Author Archives: John Menadue

John Menadue

About John Menadue

John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

The Queen’s implausible denial on the Whitlam sacking (repost July 21, 2020)

It beggars belief that the Queen did not know that John Kerr was planning to sack Gough Whitlam. She may not have known the detail of the coup in progress, but she knew the substance. But like Lord Nelson she … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

How Murdoch, Abeles twisted the arm of the Hawke Government to help Ansett at the expense of Qantas. (Edited and reposted from 1.1.2019))

Rupert Murdoch repeatedly says that he has never asked a prime minister for anything. That is quite brazen. I know, from personal experience, that this claim is just not true.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

The Matthew Fisher Sarcoma Research Fund

My granddaughter Naomi’s husband, Matt Fisher, died of an aggressive sarcoma cancer earlier this month. He was aged 39. The sarcoma was diagnosed in February last year. A research fund has been established to promote research at the Garvan Institute. … Continue reading

Posted in Health | Leave a comment

Media concentration in Australia and the Murdoch damage

It is important that any arrangements made for Facebook/Google/Twitter to pay media companies for content are made transparently and equally available to ALL online media publishers who meet (a very low) bar and wish to participate.No government should  ever facilitate … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 15 Comments

The love affair that made America grate.

Between rides and walks on the Trump Golf Course and embracing at the White House, Murdoch and Trump have debauched democracy.

Posted in Politics, Top 5 | 10 Comments

The Murdoch-Trump love affair

Posted in Public Policy, Top 5 | 12 Comments

Militarism has become the norm.We need a civil revival.

Military governors headed our first colonial settlements and led the Frontier Wars to dispossess the indigenous people. I thought we had outgrown that military relic. But not so. We are back with military governor’s general rewarded for their service in … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 30 Comments

What do our political leaders stand for?

Good government must be based on broadly shared values that inspire and enthuse us.

Posted in Politics | 18 Comments

Drug policy reform series – a repost

Attached is a collection of articles on drug policy reform, which were published as a series on Pearls and Irritations between 6 and 11 August 2018. This series is designed to draw attention to this important issue, and to the … Continue reading

Posted in Drug Reform | 3 Comments

Asian language learning in Australia was a disgrace 40 years ago. It is now much worse.

An important issue we worked on in the Department (of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs) was foreign language learning. We set the pace in the early 1980s, with not many supporters. I felt quite lonely.

Posted in Asia, Education, Politics | 10 Comments

The smoko continues

In April 2012 the late Greg Dodds and I posted an article on this blog ‘The Australian Century and the Australian smoko’. We argued that while we responded well to the opportunities in Asia for over a decade in the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 3 Comments

LobbyLand. The scourge of powerful special interests and lobbyists – a repost

A major reason for the loss of trust in governments and parliaments is the way powerful special interests with their lobbyists have come to dominate the public debate and skew decisions in their favour. The fossil fuel  sector is the … Continue reading

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Our aggressive and violent ally. An updated repost. Part 2 of 2

Declining empires never decline gracefully. And neither will the US empire – addicted as it is to a belief in its ‘exceptionalism’ and its grounding in aggression both at home and abroad. Add to the mix that 70 million people … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 30 Comments

Our aggressive and violent ally. An updated repost. Part 1 of 2

Declining empires never decline gracefully. And neither will the US empire – addicted as it is to a belief in its ‘exceptionalism’ and its grounding in aggression both at home and abroad. Add to the mix that 70 million people … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 12 Comments

The US blatantly ignores international laws and rules in Diego Garcia (Repost 3 July 2020)

China is rightly criticised for building islands for military purposes in the South China Sea while ignoring an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) brought by the Philippines. But what of the US in Diego Garcia?

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 9 Comments

Brereton’s comments which gave rise to the Chinese tweet on Australian Afghanistan war crimes

The Brereton report sheds light on the tweet posted by a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry of a digitally altered image depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife to a veiled Afghanistan child.But I have not seen any of  our … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 29 Comments

Hong Kong is part of China. Our media fails to grasp this basic point.

Hong Kong was seized by Britain to facilitate its opium trade. After a century of humiliation for China, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under a complex arrangement. Foreign countries should keep out of what is a domestic … Continue reading

Posted in China, Politics | 85 Comments

Have your say: Senate inquiry into media diversity in Australia

After more than 500,000 people signed a petition launched by former prime minister Kevin Rudd raising concerns about the influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Senate is to hold an inquiry into media diversity.

Posted in Media, Politics, Top 5 | 3 Comments

Podcast ABC ‘The Eleventh’, February/March 2020

At the bottom see an edited transcript of an interview I conducted with the ABC for a podcast series The Eleventh  It also includes some more recent articles on the Dismissal.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Growth of Pearls and Irritations

The past six months have been very encouraging for Pearls and Irritations.

Posted in Media | 4 Comments

Exorbitant cost of the Coalition’s renewed interest in manufacturing

Before the budget Scott Morrison announced through Michelle Grattan a $1.5 billion plan to boost manufacturing in six priority areas – resources technology and critical minerals processing, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence and space. Not … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | Tagged | 2 Comments

Reform of the waterfront, with its dogs and security guards, was minor compared to what’s needed for health sector

Medicare funds the established system of health care delivery, a system that has not seen major changes since Medicare was established 56 years ago. It needs serious reform and particularly in the way the health workforce is structured.  The pandemic … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | 3 Comments

Coalition outsources role of government to business, the US

The Coalition acts as an agent of the business sector in domestic affairs and an agent of the US in international affairs.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 5 Comments

LobbyLand: An Analysis of Australian Industry Associations’ Influence on Climate Policy

This analysis identified five lobbying organisations that stood out as the ‘most obstructive, negative and influential’ in refusing to address climate change. They were the Minerals Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, NSW Minerals Council, the … Continue reading

Posted in Climate, Lobbyland, Politics | 1 Comment

LobbyLand. The used motor vehicle lobby.

We are paying to protect an industry that no longer exists. We see it almost every day in the media; rent-seekers like the motor industries extracting benefits for themselves through political influence and lobbying at the expense of the broader … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Lobbyland | 4 Comments

The perils of outsourcing (privatisation) on many fronts

In Pearls and Irritations in recent weeks we have posted articles about the serious erosion in the quality of care and services in many fields  – disability care, vocational education and training, child care and particularly aged care, where more … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

Social Housing: the social need and the economic opportunity

The unfairness of Joe Hockey’s first budget in 2014  presaged the end of his political career.  If Josh Frydenberg fails to address the need and opportunity for action on social housing will it start his political decline?

Posted in Housing, Politics | 4 Comments

LobbyLand. The scourge of powerful special interests and lobbyists.

A major reason for the loss of trust in governments and parliaments is the way powerful special interests with their lobbyists have come to dominate the public debate and skew decisions in their favour. The fossil fuel  sector is the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

LobbyLand

In Pearls and Irritations, we will be running a series on lobbyists and their threat to our democracy.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

Houses are becoming commodities to buy and sell and not homes.

The Property Council and our tame media are obsessed on property prices. Are prices up or down this month? They see property as a commodity  for wealth creation. Housing policy should be about housing as a human right  and for … Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Politics | 11 Comments