Nov 17, 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):

Ten years since the Irish housing crash – what can we learn and avoid? Michael Janda interviews Rossa White, chief economist at Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency.

PNG is hosting the APEC summit for the first time. Will it be beneficial for the nation? Stephen Howes, director of the Development Policy Centre and professor of economics in the ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

Ben McGowan on the Victorian elections and how the campaign co-ordinators who helped Cathy McGowan get into Federal Parliament are using their skills to help two independents in the state election.

Following the aftermath of the second Bourke Street tragedy, Victorians head to the polls next Saturday. What is the current climate in Melbourne? Former Premier Jeff Kennett discusses, followed by a panel of three: journalist Gay Alcorn, commentator and education consultant James Button and writer Arnold Zable.

Professor of History of the Church at Oxford University Diarmaid MacCulloch discusses his new book, Thomas Cromwell: A Life.

Other commentary

Ever since Germany’s national election last year we have been hearing about a resurgence of the far right, particularly in the former East Germany. Writing in The Guardian, Musa Okwonga reports that when it comes to demonstrations the far right groups, such as Wir fürDeutschland, are in retreat. Mobilising crowds to assemble on the streets to show hatred is hard work, and is dispiriting when their pathetic numbers are outnumbered 30:1 or 40:1 by citizens coming out to show their solidarity.

On a connected topic the ABCReligion and Ethics Reporthas an interview with Steven Vertovec from the Max Planck Institute and Frank Duvell (until recently with Oxford University) who discuss how Germany has successfully absorbed a million immigrants and asylum-seekers in less than two years. They explain the different immigration histories of regions within Germany, pointing out that people from the eastern regions have less familiarity with taking in immigrants.

“I am expected to ‘combat radicalism’, take ‘special responsibility’ for national security, predict random acts of violence by random people whose only connection to me is that they identify as Muslim” Randa Abdel-Fattah writes in Fairfax media.

Writing in Renew Economy Giles Parkinson reports on The International Energy Agency’s latest outlook report, which he says is the coal industry’s obituary. Of particular relevance for Australia the IEA is predicting that China will be the biggest source of closure of coal-fired generation over the next twenty years. And who was it on Wednesday asserting “We need a price on carbon, we need to ensure that the most effective energy gets into the system”? Some tree-hugging member of a green-left conspiracy? It was Woodside CEO Peter Coleman, backed by senior managers from Rio and BHP.

Last Wednesday renowned American economist Joseph Stiglitz, in Australia to receive the Sydney Peace Prize, addressed the National Press Club: the session is available on ABC IView. Stiglitz outlines a progressive economic agenda, pointing out that we have the resources to provide a middle-class lifestyle for all, and that there is no conflict between equity and economic performance. The impediments are political, particularly the influence of demagogues like Trump and Orbán who “are systematically trying to destroy all our truth-telling institutions” – universities, independent media, and the judiciary. He concludes with a spirited defence of public broadcasting. (35 minutes presentation, 35 minutes Q and A)

For many Australians the 100 year anniversary of the 11 November Armistice has been about personal and national recollections of our own role in the senseless 1914-18 conflicts. Volumes have been written on the causes and consequences of that war. As a reminder The Economisthas an article Lessons from history 100 years after the Armistice. “National chauvinisms live on despite the Somme”. (The Economisthas limits on free articles: see their paywall policies.)

What is the price we’re paying “for funding schools on the basis of religion rather than need”? Ross Gittins, drawing on OECD evidence, points out how our class – and religion – segregated school education system is contributing to a yawning gap between our strongest students and our weakest, contributing to social division and to a loss of opportunity. In comparison with other high-income OECD countries Australia has a highly socially-stratified education system – even more stratified than the UK.

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