Category Archives: Uncategorized

MAY HAYTON. New Zealand’s General Election, September 23 2017.

There’ll be no revolution this time.  Polls show New Zealand voters are as contented as a herd of freshly milked cows.  The election will produce a government that will be either centre-left or centre-right.  Either way, the winner will probably … Continue reading

Posted in Australia and Asia, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Trust is falling in Western democratic institutions

One clue to understanding the loss of trust in the professional integrity of the Western media is their unrelenting efforts to demonize Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

LAURIE PATTON. NBN: How many more surveys before they get it? We are not impressed!

A raft of surveys have confirmed what everyone knows. We’re increasingly unhappy about the rollout of a technically inferior National Broadband Network.

Posted in Infrastructure, NBN, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Making housing affordable. (Repost from Housing Series)

Pearls and Irritations recently posted a series of articles on the theme Making Housing Affordable. The series focuses on Australia’s housing affordability crisis. Most of the articles were posted just before the Federal Budget, but a few were posted afterwards, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Why I am still a Catholic

Cardinal John Henry Newman once said that there is nothing as ugly as the Catholic Church yet nothing as beautiful. It is hard to see that beauty at this moment. It is a time for sackcloth and ashes. But I … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. Ignore Trump’s tweets about North Korea ; the diplomacy is being handled by adults

Since his election in May South Korea’s President Mon Jae-in has developed a productive relationship with US President Trump, particularly on the difficult issue of both countries’ dealings with North Korea. Regrettably Australian and other mainstream media is reporting Trump’s … Continue reading

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PETER DAY. “Hands-up if you think George is guilty!”

The Australian judicial system will have its work cut-out ensuring the case against Cardinal Pell does not descend into a show trial cum media circus – some feel the horse has already bolted.

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

MICHAEL KELLY. Canada shows us how it is done.

The Refugee Council of Australia’s call for more affordable and community based ways of settling refugees is only the latest attempt to bring both community good will to refugees and the implementation of a proven and superior alternative to government … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

GILES PARKINSON. Coal on limited lifespan as CCS hopes go up in smoke

The coal industry is facing a new crisis point as a group of leading scientists call for the construction of new coal generators to cease within three years, and as the industry’s flagship “clean coal” and carbon capture and storage project went … Continue reading

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GERALDINE DOOGUE. Flawed Catholic Church a test for the true believers

The other day a visiting Israeli man bluntly asked me during a small dinner: was I religious? Well, yes, I replied, though not quite in the way I once would have ­answered. But Cardinal ­George Pell is not to blame … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. By accepting funding from weapons suppliers the Australian War Memorial demeans Australia’s war dead.

I asked the director of the Australian War Memorial, Brendan Nelson, why the Memorial is accepting funding from weapons manufacturers like BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.  In response, Brendan Nelson, wrote back that “We regard it as … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Why Blame Neo-Liberal Economics?

The claim is frequently made that neo-liberal economic policies are responsible for an increase in inequality. However, no supporting analysis is ever offered to sustain such claims; the obvious reason being because they reflect the author’s imagination and prejudices.

Posted in Uncategorized | 28 Comments

SPENCER ZIFCAK. Three Ministers vs. Three Judges: Executive Government gets Flattened

  In Victoria’s Court of Appeal last Friday, an encounter unprecedented in Australian legal and political history played itself out. Through the Commonwealth Solicitor-General (SG) three Commonwealth Government Ministers made an abject apology to the Court.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

KAI HE. How to save the Shangri La Dialogue

It was a sign of the Shangri-La Dialogue’s declining relevance when China sent a low-level delegation and India no delegation at all to this year’s talkfest. To ensure its future standing, this important meeting needs to shift its focus to achieving … Continue reading

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MICHAEL P. HUGHES. What went wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?

The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft … Continue reading

Posted in ANZAC, Current affairs, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Policy sentiment rather than substance in housing policy  

The Federal Treasurer clearly understands the housing affordability pressures facing moderate and low income renters and Australia’s growing homeless. His budget speech set the scene for a package of measures to boost affordable housing supply and recalibrate demand settings. A … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Labor charts a health policy rethink

The Labor Party has released a summary of the proceedings of its ‘National Health Policy Summit’, held in Canberra on 3rd March. Good on the ALP for holding the summit. Trouble is, the ‘communique’, while summarising the views of the … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

QUENTIN DEMPSTER. Michelle Guthrie’s survival strategy for the ABC

ABC MD Michelle Guthrie’s survival strategy for the national broadcaster is to re-invest brutally extracted payroll savings into new “extraordinary” content. While encouraging staff to come up with exciting new creative ideas to use the $20m available immediately and then … Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. We need a Catholic Yom Kippur, and a serious sacrifice.

The major intersection between the child abuse royal commission and the Catholic Church went into act four over the past week. The drama, plot and moral of the miracle play would be much enhanced if scene one, rather than scene … Continue reading

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EVAN WHITTON. How English law does not try to find the truth.

An Australian judge, Russell Fox, said justice means fairness, and fairness requires a search for the truth otherwise the wrong side may win. English law is the only legal system in the world which does not search for the truth.

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JOHN AUSTEN. The Premier and privatisation; selling silverware for transport tupperware?

Commentators on Premier Baird’s years focussed on short term matters such as money from privatisations or inconvenience caused by infrastructure building. The most important question, the merit of infrastructure built with sale proceeds, may take years to answer. NSW will … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The unmooring of our national defence from our national interest. Part 3 of 4.

Australia is currently courting offence rather than, as governments so often assert, defence – a transformation which might only charitably be attributed to absent mindedness if the alternative, stealth, is excluded. It is, moreover, a change wrought, in the first … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Mind the gap in doctors’ fees – it is all around us

John Thompson reminds us of the total lack of transparency in fees charged by doctors in Australia. Surgeon’s report shows the ineffectiveness of private health insurers to control health costs Posted on 07/05/2016 by John Menadue So can we dissect this … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Federal Election 2016, Health, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

MARK GREGORY: Leaks from NBN were in the public interest. The response was designed to hide the NBN mess.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) was meant to be a nation building project that positioned Australia as a leader in the global digital economy, but it has become a political football and as every day passes, Australia’s future prospects in … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Media, NBN, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hanoi reminder of the tangled mess of Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN

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Michael D. Breen. Freedom to Mock.

Tim Minchin’s ‘Come home Cardinal Pell’ nails it for many in Oz. Minchin voices the rage, the frustration and the suffering of unrequited victims, their relatives, and Church goers and observers. Rage boils when people feel unheard. It becomes incandescent … Continue reading

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Christmas gift idea – Pearls and Irritations in print

Orders are now open for Fairness, Opportunity and Security: Filling the Policy Vacuum, edited by John Menadue and Michael Keating, and published by ATF Press. The book is a collection of the special policy series of blogs that was published … Continue reading

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Next week’s launch of the Blog’s book ‘Fairness, Opportunity and Security’

You are invited to the launch of Fairness, Opportunity and Security: Filling the Policy Vacuum, edited by John Menadue and Michael Keating, and published by ATF Press. The book is a collection of the special policy series of blogs that … Continue reading

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Michael McKinley. Alliance Ideology, The Myth of Sacrifice and the National Security Culture.

The following is an article by Dr Michael McKinley, which was published in June 2015 in the book ‘How does Australia go to War’. See link www.iraqwarinquiry.org.au Conventional wisdom holds the following claims to be true. Australia is not an aggressive … Continue reading

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John Dwyer. An increase in the GST or efficiency gains to fund our hospitals. Which would you prefer?

Premier Baird has announced that he will require a 15% GST to fund our public hospital system in the coming years. It is certainly true that with present policies, revenue won’t match the cost of the anticipated future demand for … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Health, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments