Category Archives: Politics

Sir John Kerr’s secret ‘Palace letters’ to be released

History will be made this week with the release of hundreds of secret letters between the Queen and the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, relating to Kerr’s 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government.

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Second outbreak of Covid-19 in Victoria

It is clear that, after our initial success in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Australians are disappointed and even angry that we have been thrown back into lockdown. Rates of infection have, relatively speaking, shot up.

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The absurdity of border protection

Closing borders never really works. The Great Wall of China eventually crumbled and in modern times there were always trickles through the Iron Curtain (incorporating the Berlin Wall) until the trickles became an outbreak.

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Australia and the US, an odd couple for an alliance

Successive Australian Governments have revelled in having a close relationship with their US counterparts. At times it is has been pandering; at others it has resulted in engaging in illegal or unwinnable wars; all cloaked in mutual admiration.

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Malcolm Turnbull re-writes history .

Christopher Pyne debunked Malcolms’s fantasy of Scott Morrison playing a double role in the leadership challenge.

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Sunday environmental round up, 12 July 2020

A physical trip to the USA looks unlikely in the foreseeable future so I’m taking you on a virtual tour this week. Stories about the effects of warming on life in the largest and smallest states, the harmful effects of … Continue reading

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Australia and the United States: the opposed fantasies at the heart of the alliance relationship

One of the refrains among those defending Australia’s alliance with the United States is that arising out of their  pasts, sharing a core set of moral and ethical values, political and economic arrangements, and visions of the desirable world order.

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Low-paid, young women: the grim truth about who this recession is hitting hardest (The Conversation 7.7.20)

When a recession hits, no group of workers is immune. But some are harder hit than others. The latest labour market figures are giving us a good idea of who is being hardest hit this time.

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‘Haunted’ Morrison adds more fuel to the Asia-Pacific fire

We now know a little more about the prime minister’s fleeting, but significant references to the 1930s in his speech launching the defence update last week.

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Afghanistan’s Progress Towards Reconciliation: Some Good and Bad News (AIIA 2.7.20)

Months of peace negotiations in Afghanistan bring good and bad news. Despite consolidation of a power sharing agreement between political rivals and the formation of a council for peace, the coronavirus and a contest for Taliban leadership will defer the … Continue reading

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A smart Indian response to China (East Asia Forum 5.7.20)

The Indian government is under massive pressure to retaliate for the deaths of Indian soldiers in a border clash with China. While some bilateral measures may be unavoidable, India’s broader interest is not to reduce its engagement with China.

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‘The most ignorant and unfit’: What made America’s worst ever leader? (NYRB 3.7.20)

“Being president,” former First Lady Michelle Obama has said, “doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” In this moment, we may also need to acknowledge that presidents also reveal much about who we are.

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Saturday’s good reading and listening for the weekend

What people in other forums are saying about public policy

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The Australian Government regards China as a strategic competitor, a revisionist power, and one that must be resisted.

At last the contradiction that over the past four years has been at the heart of Australian foreign and security policy towards China has been resolved. In a series of important announcements, the Australian Government has now made it clear … Continue reading

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Australia’s pro-Israel media fights facts and ends careers

The day after Scott Morrison set the date for the mid-May 2019 federal election, Labor lost one of its star women performers. International lawyer Melissa Parke, the Member for Fremantle, a shrewd “get” by Kevin Rudd back in 2007, announced … Continue reading

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The 2020 Defence Strategic Update: Finding coexistence with China

There is little to quarrel with in Hugh White’s assessment of the uncertainties in East Asia. His counsel to the government on the way forward for strategic policy, on the other hand, is less satisfactory.

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The structural and ideological foundations of Australia’s economic malaise: Can we avoid one crisis after another?

The dramatic and sudden shuttering of businesses following the imposition of coronavirus social-distancing rules has propelled the Australian economy into what is increasingly looking like a deep recession contradicting the rhetoric that the fundamentals are strong and provide a springboard … Continue reading

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VACY VLAZNA. Smashing the Chinese golden goose egg

In the fragile recovery from mega-bushfires, floods, drought and the pandemic, Australians are looking for competent, trustworthy and decent political leadership. If the Eden-Monaro by-election was a leadership testing ground, both major parties  failed.

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Increased military expenditure unjustified; social needs must be paramount.

The government’s $279 billion allocation over 10 years to military spending is not justified by fear-mongering and is at the expense of health and other urgent social needs.

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Coronanomics – We need good leadership in turbulent times.

As the world tackles the Coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a lot of talk about leadership and trust, not just between nations but within nations as well.

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Japan is handling relations with China better than Australia.

Scott Morrison is shortly to have a virtual meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe, to be followed by an official visit to Japan when COVID 19 permits. Morrison is taking Japan seriously. Good.

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Is our alliance with America worth it?

Almost eighty years ago Prime Minister John Curtin prepared a New Year’s Eve message for the Australian people. It was written three weeks after the war with Japan had begun.

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Marshall’s SA Government – Just like a duck

Moderate Marshall is calm on the surface – but paddling like mad underneath…

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Constitutional recognition, representation and affirmative action in India

Indigenous Australians have been seriously disadvantaged for far too long. It’s time for a treaty and a radical affirmative action program to close the gap in one or two generations. There are significant lessons to be drawn from India’s pioneering … Continue reading

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The really big and tough issue is the environment says Ken Henry

In last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald, Jessica Irvine quizzed Ken Henry on his preferences for tax reform. Ken emphasised the critical importance of a clear, settled allocation of roles between the Commonwealth and the States.

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United States and Australia, so little in common ?

Australia identifies with and supports US democracy, yet values and dominant modes of thought in America have produced a form of governance so dysfunctional that Australians should question their assumptions about the two countries’ similarities.

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The Coalition is just following orders

To understand how and why Australia has ended up where it has, with a series of governments which seem to become more and more damaging to our way of life, year on year, we need only to look back to … Continue reading

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Marshall’s SA Government – just like a duck

Moderate Marshall is calm on the surface – but paddling like mad underneath…

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Lincoln’s second assassination

And so, the statues topple. History is revised and historical figures, deserving of homage are lumped together with those who deserve condemnation. There is a madness upon the earth. Somehow, symbols of slave-owning society, and those who fought against slavery … Continue reading

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What does the Eden-Monaro result mean?

The Eden-Monaro by-election status quo ante result raises two questions: why isn’t the Prime Minister’s high approval rating translating into an improved rating for the government; and, why do the media keep up the same old tired approaches to covering … Continue reading

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