” We are not facing up to the defence of our continent by Australians for Australians. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND …

Writing in the Canberra Times John Warhurst examines the wealth of the Catholic Church, a topic that has come to prominence in terms of its capacity to provide monetary compensation to victims of sexual abuse.

Phillip Adams interviews Professor Shae McCrystal of the Law Faculty at the University of Sydney, on Australia’s industrial relations system. McCrystal explains developments leading up to present arrangements and problems with the Fair Work Act.  She calls for restoration of aspects of the twentieth century arbitration system to compensate for workers’ loss of bargaining powers.

“The Australian Government should consider setting up, or at least subsidise, a major domestic and exporting cigarette industry in Australia, even if the subsidies go to foreign companies or that the domestic industry is run by foreign companies” writes Crispin Hull in the Canberra Times. Before you send him an angry E-mail, have a look at his well-reasoned argument.

Private health insurance is back in the news, with articles by Fairfax journalists Esther Han and Ross Gittins.  Esther Han explains why people are giving up private insurance, while Ross Gittins says private insurance is a “con job”: private health insurance is “such bad value that, when John Howard sought to prop up the private system, he had to make it subject to a tax rebate”.

Barnaby Joyce and the changing landscape of the news media – Tim Dunlop

Barnaby Joyce has leapt to international prominence – New York Times.

Labor’s energy spending spree has electrified the South Australian election – the Guardian

Daniel Ellsberg worries about nuclear war – New York Review of Books

On Saturday Extra the 17th February, Andrew West fills in for Geraldine Doogue. Items include: cleaning up the cleaning business, an accreditation scheme for companies doing the right thing by their employees with UTS associate professor Sarah Kaine; what will be the geopolitical hotspots for the Trump government in 2018 with the University of Melbourne’s Timothy Lynch and University of Sydney’s Brendon O’Connor; how can the Centre Left combat rising populism, anti-immigration parties with Flinders University’s Rob Manwaring; journalist Anneliese Rohrer discusses the conservative/far right coalition ruling her country Austria and US academic Marie Griffith on why sex has fractured US politics. That’s Saturday Extra www.abc.net.au/rn/saturdayextra

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PATRICK COCKBURN. Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima’

[Reprint of an article in the UK  Independent dated 23 July 2010]

Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.In 2004 General Jim Molan was in charge of the Coalition forces attacking Fallujah Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS. Admiral Harris : Ambassador or Viceroy ?

The appointment of Admiral Harris as Ambassador to Australia raises serious concerns about the role he will play in the development of Australian strategic policy as we seek to maintain the sort of relationship with China and the US outlined in the White Paper. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

RICHARD BROINOWSKI. A new Cold War arms race has begun

In the immediate post Cold War period, regular United States Nuclear Posture Reviews have been relatively restrained, emphasising no first use and no attacks against non nuclear weapons states which are signatories of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. With his 2018 Review, however, President Trump has thrown circumspection out the window. Citing new emerging threats from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, he has blurred the distinction between usable and non-usable nuclear weapons and the situations in which they can be applied. To pay for an enormous expansion in the US nuclear arsenal he wants a colossal annual defence budget increase of three to four percent per annum over existing levels over ten years. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

JOSEPH A. CAMILLERI. Many are thinking: we can surely do better as a nation

Across the country there is much amusement, and a good deal of bewilderment. People are asking: how can our subservience to Washington’s bidding hit such an all-time low? How can a government think it can shape Australia’s future security and prosperity by mouthing one inanity after another? Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Politics, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

MICHAEL GRACEY. Closing the health gap – ten years on.

Warning signs were emerging many decades before, but by the early part of this century it was obvious that the health of indigenous Australians was much worse than that of other citizens. Indicators such as high infant mortality, widespread malnutrition and infections in children, much shortened life expectancy, high rates of chronic diseases and disabilities, mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease, drug- and alcohol-related disorders, suicide and homicide, were all very unfavourable when indigenous and other Australians were compared.  Continue reading

Posted in Health, Indigenous affairs | Leave a comment

SCOTT BURCHILL. Jim Molan’s delusions

No-one would expect a surgeon to recommend Chinese medicine to his patients. His advice usually involves a scalpel and some nasty cutting. Similarly, it would be surprising for military men to advocate political solutions to global conflicts. It’s not their area of professional expertise. By default they lead with their strongest suit — organised violence — not geopolitics or diplomacy. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

GILES PARKINSON. Battery storage leaves fossil fuels and regulators in state of intertia

The brain cells are working overtime at the headquarters of network owners, grid operators, generators, and regulators. Australia’s electricity grid is about to make the leap from analogue to digital, and everyone is scrambling to keep up. Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | Leave a comment