Author Archives: Carol Summerhayes

JOHN KERIN. Wage compression and its wider implications, economic and political.

All macro-economic variables relate to one another. The economic growth  rate, monetary and fiscal policy, budgetary policy, business profitability, investment, taxation (and the avoidance and evasion of tax), the wage rate, transfers and trade balance all interact and adapt to … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. Disability and disenfranchisement: the social construction of political disadvantage

Thanks to the determination of disability advocates such as Senator Steele-John, national attention is being drawn to ways in which society fails people with ‘disabilities’. Indeed, in our general disregard for the needs of Australians of different abilities, we exclude … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 1 Comment

BRUCE HAIGH. The hourglass.

The more things change the more they remain the same.  It is imperative that the Morrison government not be returned at the forthcoming election. It is devoid of ideas for the future. It denies climate change. It is corrupt. It … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 13 Comments

ANTHONY PUN. A response to Gareth Evan’s article on the bamboo ceiling.

Our former foreign minster, the Hon Gareth Evans, has written an excellent piece about the bamboo curtain.  His thesis is focused on institutional covert and overt discriminatory practices.  To be fair, the fault is not entirely due to discrimination but … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

JOHN AUSTEN. NSW infrastructure: who is fit to govern?

Readers of Pearls and Irritations may have followed the transport infrastructure fiasco in NSW under conservative governments led first by Mr O’Farrell, then Mr Baird and now by one-time Transport Minister and Treasurer, Ms Berejiklian. Several reports last week put an … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 1 Comment

GREG BAILEY. An oldie at the climate march.

After travelling for an hour from outside of Melbourne, I reached the Treasury Gardens at about 12.05pm to concerted cheering from thousands of young voices. On the train teenage boys and girls from various local high schools in the northeast … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

JERRY ROBERTS. Labor’s targets in Western Australia.

Even without the extra hour’s time difference from daylight saving, West Australians often know the result of federal elections before they vote on Saturday evening.  This will most likely be the case again in May, despite Scott Morrison’s dramatic journey … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Comments Off on JERRY ROBERTS. Labor’s targets in Western Australia.

JAMES O’NEILL. The Douma “chemical attack”: still waiting for an apology.

On 7 April 2018 an alleged chemical attack took place in the city of Douma in the Syrian Arab Republic. Dramatic footage of the “victims” was widely broadcast throughout the western mainstream media. Particularly prominent were images of children foaming … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 15 Comments

ANTHONY PUN. Parallels in the US-Japan (1980s) and current US-China trade wars.

The US-Japan trade war of the 1980s has many similarities to the current US-China trade war despite their occurrence 30 years apart.  The trigger for the conflicts is the same, i.e. a rival challenging the US hegemony in economic power.

Posted in International Affairs | Comments Off on ANTHONY PUN. Parallels in the US-Japan (1980s) and current US-China trade wars.

JOHN AUSTEN. High speed rail – Please don’t bite the bullet.

The Federal Opposition recently got media attention for high speed rail by exhorting Australia to ‘bite the bullet’.   Australians should indeed ‘bite the bullet’ on high speed rail – by demanding public apologies for failures: large amounts of public money … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 2 Comments

CAVAN HOGUE. What does Kim Jong Un really want?

There has been much speculation about what Kim wants and what happened at the summit. When dealing with characters like Trump and Bolton anything is possible but Kim is much more focussed and any consideration of current events should never … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

MARK BEESON. Global governance in the 21st century

Global governance is hard to define, difficult to achieve, but more necessary than ever. 

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

MICK PALMER. A summit on drug decriminalisation.

In describing in  her findings arising from a wide ranging inquest into six fatal opioid overdose events, current illicit drug policy as “futile” and likely to exacerbate drug related harm, the NSW Deputy State Coroner, Harriet Grahame, urged the NSW … Continue reading

Posted in Drug Reform, Politics | Comments Off on MICK PALMER. A summit on drug decriminalisation.

LORENA ALLAM AND NICK EVERSHED. The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront.

The truth of Australia’s history has long been hiding in plain sight. The stories of “the killing times” are the ones we have heard in secret, or told in hushed tones. They are not the stories that appear in our history … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous affairs | 3 Comments

JAMES LAURENCESON. Australia’s China debate.

Australia’s China debate is frequently cast in terms of ‘doves’ versus ‘hawks’, with the former also receiving the tag of being ‘pro-China’ and the latter designated ‘anti-China’. In fact, the common ground between these two groups is expansive.

Posted in Asia | 2 Comments

MAX HAYTON. The New Zealand Government considers capital gains tax.

The New Zealand Coalition Government promised to create a fairer tax system.  With growing inequality and a tax regime that leaves critical areas untaxed, the burden could be shared more fairly.  The first step has been taken but hazards lie … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | Comments Off on MAX HAYTON. The New Zealand Government considers capital gains tax.

ANTHONY PUN. Multiculturalism Part 3 – Contemporary support of multiculturalism.

Former PM Turnbull is a strong advocate of multiculturalism, but his successor PM Morrison appears to waver on his commitment to multiculturalism as shown by the inconsistency of his words on the subject.  We prefer a PM with a consistent … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

ROBERTO SAVIANO. The migrant caravan: made in USA.

The migrant caravan that left Honduras and headed north toward the US last October is the largest flight from drug trafficking in history. Though the phenomenon of Central American caravans isn’t new, never before have thousands of people decided to … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Hospitals should be the last resort, not the first resort.

Politicians, the media and the public focus on iconic hospitals rather than health.  We have too many hospitals and too many hospital beds.  We need to focus health improvement not in hospitals, but in primary care in the community – … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 4 Comments

DANIEL WARNER. The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize winners contrast with Australia’s policies against human dignity.

Australia’s refugee policies have been condemned for violations of the detainees’ human rights. The recent winners of two prestigious prizes, both detained on Manus, are further proof of the international community’s condemnation and highlight the shocking plight of those sequestered on … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

MARGARET BEAVIS. Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia – your taxes at work.

How many Yemeni children have to die from the famine before Australia stops selling weapons to the Saudis, who are coordinating the blockade that is causing mass starvation? In November last year Save the Children reported that 85,000 children have … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

BRUCE THOM. Future national need for a healthy environment.

Since the mid-1980s it has become increasingly established that climate change will impact the lives of Australians, on the economy and the health of environmental assets. The interconnected functioning of natural processes requires us to look beyond the settler view … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

ERIK PAUL. Resurgent racism in Australia’s foreign policy.

Australia’s banning Huawei points to a resurgent racism in foreign relations. Australian foreign policy should disengage from the military alliance with the US and adopt a more sustainable economy and independent foreign policy. 

Posted in Asia | 6 Comments

JOHN CARMODY. The federal Parliament reasserts its authority – and the Speaker’s.

It was reassuring to see that, in a previously unrecognised consequence of the Morrison Government’s slip into minority status, the Commonwealth Parliament recently asserted its authority over the feckless Executive and, at the same time, enhanced the authority of the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

SCOTT BURCHILL. Australian minds have not been decolonised.

Australia has never been properly decolonised, particularly in both the political and psychological senses, as most states which came into existence during the 20th century were. This has had a profound effect, not only on the way aboriginal Australians have … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | 6 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Transport for an incoming NSW Government.

NSW faces an election in March.  This note – to help an incoming government – draws on transport matters identified in Pearls etc.  It won’t be in the incoming government’s briefs.  Never mind – people who matter read Pearls! 

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

BOB DEBUS. How close to Armageddon do we have to get?

The 2019 OECD Environmental Performance Review for Australia, launched recently and reported in The Guardian if hardly anywhere else, makes horrible reading. “Australia is home to a 10th of global species and is seen by many as synonymous with pristine … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | Comments Off on BOB DEBUS. How close to Armageddon do we have to get?

MARY CROCK AND DANIEL GHEZELBA. It’s high time we stopped playing politics with migration laws.

Ordinary Australians are tired of the casual cruelty of hard-line border control policies. The medical evacuation bill was introduced by Dr Kerryn Phelps to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island can access the medical care they … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | Comments Off on MARY CROCK AND DANIEL GHEZELBA. It’s high time we stopped playing politics with migration laws.

SHEILA A. SMITH. US policy in Asia heads from bad to worse.

If the past year is any indication of the year ahead, US policy in Asia will be erratic and self-serving. The beginnings of an Indo-Pacific strategy notwithstanding, the Trump administration continues to work out its issues with countries in the region bilaterally … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | Comments Off on SHEILA A. SMITH. US policy in Asia heads from bad to worse.

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Who could have predicted that Kenneth Hayne would turn out to be such an old softie?

For months the stern, uncompromising judicial figure has presided over his royal commission with imperial authority,  a veritable Judge Dredd inspiring fear and trepidation among scores of witnesses ever wary that at any moment he could reach for the black … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 6 Comments