JENNY HOCKING ‘If I were to terminate his commission’: Sir John Kerr’s secret ‘Palace letters on Whitlam’s dismissal

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

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MICHAEL KEATING.. What should we do with the $60 bn left over from JobKeeper?

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

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ABUL RIZVI. Global Talent Independent Visa: Permanent residence in a week or two

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.

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SHEILA SMITH. US pandemic politics spells trouble for its Asian partners (EAF 24.5.20)

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.

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ALEX MITCHELL. NRL power play in NSW

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

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DANG CAM TU.The Virus and Regional Order: Perspectives from Asia and beyond .

A ‘self-help’ state is back, and nationalism, populism, xenophobia, trade, and territorial disputes are on the rise.

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Posted in Asia | 1 Comment

SUE WAREHAM. Roadmaps on the two biggest threats ready to go

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

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DAVID SHEARMAN. After Covid-19 the ‘New Normal’ must have ‘Real Universities’ acting on the Climate Crisis

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

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GEORGE BROWNING. Australia’s two personalities-pandemic and climate change

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

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JEFF KILDEA. How many Australians died of Spanish Flu? Take your pick

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

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ROBIN BOYLE. Beethoven and the ABC Classic 100 Countdown – A not-to-be missed event

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

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John Tan. Neoliberalism: IT’S TIME for progressive fiscal policies (Part 2/2).

The RBA is bound by its mandate from government. This mandate needs to be re-worked by a progressive government. Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Let’s learn from this pandemic to be better prepared for the really big one

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.

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JOHN CARLIN. Discrimination and Inequality

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

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BOB CARR. Hidden Reality of Australia-China Relations

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

Posted in Asia, Politics | 4 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Why the coronavirus shouldn’t stand in the way of the next wage increase (The Conversation 26.5.20)

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

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COLIN MACKERRAS. The mess of Australia-China relations

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

Posted in Asia | 2 Comments

MICHAEL WEST. The Virgin Brides: fate of airline on a knife-edge as bids lob and cash runs dry (MWM 19.5.20)

The government has tossed $130 billion at business, the corporate largesse is dripping all over the big end of town. Even highly profitable $8 billion property developers such as Mirvac are rolling in the free money, yet when it comes to Virgin Australia they are being all punctilious about “letting the market sort it out”. Michael West reports on the future of Virgin.

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PAUL COLLINS. Back to Nature

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

Posted in Environment and climate, Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

JOCELYN CHEY.  Marsupial Madness and the Batty Media

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.

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Posted in Asia, Media | 3 Comments

SPENCER ZIFCAK. The New Asio Powers: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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

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JUDITH WHITE. Cultural recovery in a globalised world

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

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FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Tertiary education after COVID-19: part two

Are we finally seeing the end of the Dawkins era? If so, what next? Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. A great documentary from Canada on the Iraq War

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

Posted in World Affairs | 2 Comments

JOHN TAN. Neoliberalism: IT’S TIME for progressive fiscal policies (Part1/2).

Central banks worldwide facegrowing criticism for putting money before people, for contributing to growing inequality and social disadvantage. But change is coming. Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia goes fishing in troubled waters.

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

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MARK J VALENCIA. To Reduce Tensions in the South China Sea, the Ball is in America’s Court

The solution to the South China Sea imbroglio lies with the US, not China. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 5 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Trump: the man who made America little again

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

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 5 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM If Bali lets you in – will Oz let you back?

When is a pandemic suppression order not a lockdown? When it’s in Indonesia.

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RAMESH THAKUR. The rise and fall of coronavirus modelling

Will the Great Lockdown’s epitaph be ‘The Greatest Mistake in History’? Continue reading

Posted in Health | 10 Comments