Category Archives: Politics

After Georgia, Biden has no excuses but it’s a long road ahead

While on paper Joe Biden has the power to force his agenda through Congress, the reality is a little different. He will need to take action on many fronts, not just the pandemic. A critical first task will be the … Continue reading

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Are Australia’s democratic safeguards shrinking?

In light of worrying developments, I review the trends putting pressure on our democratic institutions. Fortunately, new policies and serious protests can halt the trends and bring out the better nature of voters. However, such movements are not in sight.

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Flawed followership fosters failed leadership

The visual gallery of the front-liners who broke into the Capitol building is revealing. Long have Americans had a fascination for the cult of individual leadership. Uncritical and sycophantic admiration of a political leader only leads to endorsing their entitled … Continue reading

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Most viewed posts 2020: A Bill to enable use of foreign troops or foreign police in Australian “emergencies” (Oct 1, 2020)

A bill is before federal parliament to enable the ADF, Reserves and foreign military forces and police to be used in Australian emergencies. It gives them immunity from civil or criminal prosecution for actions arising from these emergency duties.

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With a booby-trapped White House, many Americans will want the nightmare to end

Biden’s task of restoring unity is not merely a matter of being statesmanlike or breaking down the hyper-partisanship of recent years. It is a matter of restoring faith in democratic institutions, the media, and in facts as a basis for … Continue reading

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Trump thuggery exploited political fault lines

Fault lines beneath US politics explain the fragility of democracy and the invasion of the Capitol building. Like a thug armed with high explosives, President Trump exploited each weakness and lit the fuse to guarantee an explosion.

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What do our political leaders stand for?

Good government must be based on broadly shared values that inspire and enthuse us.

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Most viewed posts 2020: The government sees itself as an agent of the private sector (Oct 8, 2020)

Frydenberg’s budget, based on discredited “trickle down” economics, misses an opportunity to restructure our economy, weakened by seven years of Coalition mismanagement.

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Most viewed posts 2020: Private Schools: Blessed are the rich (Oct 14, 2020)

Last year Shore’s income was $87.54 million. It is a rich school for kids of rich parents. It is also a charity. Yes, just like Habitat Australia, in Mount Street, North Sydney, just down the road from the school, Shore … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 4 Comments

Storming the Capitol to destroy an election is the least of what happened

The ultimate travesty of Trumpism is not simply its shocking aggression at the Capitol on January 6, but what that action revealed as the depths of division within the US polity and society. Biden and Harris have a formidable job … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 40 Comments

Doc Evatt’s role in the partition of Palestine. Part 2

Part 1 yesterday discussed Doc Evatt’s white blindfold. Part 2 discusses Evatt’s role in the partition of Palestine, arguing that it’s well past time for a more nuanced assessment of the great man. 

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Fitting end to the attempt to destroy our government of the people, by the people, and for the people

And so, we are at the end of a year that has brought a presidential impeachment trial, a deadly pandemic that has killed more than 338,000 of us, a huge social movement for racial justice, a presidential election, and a … Continue reading

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Scott Morrison: Trump Lite. A fair moniker for Australia’s Prime Minister?

Scott Morrison has said that he and Donald Trump “share a lot of the same views“. Just how far does that similarity extend?

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White supremacist? We need to talk about Doc Evatt: Part 1

Doc Evatt was revered as a man who fought for justice for all, yet there was a dark side to the man that has been either glossed over or ignored. Part 2 will examine Evatt’s prejudiced role in the partition … Continue reading

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Asian language learning in Australia was a disgrace 40 years ago. It is now much worse.

An important issue we worked on in the Department (of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs) was foreign language learning. We set the pace in the early 1980s, with not many supporters. I felt quite lonely.

Posted in Asia, Education, Politics | 10 Comments

Tamed Estate: The ALP – the Australian Liberal-lite Party

When Labor leader Anthony Albanese dumped his party’s franking credits policy, the mainstream media duly trotted out the “retiree tax” line. “Subsidies to wealthy superannuants to continue” doesn’t have quite the same ring.

Posted in Politics, Top 5 | Tagged | 40 Comments

The dangerous intransigence of Gladys Berejiklian

Intransigence is too seldom called out. It should never be mistaken for strength. Nor is it an admirable quality in anyone who wishes to lead effectively. Yet is something felt by many of us daily; and may even dominate our … Continue reading

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Blending electoral democracy with political meritocracy: Michael Lyons

“Democracies” come in many shades of grey, from liberal to illiberal, authoritarian to “managed”, and more. A convergence of East and the West towards something akin to “post-democracy” might bring a much-improved world order, and a safer planet.

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Three word slogans – Part 2

One of the most successful three word slogans in recent-ish political history– the Thatcher Opposition’s “Labour Isn’t Working” – almost didn’t get seen by the client.

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Most viewed posts 2020: Juukan Gorge – the plot thickens (Sep 14, 2020)

Under cross-examination, Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley made two major admissions on ABC Radio National last Friday over the destruction of the two ancient Aboriginal rock shelters at Juukan Gorge. The shelters had been inhabited for 46,000 years, and now … Continue reading

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Right outcome, wrong reasons on Julian Assange

British justice has been done, but it is hard to fathom. Assange’s crime is different from the usual. He embarrassed the US by revealing activities recorded by Americans themselves, and the lawlessness of the US military that continues every day, all … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Top 5 | 14 Comments

Ian Robinson: Changing one word doesn’t fix the National Anthem but makes it worse

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is deluded if he thinks changing one word can fix our deeply flawed National Anthem. There are too many things wrong with it. Tinkering around the edges cannot save something that is rotten at the core.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 9 Comments

Old dogs can learn new tricks

QUIZ QUESTION: What does an aged public administration academic do when he is at a loss for words about Australian politics?

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2020: Apocalypse now (or next year)

2020 was an unambiguously bad year. Unfortunately it won’t be the last. Will political rhetoric eventually have to change to acknowledge this?

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The perils of outsourcing (privatisation) – a repost

In Pearls and Irritations last year we  posted articles about the serious erosion in the quality of care and services in many fields  – disability care, vocational education and training, child care and particularly aged care, where more than 650 … Continue reading

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Don’t Mention the Ban: Australia’s evasion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Australia has disagreed with its major military ally on the prohibition of other unacceptable weapons and we must do so again. If our alliance requires allegiance to weapons of mass destruction, who does it really serve?

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Most viewed posts 2020: Father Glen Walsh paid a heavy price (Sep 9, 2020)

The revelations never end about priests and brothers, of monsignors and bishops with their secret sexual lives, masturbating, buggerizing, sodomizing and raping boys and girls – protected by an amoral hierarchy and a few corrupt members of the upper-echelons of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 7 Comments

No Plan PM: how government’s lack of an aged care plan cost lives.Typically the PM then blamed others.

While the federal government indulged in semantics, Covid-19 deaths continued to rise in the woefully under-prepared residential aged care sector. 2020 was a horror year for older people living in residential aged care.

Posted in Politics, Top 5 | 9 Comments

Europe and China’s year-end breakthrough

 America’s real intention in opposing China has nothing to do with human rights. Particularly under Trump’s lawless administration, US policies have been motivated by a hunger for dominance, plain and simple.

Posted in China, Politics | 13 Comments

Continuing strategic dependence on the US or strategic independence for Australia?

A People’s Inquiry has been opened by IPAN for submissions on the impact of the U.S. -Australia alliance, its costs and consequences and to canvas alternatives. Readers and contributors to Pearls and Irritations are invited to respond and join this … Continue reading

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