The philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, the darling of contemporary conservative politics died  on  12 January 2020 aged 75. Tony Abbott is reported to have said that if John Locke is the father of western political conservatism, Roger Scruton is its contemporary intellectual son.  However, from their words and actions, it appears Tony Abbott and presumably his fellow right-wing fanatics never read, or perhaps understood, much that Scruton wrote or thought.

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ABUL RIZVI: Is Dutton Undermining Birmingham’s Tourism Campaign?

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has announced an additional $25 million to market Australia to international tourists in response to the impact of the bushfire crisis. He says this is necessary to ‘save Aussie jobs’. But his counterpart Peter Dutton has been dramatically reducing approval rates for visitor visa applications for Asian tourists. Are they not talking to each other? Continue reading

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JON BLACKWELL and KERRY GOULSTON. Aspects of Australian healthcare reform (part 1 of 3) – Some history

This is the first of three papers. It deals with the history of some healthcare reforms in NSW in 2001, their scope and outcomes. The second will comment on similar but in many ways different and more successful healthcare reforms in Denmark, which has a similar population to the Greater Metropolitan Sydney Area. The third will discuss the present difficulties in implementing meaningful healthcare reforms in Australia.

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JOHN KEANE. Australia.out of luck

Is the Lucky Country running out of luck? Natural disaster or political disaster?   Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. Words, words, words.

It is one thing for politicians to duck politically sensitive or embarrassing questions, but it is quite another when they opt for providing answers that are devoid of meaning.

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PAUL WALDMAN. There are no heroes in the Trump Administration.(Washington Post 18.1.2020)

There will be hundreds of books written about this dreadful period in our history, and one of the questions we’ll have to grapple with is this: How should we judge those around President Trump? The ones who helped him, who enabled him, or even just failed to stand up to him?

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JOHN DWYER. The lack of truth in Medicine and Science.

Opioid addiction is pervasive  and growing rapidly. Medicine and Science are threatened by the phenomenon. Continue reading

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WENDY HAYHURST. Why adequate and affordable housing matters to productivity

A growing body of research is demonstrating the adverse productivity impacts of inadequate or unaffordable housing in Australia (and elsewhere). Continue reading

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MARK BUCKLEY. Waiting for the Replay

Scott Morrison is now having to deal with the two very distinct wings of his party, as they gird themselves for the culture war which will probably erupt at any moment. This culture war will not be about indigenous history, or the date of Australia Day, or even immigration. It is about climate change. Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 19 January 2020

Excess heat will be responsible for 8.5 million deaths per year by 2100. Russia possibly developing plans for adaptation to climate change but Australian politicians continue to rage against the dying of the coal-generated light while investors flee coal companies. Meanwhile an Australian hero works for a just transition.

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

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CHRIS DENNIS. A burning country.

Our country hangs its head in shame. Continue reading

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DAVID SOLOMON.- Morrison’s scary words on deployment of troops..

Although you can no longer believe everything Scott Morrison says, its necessary to take everything he says seriously and examine his utterances carefully – just in case in a particular instance he will follow through on what he has said. Continue reading

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IAN WEBSTER.- Advocacy is hard going against the alcohol lobby.

It is a loss powerfully felt,but subdued. Not by politicians or the alcohol industry, but by doctors and nurses in the clinics and rehab. centres. The highly respected Michael Thorn has departed from the Foundation for Alcohol  Research and Education(FARE) as the CEO. What is the real story? Continue reading

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JOHN TAN. Zuckerberg is right, isn’t he?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly under intense pressure in the US to curb political advertisements on its pages. Who might be running such a campaign and for what reasons? Perhaps the answer lies in the gap between rhetoric and reality. Continue reading

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KEVIN TOLHURST.- We have already had countless bushfire inquiries (The Conversation 16.1.2020)

As our country battles the most extensive fires of our lifetime, there are increasing calls for a royal commission into the states and territories’ preparedness and the federal government’s response to the disaster. Continue reading

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GHADA KARMI.- Palestinian Rights.(LRB 5.12.2019)

A Palestinian State-Constantly Dangled, Endlessly Receding

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RAMESH THAKUR. The half-century miracle of Asian resurgence (Japan Times 6-1-20)

Is Japan Asian? Geographically, this is a silly question. Yet in an age in which identity politics have become increasingly critical, by economic logic, political orientation and geopolitical alliance, Japan is Western. Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. – This is how you do it to appear genuine.

While Scott Morrison was saying it was fortunate no-one had died on Kangaroo Island and forcing people to shake his hand another PM quietly, and without seeking publicity, showed him how he should be behaving. Continue reading

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PATRICK COCKBURN.-Blundering into War(LRB 2.1.2020)

 What Trump doesn’t know about Iran Continue reading

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DAVID BENTLEY HART. ‘The Enchantments of Mammon’ (A book review)

Capitalism is the coldest and most stupefying of idolatries: a faith that has forsaken the sacral understanding of creation as something charged with God’s grandeur, flowing from the inexhaustible wellsprings of God’s charity, in favor of an entirely opposed order of sacred attachments Continue reading

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JON STANFORD: Second rate leadership Part 2 of 4: Defence  

Australia is now a confident, wealthy nation that has the right to expect its leaders to rise above the second rate.” Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Alliance management ” It’s the elections now…stupid”!

The New Year has confirmed that the US Presidential election cycle is up and running and will pick up speed soon to dominate all forms of political discussion in the US until November. To paraphrase that old American cliché : “ It’s the elections stupid!” Continue reading

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PETER RODGERS: Human rights in Xinjiang and Gaza.(A Repost 22.10.2019)

US and Australian responses to China’s maltreatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and Israel’s blockade of Gaza reveal glaring double standards. But no worse perhaps than those of many Muslim states hungry for China’s largesse.  Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Our aggressive and violent ally is perpetually at war. An update from 9.8.2019

There is growing concern about Chinese ‘influence’. At the same time we seem unconcerned that we have ceded much of our defence and foreign policy autonomy to the United States. Chinese influence is minor compared with the control that we have ceded to the US and Donald Trump.That US control has  led us to  one disaster after another. Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Iran: The military track Military from Hybrid war to Denouement

What we are likely to witness, this year or later, is the 4th Iraq War – a process of reorienting the Levant around ideologically and sectarian driven forces and the undoing of the British-French (Sykes-Picot) colonial compact of 1916 (already well and truly undermined). Continue reading

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TERRY LAIDLER. Stop the Fires

The old paradigm we used for “fighting” fires has failed. The new paradigm has to be that we decide to “Stop the Fires” and the new question is not how do we contain or manage them or wait them out. It is: “How do we put these fires out?” Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. How good are Royal Commissions?

Morrison’s call for a Royal Commission on matters related to the bushfires is puzzling. It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that it was a thought bubble exuding from the advisors of a Prime Minster under great pressure. For the government there would seem to be little upside. Continue reading

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RODNEY TIFFEN. The Murdoch Press and the Bushfires

The disastrous summer of bushfires has not been easy for Scott Morrison, but the News Corp newspapers have also had trouble rising to the challenge. Continue reading

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JOHN KERIN: Reform and the ALP

Australia’s oldest political Party, the ALP, is becoming ossified in its structure and totally resistant to reform. It also has many other challenges in representing today’s Australia as a progressive party. Continue reading

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