Category Archives: Politics

ACT Election: Tired and complacent versus hidebound and headstrong

The biggest argument in favour of showing the ACT Barr Labor government the door next Saturday is that it has become tired and corrupted by too many years of continuous power.

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Dying in a Leadership Vacuum in the US. (The New England Journal of Medicine Oct 8, 2020)

Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 1 Comment

2020 Budget: a missed opportunity to prepare the economy for climate change

It is clear from this week’s budget that the Federal government will continue to delay the decarbonisation of our economy and appears determined to extend the life of declining fossil fuel industries.

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 1 Comment

LobbyLand. The politics of fossil fuels – the pits!

Fossil fuel lobbying is a cancer inflicting death, illness and misery on Australian society. How does it operate, what are its impacts and how can society allow this disabling condition to continue without treatment?

Posted in Health, Lobbyland, Politics | Tagged | 2 Comments

Aged Care: Human Right or a market opportunity

The overwhelming evidence is that, after more than two decades, the private-for-profit market model has not resulted in the improvements that were expected – more competition, more choice, improved efficiency, improved access and so on. It is time to conclude … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Top 5 | 4 Comments

Lobby Land: A Corporate Giant’s Dream and a Regulatory Hot Mess

As Australia’s government has grown in size and scope, so too has the desire to gain its favour, or avoid its wrath. This task increasingly falls to lobbyists. For representative democracy to work, constituents, including corporations, must be able to … Continue reading

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Scott Morrison plans to launch Matthias Cormann on to the global stage.

Following the long and successful run in the provinces ScoMo believes his retiring Finance Minister is ready to take on the world and has nominated him to the prestigious role of Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and … Continue reading

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Witness K and Bernard Collaery: An Unjust Prosecution Gets Even Worse

The prosecution of former ACT Attorney-General, Bernard Collaery, and his client, Witness K, continues to play itself out before the ACT Supreme Court. This is a legal fiasco of the first order. The prosecution should never have commenced.

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 3 Comments

Is the Foreign Interference Law just about China?

Having on the statute books a very serious crime, committed by dozens of people every day but which is only enforced selectively, is a grave breach of the Rule of Law. It gives the government the power to criminalise the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

US prison labour, foreign weapons-makers finance Australian government think tank ASPI

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank owned by the Commonwealth and funded by the Defence Department, also receives millions from foreign governments, weapons manufacturers, and US corporations that have used or are using prison workers paid as little … Continue reading

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Lobby Land. The retiree lobby, the poor dears

Lobbyists can be pretty shameless – from hyperbole about the ‘unintended consequences’ of some legislative or policy change they don’t like – to arguments which would shame a beginner debater.

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The Federal Budget: Return to Normal or Reform?

The budget delivered this week by the Federal government aims to get the economy ‘back to normal’. Is this the right goal? What if the old ‘normal’ was deeply flawed, as its political economic critics have argued?

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Uncivil society: women’s contributions grossly undervalued

Judging by last week’s budget, the federal government grossly undervalues the contributions made by female workers, both unpaid and paid. Given the huge contribution of women in care jobs during the worst of the pandemic, the absence of support is … Continue reading

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Sunday environmental round up, 11 October 2020

A look at current figures to see if China going carbon-free will destroy Australia’s coal industry. COVID is bad enough but some people have had COVID and extreme weather events to deal with. Governments have an opportunity to use the … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 4 Comments

Biden at Gettysburg

Donald Trump thought about giving his campaign speech at Gettysburg but opted for the safety of the Rose Garden instead.

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Is this the least meaningful crisis defence?-This is not who we are!

When a crisis strikes it’s very natural to try and hide behind some sort of a defensive statement. Yet that statement needs to be meaningful and not just a fashionable cliché posing as a moral fig-leaf.

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Charity regulator is failing us.

Charity scams are on a rocket trajectory. Since 2019 they have risen by a massive 70%. There have been more than 1000 charity scam reports since the beginning of this year.

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Olive branches dampens the sound of distant war drums

With the hospitalization of Trump, the world went into temporary recess from the Cold War and China sends an olive branch to Australia to dampen the sound of distant war drums. As the SCMP suggests, there is still hope for … Continue reading

Posted in China, Politics | 3 Comments

Saturday’s good reading and listening for the weekend 

What people in other forums are saying about public policy

Posted in Economy, Politics, Public Policy | 5 Comments

Australian media in the Asian century

Pompeo and circumstance Our foreign minister, Marise Payne, flew off to Tokyo for a rare meeting of the “Quad” on Tuesday with counterparts including the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

Posted in Media, Politics | 2 Comments

Morrison governing from the rear

At the end of all the announcements in the budget of tax cuts and give-aways to the private sector to promote an industry-led recovery, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had a somewhat unsettling (though it was not intended as such) rallying call: … Continue reading

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Lobby Land: the Pharmacy Guild’s powerful influence over health policy

The Pharmacy Guild has been called the ‘most powerful lobby group you’ve never heard of’ and for three decades has had a stranglehold on funding for community pharmacy in Australia.

Posted in Lobbyland, Politics | 3 Comments

Short-termism is the enemy of good governance

Deeper thinking, even during this critical impasse we are facing, must underlie the monumental decisions being made about where to splash the cash, where to invest in skills development, which industries to encourage and which to phase out.

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

Media failure again on alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria

Two new reports from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons challenge claims that chemical weapons were used in two alleged attacks in Syria.

Posted in Defence/Security, Media, Politics | 10 Comments

“Disgraceful” Tudge puts him self above the law

Late last month, the Federal Court’s found that Minister, Alan Tudge engaged in criminal conduct by keeping an asylum-seeker in detention and depriving of his liberty for five days in defiance of an order by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that the man … Continue reading

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Lobby Land. “Doubt is their product”: The difference between research and academic lobbying (Pro Market Sep 28, 2020)

Research on market power, its causes, and its consequences has received a welcome revival in the past few years. A group of excellent scholars has managed to make progress on rather hot competition policy topics. What’s more, this research was … Continue reading

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Science integrity revisited

In our partisan and damaged society scientific integrity is important and a part of the public discourse. For example, prominent scientists have critiqued the use of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel to support extracting more gas for Australian energy.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

Baptizing White Supremacy. An interview with Robert P. Jones

White Christians are not simply complicit in racism and white supremacy, argues scholar Robert P. Jones. They’re actually culpable. Without their deliberate consent, white supremacy in America could never have been built.

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

How does the 2020-21 Budget stack up?

The budget deserves a “pass”, but the government is favouring tax cuts which may not all be spent. Also much of the assistance appears to be poorly targeted to the areas which have most suffered a loss of jobs.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 4 Comments

The government sees itself as an agent of the private sector.

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

Posted in Economy, Politics | 4 Comments