DUNCAN GRAHAM. More Jakarta, Less Geneva!

It’s become a ritual for every Australian leader for the past half-century.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia | Leave a comment

DENNIS RICHARDS. Trumpism redefines American exceptionalism

Americans shamelessly believe that their nation and their culture are superior and exceptional. Under Trump America’s reputation around the world is depleted. There is a real danger that his may become permanent should Trump be re-elected in November 2020. Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | Leave a comment

JEFF KILDEA. The Irish Elections of 2020 – still no government

Almost four months after the Irish general election on 8 February 2020 Ireland is still without a government. What’s been happening and who is running the shop during the Covid-19 crisis? Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | Leave a comment

JOHN BROWN. Three cheers for the working class

I have come to realize even more sharply over the last 12 months the extraordinary and unappreciated contribution that the working class – those much-maligned trade unionists  and workers make to Australian society. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

JAMES LAURENCESON. Reality check on finding new export markets: China’s demand dwarfs the rest (SMH 28.5.20)

It might be conventional wisdom that Australia needs to diversify its trade and reduce dependence on China. There is, however, no magic button that delivers it. No trade delegation to New Delhi or Jakarta is going to pick up a raft of contracts to enable us to cancel guaranteed sales to China.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Economy | Leave a comment

PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 31 May 2020

It’s not difficult knowing what to do to prevent an environmental and human catastrophe. What’s difficult is making it happen and starting it now, especially in Australia. Today’s articles highlight some recommendations for governments. Finally, a couple of wins in court, and reproduction and Raymond Chandler.

Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 6 Comments


What people in other forums are saying about public policy Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 4 Comments

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Politics | 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

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Environment and climate, Health, Politics | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Arts and Media | 10 Comments

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

Posted in Economy, Politics | Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Health | 5 Comments

JENNY HOCKING supports Pearls and Irritations.

I am a long-time reader, contributor and supporter of Pearls & Irritations. Continue reading

Posted in Commendations | 5 Comments

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Education, Environment and climate | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Health, Public Policy | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Health, Politics | 1 Comment

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 | 5 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

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

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 | 5 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.

Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | Leave a comment

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 | 4 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.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Media | 4 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

Posted in Human Rights | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Arts and Media | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Education | Leave a comment