Author Archives: Jack Waterford

Jack Waterford

About Jack Waterford

John Waterford AM, better known as Jack Waterford, is an Australian journalist and commentator.

Forget the insurrection as ‘a teaching opportunity’

Here’s to betting that impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump prove a political disaster for the US and the Democrats; that Trumpism emerges more popular than ever; and that the drift towards the disintegration of the republic continues.

Posted in World Affairs | 13 Comments

Trump, and Trumpism, at no disadvantage in the senate trial

No one should stress about whether Donald Trump has received or will receive all of his legal rights, or whether the triumph of his opponents is unfairly depriving him of the bully pulpit that his office has given him. Nor … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | Leave a comment

After Georgia, Biden has no excuses but it’s a long road ahead

While on paper Joe Biden has the power to force his agenda through Congress, the reality is a little different. He will need to take action on many fronts, not just the pandemic. A critical first task will be the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 2 Comments

With a booby-trapped White House, many Americans will want the nightmare to end

Biden’s task of restoring unity is not merely a matter of being statesmanlike or breaking down the hyper-partisanship of recent years. It is a matter of restoring faith in democratic institutions, the media, and in facts as a basis for … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 24 Comments

Morrison, the man with no abiding beliefs, also lacks agenda, map or destination

Assuming that the Morrison government goes more or less to full term — and some senate obstruction should not be enough to persuade a governor-general, even one in a witness support scheme — to grant an early dissolution — Morrison … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 34 Comments

Labor could beat Morrison with a bit more mongrel

Some observers think that if the Morrison government were to fall apart over the next year, it would more likely be from bad luck, an own goal, or a resumption of internal Liberal bastardries than by a hostile act of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 15 Comments

How Morrison repeatedly baulks at the vision thing and the moral thing

The unwillingness of the Morrison government to see the 2019-20 bushfire disaster as some sort of turning point was deliberate. That refusal to provide any sort of lead, or leadership, or to show some imagination about a new economy, and … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

Fire and viruses did not cleanse bad government

The past year was a terrible year for Australia and Australians and in many ways the worst globally since World War II. And at least for Australians, a terrible year for good, decent and honest government.

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

Morrison pitching babies into hot bathwater

Scott Morrison is a naturally cautious, if ruthless, politician who is not prime minister by accident. Almost every significant step in his career has been carefully — mostly successfully — gamed with close political colleagues.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 16 Comments

Playing to the local gallery on crimes in Afghanistan

It’s hard to escape the feeling that most of the heat and light generated by Scott Morrison’s fury at a cartoon by a middle-level Chinese tiger cub was designed for Australian, rather than Chinese, consumption. Regardless, it could be a … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Top 5 | 9 Comments

Australia no longer an apostle, or exemplar, of good government

The OECD is also an academy and apostle of good government and good public administration. Clean public administration, open and accountable and subject to checks and balances, including integrity commissions. These are all things that the Morrison government, with the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

A bridge too far for Cormann?

For the OECD, improved world health is as important an outcome as an improved world economy. Managing that, or contributing to that debate, is not, as with climate change action, Cormann’s long suit.

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments

Investigating ADF murder is not an AFP core competency

The path to court for SAS murder suspects won’t be smooth, quick, certain or inevitable. Justice Brereton had a power federal police investigators will not have: he could compel soldiers to give answers, promising them that nothing they said could … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

SAS officers failed their men and Australia

The Australian Defence Force is one of the most secretive forces in the world. If our experience with Afghanistan is any guide, such secrecy produces moral failure. And while the much-despised media long ago blew the whistle on the behaviour … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 9 Comments

A mad King twitters from his fortress 

When Gough Whitlam had his commission as prime minister withdrawn by Sir John Kerr 45 years ago last week, one of his many immediate tactical mistakes was to drive to the Lodge, rather than (old) parliament house. There he tucked … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments

Will the toughest Trumpites be willing to bear arms?

Donald Trump seems rather more anxious than his die-hard supporters to replenish his election war-chest for legal expenses rather than that they gather for a last-ditch defence of the guns they will need to defend themselves from the socialism — … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments

Bringing the Trumps, and Trumpism, to a fair accounting

Donald Trump has  often spoken the language of retribution — and intention to use the processes of government to lock up his political enemies. He could hardly be surprised that his own administration’s malfeasances will come under close scrutiny once … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

More drainage for a more polluted Washington swamp

President-elect Joe Biden has a golden opportunity over the next 10 weeks to reduce the handicap of a bad campaign that cost him a senate majority, and a mandate against Trumpism.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Virus a political vaccine for the incumbent premiers?

Most of the commentators seem to expect that Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Labor premier of Queensland will be comfortably returned to power on Saturday night.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

Unaccountable national cabinet not a natural model for economic recovery

As premiers and chief ministers have worked to contain their pandemics, in the national cabinet as much as with their own administrations there have been no noticeable alliances of the Labor leaders against the conservatives, or the other way around.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 1 Comment

We, and ASIO, should fear our own agents of influence

The Director General of ASIO, Mike Burgess, is proposing to write a letter to all parliamentarians warning them of the risk that some of the people blowing in their  ear may be agents of a foreign power (ASIO code for … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

Corruption undermines national security far more than spying

[The Director-general of ASIO,] Mike Burgess said this week, correctly, that the biggest risk of Chinese money and influence subverting the Australian system is at the local government level. Then at state and territory level, then at national level.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Will our Glad have a chair when the music stops?

Spare a thought for the personal tragedy of Gladys Berejiklian, a genuinely hard-working and on the face of it a decent premier of NSW. Brought low because she formed a long-term personal relationship with a spiv, one whose general dishonesty … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Top 5 | Tagged | 6 Comments

The Gladys and Daryl Show. Having to squirm in open hearings acts as a disincentive to venality

If Gladys Berejiklian, and her ludicrous consort, have to take one for the team, let it not be for tiny misdemeanours but for being parties to a corrupted mindset of the spoils of public office.

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

ACT Election: Tired and complacent versus hidebound and headstrong

The biggest argument in favour of showing the ACT Barr Labor government the door next Saturday is that it has become tired and corrupted by too many years of continuous power.

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We need jobs which improve the Australian quality of life

The past week has seen yet another report from the royal commission into aged care, against pointing out the sub-standard services provided at Rolls-Royce prices by entrepreneurs making enormous profits, as well as the low standards being set for the … Continue reading

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See if budget creates a future, and beware of dirty tricks!

Close observers of Tuesday’s federal Budget will no doubt have their eyes out for evidence of the usual political chicanery towards political donors, lobbyists and friendly interests, as well as mates, cronies and relatives of senior members of government, this … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 5 Comments

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 … Continue reading

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ADF and government stage-managing release of war crimes report

We need a fair-dinkum inquiry, by properly independent experts, not only of how and why we went to a useless war, but also into serious shortcomings of leadership, both at the top level and in command of troops on the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment