Category Archives: Politics

John Menadue. The Coalition, Barnaby Joyce rural poverty and rural health. (Repost from 16 January 2016)

It is not surprising that independents are making headway in country electorates. But what is the ALP doing?  

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MICHAEL WEST. Treasury hides corporate welfare data.

There it was right on cue, at the cusp of the New Year weekend, a government press release about the cost of welfare bludgers trumpeted loudly across the press and the TV news bulletins. 

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MICHAEL KEATING. Trickle-Down Economics and a Company Tax Cut

Despite the evidence of the last few decades that ‘trickle-down’ economics doesn’t work, big business and its apologists in the media are calling for a company tax cut to stimulate investment. The reality, however, is that increased investment is principally … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. Where have all the grown-ups gone on China policy?- A REPOST from June 23 2017

Malcolm Turnbull’s glib talk of ‘‘frenemies’’ does nothing to help the urgent debate over how we handle the rising power of China.

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

PETER BRENT. Peter Dutton for Prime Minister!

Peter Dutton is a household name. Most Australians would see the inaugural home affairs minister as tough and politically incorrect — proudly so — tolerating no nonsense from do-gooders and bleeding hearts. He doesn’t take a backward step; his often … Continue reading

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JERRY ROBERTS.   The Real World

A streak of idealism runs across the pages of Pearls and Irritations. That is good.   Political comment without idealism is mere gossip but what are the chances of fulfilling ideals in the real world?  

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ANDREW LEIGH. The false economy of sacking public servants in favour of consultants.

Would you burn $1 of petrol driving to the other side of the city so you could save 50 cents filling up? Would you recommend to a friend that they buy the cheapest printer, knowing it has the most expensive … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. The palace treats Australia as the colonial child not to be trusted with knowledge of its own history-A REPOST from September 11 2017

Forty-five years after Governor-General John Kerr dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, records of his communications with the British monarchy in the lead-up to that event are still withheld from us, the Australian people.

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GEORGE RENNIE. Australia’s lobbying laws are inadequate, but other countries are getting it right- A REPOST from June 23 2017

Lobbying is a necessary component of representative democracy, yet poses one of its greatest threats.

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Turnbull’s scare campaign on negative gearing

Exclusive, scoop, shock, horror! Politicians tell porkies!  In an amazing journalistic breakthrough, it can be revealed that sometimes Australia’s political leaders may not hold strictly to the unvarnished truth. Lengthy and painstaking research shows that there are times when they … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. It’s Time for New Politics.- A REPOST from June 12 2017

How do we explain the phenomenon of a Bernie Sanders, who almost certainly would have won the US presidency if he’d been the Democrat candidate running against Trump? How do we account for the astounding failure of, first, David Cameron … Continue reading

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CAROL SUMMERHAYES. At a tribute to Graham Freudenberg.- A REPOST from June 8 2017

Graham revealed in his memoir that he wrote his first speech in Brisbane in May 1945, aged 10, at the time of VE Day, and delivered it to his mother. In 1946 he scored a job with ABC Radio reading … Continue reading

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Writing in The Guardian Alfred McCoy explains “how the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan“. In that war-torn country opium is the farmers’ most viable cash crop, and the Taliban, once opposed to drugs, are now financed by … Continue reading

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GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. Revising history – A REPOST from June 16 2017

For octogenarians like me, the most astonishing development since the collapse of the Soviet Union is that so much of the West’s hopes for international sanity, civility and peace should now rest with, of all countries, Germany.  

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 7 Comments

JOHN WARHURST. Corruption and decay of Australian politics. A REPOST from June 15 2017

  This week’s ABC Four Corners program that revisited, after 30 years, Chris Masters’ revelations of police corruption in Queensland, “The Moonlight State”, brings to mind how widespread corruption in Australian politics has been since then. 

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PETER MARTIN. How billionaires get uber-rich at our expense- A REPOST from June 1 2017

“The rich are different from you and me” the saying goes. “They have more money“. But that’s not the only way they are different. In the updated Financial Review Rich List released on Friday, 45 of the richest 50 Australians are men. And they are … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Private health insurers frighten the ALP-A REPOST from June 2 2017

There was a recent flurry of media excitement about a supposed “secret hospital funding plan”, which turned out to be no more than an option under consideration by a think-tank. But the real (and overlooked) issue in health funding is … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Pressure Builds on Turnbull Over the Secret ‘Palace Letters’ on the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government -REPOST from June 16, 2017

Pressure is building on the Prime Minister to intervene in the long-running dispute over the release of the ‘Palace letters’, the secret correspondence between the Queen and the Governor-General Sir John Kerr in the months before Kerr’s 1975 dismissal of … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Downer finally puts fishnet stockings behind him.

So here we go—2018, the year of delivery. Or was that 2017, or maybe 2016? No matter – 2018 will be the year Malcolm Turnbull’s government seizes the initiative, surging forward to cement its underrated achievements to take control of … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Reframing public ideas Part 3: Economy and society

Many public debates are framed in terms of compromises or balances between “economic” and “social” objectives. Such ordering is confused: economic policies are meaningless unless they serve social ends.

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JENNY HOCKING. An Australian republic inevitable as Turnbull disappoints again.

The republic is now emerging as a key election issue, with the Prime Minister a mere observer in its wake. In considering the powers of a president in a new Republic it is important to affirm that government can only … Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. Joh Bjelke-Petersen – 1987 in retrospect.

This is the season for personal nostalgia. In my case, personal perspectives inevitably shade into the political. On 1 January Queensland Cabinet papers from 1987 were released; and as a further reminder of that era, on 4 January a state … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Ausgrid decision and the growing power of security and intelligence agencies. A REPOST from August 2016

  The Ausgrid decision on Chinese investment raises two important issues. The first is how do we get a proper balance between security concerns and the wider benefits of the relationship. Our major strategic ally the US sees China our … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Reframing public ideas Part 2: The role of government

We tend to think of a “left” seeking bigger government and the “right” seeking smaller government. But such a framework can see governments simultaneously neglecting important areas while interfering where they shouldn’t.

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JOHN MENADUE. Contracting out our foreign and defence policies -A REPOST from 2 February 2017)

The military and defence establishment and lobbies, both in Australia and the US are determining Australia’s foreign policy. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and her Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are  sidelined. Locked into the US defence complex  with … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Towards a social democratic future for Australia.

The neoliberal war on western economies is finally collapsing under its own contradictions. In Australia its attacks on public wellbeing have been devastating. Politicians in thrall to the neoliberal ideology have vandalized manufacturing industries. Productivity and wage levels remain static. … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Reframing public ideas Part 1: Leadership

Leadership is the hard task of getting communities to make progress on difficult problems requiring adaptive change. It is not to be confused with authority. Beware of the call for a “strong leader”.

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HANS-J. OHFF. Acquiring an orphan submarine. A REPOST from January 2017

If the RAN holds firm to the concept offered by DCNS it will acquire an orphan no other Navy will contemplate commissioning into service. It will own a submarines that will be expensive to build, expensive to maintain and expensive … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull’s new slogan has an ominous ring.

Malcolm Turnbull’s New Year resolution is apparently to update his slogan – jobs and growth is so 2017, and thus is ready for a rejig.

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JOHN MENADUE. Is war in the American DNA? -A REPOST from JULY 2016

In his book ‘Dangerous Allies’ Malcolm Fraser warned us how we can be drawn into US conflicts that are of no concern to us. We have seen that in  following the US into disastrous wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan , Iraq and … Continue reading

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