Israel calls them ‘illegals’ in their own land whilst our media ignores this flagrant human rights abuse.

The dehumanization begins with the blind adoption of the concepts dictated by the defense establishment: Shabahim, for example, an IDF acronym for human beings, literally illegal transients and used only for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank who cross into and stay in Israel for hours or days, without a permit. Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 4 Comments

Skewed responsibility: Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry was always going to make for a gruesome read – and that was just the redacted version. Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 4 Comments

Saturday’s good reading and listening for the weekend

What people in other forums are saying about public policy Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

Australia and China: Getting out of the hole

The Scottish Independent Labour Party leader in the 1930s, Jimmy Maxton, summed up the challenge of political leadership as well as anybody ever has: “If you can’t ride two bloody horses at once, you shouldn’t be in the bloody circus”.  Continue reading

Posted in China | 41 Comments

Biden and South East Asia (Asialink Nov 24, 2020

Three weeks after the election, there is plenty of evidence that Biden and the emerging Democrat foreign policy team -in-waiting appreciate the strategic challenges facing President Elect Biden both in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 1 Comment

You’ll need a vaccine whether you like it or not

Sixty-plus years ago when, as a student, I was making my first overseas trip, there was more hassle involved in getting the required ‘international certificates of vaccination’ certificate (issued by the Department of Health on behalf of the World Health Organisation) than there was in obtaining a passport. The little yellow booklet also received more careful inspection by airline and immigration/quarantine officers, before travel and on arrival overseas, than did my passport.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

Latest Findings on how well our Governments make Policy

For the third year running, independent research undertaken by two philosophically opposed Right and Left think tanks finds that basic standards of evidence and consultation-based policy making are only loosely followed by Australian federal and state governments. Nevertheless, there was an improvement on last year’s results.  

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Is Rupert Murdoch going bust?


This video has been reposted from Michael West Media 25 November 2020

Posted in Media | 7 Comments

Journalists need medals for reporting on such dull politicians

The late, great comedian John Clarke always said that the best actors he had ever heard were sports commentators. The reason, he explained, was that they were able to convey the impression, with the utmost conviction, that the outcome of a football match was crucial, almost a matter of life or death. And then, suddenly, the game was over, and life resumed. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

Thug culture, not a warrior culture, to blame

“Losers” commit war crimes and are punished and pilloried in news articles, books, documentaries and movies while cover-ups by the victors of their atrocities ensure the winners evade justice.  Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

What does a Biden presidency mean for Australian post-secondary education?

President-elect Joe Biden’s anticipated quick alteration to American policy on climate change has received the greatest media attention in Australia because of its anticipated impact here, what about education? Although the election appeared to be a “policy free zone”, many of the Democratic Party’s policies on education represent a significant change from the past four years. Continue reading

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

Remembering the financial brilliance of James Wolfensohn

At a time when Australia is desperately trying to push one of our own to lead a world economic forum, it’s worth remembering James Wolfensohn, our most influential global financial figure. Continue reading

Posted in Tributes | 2 Comments

The Australian Army’s inauspicious birth. From the Boer War to the Afghanistan War.

With such intense focus on the army’s record in Afghanistan we might look more closely at its history. It had an inauspicious birth on the first of March 1902 in South Africa, three months before the end of the Boer War.

Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 15 Comments

Lieutenant-General Burr, can you stand up. We can’t see you!

In Burr’s regiment were many of Justice Brereton’s bad boys. That so many of them were able to mask their incubating psychopathology reflects badly on the psychological assessment tools Burr’s people were administering. Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 14 Comments

Understanding ‘Beijing expansionism’

Canberra’s shift to anti-China rhetoric and expanded military spending is said to be due to China’s shift to expansionist and aggressive policies.  And just in case there is some truth in the ‘Beijing expansionism’ claim let’s look at the claimed evidence.

Continue reading

Posted in China | 17 Comments

The Brereton Report: what the military can learn from the health system

The Brereton Report makes for uncomfortable reading. Its findings and recommendations principally focus on individuals and their conduct, including unlawful acts, wilful misreporting, falsifying records, failing to exercise proper control over subordinates, giving false evidence and suborning colleagues to give false evidence. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

West Australian Liberals gamble on youth

Like a football club hoping to climb up from the bottom of the ladder, the West Australian Liberals have gone for youth in their latest leadership selection. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Don’t tar all our soldiers with the same brush

War in all its forms is awful, so let’s support those who conduct it on our behalf and, when they come back, go easy on them. They were only doing our bidding.
Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 9 Comments

‘Power and pain’: an Australian citizens’ encounter with the SAS

Outside of Defence circles not many Australians would have had a close physical confrontation with members of the SAS. Four peace activists did in 2014 when their trespass on the Swan Island military base was dealt with by two enraged SAS members. Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 2 Comments

Fraudster will create US COVID vaccination problems

In the US we can guarantee that someone among the anti-vaxxers will be claiming that the new President is trying to poison them and/or forcibly convert them to communism. Continue reading

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

Scott Morrison, where are you? Eight years is too long

For the past three months, rain or shine, a small, sad group of anywhere between 14 to 28 men meet outside Milsons Point railway station every Sunday at midday to march to and demonstrate at the gates of Kirribilli House. They deserve to be heard. Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, refugees | 6 Comments

The Tamed Estate – cover-up of the Queen‘s role in the Dismissal by the National Archives and The Australian

The release of the Palace letters was pure theatre. Every element was meticulously stage-managed: the set, the props, the narrative. (From the Palace Letters pp 168-172) Continue reading

Posted in Tamed Estate | 20 Comments

Australia has made itself an outlier in its dealing with China

The Prime Minister’s dash to Japan to meet the new Japanese Prime Minister – the first foreign leader to do so – should be welcomed.  It is unusual in terms of diplomatic protocol for an established leader to visit a newly appointed leader, not the other way around, unless it is the US for which normal protocol seldom applies.

Continue reading

Posted in China, Politics | 33 Comments

Agents of foreign influence. What about the Australian Strategic Policy Institute?

The Australia-China relationship has hit new lows, with China’s ban on a range of imports threatening $20 billion of Australian exports. However, just in the past few days Scott Morrison has said Australia’s position has been wrongly interpreted as siding with the United States over China, and that his government would not make a “binary choice” between the superpowers.
Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 18 Comments

Robodebt was a Morrison fiasco at every stage (Peter Van Onselen, The Australian, 21.11.20)

The buck should stop with the PM, but he won’t be held to account. With summer just around the corner, this week’s $1.2 billion settlement of the Robodebt class action has shone a light on government failings. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments

Investigating ADF murder is not an AFP core competency

The path to court for SAS murder suspects won’t be smooth, quick, certain or inevitable. Justice Brereton had a power federal police investigators will not have: he could compel soldiers to give answers, promising them that nothing they said could be used in cases against them. [Though they could be required to give evidence against others.] Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

Independent media winning the battle of the online audience

Independent media, online and print, continues to grow. Meanwhile, traditional media is under threat on many fronts, driven by stalling readership and declining revenue. News Corp, in particular, is losing out in the online audience stakes. Continue reading

Posted in Media | Leave a comment

Australian universities may come to regret the end of the Trump presidency

The share of Chinese students who have applied to study in Australia next year is 53 per cent of all international students compared to 27 per cent last year. Continue reading

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

‘Our Malady’ by Timothy Snyder: Lessons for Australia in health care

While this is a book about American healthcare, it raises issues that are relevant to Australia. Written earlier this year, many issues facing current healthcare – both in hospitals and in the community – are discussed.  Continue reading

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

It’s a man’s world: we need to call out News Corp’s hostility to women leaders (The Conversation, 18.11.2020)

Julia Gillard did not simply threaten the political status quo as Australia’s first woman prime minister. As an unmarried, child-free, atheist woman from the left of the ALP, she also threatened Murdoch’s conservative ideology.
Continue reading

Posted in Media | Tagged | 2 Comments