Saturday’s good reading and listening for the weekend

What people in other forums are saying about public policy


 The pandemic’s progress

How far is Victoria’s catastrophe spreading?

The data for Victoria looks frightening, and the number of new cases is still growing, but it’s a much slower growth than in the early phases of the outbreak. In the four weeks up to July 7  it was growing at 14.5 per cent a day or doubling every five days.

Until a few days ago there was no indication of exponential growth in New South Wales. Authorities would be watching the growth over the last week with anxiety, however.  The graph below is the same as the graph above, but for New South Wales only, with a very different Y axis.

The main message is that low absolute case numbers can lead to complacency: 19 cases a day in a state of 8 million doesn’t sound much, but it’s the rate of growth that should trigger action.

Unfortunately, as illustrated by Melbourne’s situation, it’s only once deaths start appearing that the media and politicians pay the situation adequate attention. In early July it should have been clear to managers and policymakers concerned with nursing home residents that a serious problem lay ahead. People’s failure to understand basic high-school mathematics has had terrible consequences.

Will New South Wales suffer the same experience as Victoria?  Authorities in that state can rightly say that out of the 222 cases shown on that graph they have been able to trace the origin of all but 11 – a credit to their contact-tracing.  But simply knowing the origin of cases is of little use once the virus spreads faster than contract tracers can work.

As for other states, both South Australia and Queensland have ones and twos of unquarantined new cases, traceable to combinations of idiocy and criminality.  And the rest of Australia remains essentially Covid-19 free.

But that hasn’t quelled the voices of greed and political opportunism seeking, on constitutional grounds, to prevent state governments from using state borders as quarantine control lines.

That case is being pursued by Clive Palmer. Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, has described him as a “very selfish and self-centred person” for his constitutional challenge, and “as a menace to Australia” after he described the pandemic as a media “beat up”.  More extraordinarily, the Commonwealth has joined Palmer’s case.  Attorney-General Porter claims that the Commonwealth intervention “is not about any great love or any great dislike for Clive Palmer”, but it should be remembered that the Coalition almost certainly owes its re-election to Palmer’s campaign last year. Court documents filed on Friday reveal that the Commonwealth, rather than helping clarify the constitutional situation, has actually intervened in support of Palmer and therefore against the Western Australian Government.

The Coalition is indebted to Palmer and they don’t under-estimate his Trumpian political power. It is notable that, in spite of the tremendous support McGowan has for his government’s handling of the virus, retiring Finance Minister and Western Australian Senator Mathias Cormann has publicly taken sides with Palmer.

Country curves

The main change since last week has been a rise in cases in the EU, but it’s far from uniform.  There are two regions with high daily case rates – Bulgaria and Romania in southeast Europe, and the holiday destinations Spain and Portugal.  Otherwise daily new case rates are generally below 20 per million population, but they are slowly rising in the large western European countries – France, Germany and Italy.

In the USA the daily case rate is around 200 per million, but this is a national average – rates are much higher in Texas, Florida and California.  Florida’s rate is around 500 daily cases per million.  That rate applied to Melbourne would equate to about 2 500 cases daily.

One country to watch is Japan. In spite of light regulations it has had very little Covid-19 virus, but cases are now rising. The daily case rate is still low – 7 new cases per million, a rate that wouldn’t show up on the graph, but the rate of increase it high.

Achieving compliance

We know how to stop the virus spreading.  But why don’t we abide by the rules and why do we ignore good advice?

On the ABC’s Saturday Extra Geraldine Doogue interviewed Jolanda Jetten, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Queensland and Dougal Sutherland of the School of Psychology at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, on the psychology of compliance. We are inconsistent in the ways we comply with advice and directions. We’re more likely to wear a mask on public transport than in a supermarket, for example.

Sutherland points out that New Zealand’s success owes much to the message from their prime minister and from their health officials – that “we’re all in this together”, and the clear target of elimination (a contrast with our own prime minister’s approach).

There is an often-expressed belief that we are suffering “compliance fatigue” – a claim sometimes used by those who argue that compliance is pointless – but Jetten’s research finds no evidence to support the idea of compliance fatigue. (It’s more likely that we just want to get through the pain of harsh compliance as quickly as possible, rather than spinning it out in weak partial shutdowns.)

On the same program Geraldine Doogue interviewed Huong Le Thu of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on Vietnam’s Covid success. There is no one explanation for its extraordinary achievement – three months without community transmission. It acted early (in January), it has had experience with SARS, the government has communicated clearly, and for many years Vietnamese have been using masks as protection against air pollution. There is a high level of trust in the government’s advice.  (We shouldn’t confuse trust on technical matters with affection.)

And for those who work on the logic that their own chance of contracting Covid-19 is tiny, and that their chance of passing it on is even lower, Daniel Muñoz of Monash University has an article on the ABC website: COVID-19, masks and moral mathematics. It’s a reminder of the consequences of the risks of events with very low probability and extremely costly outcomes. “The pandemic has effectively made us all into ‘nuclear engineers’: the responsibility for risk-reduction falls on everyone” he writes. He also reminds us of the incremental but significant grossed-up benefits of minor interventions, such as wearing masks.

Information sources

These are on a separate website.

One particularly informative article on the Harvard site is about progress on vaccines: Vaccines may arrive in record time, but the virus has been faster. It describes the work involved and the questions to be answered in the Phase 3 trials as vaccines are tested on larger groups. It also warns that once a vaccine is available health authorities will have to overcome anti-vaccination suspicions among significant minority groups – groups who themselves may be particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of Covid-19.


Closing the Gap

On Thursday the National Agreement on Closing the Gap came into effect.  A starting point for readers is  the closingthegap.gov.au site, which leads you to a summary: At a glance.  That will lead you to the four priority reforms, each of which can be expanded to spell out responsibilities. To get to the specifics you will need to look at the full agreement. From Page 16 to 35 of that document are listed 16 socio-economic targets, each specifying a desired outcome, a date, a quantifiable target, supporting indicators, and requirements for disaggregation on age, gender, region and so on. For example:

Outcome 5: Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander students achieve their full learning potential.

Target 5: By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (age 20-24) attaining year 12 or equivalent qualification to 96 per cent.

Outcome 10: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not overrepresented in the criminal justice system.

Target 10: By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults held in incarceration by at least 15 per cent.

As yet there is little comment from non-official sources, but the Guardian’s Lorena Adams reports on an interview with Pat Turner, the Coalition of Peaks’ lead convener: ‘A real turning point’: new Closing the Gap agreement to move beyond targets. Turner sees the priority reforms as the most important aspects of the agreement.


The Australian economy

Why recessions are hard on the young

The Productivity Commission has published a staff working paper Climbing the jobs ladder slower: young people in a weak labour market.  It examines how young people fared after the GFC in 2008, comparing the employment paths of people aged 20 to 34 with those of people aged 35 to 64. By the authors’ measures, recovery in employment prospects for the younger group took two years longer people than for the older group, and their prospects of full-time employment were considerably poorer. To quote from the authors:

We show that from 2008 to 2018, young people had more difficulty getting jobs in the occupations they aspired to. And if they started in a less attractive occupation, it was even harder than before 2008 to climb the occupation ladder. This suggests that poor initial opportunities could have serious long-term consequences.

By all indicators the current recession will be even tougher on young people than the GFC was.

Inflation – nothing to see, really

On Wednesday the ABS published the consumer price index for the June quarter, showing a 1.9 per cent fall for the quarter and a 0.3 per cent fall for the year. But it would be wrong to interpret this as an outbreak of deflation. The fall is due to one-off factors – the government’s temporary provision of free child care and low gasoline prices during the survey period. Also, the ABS used a disputable way of treating the cost of education as people took up home schooling. If you click through to the measure that excludes these items and to their trimmed mean measure that removes volatile items, you will see that quarterly consumer inflation is about zero for the quarter – well below the RBA’s desired two to three per cent, but it isn’t deflation.

Who taught Frydenberg his woeful grasp of economics?

Jim Kable, a Pearls and Irritations, posed that question in a comment on last Saturday’s roundup.

Frydenberg’s qualifications are listed as BEc Monash, LLB Monash, M Phil Oxford, MPA Harvard. That’s an impressive array for a senior minister in a political party that generally shows contempt for learning, and has produced treasurers of outstanding mediocrity – Billy Snedden, John Howard and Peter Costello come to mind.  It’s a wonder that Frydenberg ever got pre-selection.

In his time at Oxford and Harvard he would have studied in the company of scholars for whom the regimes of Thatcher and Reagan were lived experiences and who understood the damage they have inflicted on their economies. In Britain’s case Thatcher’s brutal approach to transforming the economy has left a legacy of entrenched regional poverty and resentment among those “left behind”, leading to a reaction against any further modernisation and a retreat to nativist politics. In America’s case so-called “supply side economics” (aka “trickle down” economics) set the country on its way to its present economic mess.  And no, Reagan didn’t manage to cut taxes: they rose to feed the demands of the country’s insatiable military, but he did manage to emasculate the capacity of the country’s public services.

That provides context to Frydenberg’s performance on the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday night, when, in concluding his interview with David Speers, he heaped lavish praise on Thatcher and Reagan. Had it come from a less informed person we might have assumed that it was just a Coalition cheer for the 1980s heroes of the neoliberal right, but it came from someone who understood their policies: here he was enthusiastically embracing their philosophies. He concluded with the statement “… the reality is that Thatcher and Reagan cut red tape and cut taxes and they delivered stronger economies”. Unless he dozed off through his time at Oxford and Harvard, he would have known these claims to be false.

Paul Bongiorno wrote about Thatcher and Reagan in the New Daily –  Following Josh Frydenberg’s yesterday’s heroes is the last thing Australia needs:

Both leaders set a framework of widening social inequality that fed enormous resentment, sowing the seeds for the disruptions of Brexit in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in America.

It’s informative to watch the Insiders interview. For the first fifteen minutes Frydenberg is the disciplined Coalition myrmidon, holding to his brief about jobs, labour market deregulation and retraining (note the absence of any mention of the need for structural reform).  Then, in the last two minutes (skip to 15:00 if you want to be spared the Coalition mantra), he breaks into his hagiography for Thatcher and Reagan.

The last thing Australia needs is a tax cut – but the government is determined to give us one

Also writing in the New Daily Michael Pascoe focuses on Frydenberg’s enthusiasm for Reagan’s economic policies, particularly his enthusiasm for cutting taxes. The Reagan-Thatcher fan club: It’s all about the tax cuts.We have tried them in Australia and they don’t work: “however much top tax rates have been cut (and they’ve been cut a lot), it will never be considered enough”.  He goes on to describe the rest of the failed Thatcher-Reagan program, quoting liberally from Roger Beale’s contribution in Pearls and Irritations.

Are we approaching peak privatisation?

Writing in the Canberra Times, Per Capita Research Fellow  Osmond Chiu points out that state governments, Labor and Coalition, have been quietly bringing once-privatised businesses back into the public sector: One of the biggest open secrets in Australian public policy. He provides examples – prisons, hospitals, water utilities – where governments have reversed privatisations. The reasons are diverse, but in general they are because policymakers have come to realise that “the private sector does not inherently deliver better outcomes for the community than the public sector”.  These examples blow away the myth that privatisation, once done, is irreversible.

A farewell to coal

A transition to renewable energy is inevitable and there’s not much point in resisting it. By 2040 we can expect 15 Gigawatts, 63 per cent of present coal-fired generators, to be retired, and 26 Gigawatts of new grid-scale wind or solar capacity to be installed.  That’s a key conclusion of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2020 Integrated System Plan.  It also provides details of necessary investments in new transmission lines to cope with the changed fuel mix and growing demand. It’s not only about big investments: it also sees a large growth in distributed photovoltaic resources and battery storage.

It sees a possible role for gas, both open-cycle turbines (responsive with high emissions) and combined-cycle (steady supply and with comparatively lower emissions), but it warns those who see gas as the ideal transition fuel (the Commonwealth Government’s National Covid-19 Commission Advisory Board comes to mind) that the viability of such investments is dependent on the rising price of gas and the falling cost of battery storage.

Renew Economy provides a summary of the plan: World’s fastest energy transition: AEMO maps path to 94 per cent renewables, with quotes from AEMO CEO Audrey Zibelman: “We are at a position where the existing coal fleet is coming to an end of its technical life and is going to retire.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation has issued a press release Energy market operator confirms demise of coal and no need for more gas, calling on the Commonwealth to support the AEMO’s plan for a rapid transition of the energy system “with clear policies and strategic investment in renewable energy, battery storage, dispatchable pumped hydro and new transmission infrastructure”.

Stop confusing government with the welfare state

“Small government” has been the right’s enduring slogan, as if the case for a smaller public sector is so self-evident that it doesn’t have to be explained or justified. But it’s important to distinguish between two types of government activity. One is provision of public goods and support of public institutions, while the other is provision of distributive welfare.

Writing in Project Syndicate East Asia’s New Edge – Kishore Mahbubani explains why East Asian countries have done much better than most western countries in handling the pandemic and in getting their economies to recover.  He offers three explanations:

First, none of the East Asian states believe that they have “arrived,” much less achieved the “end of history” at which they regard their societies as being the apotheosis of human possibility. Second, East Asian countries have long invested in strengthening government institutions instead of trying to weaken them, and this is now paying off. And, third, China’s spectacular rise is presenting its regional neighbors with opportunities as well as challenges.

That’s where the distinction between the two different roles of government comes in. East Asian governments spend sparingly on distributive welfare, but they invest in and support public institutions. They see government as a productive enterprise, not as some unproductive overhead. Mahbubani points out that the term “good governance” has become an oxymoron in America, a country that has been weakened by its “small government” obsession.

(In the book Governomics: can we afford small government? is a description of the destructive feedback process to which Mahbubani alludes. The more right-wing governments squeeze public institutions and cut services, the more they weaken the economy, which means that they have to spend more on distributive welfare, further diverting expenditure away from public institutions and services …)


Australian politics

A letter to all Australians

Normally we simply provide links to what people are writing and saying, but the letter to all Australians from the Commission for the Human Future is concise enough to be reproduced in its entirety:

As nations worldwide deal with the economic consequences of their battle with the coronavirus, it’s time to change direction so that humanity can survive and thrive far into the future. We cannot go back to business as usual.

The coronavirus crisis, with its economic and social impacts, can be seen as a dress rehearsal for what awaits us. Unless we take unified preventative action urgently, we will continue to be caught napping by ten catastrophic threats, including destructive changes in climate, serious shortages of water and other critical resources, pervasive pollution, the growing danger of nuclear war and the mass extinction of species.

The world, its governments, corporations and people, are unprepared for these risks because we have constantly ignored, in some cases for decades, well-substantiated warnings about them from science. As a result, as surely as the coronavirus followed last summer’s bushfires, we face crisis piling upon unanticipated crisis at an ever-increasing rate.

This MUST change. Hoping to relax back into the way we were is not an option. Societies have already demonstrated unexpected willingness to adjust behaviour, in ways they probably never imagined, in response to the pandemic.

The catastrophic risks we face, the policy pathways we must consider and some of the solutions to individual risks are described in the report “Surviving and Thriving in the 21st Century” by the Commission for the Human Future.

We call on all governments, industries and people to join together in developing a national dialogue, sound policies and a concrete plan for surviving and thriving amid the mounting dangers that beset humanity.

We can and must move in a new direction to ensure a positive future for our children and theirs.

If you follow the Commission’s link you can see a list of some of the 1600 people who have already signed the letter, including the Commission’s Chair John Hewson, and add your signature if you wish.

Why have Marise Payne and Linda Reynolds gone to Washington – now of all times?

Our government’s first foreign excursion since Covid-19 broke out sees Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds travelling to Washington to meet Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and others at the annual AusMin talks in Washington.

On the ABC RN Breakfast program Hugh White of ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre warns that Pompeo is trying to draw Australia into aligning itself strongly with the US, putting Australia’s interests at risk in order to preserve US leadership in Asia: Australia aligns itself more closely with US in strategic rivalry with China.  Australia’s foreign policy has generally been that we don’t have to choose between the US and China, but the Trump administration is pressuring us to choose. (8 minutes)

Also speaking on ABC Radio, with Linda Mottram on PM, Michael Wesley of the University of Melbourne queries why the ministers are so eager to go to Washington at this time. He fears that “hawks within the government have increasing sway over foreign policy”. We risk being drawn into an anti-China push that has more to do with Trump’s re-election prospects than with America’s foreign interests, let alone our interests. He warns that if Biden wins the presidency we risk being left with a Trumpian-fashioned hostile relationship to China while the US itself re-establishes a normal relationship. Our interests would be best served by lying low until January: Risks if Australia backs the US hard line on China. (5 minutes)

(It turns out that the ministers’ visit did not lead to wholehearted support for America’s challenges to China in the South China Sea. But it did lead to an agreement that we would hold fuel reserves for the US military in Darwin, mirroring the agreement earlier crafted by the Morrison Government that the Americans would hold Australia’s fuel reserves on their soil. Go figure!)

Having a say in stemming greenhouse gas emissions

Under consideration by the New South Wales Government is the Narrabri coal seam gas project in the Pilliga forest region. The proposed project would extract 73 petajoules of gas every year from 850 gas wells. That’s equivalent to around half of all gas demand in New South Wales according to the proposal put forward by Santos.

As explained by Ketan Joshi, writing for the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility – Everything toxic about Australian climate inaction contained with the Narrabri Gas Project – the project is part of the Commonwealth’s plan to use gas as a transition fuel for electricity generation, rather than moving directly to renewable resources. Gas is less polluting than coal, but its benefits over coal are minor when emissions associated with extracting are considered and when it is used in inefficient open-cycle electricity generators as proposed by the Commonwealth.

Santos’s proposal is currently under consideration by the New South Wales Government, which is reported to be strongly in favour of the project. The Government’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC) is currently holding public hearings on the project, and quite apart from the wider issues of CO2 emissions from using gas to generate electricity, it seems that the company, in its environmental impact statement, may have significantly understated the project’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions – basically by using selective samples from its exploratory wells.

A Pearls and Irritations reader has drawn our attention to the appearance before the IPC inquiry by Dr Andrew Grogan, an engineer whose PhD was in CO2 processes in underground reservoirs. (Earlier this year he wrote about the project in Michael West Media: Cherry-Picking: Santos selects convenient data to deflect Narrabri gas challenge). In his 18 minute appearance before the IPC he demolishes the company’s assertion that it would reduce gas prices (it wouldn’t – gas prices are set by reference to export prices), and he shows how the project’s gas emissions may be three times higher than claimed in its environmental impact statement.

The IPC is holding further hearings today, 1 August, which you can watch online (one of the benefits of our adaptation to the virus), and the Climate Council has a website briefly describing the project and inviting people to add their names to their submission to be made to the IPC.

More on John Kerr – his journey across the political spectrum

Writing in Crikey, Guy Rundle has been running a series of articles on John Kerr, covering not only the events around his dismissal of the Whitlam Government, but also biographical details of his intellectual and public life. Rundle describes his reputation as a student: “He was the man who had read everything, particularly in sociology and history; Marx, Lenin, Nietzsche, Spengler, Sorel, Hegel, Pareto, the works”, and “… though he never joined the Communist Party he was part of a louche group of fellow travellers who would form the nucleus of a Sydney set”.

Yes, this is the same John Kerr that was to go on to dismiss the Whitlam Government because it had swung too far to the left, as Rundle outlines.

Rundle’s masterly-crafted essays lie behind Crikey’s paywall, but on Phillip Adams Late Night Live on Wednesday night he covers much of that content in a 20-minute interview: Did Kerr sack Whitlam for the Americans?. (His essays are still worth a read if you’re a Crikey subscriber.)


Politics elsewhere

The threat of war, but not as we know it – it’s time to re-write von Clausewitz

On the ABC’s Big Ideas Paul Barclay speaks with counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen on security threats to the west.  Kilcullen, author of The dragons and the snakes, outlines what could be described as an ecological theory of conflict and cooperation. The west (the USA and its allies) are the “dragons” – technologically advanced but slow to adapt to new threats. The “snakes” have been terrorists and insurgents, ready to engage in low-cost but technologically-advanced forms of conflict. Increasingly large powers, particularly China and the US, are using similar means to the “snakes”. They are unconventional tactics of warfare employing a variety of methods, including cyber warfare, manipulation of public opinion and strategies of ambiguous signalling, designed to freeze countries with conventional approaches into indecision. (Ambiguous signalling is not to be confused with the established practice of bluffing, as analysed by strategists such as Tom Schelling.) He concludes with recommendations for Australian defence policy in this changed and dangerous world.  (54 minutes)

Human rights in Poland

Poland is on track to withdraw from the so-called “Istanbul Convention”, a treaty enshrining an obligation on governments to protect women against domestic violence.  According to the Reuters report on the government’s proposal, “the government says the treaty is disrespectful towards religion and requires teaching liberal social policies in schools.”  Whether it will actually withdraw is still not certain: it’s a proposal from the country’s Justice Minister whose United Poland Party is even further to the authoritarian right than the dominant Law and Justice Party. But Hillary Margolis of Human Rights Watch points out that the Law and Justice Party has a poor record on protecting women’s rights: Poland abandoning commitment to women.

More than 200 land and environmental defenders murdered

Global Witness has released its report Defending Tomorrow: the climate crisis and threats against land and environmental defenders. Its focus is on murders and threats of violence against those seeking to protect land from environmental damage.

Agribusiness and oil, gas and mining have been consistently the biggest drivers of attacks against land and environmental defenders – and they are also the industries pushing us further into runaway climate change through deforestation and increasing carbon emissions.

More than half of the 212 murders recorded in 2019 were in Central and South America, but in our region the Philippines stands out, with 43 murders, 6 of the victims having been government-employed workers responsible for environmental protection.


Polls and elections

Polls apart

If you follow the Roy Morgan Poll the Coalition has a 51.5:48.5 TPP lead over Labor. If you follow the Essential Report, which has resumed polling on voting intention, Labor has lifted its vote to a 51:49 TPP lead. In other words the parties stand at about 50:50 after allowances for a margin of error and assumptions about reference distributions.

Where the polls do seem to diverge are on the usually more reliable primary vote.  Here there are significant differences, with Essential suggesting there has been a significant shift from the Coalition to Labor since last year’s election, while Morgan suggests the Coalition has gained support. In short:

  • Roy Morgan – Labor 33.5, Coalition 43.5;
  • Essential – Labor 35, Coalition 38;
  • Election May 2019 – Labor 33.3, Coalition 41.4.

Coronavirus

Essential has a set of questions on the Covid-19. Unsurprisingly Australians are now much more concerned about the virus:

It has a question on how public policy should deal with the virus: “elimination” (the view of most public health professionals”) vs “suppression” (the view of the PM), with a majority (56 per cent to 44 per cent) favouring suppression over elimination, and with sharp partisan differences: Labor and Green voters go for elimination while Coalition voters go for suppression.

It’s informative to consider the precise statements put to respondents. “Elimination” is described as “Work towards removing all cases of Covid-19 in Australia”.  That’s plain enough. “Suppression” is described as “Work towards minimising outbreaks and keeping the number of new cases at a manageable level for medical services until an effective vaccine is available”.

But as policymakers around the world are finding out, as any epidemiologist knows, as Victorian health workers know, and as Morrison just doesn’t understand, there is no “number of new cases at a manageable level for medical services”.  No such imagined equilibrium exists: once the virus breaks out it will grow exponentially unless it is met with strong and costly restrictions.

An interpretation of the poll is that 56 per cent of Australians (including 69 per cent of Coalition supporters) believe that a little bit of coronavirus circulating through the community is manageable. That may help explain why so many people are so dangerously and irresponsibly blasé about the danger of the virus.

Essential has a set of questions about how we rate our state governments in their response to Covid-19. The governments of both Victoria and NSW have lost support, particularly Victoria, but it still gets a 53 per cent “good” or “very good” rating. We’re a forgiving lot.

It also asks people what they think governments will do about restrictions in the next two months: 53 per cent of people in New South Wales expect restrictions to get tighter; 78 per cent of Victorians expect restrictions to remain or tighten; and in the other states most respondents expect restrictions to remain at their present low levels or ease.  On another question about how long it will be before life returns to “normal” opinions cluster around “one to two years”.


The Australia Institute Webinars

The Australia Institute is holding two webinars next week:

Tuesday August 4, 1400: Left to their own devices – how the lockdown is affecting our kids, with Leila Green of Edith Cowan University, Toni Hassan, author with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Georgie Dent from the Parenthood and Peter Lewis from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.

Friday August 7, 1300: Tech Talk –  The People V Google, tech-turfing and the Über class action, with Digital Rights Watch’s Lizzie O’Shea, Guardian Australia Managing Director Dan Stinton and Peter Lewis from the Centre for Responsible Technology.

Follow the links to register.


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Watch out tomorrow, Sunday, for Peter Sainsbury’s Sunday environment round up.

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Ian McAuley is a retired lecturer in public finance at the University of Canberra and a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development.

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