Category Archives: Politics

ANTHONY ALBANESE. Tribute to Graham Freudenberg (House of Representatives 10 Sep 2019)

Graham Freudenberg climbed inside the soul of the Australian Labor Party in search of the words that lay there. He came back to us with an entire language. When Freudy said the Labor Party was built on speeches, the identity … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. What price an early election? Ten grand a head?

As the Prime Minister looks over his shoulder for the inevitable challenge, the prospect of an early election must be tempting. With the New South Wales Labor Party before the Independent Commission Against Corruption and Channel 9 giving the Liberals … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. Some surprising US news – if you haven’t been watching

It is easy to be alternately frightened, appalled and head-shakingly despairing about what comes out of Trump’s United States. Officials deleting all references to climate change from official documents; immigration policies that make Peter Dutton look like a raging leftie; … Continue reading

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KEVIN RUDD. Democracy overboard: Rupert Murdoch’s long war on Australian politics (The Guardian 7-9-19)

Australia has become a dangerously complacent country, dancing to the reactionary tune of the Murdoch press

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LIONEL ORCHARD. Don Dunstan in Perspective: A Review

ANU historian Angela Woollacott has written a major biography of Don Dunstan reflecting on his place in the pantheon of reforming Australian Labor politicians. A review of the biography follows.

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HENRY LITTON. Joshua Wong article in Australian 2 Sep

Joshua Wong, in his article in The Australian of 2 September, made a valid point when he asked rhetorically “who were the ones who did not give young people a stake in society ?”

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ANDREW GLIKSON. From climate denial to planetary arson. The planetary consequences of injecting >910 billion tons CO2 into the atmosphere

Last night (6 September) as fires were raging through the desiccated granite belt of southern Queensland, not a single reporter, politician or anyone else had the “temerity” of pointing out the inevitable relation between coal mining, carbon emissions, global and … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Economy circles the drain.

That muffled gurgling sound you heard last week was either the remains of the government’s economic credibility swirling around the plug hole, or the strangled sounds of ScoMo and his team attempting to put a positive spin over the disastrous … Continue reading

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SPENCER ZIFCAK. The Religious Discrimination Bill

The Religious Discrimination Bill, introduced by the Attorney-General Christian Porter, has its flaws. Nevertheless, it walks a more or less acceptable line between arch proponents and critics of the recent campaign for greater religious freedoms. The Government has produced relatively … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics, Religion and Faith | 7 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Bullshit and hypocrisy cannot hide behind a Secret stamp (Canberra Times 6 Sep 2019)

50 years of public disclosure has never harmed the national security interest Brian Toohey is a great Australian journalist who, over 50 years, has mostly rated the public’s right to know as being more important than what politicians and public … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit – a reconfiguration of British politics

It is not new news that British politics are fragmenting. What we can’t be sure about is how the political lines may permanently be redrawn. How might the two main drivers, Brexit and the next General Election (if and when … Continue reading

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MUNGO MACCALLUM. Dutton on a power trip.

The Greens reckon that Peter Dutton is a sadist – that he positively enjoys inflicting cruelty on his defenceless victims. But this is probably unfair to the potato-headed potentate. Dutton is certainly heartless, but his cruelty, while undoubtedly real, is … Continue reading

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LINDY EDWARDS. NSW Political Donations Scandal would not have been exposed at the Federal Level

To the seasoned observer of political donations in Australia, the most remarkable thing about the recent NSW Labor scandal is that is has been exposed and people are being pursued. At the federal level this behaviour would have gone under … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 8 September 2019

An update on the Adani mine to start and on Sydney’s Sea-eagle chicks to close. In the middle of the sandwich is evidence demonstrating the lethal effects of air pollution and the health benefits of reducing even apparently low levels … Continue reading

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SATURDAY’s GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media

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BRIAN TOOHEY. The man who thought he owned a Prime Minister

‘This is the gravest risk to the nation’s security there has ever been.’Sir Arthur Tange, 6 November 19751.   Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the son of a former solicitor-general, was initially attracted to the notion that Arthur Tange was a dedicated … Continue reading

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JOCELYN PIXLEY. Bringing the Corporate Looters to Heel

Public benefits in restraining business-financiers (the modern incarnation of Robber Barons defined by US economist Thorstein Veblen) are rarely debated, despite corporate corruption and social injustices. ‘Politics of envy’ or ‘unfunded empathy’ spin, shouts down policies aiming to curb social-economic … Continue reading

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MICHAEL FURTADO. Playing Devil’s Advocate for the Catholic Plenary Counci.

On November 4, 1956, the Soviet regime violently suppressed the Hungarian Uprising. Earlier in that year, at the Twentieth Congress of the USSR Communist Party,Khrushchev had bitterly denounced Stalin, deceased three years prior, for his crimes.

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STEPHEN S. ROACH. Flailing at China (Project Syndicate 27.9.2019)

Despite years of denial, there can no longer be any doubt that the US is pursuing a bipartisan containment strategy vis-à-vis China. Whether justified or not, the real problem with this strategy is less the merits of the allegations leveled … Continue reading

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LINDA SIMON. More than a vision is needed for vocational education and training

National Skills Week 2019 recognised that more than just words were needed from Australian governments. The recent COAG meeting produced a vision for the VET sector, and whilst a cohesive vision is important, it means nothing unless backed up with … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Pre-dawn raids find a ready place in our nasty political culture

There are many precedents for the thuggish pre-dawn raid in Biloela to remove a harmless Sri Lankan couple from their home and support base. While the incident has shocked fair minded Australians such heartless behaviour has become increasingly normalised as … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. Democracy and its discontents

Much of the fevered discussion on the future and failings of democracy is based on misconceptions, particularly the fact that some see democratic discontent and growing authoritarianism as a re-run of the 1930s – something possible but extremely unlikely.

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FRANCISCO TORO.  Japan is a Trumpian paradise of low immigration rates. It’s also a dying country. (Washington Post, 29 August 2019)

KITAKYUSHU, Japan — For a sense of what the United States might look like in a reality where the hard right’s dreams of drastically reduced immigration come true, you could come to Japan and ask my father-in-law about the house … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. On the blindness of politicians

The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee has generated one of the great jargon infested documents of recent times. The introduction to The Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy Discussion paperreveals much about what is wrong with politics … Continue reading

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MARK DIESENDORF and RICHARD BROINOWSKI – A Push for Nuclear Weapons?

A recent push for nuclear power in Australia has been promoted by the usual public advocates and amplified by the Murdoch press.

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PETER SAINSBURY. Revolving doors and roulette wheels

CBD is the daily scuttlebutt column in the Sydney Morning Herald. Monday’s offerings included a piece that provided examples of the revolving door for staff between the inaptly named Responsible Wagering Australia and the ALP. I strongly recommend it.

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Powerful men vs. Powerless Children: A worse than unequal “battle”

As I write this, from the safety of my inner-city home, two little Australian-born girls are held on Christmas Island with their Sri Lankan-born parents, desperately awaiting some flicker of insight, common sense, common decency, act of mercy that’s most … Continue reading

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Eric Hodgens. Pastoral Care of Victim and Offender – The Pell Case Dilemma.

The church is called to offer pastoral care to both offender and victim. A dilemma arises when the offender is an official of the church. Like it, or not, the victim must come first.

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JACK WATERFORD. Labor’s turn with the brown paper bag.  Integrity bodies should have power to check corruption inside political parties.

NSW Labor’s little embarrassment in front of its Independent Commission Against Corruption has a bad look, temporarily takes attention away from problems festering the Berejiklian government and had led to the fall of yet another NSW Labor General Secretary in … Continue reading

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Pernicious Secrets

Brian Toohey begins his new book Secret with a deliciously revealing quote from Harold Thorby, Australian Minister for Defence in 1938: ‘We the Government have vital information which we cannot disclose. It is upon this knowledge that we make decisions. … Continue reading

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