Author Archives: John Menadue

LAURIE PATTON. The Data Retention Act. How not to introduce complex legislation.

Appearing before a Parliamentary inquiry into the Data Retention Act the Commonwealth Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe revealed that law enforcement agencies have obtained individuals’ web browsing history without a warrant.

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PAUL MALONE. Australia’s American view of the world

The Australian media’s view of the world is dictated by the US

Posted in Media | 5 Comments

JOHN CARLIN. Brexit Has Happened: Good Night and Good Luck

The divorce has gone through, and now begin the negotiations as to who gets the house, the car and the kids.

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 5 Comments

DAVID WILLIAMSON. The Trump Card of the Right.

The political parties of the Left often still hold to the Enlightenment belief that we are rational creatures – that the person who has the best evidence based argument will win the debate. Sadly, as long as they do they’ll … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 16 Comments

PROFESSOR JENNY HOCKING The ‘Palace letters’ case at the High Court

Echoes of the Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s vice-regal dismissal of the Whitlam government reverberated across the High Court this week, as the long-running Palace letters case came before the full bench on appeal.

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. The Gaetjens Report: a footnote

The Government has refused to release the Gaetjens report which purportedly exonerates the former Minister, Bridget McKenzie, and thereby the Government from charges of political bias in the distribution of the Community Sport Infrastructure grants. But why this refusal to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

CHAS SAVAGE. The summer of our discontents

The only outcome that matters is the extent to which humanity manages to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. Any talk about meeting or not meeting targets that is not grounded on this outcome is trickery and sleight of hand.

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

TREVOR COBBOLD. Disadvantaged Schools in Australia Are Far Less Resourced than Advantaged Schools

Data from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018 show that Australia allocates more and better quality teacher and physical resources to high socio-economic status (SES) secondary schools than to low SES schools. The gaps are amongst … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 2 Comments

RICHARD WHITINGTON. Dies, mensis, annus….for the superstitious numerologists.

With Valentine’s Day, 14 February, not far off, I was starting to think about…….then it struck me!

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. A critique of SEA1000 from the outside

When critiquing government’s strategic policy, the ‘things were better in my day’ syndrome needs to be avoided. That these decisions and the supporting background strategic analysis and assessments are always hidden from wider view by secrecy classifications and need-to-know protocols … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 5 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Scomo and the Public Service: How Bad Can It Get?

The Report by the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Phil Gaetjens, into Bridget McKenzies’ handling of the Community Sport Infrastructure grants fails to address key questions and raises serious concerns about the relationship between the Government … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 16 Comments


Julian Assange’s fight against extradition to the United States from the UK highlights breaches of his rights under European human rights law. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is likely to take a very dim view of the United … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 2 Comments

MARK BUCKLEY. Has Morrison Had an Epiphany?

Has our Prime Minister improved in his demeanour since the bushfire crisis? Has he reflected on the community’s assessment of his character, and decided that he needs a make-over, or a session of barnacle removing, a la Tony Abbott?

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments


German company Siemens has decided to support the Adani Carmichael mine, by providing a signalling system for the rail line. However, their justification seem more about fulfilling their recently signed contract, than preserving a functional ecology, or discovering the problems … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 2 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. Democracy and Ignorance-climate deniers and climate believers

Behind many of today’s challenges is the problem of ignorance. That’s not to deprecate or disparage the intellectual capacity of citizens or their desire to be well-informed. The proliferation and complexity of knowledge and the segmentation of disciplines and expertise … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 15 Comments

NOEL TURNBULL. Didn’t that go well?

Scottie from marketing called in Russel from marketing for help. And didn’t that go well?

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

MICHAEL KEATING. Scott Morrison’s Policy Agenda

As is frequently observed, Scott Morrison’s Government has a remarkably thin policy agenda. This article explores why this lack of ambition – indeed resistance to change – makes perfect sense from Morrison’s point of view.  

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

GEORGE BROWNING. Trump’s definition of peace in Israel

The strong prevail – the rest submit

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

MIKE SCRAFTON. Future Submarines and Future War

The SEA1000 Future Submarine project is back in the news following the ANOA report. Jon Stanford has demonstrated how badly this acquisition project is flawed. How government imagines the submarines will be employed remains imponderable.

Posted in Defence/Security | 5 Comments

DAVID SHEARMAN. The Unrelenting Desire to Export more Coal

Australia has become the climate change pariah of developed countries which are trying to deliver a fair share of emissions reduction.

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Health | 1 Comment

JOHN CARLIN. And Now, Spexit!

If you have to appear in court, England is a better place to live. The Spanish are outraged that the European Court of Justice, like their German and Belgian counterparts, have refused to extradite the Catalan independence leaders to Spain. … Continue reading

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TOM GREENWELL. Less choice, less affordability: the private school subsidy paradox

It’s become an annual ritual: the media reports on private school fee rises, then the various school spokespeople dig out last year’s talking points and it’s on again…until next year. But there is more – and it goes back a … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 8 Comments

GREG BAILEY. On Values, Australia Day and Community Resilience

The Age of 26/1/20 published on a single page, under the title Comment, lengthy statements by the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader, both accompanied by pictures that could be described as entirely neutral. Any illumination of either statement regarding … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Government’s new out-of-pocket medical costs website – a missed opportunity

The long-awaited Australian Department of Health website designed to provide Australians with information on specialist medical costs, which went ‘live’ on 30 December 2019, is (so far at least) a significant missed opportunity.

Posted in Health | Comments Off on PETER BROOKS. Government’s new out-of-pocket medical costs website – a missed opportunity

ELEANOR FLYNN et al. Australian Catholic Women still listening for leadership from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

As a group of women who seek the equality of Women in the Australian Church, Women’s Wisdom in the Church (WWITCH) are appalled by the recent abolition of the stand-alone Council for Australian Catholic Women, and the closure of the … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

JERRY ROBERTS. Dangerous banking and religious legislation should be discarded.

Doctors are obliged to warn patients about the risks of surgery before wheeling them into the operating theatre. When the surgery is cosmetic and unnecessary the risks should be weighed even more carefully. Politicians should exercise similar caution with unnecessary, … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

HENRY BATEMAN. What are they Thinking?

While not wishing to mitigate the horror of our current bushfires, they do present an opportunity to re-engineer our electrical system with a similar experience to the one Wi-Fi brought to telephony.

Posted in Environment and climate | 3 Comments

STUART REES ‘Trump’s ‘Peace Plan’, A Concoction of Humiliation, Cruelty, Illegality’

The world is being asked to believe that cruelties and illegalities amount to a feasible Trump plan for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 4 Comments

DAVID STEPHENS. What will be the Nelsonian Legacy at the Australian War Memorial?

When it was announced that Dr Brendan Nelson was finishing up as Director of the Australian War Memorial, the Chair of the Memorial Council, Kerry Stokes, said Dr Nelson’s ‘enduring legacy’ will be the Memorial’s $498 million expansion program. There … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

BARNEY FORAN. Its the economy stupid, but lets make it fit for purpose

Media rants on our summer firestorms blame the lack of fire preparedness or a tardy emissions policy. To nudge Australia out of harm’s way over the next fifty years requires systemic and harmonious change over six big areas: implementing local … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 2 Comments