DUNCAN GRAHAM. PM in gaffe-strewn Indonesian TV interview

Scott Morrison has given a rambling error-littered interview to Indonesian TV where he fudged the figures of casualties in the 2002 Bali bomb blast. The Prime Minister told English-speaking journalist Andini Effendi that “more Indonesians were killed than Australians” when the reverse is true. The official final death toll of 202 men and women in the 12 October terrorist attack was 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, 23 Britons and 53 from other nations.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Media | 1 Comment

MOUIN RABBANI. Jerusalem and the Trump administration

In December 2017, the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump upended seventy years of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In doing so, it also effectively recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the city. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | Leave a comment

MARK BUCKLEY. Voters of Australia You’re doing it all Wrong

These days, in the dumbed–down media, there are often articles which tell the reader she has been brushing her hair wrongly, or he has been cutting the avocado incorrectly. I thought I would explain to the voters of Australia just where they got it so terribly wrong. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. We have surrendered our sovereignty to a very dangerous and violent ally. An update

As China reasserts its historical world role, its influence will grow in Australia and elsewhere. But that influence is minimal compared with the US which has ‘agents of influence’ thick on the ground in Australia. Our media ,including the ABC, is saturated with US content and a large part of it is controlled by an American citizen with close ties to Donald Trump. We have a reasonable degree of domestic political autonomy despite foreign ownership of our major companies but we have ceded effective foreign and defence  power to the US military,industrial and intelligence complex. All our major political parties are happy to maintain our quasi colonial status.

Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 8 Comments

JOHN CARLIN. Let Them Shoot Themselves

Boris Johnson will go down in history, not as a Churchill he so much admires, but the prime minister who led his country into humiliation and global irrelevance. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

GILL HOFFMAN, KHALED ABU TOAMEH, OMRI NAHMIAS. Netanyahu Vows to Annex All Settlements, Starting with Jordan Valley (Jerusalem Post 11-9-19)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that if reelected, he will apply sovereignty over all settlements in Judea and Samaria, starting with the Jordan Valley. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

Chris Mills: When the Wind Blows, Water Flows

This is the paradox: as towns run out of potable water, our livestock and crops die, and water to fight infernos dries up, how can a Nation ‘girt by sea’ use unlimited volumes of sea water to slake a parched land? Wind and solar generated electricity costs have continued to decline, facilitating economic desalination of sea water and operation of water-pumping as an essential component of Australia’s response to the deleterious effects of climate change and climbing temperatures. Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 3 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Proud to be dumb.

David Littleproud has a somewhat unwieldy title – Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disasters and Emergency Management. But, keeping it simple, he is happy to live up to his name: he knows very little, and is bloody  well proud about it. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. The Afghanistan failure

President Trump’s muddled and reactive approach to foreign and strategic policy regularly distracts the media and commentators away from the geopolitical consequences of America’s actions under his stewardship. The coverage of the negotiations with the Taliban and proposed withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is a perfect example. After eighteen years of war the US is understandably keen to extricate themselves from a costly conflict. When they do peace will continue to elude the Afghans. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

JACK WATERFORD. Politics and the rustle of folding money (Canberra Times 13-9-19)

I wouldn’t hang a dog on the evidence so far assembled in support of the proposition that Gladys Liu, Liberal MP for Chisholm, is an active agent of the Chinese government, engaged in nefarious and illegal activities against Australia. On the other hand, one cannot help cynically feeling that were Ms Liu to be accused, in China with similar evidence to that presented here of being an agent for Australia, she would probably be summarily convicted and shot. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. ‘Things you learn along the way’.

Occasionally friends suggest to me that I should write my autobiography.  Ruefully I explain that I wrote ‘Things you learn along the way’ twenty years ago. The book sold about 8,000 copies but as far as I know is no longer available. 

The book covers many aspects of my life: The early days as a footloose son of the Methodist manse;  seven years in the ‘wilderness’ working for Gough Whitlam in Opposition;  working for Rupert Murdoch in his better days;  Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet to both Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, including the Dismissal;  enjoyable family days in Japan as Ambassador;  the most meaningful job of my life as Secretary of the Immigration Department during the Indochina Refugee Program;  and a few years at Qantas where I found that Directors and my views were not necessarily the same.  

See link below if you are interested in reading.  (link also on home page ‘about John Menadue’.)

   ‘Things you learn along the way’.

Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Reviews | 5 Comments

JOHN ENGLISH. Canada goes to the polls: “It can’t happen here”.

Looking south as Canadians must and can do invariably provokes the comment, “It can’t happen here.” But it already has. While Donald Trump certainly cannot be replicated, the nativist, populist, and authoritarian tendencies of American Republicans have often appeared in Canada. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

KIM WINGEREI. Defining bribery is more important than an ICAC

As much as we should welcome the long overdue Federal ICAC, without redefining what should be the limitations of political influence it will be another toothless body which will struggle for relevance and fail in its intent.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS. Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities: Trump “Locked and Loaded”?

Whatever the real story behind the damaging attacks on the Saudi oil facilities, tensions in the Gulf and Middle East more widely have been significantly elevated. US attempts to engage the Iranians in direct and secret dialogue to try to wind back the US “extreme pressures” on Iran which Trump had claimed were underway when questioned about French President Macron’s attempt at mediation are clearly in jeopardy. Whether Trump’s tweeted threat that the US was “locked and loaded” to respond militarily to the attacks heightens concerns about further escalation in the Gulf area have yet to be seen.

Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | Comments Off on MACK WILLIAMS. Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities: Trump “Locked and Loaded”?

ABUL RIZVI: Morrison’s Mixed Messages on Migration

A string of immigration related articles in The Australian on 5 September 2019 and on 7 September 2019 again dutifully conveyed the Government’s mixed messages on immigration policy without asking a single question about the inherent inconsistencies and loss of control over Australia’s visa system. The Government continues to promote three very separate messages on immigration to three separate constituencies. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Refugees, Immigration | Comments Off on ABUL RIZVI: Morrison’s Mixed Messages on Migration

MUNGO MACCALLUM. How good is Gladys?

According to Scott Morrison, Gladys Liu is the most innocent of innocent bystanders — a naïve and trusting immigrant, embroiled in a brutal conspiracy engineered by the evil inquisitors of the Labor Party. The worst that can be said is that she slipped (or more likely was entrapped) over an interview in which she was a little clumsy about her relationship with communist Chinese controlled bodies working in Australia. But she has issued a statement (or had it issued for her) clearing all that up, so nothing to see here. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Kashmir: the international dimension (Strategist 10 Sep 2019)

India’s decision last month to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy and statehood, break it into two union territories and merge them fully with the Indian union caught everyone unawares. The changes give effect to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s vision of India as one nation and one people under one constitution. Indians have reacted with jubilation (majority), concern at the lack of consultation and the military lockdown in Kashmir (many), and criticism of the threat to Kashmir’s cultural identity, especially if India’s sole Muslim-majority state’s demographic balance is altered (minority). Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | Comments Off on RAMESH THAKUR. Kashmir: the international dimension (Strategist 10 Sep 2019)

TSUYOSHI MINAMI. Are Japan and China really getting along? (East Asia Forum 7 Sep 2019)

Following the 2019 Osaka G20 summit, Japan–China relations appear to have entered a new period. While improved Japan–China ties are in the national interests of both countries, the ongoing US trade war with China is beginning to have significant effects on the relationship. Can Japan and China continue to improve relations? What benefits does this rapprochement offer the two countries? Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | Comments Off on TSUYOSHI MINAMI. Are Japan and China really getting along? (East Asia Forum 7 Sep 2019)

VICTOR GAETEN. Pope Francis’ Holy Diplomacy in Ukraine (UCA News 5-9-19)

Why Washington and the Vatican Don’t See Eye to Eye Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM. Indonesia’s Dr Strangelove takes final flight

Indonesia’s fourth president, the late Abdurrahman ‘Gus Dur’ Wahid, was never short of a quip.

“First president (Soekarno, who had nine wives) was crazy about women. The second (Soeharto, who allegedly stole US$35 billion) was crazy about money.  The third (Habibie) is just crazy.”  Assessing himself, Wahid added:  “I just drive people crazy.” Continue reading

Posted in Asia | Comments Off on DUNCAN GRAHAM. Indonesia’s Dr Strangelove takes final flight

LESLEY RUSSELL. Where is the Focus on Rural Health?

It is unfair and poor public policy that mortality and morbidity rates in rural Australia are significantly worse than those in metropolitan areas. There is an urgent need for a National Rural Health Strategy, accompanied by a sustained increase in funding, workforce and other resources, to address this growing health and healthcare disparity.

Continue reading

Posted in Health | Comments Off on LESLEY RUSSELL. Where is the Focus on Rural Health?

PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 15 September 2019

A focus on the economic aspects of climate change this week: business-as-usual will reduce global GDP but climate action is blocked by potential financial losers; the Adani mine is viable only because of massive government subsidies, while in India investment in coal facilities is plummeting; and hydrogen power seems to have some answers for Australia if the right investments are made. To combat the heat island effect, Singapore is going green.

Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 4 Comments

SATURDAY’s GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Roger Scott. A Response to ‘Trust Me, I’m an Expert’

The podcast ‘Trust Me, I’m An Expert (10 September) is one of The Conversation’s rare forays into Queensland politics. It is a podcast from a much-valued series of gatherings held regularly at the Avid Reader bookshop in Brisbane’s West End. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

WASHINGTON POST Editorial Board. John Bolton’s legacy: Chaos, dysfunction and no meaningful accomplishment (11-9-19)

Apparently Mr. Bolton was picked because Mr. Trump had enjoyed watching him on television. The result was to compound the chaos that has characterized the administration’s foreign policy and left Mr. Trump without meaningful accomplishments. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Comments Off on WASHINGTON POST Editorial Board. John Bolton’s legacy: Chaos, dysfunction and no meaningful accomplishment (11-9-19)

FLAVIA BELLIENI ZIMMERMANN. Lula’s Interview in the Light of the Amazon Fires (Australian Outlook, 3 Sep 2019)

Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro made international headlines for all the wrong reasons. He publicly denied reports released by Brazil’s Space Agency (INPE), which indicated a steady rise in the Amazon’s deforestation, and then subsequently sacked the institute’s director Professor Ricardo Magnus Osorio Galvao. Bolsonaro replaced Professor Galvao with a former Airforce officer. The Brazilian president argued holding “suspicion” that Professor Galvao was “acting on behalf of some environmental NGO.” Then raging wildfires started sweeping through the Amazon’s rainforest, confirming INPE’s satellite evidence and fears of illegal logging, encroaching crop and livestock farming, gold mining and illegal occupations of Amazon’s indigenous reserves. In a controversial twist, the far-right president suggested that NGOs were behind the Amazon fires to embarrass the Brazilian government internationally, offering no evidence to back up his claims. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | Comments Off on FLAVIA BELLIENI ZIMMERMANN. Lula’s Interview in the Light of the Amazon Fires (Australian Outlook, 3 Sep 2019)

JAMES CHAPPEL. Weigel’s ‘Irony of Modern Catholic History’ in review.

The pope is far less in control of his flock than most people realize. This has always been the case: no leader in history, let alone one in charge of a billion people across the globe, has been able to claim absolute obedience. It is especially true, though, of Pope Francis, and especially true in the United States. Here, the standard-issue neglect of papal missives coincides with a well-financed effort to conquer the Catholic public sphere in the name of clerical conservatism and libertarian economics. Over the centuries, popes have had to deal with all manner of challenges to their rule, including military ones. And while some of those were devastating to the church, perhaps none were as corrosive as this one to the world the church calls home.

Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

RYAN MANUEL. The Hong Kong Government is as Leaderless as the Protesters (Foreign Policy, 5 September 2019)

A distant Beijing and a shifting protest movement make it hard to sit down at the bargaining table.

Bruce Lee didn’t like conventional fighting styles, finding them too rigid. Instead, like jazz musicians with their scales, he took his many years of repetitive training in various martial arts and riffed on them to try and take people by surprise, hitting them hard from odd angles. He was a street fighter, not a prizefighter. Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 4 Comments

CÉSAR RODRIGUÉZ GARAVITO. Bolsonaro is a Regional Threat

President Bolsonaro of Brazil is behind a policy of clearing the Amazon rainforest for more cattle farming and agriculture. He claims that this is a matter for Brazil and no one else. The Amazon basin does not just belong to Brazil. Parts of it are in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. The Amazon rainforest influences the weather patterns throughout the whole of South America. More importantly it is a significant source of carbon capture for the whole world. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

BEN EHRENREICH. The End of the Frontier Myth. – America can no longer run from its past (The Guardian 31-7-19)

The idea of the frontier in US history has been one of endless promise, but the reality has involved violence, even genocide. As this powerful study argues, its latest incarnation is Trump’s wall.

Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 4 Comments