Category Archives: Public Policy

Australia’s Covid-19 quarantining – an abrogation of federal responsibilities! There is no national plan

Perhaps the most contentious issue of our Covid year is who is in charge of quarantining? With continuing outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to incoming travellers, Australians have reacted with astonishment that quarantining issues were not foreseen and planned for years … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | 5 Comments

The continuing loss of plant, animal and reptile species has dire consequences.

While cats provide much-needed companionship, they are also genetically programmed killers. Cats have devastating effects on biodiversity, which is vital for food security. .. Estimates are that domestic cats kill 61 million birds a year and those becoming feral kill more … Continue reading

Posted in Public Policy | 5 Comments

State of emergency: London, Washington DC fail basic duty to protect citizens

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson stand condemned as incompetent, bloody-minded  buffoons, but they didn’t get there all by themselves. They were aided and abetted by craven ministers and dangerously partisan media companies. 

Posted in Health, Public Policy | 1 Comment

Australia’s ‘rule of law’ system leaves millions unprotected: Part 2

Part 1 discussed the role of law-makers (parliamentarians) and law-implementers (public servants). Part 2 discusses the role of law-interpreters (judges) and law-enforcers, including a non-regulating regulator, Comcare.  

Posted in Immigration, refugees | Leave a comment

Murdoch son raps media for ‘toxic politics’ (Financial Times, Jan 18, 2020)

James Murdoch has castigated the US media for the ‘‘toxic politics’’ threatening American democracy, saying proprietors are as culpable as politicians who ‘‘know the truth but choose instead to propagate lies’’.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment

Public schools are as good as private schools

The widely held myth that private schools deliver better results than public schools has taken another blow. A new study of NAPLAN results shows that public schools do as well as private schools despite the large resource advantage of private … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 20 Comments

Diplomacy’s pointy end. Chinese vaccines in Indonesia.

The choreography was about reassurance. A well-masked Indonesian President Joko Widodo sitting before a large red sign saying AMAN dan HALAL – meaning safe and approved for Muslims. Alongside stood Palace doctor Professor Abdul Muthalib ready to show 270 million … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | 5 Comments

Australia’s ‘rule of law system’ leaves millions unprotected: Part 1

The rule of law ‘system’ is not an amorphous single entity – government – but involves law-makers (such as prime ministers and other ministers), law-implementers, law-interpreters, and law enforcers. Their work has left unprotected several million vulnerable people. How? This … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, refugees | 4 Comments

Sunday environmental round up, 17 January 2021

Some good and some bad news about climate change from 2020, with a focus on the rapidly warming Arctic. Different starting points and scopes for two plans to keep warming under 1.5oC but their strategies share many commonalities. Three-quarters of … Continue reading

Posted in Climate, Politics | 1 Comment

The Matthew Fisher Sarcoma Research Fund

My granddaughter Naomi’s husband, Matt Fisher, died of an aggressive sarcoma cancer earlier this month. He was aged 39. The sarcoma was diagnosed in February last year. A research fund has been established to promote research at the Garvan Institute. … Continue reading

Posted in Health | Leave a comment

We all need to get on board the campaign for First Nations Voice to Parliament

The Uluru Statement’s heart-rending plea, “In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard” highlights its umbilical connection to the 1967 Referendum. However, this doesn’t guarantee similar success for the call for a First Nations Voice to … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous affairs | 11 Comments

Tamed Estate: copying and pasting government drops?

Spruiking the Coalition’s 2020 tax cuts; Australians’ ‘$200 billion’ war chest; Google’s experiments; free speech; and even a Liberal Party self-congratulatory piece on the NBN. 

Posted in Media, Politics, Tamed Estate, Top 5 | Tagged | 17 Comments

Media concentration in Australia and the Murdoch damage

It is important that any arrangements made for Facebook/Google/Twitter to pay media companies for content are made transparently and equally available to ALL online media publishers who meet (a very low) bar and wish to participate.No government should  ever facilitate … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 15 Comments

Media in the Asian Century. An Australian anti-China hawk helped draft US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific

“In many ways (Australians) were ahead of the curve in understanding influence operations and interference in domestic systems,” one senior US official told me. “They were pioneers and we have to give a lot of credit to Australia.” The official … Continue reading

Posted in China, Media, Politics | 32 Comments

Simple illustration of how our climate has changed

Climate change sceptics and doubters might be beyond persuasion but the Bureau of Meteorology has a plain bar chart that shows how our climate has changed

Posted in Climate | 3 Comments

The Murdoch-Trump love affair

Posted in Public Policy, Top 5 | 12 Comments

Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need.

Three things are obvious. The collective emission reduction efforts of nations will not avoid 3oC global warming by the century’s end. Therefore, national adaptation actions will need prepare for the worse than expected scale and impact from the effects of … Continue reading

Posted in Climate, Top 5 | 6 Comments

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

You don’t want to imagine an ocean without coral reefs, but you might have to

With a recent report titled “Projections of Future Coral Bleaching Conditions,” published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in November, Leticia Carvalho—head of the Marine and Freshwater Branch of UNEP—said on December 21 that coral reefs are the “canary in the … Continue reading

Posted in Climate | 1 Comment

Drug policy reform series – a repost

Attached is a collection of articles on drug policy reform, which were published as a series on Pearls and Irritations between 6 and 11 August 2018. This series is designed to draw attention to this important issue, and to the … Continue reading

Posted in Drug Reform | 3 Comments

Long after the Rio Earth Summit, a chance for sustainable Australia?

With climate change and biodiversity losses continuing, Australia’s Environmental-Economic Accounts channel fresh ideas on our stewardship of the land, testing our success or failure.

Posted in Public Policy | 1 Comment

University degrees are not as valuable as they once were with the million dollar cheating industry.

For the last decade it seems,  employers, most unknowingly, have not been able to take for granted that a degree, even from the most highly ranked universities, ensures that the holder of that degree actually studied and passed the courses … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 5 Comments

Barriers to the NDIS

The planned introduction of independent assessments for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will further disadvantage those with complex and not obviously manifest disabilities. For marginalised people with disabilities there are questions.

Posted in Health | 3 Comments

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

David and Goliath battle over community alcohol harms is under way in the NT

There is a David and Goliath battle being waged in the Northern Territory as health and social welfare organisations and Indigenous leaders battle business behemoths and the Territory Government over the issuance of new liquor licences.

Posted in Indigenous affairs | 3 Comments

Responding to Callaghan: completing Australia’s retirement income system

The Retirement Income Review (Callaghan) Report concluded that the Australian retirement income system is effective, sound and its costs are broadly sustainable.

Posted in Health, Housing | 1 Comment

Are surgeons just a little bit less careful when operating on their birthdays?

‘Yes, if you think the op’s necessary, Doc, of course I’ll have it. Just so I know, are there any risks? And how long will I be in hospital? Thanks, see you in theatre. Oh, by the way, you won’t … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 3 Comments

It is foolhardy, indeed downright irresponsible, to have spectators at cricket and tennis matches this summer

The basic imperative for controlling an epidemic wherein the inhalation of aerosolised viral particles can cause much illness and death, is to stay away from each other.

Posted in Health | 7 Comments

The shabby treatment of nurses by medical doctors.

A collection of recent articles about the dismissal of the key role of nurses by the Medical Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce. The doctor dominated Taskforce is determined not to understand that nurses hold the health system together

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

WeChat’s Potential for Social Activism and Civic Action in the Chinese Diaspora (GJIA Dec 10, 2020)

WeChat is predominantly used by Mandarin speakers both within and outside China. Although this social media platform is owned by a Chinese company and is subject to China’s censorship and scrutiny, it nevertheless has the potential to enable social activism … Continue reading

Posted in China, Media | 8 Comments