In Pearls and Irritations, we will be running a series on lobbyists and their threat to our democracy. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

LobbyLand. Fossil Fuel Lobbyists: Modus Operandi, Impact, Solutions

In Australia, denial mounts. The recent “Gas-Led Recovery” and “Technological Roadmap” announcements of the  Morrison government confirm the continued influence of the fossil fuel industry and its lobbyists.

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Porter – the political law officer who will not protect the public interest

It is of the essence of the idea of the Law Officer that he is, at least in advising, detached and independent, and that the advice represents a statement of the law rather than of some clever way of getting around it.

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Monthly digest on housing affordability and homelessness – Aug/Sept 2020

The following is the latest instalment of a monthly digest of interesting articles, research reports, policy announcements and other material relevant to housing stress/affordability and homelessness – with hypertext links to the relevant source.

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Chinese workers the worry, not spies

Indonesia’s foreign policy seems divorced from reality. It’s called bebas-aktif (free and active) and supposed to mean no siding with world powers.

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Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Pope Francis on preparing a better future for humanity and our planet

Pope Francis is sharply challenging powerful sectional interests in his new social manifesto being released on 4 October. The new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers and Sisters), will outline his vision of a more just, peaceful and sustainable world, and call vigorously for a renewed commitment to universal wellbeing and solidarity. 

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How Trump could win

It is increasingly evident that Trump is determined to be re-elected, whatever the cost. At what point will referring to him as “leader of the free world” become an oxymoron? Continue reading

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Islam in Australia survey results (Australasian Muslim Times Sep 19, 2020)

The results of the Islam in Australia survey are in and they counter many of the stereotypes and misinformation concerning Islam and Muslims in Australia.

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Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

Why a social housing stimulus is a measure Morrison cannot ignore.

Given our Prime Minister’s famously well-honed skill of tapping into the public mood, as well as his claims to an economically hard-headed approach to policymaking, you would surely expect a social housing stimulus plan to be front and centre of his upcoming financial plan.

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Posted in Economy, Housing | 2 Comments

Christian Porter has shown himself unfit to be federal Attorney–General

By his response last week to the Federal Court’s finding that Immigration Minister Alan Tudge engaged in criminal conduct by detaining an asylum-seeker for five days in defiance of an order by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), Christian Porter has shown himself unfit to be federal Attorney–General.

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Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

Are market forces failing us? The case of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

But perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it is our misplaced faith in market forces that is failing people with disability. Continue reading

Posted in Public Policy | 1 Comment

Angus Taylor’s energy roadmap: national interest second

At least the latest energy plan – the coalition’s 22nd, and counting – is not all about gas.

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Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 6 Comments

First Nations people, their health, and this coronavirus

The results of the efforts to suppress the potential damage to Indigenous Australians from the pandemic should be used as an example of how Indigenous people can be more meaningfully involved in their own health programs. Continue reading

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Corporate Covid giveaways wide-open for mega-rorting

History would suggest that conservative politicians, of all folk, would be the ones who were cautious about uncontrolled public spending programs. But it sometimes seems that the apparent moral collapse and decline of social responsibility in Australian business has also affected politics.

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Tackling the mental health crisis in the time of Covid 19; prescribing the same remedy over and over again?

The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into mental health is recommending the same policies which have been advocated for the better part of 30 years. There is nothing to suggest that continuing to pursue them will produce the improvements that the Commonwealth government seeks.

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Cock-ups, conspiracies or system failures?

What we now call cock-ups, getting things wrong, being in the wrong place and so on, emerged from the despair and fatalism experienced by troops in World War I. As the pandemic reveals, the propensity for the folly of human action, for ‘cock-ups’, persists.

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Universities can help Australia’s economic recovery, but that’s all at risk if the ‘job-ready graduates’ bill passes (The Conversation Sep 24, 2020)

Our universities actively helped with reconstruction after two world wars and supported recoveries in recent recessions. The Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme of 1944 – 1951 was set up to offer academic training to men and women who had served with the Australian armed services during the second world war.

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The scary picture of a failed Australia-China trade relations ?

The mainstream newspapers in Australia do not shed much light about the real situation of the Cold trade war between Australia and China. If we look hard enough, we may find factual reporting about this subject in an English language published off-shore, in Hong Kong.

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Posted in China, Politics | 7 Comments

Susan Ryan: a forgiving politician

It is difficult to exaggerate the significance of the movements, legislation and offices shaped or led by the late Susan Maree Ryan (Oct 10, 1942 – September 27, 2020). Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Tributes | 1 Comment

What is unforgivable about the Victorian shut down policies is that they are working

The indefatigable freedom fighters crusading to liberate the shut-down in Victoria are quite right. The restrictions are stultifying, draconian, totalitarian. They are intolerable in a democracy, an affront to Australia as we know it.

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Posted in Politics | Tagged | 4 Comments

Remember the Stasi who ran East Germany’s government

The question taxing many, and one to be answered, is why are our security services and not the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade running our relationship with China?

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Posted in World Affairs | Tagged | 10 Comments

Out-of-pocket medical financial abuse

Charging unjustifiable and unreasonable fees leading to very high out-of-pocket expenses for specialist medical care is an abuse of power and should be called financial abuse. It should also be deemed a form of professional misconduct. Continue reading

Posted in Health | 5 Comments

Downer on Palestine: to the Manor Born

The powerful prey mercilessly on the vulnerable and the mainstream media let them get away with it.

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Posted in World Affairs | Tagged | 13 Comments

The High Court must rule on State border controls before more businesses are bankrupted and family relations traumatised.

No government, whether Commonwealth or State, has primacy over movement across State borders. Primacy lies in the Federal Constitution which states in Section 92 that “trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States … shall be absolutely free”. A distribution of powers does not come into it.

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Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

The Wrong Questions

The real issues of how the failure of the Victorian hotel quarantine program became the SOURCE of the State’s lethal second wave of Covid-19 infections have been lost. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

When climate risks are so high,  short term actions matter most

Many carbon budgets are based on an under-estimation of warming to date, and the path of future warming. And all such budgets either ignore, or underplay, the loss of carbon from long-term stores — such as the melting of permafrost — which are already active processes.

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Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 7 Comments

Rich Thinking: Canberra Bubble wage delusions spawn a bizarre plan to flatten taxes (MWM Sep 24, 2020)

Forget the “average” wage, half of working Australians earn less than $57,000 a year. Rich think they are poor, poor rich. Elizabeth Minter reports on the government’s strange plan to flatten taxes so everybody who earns between $45,000 and $200,000 pays the same rate.

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Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

Sunday environmental round up, 27 September 2020

Despite presidents and SUV drivers doing their bit for oil, the industry is going down the drain. China steps into the global climate action vacuum. Dr Fauci calls for a new relationship with nature to reduce the likelihood of more emerging infectious diseases. WH Auden praises the USA.

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How SUVs conquered the world – at the expense of its climate (The Guardian Sep 1, 2020)

Exclusive new emissions analysis shows how much more dangerous for the climate SUVs are than smaller vehicles, and how embedded they have become in our lives.

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Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 8 Comments

European disarray pushes Iran, Turkey into China camp (Asia Times Sep 17, 2020)

If Tehran and Ankara were to fall out of Europe’s orbit it would be a strategically costly error for the West.

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Posted in World Affairs | Tagged | 1 Comment