Author Archives: John Menadue

DAVID ROWE. Pocketing science but offering thoughts and prayers. (AFR 11.11.2019)

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Confessions of a pet shop galah: a lot of reform backfired (SMH 11.11.2019)

As someone who, back in the day, did his share of being one of Paul Keating’s pet shop galahs – screeching “more micro reform!” every time they saw a pollie – I don’t cease to be embarrassed by the many … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 9 Comments

CAVAN HOGUE: Why is Mr Dutton afraid of Australian children?

The Australian women and children facing danger in Syria are not being brought home because it can’t be done or because they would be a threat to Australia but because of cheap domestic politics. As H.L. Mencken observed: “The whole … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. The lowest ebb – the decline and decline of Australia’s relationship with China

Today, the Australia-China relationship is at its lowest point since diplomatic relations began 46 years ago.  (This Annual La Trobe China Oration was delivered on 29 October 2019.  It is much longer than usual postings. The issues involved however are very … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 2 Comments

BOB CARR. Vale Paul Francis Patrick Whelan.

Bob Carr Tribute to Paul Whelan October 31, 2019. Former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr paid tribute to his Police Minister Paul Whelan for his achievement in implementing the Wood Royal Commission recommendations to reform policing in NSW. 

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JOHN MENADUE. We should stop pretending that the Coalition is a good economic or business manager

The Coalition, supported by our corporate media and billionaires like Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, claims that it is the superior manager. This claim has become part of the public mindset. But the evidence shows that the Coalition is a … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

DAVID ROWE. Truth goes to the knackery. (AFR 23.10.2019)

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

LUKE FRASER. ‘Infrastructure stimulus’ mostly ‘stimulates’ the transport agencies and their camp followers.

Under prevailing economic circumstances, our political leaders are in great need of accomplished and resolute infrastructure reform advice – especially in transport, which dominates spending. The new Federal Treasury Secretary’s advice to the Senate this week was refreshing. It argued … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

JUDITH IRELAND. Backstage in Canberra: who is lobbying our MPs? (SMH 12.10.2019)

Lobbying is big business and a part of life in Canberra, especially when Parliament is sitting.  How does it work? 

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

ALEX WODAK. What can be done to improve the safety of young people taking illegal drugs at youth music events?

Leaked recommendations from a NSW Coronial inquiry into the deaths of six young people after taking illegal drugs at youth music events highlights the resistance of Australian governments to harm reduction and their entrenched reliance on restricting the supply of … Continue reading

Posted in Drug Reform | 3 Comments

MELISSA CONLEY TYLER and MITCHELL VANDEWERDT-HOLMAN. Diplomacy Needed to Stop Australia’s Declining Power

We spend our days looking at short-term economic indicators, such as the Reserve Bank’s decision on the cash rate or whether Australia has entered a recession. This means we don’t pay enough attention to the longer-term trend: that Australia’s economy … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 3 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Expanding naval bases in central Sydney does not make sense.

The Navy is proposing a $500 million expansion of its training facility at HMAS Watson which is adjacent to the historic South Head National Park. There are good defence, urban, economic and social reasons why naval facilities at Garden Island … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia’s Domestic War Parties: The Colonisation of the Australian Strategic Mind

National Defence and Security questions in Australia are, like so many areas of government policy, difficult to follow, let alone master, and debate about them tends to attract only a small attentive public. The answers to them, in the form … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 7 Comments

PATRICK COCKBURN. Iraq is in Revolt. (CounterPunch 7.10.2019)

Iraq is poised at a turning point in its modern history as its people wait to see if the government curfew and close down of the internet will end the ongoing demonstrations. 

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Viking economics: How Nordic nations debunk a Scott Morrison mantra (SMH 9.10.2019)

I’d like to tell you I’ve been away working hard on a study tour of the Nordic economies – or perhaps tracing the remnant economic impact of the Hanseatic League (look it up) – but the truth is we were … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

BOB CARR. Abandoning the Kurds confirms Asia’s view that US power is waning (SMH 9.10.2019)

The Syrian Kurds were more than allies. They were a US client, recruited by the Obama administration for house-to-house combat against the Islamic State caliphate. This America, however, cares little for core relationships and sweeps them aside. The decision shatters … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 4 Comments

AMY GOODMAN and PATRICK COCKBURN. On the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish area in Syria. (Truthout 7.10.2109)

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s start with the surprise announcement, after the phone conversation between Erdogan and Trump, that the U.S. is pulling back its troops for Turkey to attack in northern Syria. Explain what you understand is happening and the significance of … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

DAVID ROWE. It’s a miracle! (AFR 7.10.2019)

David Rowe

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JOHN MENADUE. Thanks to guest editor, Ramesh Thakur.

During our three weeks holiday in the UK, Ramesh Thakur has been guest editor for Pearls & Irritations. Susie and I greatly appreciate his contribution. In considering the future of Pearls & Irritations, we may find that guest editorship provides … Continue reading

Posted in Tributes | 5 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. ‘Things you learn along the way’.

Occasionally friends suggest to me that I should write my autobiography.  Ruefully I explain that I wrote ‘Things you learn along the way’ twenty years ago. The book sold about 8,000 copies but as far as I know is no longer … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Reviews | 5 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. The continuing litany of lies on boat arrivals and border protection.

I am sorry if I keep repeating what I have been saying for four years but when will we finally accept that we have been consistently conned and lied to about boat arrivals and border protection for a long time. … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 11 Comments

STEPHEN S. ROACH. Flailing at China (Project Syndicate 27.9.2019)

Despite years of denial, there can no longer be any doubt that the US is pursuing a bipartisan containment strategy vis-à-vis China. Whether justified or not, the real problem with this strategy is less the merits of the allegations leveled … Continue reading

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ROBERT FISK. The Crazed, Rogue Leader is in Washington Not Tehran (Counterpunch 2.9.2019)

History in the Middle East is unkind to us westerners. Just when we thought we were the good guys and the Iranians were the bad guys, here comes the ghostly, hopeless possibility of a Trump-Rouhani summit to remind us that … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

CATHY WILCOX. Standing by our trusted ally. (SMH 23.8.2019)

  In the face of destabilising provocation.

Posted in International Affairs | 3 Comments

ERNST WILLHEIM. The saga of Bernard Collaery and Witness K continues.

If you watched the program [ABC 4-Corners] you will already know this is a talk about some shameful events in Australia’s recent history. And I very much fear the shameful saga is about to continue. It is about Australian commercial … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 9 Comments

TONY WRIGHT. Spy versus spy: in Canberra, cover is where you find it. (SMH 16.8.2019)

I have wondered occasionally whether ASIO has a few grainy pictures of me sauntering to the front door of the forbidding embassy of the USSR in Canberra. 

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

JOANNE SIMON-DAVIES. Housing in Australia (Australian Parliamentary Library 2.8.2019)

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released data from 2017-18 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). The SIH is a household survey which collects information on sources of income, amounts received, household net worth, housing, household characteristics and personal characteristics … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. A nuclear world in disarray. (The Strategist 7.8.2019)

We are in a uniquely dangerous period in the atomic age. Geopolitical tensions have spiked in Europe, in the Middle East, on the subcontinent and in East Asia. The nuclear arms control architecture is fraying and crumbling, but no negotiations … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 2 Comments

GIDEON RACHMAN. The Asian strategic order is dying. (Financial Times 6.8.2019)

When somebody is reaching the end of their life, they often suffer from lots of apparently unrelated ailments — fevers, chest pains, unlucky falls. Something similar may happen when a strategic order is dying.

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. ‘A tawdry distortion of history: How the Palace airbrushed Sir John Kerr’s Memoirs’

There have been dramatic revelations from the National Archives of Australia with the release of letters between the Governor-General Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace following Kerr’s dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. These letters provide remarkable and disturbing new … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments