Local lad’s strife pips looming crisis

It’s one of journalism’s nastier cynicisms: When judging news values 100 distant deaths equals ten closer to home and one in the suburb where the paper circulates.  If public contempt for the media is to be cured then The West Australian is in much need of reform. 

Continue reading

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

Oil, our sword of Damocles

Eighty percent of global oil production needs to be replaced by 2040 to meet projected demand. It is increasingly likely, particularly post COVID, that much of this oil production will not be replaced. There is an urgent and existential need to structurally reduce Australia’s oil dependence.

Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 5 Comments

Johnson’s breaking of Brexit pledge is smart-arse duplicity (Irish Times Sep 11, 2020)

Everybody knows Boris Johnson can lie for England. To his supporters, it was one of his best assets.

Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

If that’s the worst that ever happens to you…

If we want our young people to grow up resilient it is surely unwise to give any encouragement to the idea that not having a school formal to mark the end of their schooldays is a major tragedy.

Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 2 Comments

Sunday environmental round up, 13 September 2020

Per head of population Australians produce a lot of greenhouse gases but with the right support household consumption and emissions can be reduced. Unfortunately, governments are currently more enthusiastic about subsidising fossil fuels. Shipping’s emissions continue to rise. The USA’s emissions in four charts.

Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

A tit for tat with no end point (AFR Sep 10, 2020)

A get-tough policy on China with no apparent goal has left Austral as the only developed country with no media representation in the country.

Continue reading

Posted in China, Politics | 4 Comments

When Canberra ponders Beijing, Beijing may wonder the same

When some elements within Canberra express their dislike for Beijing subtly and hazard a guess at Beijing’s next step, Beijing may see Canberra’s ‘China Policy’ as being bizarre.

Continue reading

Posted in China, Politics | 4 Comments

JobKeeper recipients paying millions in bonuses to their executives, research reveals (ABC Sep 10, 2020)

At least 25 companies have paid bonuses worth a combined $24.3 million to their executives after claiming JobKeeper subsidies, an analysis of the financial reports of 290 entities on the ASX 300 has found.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

We need a standing Royal Commission to supervise our intelligence agencies (REPOST Aug 31, 2020)

We need intelligence agencies that are accountable to the community.. We  do not have  that at the moment. They duchess ministers and their parliamentary ‘supervisors’ .

We have witnessed the failure of bank regulators. Regulatory failure in the intelligence sector is even more in plain sight. The sector is really not answerable at all.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

Cuban and American healthcare (CounterPunch Sep 3, 2020)

Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy than the US while spending less than 10% per person annually on healthcare. Cuban healthcare is much better and very  much cheaper than US healthcare. Continue reading

Posted in Health | 3 Comments

The Ideology Delusion: America’s Competition With China Is Not About Doctrine (Foreign Affairs Sep 4, 2020)

Early in the Cold War, the United States faced a similar crossroads. Some figures, such as President Dwight Eisenhower, took a tough line on the Soviet Union but counseled the need to be selective in confrontations, steering US foreign policy toward selectivity and what he called the “middle way”.

Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 3 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 | 1 Comment

Media in the Asian Century. Tit for tat for journalists.

And did anyone in Canberra get the chance to tell Peter Dutton and Christian Porter that raiding some Chinese journalists, hardly deep-cover agents, might invite retaliation in kind? Was the lure of building an ALP-linked Chinese influence case, with Professor Chen Hong’s earlier work for Bob Hawke thrown in, simply too much to resist? Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 33 Comments

Planning in the age of the virus

Are we getting to the point where the public simply tunes out when one of our political leaders outlines their latest plan, or road map, or framework for the way the nation or their state will deal with the virus? Hasn’t the public seen enough – experienced enough – in the past seven or eight months to appreciate that it is almost impossible to predict what the situation will be next month, let alone in two, three or six months’ time?

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Problems with new F-35 fighter planes shouldn’t fly under the radar (Canberra Times Sep 1, 2020)

Defence gives an average price of less than $126 million for Australia’s 72 F-35s when fully delivered. But the Australian Strategy Policy Institute estimates the sustainment costs to be triple those of the F-18 fighters it replaces.

Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 10 Comments

“Help!” trumpets the elephant, “I’m being bullied by a mouse.”

The ‘elephant’ is Peter Dutton’s mega Department of Home Affairs; the ‘mouse’ is the mobile phone of an immigration detainee.

Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

Managing Perception: what’s real and what’s not

How much should we, as a nation, stress about how others perceive us – and what can we do about it?

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Avoiding military conflict and restoring Australia-PRC relations: a pragmatic way forward (Australia-China Institute Sep 4, 2020)

Never have ties between Australia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) been so estranged in the nearly five decades since Canberra and Beijing established diplomatic relations. As Geoff Raby, a former Australian ambassador to the PRC, remarked at the end of last year, the bilateral relationship is at its ‘lowest ebb’.

Continue reading

Posted in China, Politics | 10 Comments

The myth and the veterans’ problems that will not die

There are almost too many myths about Australia’s Vietnam War involvement to keep track. But one of them – that all National Service conscripts had the option of volunteering or not when about to be posted to Vietnam – is possibly the most persistent. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 7 Comments

Our intelligence agencies are out of control -An edited repost from Jan 17, 2019

 It seems likely that the prosecution by the Commonwealth Government of former spy (Witness K ) and his lawyer Bernard Collaery will be heard in closed court. What a travesty of justice this is.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

Ross Garnaut’s ‘Superpower’ case … is not impressive

The book tells us we can run everything on renewable energy and get rich exporting it. Unsurprisingly it has been met with much fanfare and enthusiasm. But on the crucial issues it either provides flimsy and unconvincing analyses or fails to deal with them at all.

Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 10 Comments

ASIO and AFP have questions to answer

ASIO and the AFP have questions to answer in the wake of reported raids on the homes and offices of Chinese journalists and a Labor backbencher.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 8 Comments

Spies are often the ‘second eleven’

 When the full history of Australia’s slide into McCarthyite hysteria over China is written there should be special mention of the role of our spy organizations – ASIO and ASIS in particular.  As someone who has worked over the years in three of the main spy-ridden hot-spots – USSR, China and Japan – I think I have had some experience. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 6 Comments

The strategic mirror: the Pentagon’s China report reveals converging power and strategy

From Australia’s perspective, the Pentagon’s 2020 Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China Report is valuable for two reasons. It reinforces the absurdity of Australia planning to participate in high-intensity conflict against China under any circumstances. Additionally, it reveals the symmetry between US and China strategic policy. Continue reading

Posted in China, World Affairs | Tagged | 5 Comments

Biden and Australia (Asia Link Sep 8, 2020)

With the polls pointing to a Joe Biden victory in the US presidential race, the stakes for Australia, and its interests in a stable Indo-Pacific, are high. Former ambassador to the United States and Asialink senior adviser John McCarthy breaks down some of the likely foreign policy trends under a Biden presidency and points to some key tests for Australia in managing a new administration in Washington.

Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

Research reveals shocking detail on how Australia’s environmental scientists are being silenced (The Conversation Sep 9, 2020)

Ecologists and conservation experts in government, industry and universities are routinely constrained in communicating scientific evidence on threatened species, mining, logging and other threats to the environment, our new research has found.

Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

Holy See response to Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission: another example of clericalist obstinance

It is almost three years since the Royal Commission inquiring into child sexual abuse recommended that the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) request from the Holy See responses on 14 matters. The Holy See responded in February 2020 with ‘observations’. Seven months later the ACBC has forwarded them to the Commonwealth Attorney-General and made them public.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 10 Comments

Freedom and protests in 2020 Australia

Where is the national outcry at the erosion of our freedom to protest?

Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 7 Comments

Who is the Rogue State in the South China Sea?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called China a rogue state. Among its alleged international sins are its policy and actions in the South China Sea.   But if China is a “rogue” state actor in the South China Sea, it is not the only one. Indeed, the U.S. has also engaged in rampant violations of the international order –including that in the South China Sea. Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

The Stalinist Trial of Julian Assange (CounterPunch Sep 7, 2020)

Having reported the long, epic ordeal of Julian Assange, John Pilger gave this address outside the Central Criminal Court in London on September 7 as the WikiLeaks Editor’s extradition hearing entered its final stage.

Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 4 Comments