Do we share values with the US?

In the escalating Sino-American tensions there is a constant refrain that while China is important for our economy, we are tied to the United States by “shared values”. But what are these shared values and how far should they guide foreign policy? Continue reading

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Government body meant to boost relations with China has been ‘tortured and unspectacular’, according to former chair

The Federal Government’s foundation that was meant to “turbocharge” relations with China is beset by dysfunction, a lack of purpose and possible conflicts of interest, say senior insiders.

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Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki (The Interpreter 5 August 2020)

Existing nuclear arms control deals are dead or dying, but that should not be an excuse to give up disarmament hopes.

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The US hypocrisy on the South China Sea and Diego Garcia

The U.S. has publicly accused China of violating the existing international order, bullying other claimants, and crimes against the environment in the South China Sea. China may well be guilty—at least from the US perspective. But the same and more can be said of U.S. behaviour regarding disputed Diego Garcia in the southern Indian Ocean. Continue reading

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William Barton: A voice from the heart

On 1 August didgeridoo artist-composer William Barton and violinist Véronique Serret brought their composition Heartland to online audiences via the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. It is a work to resonate across Australia and around the world. Continue reading

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Where do we go from here after Trump?

The visit to Washington of the two Australian ministers is mildly encouraging but some important questions remain. Why did they go and why did they say what they said? What next? And in the longer term what degree of control will Australia have over the world we inhabit?

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On being ‘very different countries’: AUSMIN and China’s rise (UTS Australia China Relations Institute August 4 2020)

During discussions with American thinkers, analysts and officials in New York and Washington DC in late 2017, one particular conversation gave a chilling insight into how some see the ultimate strategic calculations in US China relations. Continue reading

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Section 92 of the Constitution lost to shortsightedness

It is a pity that the Commonwealth has formally dropped out of the Clive Palmer challenge in the High Court over State boundary closures as offending Section 92 of the Constitution – though prior to that it had made a written submission to the Court. The issues transcend Mr Palmer’s interests.

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A breach of faith with many thousands of Catholics.

Leading church renewal group, Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn, has called on Australian Catholic bishops to release an essential document for consultation with the broader Catholic community before the bishops finalise it and send it to Rome ahead of the historic Plenary Council. Continue reading

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A silent cry of Chinese Australians in this difficult period.

As the Australia-China relations deteriorate further, we are trying to highlight our government focus to maintain and protect our trade relations for the sole national interest of sustaining our economic, providing jobs and peaceful co-existence for all nations in the Asia Pacific. Continue reading

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Killing slowly to show love

WARNING: This article contains observations which some may find disturbing.

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His country, weak or strong (Inside Story 3 August, 2020)

Xi Jinping is standing in an open military vehicle as it rolls down Beijing’s Avenue of Heavenly Peace. He greets the thousands of troops lined up on either side: “Comrades, thank you for your work!” Heads swivelling to keep their gaze on him, the soldiers shout back, “And you for your work!”

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The life and times of Robodebt and its victims

On 4 August, my article described the surprising criminal law traps which lie in wait for anyone who is robust towards Centrelink in their defence of Robodebt victims. Continue reading

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The Reagan and Thatcher legacies: sorting truth from fantasy.

Neo-Conservatives want to believe that Reagan and Thatcher achieved smaller government, lower taxes, and a booming economy. The reality, however, is very different. Continue reading

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The hindering of our efforts to control the spread of Covid-19

We face social fatigue and misconceptions about social distancing; irresponsible public behaviour; and a widespread lack of appreciation of the long-term clinical consequences of an encounter with this virus.

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Do we share the same values as the US?

No, we most certainly do not Continue reading

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Coalition toes party line between US and China (SMH, 3 August 2020)

“Don’t sell your soul for a pile of soybeans,” warned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a year ago, when Australian foreign affairs and defence ministers met their United States counterparts. Continue reading

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The RBA should stick to inflation targeting

The RBA faces an unprecedented challenge in trying to address a global recession with its main policy interest rate at the effective lower bound and the Australian economy now undergoing its first episode of year-on-year deflation in decades. Continue reading

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The courage deficit: Will Albanese die wondering?

Scott Morrison may have done Anthony Albanese a big favour by taking some time from his paterfamilial labours saving the nation from Coronavirus to engage instead in a little discreet fundraising and rallying of the coalition’s troops.

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James Murdoch’s resignation is the result of News Corp’s increasing shift to the right – not just on climate (The Conversation August 2 2020)

James Murdoch is not the most obvious candidate for editorial heroism. His route to resigning from the News Corp board because of “disagreements over certain editorial content” has been circuitous and colourful.

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We Need a Freestanding Trade Department

Our difficult relationship with China in recent years highlights once again the need for a free-standing Department of Trade, led by a very senior Minister, to ensure our trade and commercial relationships with other countries are adequately represented in any Cabinet deliberations. Continue reading

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After AUSMIN: How to Ensure Strong Ties to the US and Asia

Following the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) on 28 July, former ambassador to Washington, John McCarthy, argues our strengthening alliance with the US does not preclude building closer relations with Asia, including a potential modus vivendi with China.

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Some good news emerging from the bad

Another month, another setback – several, unfortunately. With preparations for the budget being finalised in an atmosphere of quiet desperation, COVID-19 is now clearly out of control.

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Uncle Sam grabs CCP playbook (APAC News, 3 August 2020)

The US State Department is quietly funding a Chinese-language news service in Australia, a move more typically associated with China’s state media propagandists.

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The Communist Party of China and the Idea of `Evil’ (Oxford Politics Review, April 24 2020)

Labelling an entity like the Communist Party `evil’  or bad might work polemically. But it ends up doing a massive disservice to the many Chinese still in China who are not members. Some  are deeply opposed to their government. Some are supportive. Some are in between. … But the idea that they are silent, suppressed, and without agency is profoundly condescending. Continue reading

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The Palace Letters, the Dismissal and Australian Politics

The release of the Palace letters has reopened debate about the most significant political crisis in Australia post World War 2. We have been reminded again of the unresolved trauma and passion unleashed by John Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam Government. Continue reading

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Forget the trench battles. There’s a war to be won

Scott Morrison has never been so vulnerable to fundamental attack. It is about time the Albanese army began seriously probe his defences.

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Why studying humanities is more important than ever to counter one-sided debates trend

In the age of science, technology and the obsession with faster living, studying humanities at university continue to decline. However, I believe it’s not the end for this “dying” discipline because critical thinking skills is needed more than ever to counter the rising trend of one-sided arguments, as Covid-19 has demonstrated. Continue reading

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True crime confessions – being rude to Centrelink

Last year, a Senate inquiry into RoboDebt was told that more than 2000 people died after receiving their initial RoboDebt letter, many apparently by suicide. I act for numerous RoboDebt clients.

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The Australian Government advice on travel to Hong Kong is ‘one sided, misleading, fanciful and absurd’

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade(DFAT) seems to have joined the anti China  push with misleading advice on what the new security laws mean in Hong Kong. Continue reading

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