DUNCAN GRAHAM Hungry for a result in the Indonesian election?

The differences are stark. When Labor lost Bill Shorten quit and said: ‘Now that the contest is over, all of us have a responsibility to respect the result, respect the wishes of the Australian people and to bring our nation together.’ 

In Indonesia police are preparing for mass protests when the official results of the Presidential contest are announced on Wednesday. Foreign embassies have warned their nationals to stay indoors. Bomb plans have allegedly been uncovered.   Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. The bodgie.

Bob Hawke did not suffer from false modesty.

He always knew he was the smartest person in the room – and, unlike many egoists, he was usually right, which is saying something, given the stellar ministry over which he presided for most of is time as prime minister.   Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Tributes | 6 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Labor must look in the mirror

In foreshadowing Donald Trump’s victory six months before the 2016 election, I had written: ‘Of all the candidates in both parties, Trump’s appeal seems to reach the broadest and deepest with respect to region, class, education and income… They are looking for an in-your-face champion who will stick it to the snobs (elites) and scolds (political correctness warriors)’. Labor was guilty of the same mindset as Hillary Clinton’s disastrous comment on the basket of deplorables and reflected a similar hubris. The same hubris was obvious in Bill Shorten’s response that asking for costings of climate action policies was dumb.

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ABUL RIZVI: Morrison’s budget plan was far riskier than Shorten’s

Bill Shorten and the mainstream media failed to explain that Scott Morrison’s alternative tax and budget plan was the far higher risk option. It requires record levels of population growth over the next ten years – over 4.5 million more people. But how will this massive increase in population be delivered and when does Morrison intend to explain this to the Australian public? Continue reading

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GREG BAILEY. Problematic Trends Emerging from the 2019 Federal Election.

Irrespective of who finally wins Saturday’s election-and it looks like the ultra-conservative forces–, certain deeply disturbing observations can be made about the state of the Australian polity and the electorate. These evoke cultural and regional fissures long existing in Australia and an apparent shift away from any kind of critical thinking in making political and other judgements affecting the future of the country. Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Lessons and thoughts for Labor’s future

There is a lot of emotion in the wake of disaster for Labor in the federal elections on 18 May 2019. There will be forensic examinations and recriminations. There is good prospect of a Labor Government after the next elections… if…

Labor must go steadily and clearly and must look like a government in brief exile.   Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL: Pope Francis and the Closed Door Syndrome

For all his good points, Pope Francis has a credibility problem over child sexual abuse. Public statements are made, but once the door is closed, the paper that comes out contradicts what has been said. His latest Apostolic Letter, Vos Estis Lux Mundi, is no exception. Continue reading

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Amid all the hand-wringing, wailing and gnashing of teeth in the aftermath of the election, it might be wise to reflect on some possibly painful little truths pertaining to the process and indeed legitimacy of the entire electoral system.

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JOHN FITZGERALD. Reply to Bob Carr

Writing on this blog on 13 May, Bob Carr took me to task for not saying and not writing a good many things, particularly about Chinese Australians. This debating technique is new to me. As a rule, debaters rebut what people do say, not what they don’t. So let me say this.

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis’ race against the clock. The 82-year-old pope looks increasingly like a man rushing to complete a mission

The first rays of dawn had barely begun to rise over a cloudy St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican. But at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, Pope Francis was already on his way to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport where, 40 minutes later, he would embark on a two-hour flight to the Bulgarian capital of Sophia.

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JOHN MENADUE. Negativity and a policy vacuum win the day.

On Saturday, the quiet Australians that Scott Morrison spoke of so fondly voted for self-interest and in fear of change. All the democracies are suffering from a disgruntled working class that wants to blame outsiders and has thrown in its lot with the extreme Right . That is why they chose Brexit and Trump and now Morrison without thinking through the dire consequences.  Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Scott Morrison, the opportunist.

History, declared Henry Ford, is bunk. And last Saturday, the Australian electorate agreed.

Rather than punishing the coalition punishment for nearly six years of civil war, policy inertia, dysfunction and backstabbing, the voters rewarded them.  Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. The Morrison Government’s Economic Policy

The Morrison Government has been returned – and it is the Morrison Government – which has been returned without the semblance of an economic policy. And this lack of a credible economic policy did not stop Morrison winning an election in which the economy appears to have been the deciding issue.   Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

MARGARET REYNOLDS. Where do we go now?

It’s a sad day for Australian Politics when  national  reform is rejected and  voter priority is reduced to individual benefit .

But why should we be surprised ?  Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. The election confirms my environmental pessimism

Saturday’s election result suggests four questions to me:

  1. What does the result tell us about democracy in Australia? I mean no implied criticism of any individual or group or of any part of our democratic process. It is a genuine question to which I hope to see some empirically based answers in time.
  2. What are the likely consequences of three more years of a Morrison Coalition government for the state of the Australian environment, principally but not only regarding greenhouse gas emissions and land and marine biodiversity?
  3. What should be the environmental movement’s priorities over the next three years?
  4. What does the result of the election tell us about humanity’s capacity to avoid an environmental, and consequently also human, catastrophe? I will focus on this question here.

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IAN MCAULEY.  Dutton knew what he was doing when he booted out Turnbull

Australia’s Trump/Brexit moment came on Saturday night, when Antony Green called the election for Morrison. Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS. Parochialism Reigns Supreme

The Coalition, like many of those who voted for it, seem incapable of grasping the big-picture evidence required to deal with global warming. Morrison says he always believed in miracles, but unfortunately that’s not going to work for climate change.

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SUSAN RYAN. Older Australians, winners or losers?

In this election , there was an extra 300,000 voters aged over 65 compared with the 2016 election. The parallel increase for young voters was 135,000 , less than half the older voter increase. Did older voters exercise this voting strength in the interest of their age cohort? It seems not. I see more losers than winners among older Australians.   Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. Writing from the ‘Blue Ribbon’ north.

Queensland has delivered a killer punch to the Australian body politic, not for the first time.    Continue reading

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PATRICIA and DON EDGAR Family Views the Election Results


Last Saturday evening we sat as a family to view the election results. There were four grandchildren present, aged 18 to 24 who had voted that day and taken their decisions seriously. They were waiting to see how the evening would unfold. They are rightly concerned about their future, particularly climate change, and as the votes came rolling in they watched in disbelief. One leader had offered them a detailed plan for their future, the other had run around the country, behaving like a clown, spouting slogans: ‘Cut taxes’, ‘I stopped the boats’, ‘Kill Bill’, ‘How good is that?’ Yet the clown was getting the votes.

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 19 May 2019

The shocking loss of biodiversity and the threat it poses for human welfare have been highlighted recently with reports on the global crisis and New Zealand’s parlous record. Threatened by climate change, Torres Strait Islanders have challenged the Australian government at the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that the government is obliged to do more to save their homes. How best to communicate about climate change is summarised in an article in the New York Times. And while many nations are declaring climate emergencies, a young Australian sounds a note of caution. Finally a visual tribute to Bob Hawke.

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

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JOHN MENADUE. Bob Hawke’s open letter to Australians

On Wednesday Bob Hawke sent an open letter to Australians — a short message reminding us that Bill Shorten is ready to lead a united Labor team to contribute to a prosperous, fair and environmentally sustainable Australia. Here is the full text. Continue reading

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ANTHONY PUN: Chinese Australian Community Tribute to the late Hon Bob Hawke, AC.

On 16 May 2019, the nation mourns the loss of a great Prime Minister the Hon Bob Hawk, AC. The Chinese Australian community also felt the sad loss of a great humanitarian benefactor who almost single handedly, made a decision to allow 42,000 Chinese students to remain in Australia, despite stiff opposition from his colleagues. Beneficiaries of his legacy and magnanimous gesture should bow their head in silence for a minute to pay respect to the great Australian statesman and Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Bob Hawke: A larrikin, chairman and nation builder (Canberra Times 17.5.2019)

Bob Hawke’s lasting monument is the Australian society of today. A modern open economy, which he skippered out of sheltered waters, for good or ill, mostly good, into the open sea. Reformed national institutions, some now, sadly, in poor shape again. Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. President or Prime Minister? 

The current political cult of personality obscures the fact that Australian prime ministers are not American presidents. The Prime Minister told voters that they had a clear choice between him and Bill Shorten. No they don’t Scomo! They have a choice between two parties and cabinets that take decisions.   Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Housing for use value or exchange value

In this election the Coalition and the property industry with the help of the media have obsessed on the financial value of property,property as a commodity and property for wealth creation. Surely housing policy should be about housing as a human right where in homes we raise families, entertain friends and where we can close off from markets and business.

My grand children’s generation is unlikely to have fair access to the housing market unless my generation is prepared to accept, indeed welcome, a steady and substantial reduction in property prices.My wife and I have done nothing to earn or deserve the large increase in the value of our home. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | 3 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. Unquantifiable strategic madness of war on Iran

There have been reports that President Trump is less enthusiastic about attacking Iran than his advisers. For the moment, an unanticipated source of sanity. The current US posturing against Iran seems confected. It also seems mad. A US attack on Iran would be blatant and naked aggression. The knock on consequences could have strategic dimensions that are difficult to fully comprehend.

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ANTHONY HOGAN. The Christian Left – a case study of value driven social progressives?

Perhaps being socially progressive and Christian are not such mutually exclusive value positions after all? Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

KOBI MAGLEN. Improving the outcomes for older women at risk of homelessness

Older single women are the fastest growing cohort of people experiencing homelessness in Australia, though their plight remains for various reasons invisible to many. Designing solutions to this problem involves first understanding the root causes of the problem, including structural gender inequality, and then identifying the drivers of better outomes for such women. Not least amongst these is the need for more social and affordable housing, appropriate to their needs.

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