Category Archives: Politics

IAN McAULEY. Turnbull’s dead albatross: the National Party

Barnaby Joyce’s downfall has exposed the National Party as an outfit more concerned with dealing with corporate rent-seekers than with attending to the interests of its traditional rural base. It has also exposed Turnbull’s lack of resolve in dealing with … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. Trickle down economics and the Emma Alberici article.

The ABC says that their decision to withdraw Emma Alberici’s article was because it represented an opinion for which there is allegedly no evidence.  In fact there is plenty of evidence that increasing corporate profits will not lead to any … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 6 Comments

MICHAEL MULLINS. Joyce’s schooling is the real scandal

It is unhelpful to judge Barnaby in the way the prime minister Malcolm Turnbull did on Thursday. It’s better to focus on a critique of the culture. His leadership of the Nationals may be no longer tenable, but the best … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 4 Comments

MAX HAYTON. Political pregnancies and Opposition renewal in New Zealand.

Political pregnancies are the subject of public debate on both sides of the Tasman.  In Australia, the Deputy Prime Minister faces a career crisis over his indiscretions.  In New Zealand, the Prime Minister is due to give birth in June. 

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QUENTIN DEMPSTER. Has the ABC buckled to PM Malcolm Turnbull by removing   critical ‘analysis’ of the claimed benefits of corporate tax cuts?

The ABC’s chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici stands by her ‘analysis’.  Significantly the ABC, through Ms Alberici’s editorial superiors Gaven Morris, the director of ABC News, and Alan Sunderland, director of editorial policies, do not.In a promoted article posted on February … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 10 Comments

NICK SEDDON. Democracy in danger. Or, how to get GetUp.

Proposed amendments to the Electoral Act if enacted will profoundly constrain or shut down political advocacy that is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy.

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 1 Comment


Writing in the Canberra Times John Warhurst examines the wealth of the Catholic Church, a topic that has come to prominence in terms of its capacity to provide monetary compensation to victims of sexual abuse. Phillip Adams interviews Professor Shae … Continue reading

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JOSEPH A. CAMILLERI. Many are thinking: we can surely do better as a nation

Across the country there is much amusement, and a good deal of bewilderment. People are asking: how can our subservience to Washington’s bidding hit such an all-time low? How can a government think it can shape Australia’s future security and … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Politics, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Issues of Integrity, Not Sex.

The story of a middle-aged husband and father talking up the “failure” of his marriage to justify his relationship with a much younger and previously childless woman is too clichéd to have much drama. The effect of this on the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 23 Comments

EMMA ALBERICI. There’s no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five of Australia’s top companies don’t pay it.

There is no compelling evidence that giving the country’s biggest companies a tax cut sees that money passed on to workers in the form of higher wages.

Posted in Economy, Media, Politics | 26 Comments

ERIC WALSH. Down the Trump rabbit-hole; a review of “Trumpocracy” (David Frum) and “Fire and Fury” (Michael Wolff)

Donald Trump, no longer a tyro as the President of the United States, has already rated himself one of the most successful ever occupants of the esteemed office.

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | Leave a comment

RICHARD ECKERSLEY. Closing the gap between the science and politics of progress (Part 2 of 2)

Global politics is based on an outmoded and increasingly destructive model of human progress and development. In the second of two parts, RICHARD ECKERSLEY examines the critical nexus between science and politics in redefining progress.

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JOHN MENADUE. The media, the Iraq war and Fallujah.

The Australian media continues to fail us badly over its coverage of the Middle East wars, terrorism and the continuing disaster of ISIS.  That failure  began with the invasion of Iraq .  Unlike important overseas media, no Australian media has … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Media, Politics | 3 Comments

RICHARD KINGSFORD. The Darling River – up the creek without a political paddle.

Once again, the Senate is poised this week to decide the future policy course of the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin. The critical decision for senators is whether or not to accede to the recommendation by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | Leave a comment

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Supply and demand.

Our mild-mannered Prime Minister has become an uncompromising economic fundamentalist. “The law of supply and demand,” he proclaimed, “cannot be suspended.”

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

BERNARD KEANE. Joyce has always been a dud and should never have been deputy PM.

It was Tony Abbott who bestowed the appellation “best retail politician in the country” on Barnaby Joyce. Even now, some continue to preface their comments about him by claiming he is possessed of some form of political genius. It is … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Warriors of the right stumble into minefield.

The latest incarnation of the identity politics so despised by the elites of the right (but vigorously embraced when it suits them) is the non sequitur that what people have done previously (even generations ago) can be used as an … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

QUENTIN DEMPSTER. The ABC’s selective publication of classified documents: “gutless kow-tow” or responsible journalism?

The ABC has been blasted by journalist critics over its selective editing of the national security classified and Cabinet-in-secret documents it received from a “bushie” who discovered them in discarded filing cabinets.

Posted in Media, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

ANDREW FARRAN. The ‘hidden state’ behind the latest batch of repressive legislation

From the back-reaches of the ‘hidden state’ has come this latest batch of suppressive legislation ostensibly to protect our secrets and to counter surreptitious foreign influences. Instead it will facilitate yet again the tendency of Australian governments to commit to … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 1 Comment

JIM COOMBS. What makes good government?

Recently in P & I the question has been raised as to how we can get better government – parliamentary reform, more professional public service, changes in economic policy and so on. But it is the answer to the question … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

JIM DOWLING. Did Aussies really vote for these sociopaths?

I walked into the kitchen the other day and our illustrious defence industries minister Chris Pyne was on the radio answering a question relating to the recent horrific suicide bombing in Kabul which left 100 dead and 250 wounded. Aussies … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 4 Comments

IAN WEBSTER. Welfare sanctions.

To save $204.7 million, the Government plans to impose draconian sanctions on those needing income support who miss appointments, or work interviews, or who don’t take up the jobs proposed for them. That can’t be the real reason, since the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

BRIAN TOOHEY. ABC kowtow to government and ASIO on cabinet papers was gutless.

The ABC’s treatment of what it calls one of the “biggest national security breaches in Australian history” is a disgrace. It put the identity of its source at risk, but reported very little from the documents, preferring to talk at … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. Relics of colonialism: the Whitlam dismissal and the fight over the Palace letters

We will make better decisions on all the great issues of the day and for the century to come, if we better understand the past. – Gough Whitlam The celebration of the “Queen’s birthday” in Australia is a perfect reflection … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Australia’s curious neglect of citizens of Asian origin

Last year, I commented on the puzzling neglect of Asian-Australians in the country’s public life, in particular Parliament. Published in Pearls and Irritations on 3 October, the article seemed to resonate among many readers and generated more messages in response … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

GEORGE RENNIE. Why businesses want the ear of government and are willing to pay for it

Every February, the Australian Electoral Commission releases data on political donations for the previous financial year. The data routinely show that among the ffbiggest corporate political donors are mining, infrastructure and defence companies and groups.

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GEOFF DAVIES. Australian politics is a culture of untruths.

The Turnbull Cabinet is upset because some of its secrets are outed through incompetence. The filing cabinet papers so far reveal some hypocrisy and the untruths of Government Ministers past and present.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

LINDY EDWARDS. There is much we don’t know about political donations.

The big story about this week’s political donations disclosures is how little they really tell us. Over the last decade the major parties have routinely only transparently disclosed 10-20% of their incomes as donations.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Infrastructure, rent-seekers and lobbyists.

As our mining boom has receded, Australia has seen unprecedented sums flow to transport infrastructure projects -mostly in our two biggest cities. But we have a real mess on our hands.

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN AUSTEN. Newcastle port – some progress in undoing a privatisation fiasco

Pressure is mounting to overcome the ridiculous anti-competitive constraints on Newcastle port.

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | 2 Comments