Aug 18, 2018

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

On ABC’s Saturday Extra this weekend (in case you missed it)

  • Clubs fight to protect penalty rates for their staff. More than 100 rebel community, sporting & RSL clubs across Australia have challenged a move by their umbrella body, Clubs Australia, to have penalty rates reduced by the Fair Work Commission. The clubs argue that staff are valued, and so is each club’s role in the community.
  • Turkey contagion. The Turkish lira has lost more than 40 percent of its value, inflation is soaring and its stock market’s been cut by half. Now Donald Trump is piling on with a doubling in US tariffs on some of Ankara’s key exports. Analysts are watching nervously, concerned about a contagion effect on the global economy, with some emerging markets already forced to take drastic action to stop the crisis spreading to their economies. Andreas Kluth, editor-in-chief at Handelsblatt Global, discusses this.
  • Space lawfare. The announcement that the United States is aiming for dominance of outer space with a new ‘Space Force’, raises many legal questions. In particular, whether or not current space laws are sufficient to prevent the possibility of warfare in outer space? Melissa de Zwart is Dean of Law from the University of Adelaide and is taking part in an international project to create a manual, that they hope will become the definitive document on how international law can be applied to regulate military activity in space.
  • Missile defence. Analysts of both space and earth security are preoccupied with missile defence systems and it’s been suggested that we’re seeing the dawning of the age of missile defence. Richard Weitz, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund discuss this.
  • Dopesick. The immediate & long-term consequences of the worst drug crisis in American history: Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, killing more people than guns or road accidents, and at a greater rate than the HIV epidemic at its peak. Beth Macy is a journalist and author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America.
  • Australian heist. In his latest book, true crime writer James Phelps transports us back to the goldfields of NSW’s central west in the latter half of the 1800s and one of the most audacious hold-ups in Australian history. The Frank Gardiner-Ben Hall gang of bushrangers got away with a haul that included cash, banknotes and 77 kilograms of gold that today would be worth around $10-million. James Phelps is a journalist and author of Australian Heist.

John Barron is hosting Saturday Extra this week in place of Geraldine Doogue. Geraldine is working on her upcoming Australia-China forum. For those living in or near Sydney, it is to be held at the ABC Ultimo HQ, on Thursday August 30, 5.30– 7.30pm. The public are invited to register to attend.

Other commentary

The ABC’s Big Ideas has broadcast the 2018 Manning Clark Lecture “Secret City: Fact, fiction and Australian politics”, delivered by Chris Uhlmann. He takes us through a history of the last ten years of Australian politics, covering the transition from 2009 when Opposition Leader Turnbull said “I cannot lead a party that is not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am” to where we are today. Uhlmann sees the events of 2009 as a turning point, leading to our present distrust in politics, in institutions and in journalism.

In response to Trump’s attacks on the press, a number of American media have written editorials in defence of press freedom. One is The Atlantic with its editorial The freedom of the Press is Yours. Trump’s inflamed rhetoric “is an attack not just on individual media outlets, but on the role journalism serves in a free society; not just on specific stories, but on the need for Americans to know the facts; not just on journalists, but on the right of all people to speak their minds”.

The Guardian has published some key findings from the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (Hilda) survey, a longitudinal study of the wellbeing of Australian households. The survey finds that median housing disposable income has stagnated since 2009 (a longer period than some less thorough studies have suggested). It confirms that both renters and young people seeking to buy a house are suffering the consequences of high prices, and it finds that income mobility is falling. On the positive side it finds the poverty rate is the lowest it has been in 16 years, and that men are spending a little more time on housework.

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