JOHN MENADUE. The Coalition has deserted country people on climate change, NBN and more

Both the Liberal and National parties are taking a drubbing from country voters. A while back it was New England and Lyne. More recently it has been Indi and Wagga Wagga. Strong Independents are thriving in country electorates. 

Outside the metropolitan area both Coalition partners have become heavily dependent on the miners rather than farmers for money and ideas.. The Liberal and National parties are also ignoring issues of concern to country voters – climate change, NBN, rural poverty and inferior health services.   Continue reading

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MARK BUTLER. Coalition exposes its ignorance in anti-renewable stance (The Big Smoke, 21.09.18)

On Tuesday during Parliamentary Question Time, new Energy Minister Angus Taylor announced: “the (RET) target reaches a peak in 2020 and we will not be replacing that with anything.” Continue reading

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

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DENIS MULLER. Media power: why the full story of Murdoch, Stokes and the Liberal leadership spill needs to be told (The Conversation, 20.09.18)

The first German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, said there were two sights the public should not see: the making of laws and the making of sausages. To this list of enduringly nauseating spectacles we should add one more: the political machinations of media moguls. Continue reading

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DAVID TIMBS. The priest shortage and the elephant in the room.

Twice in recent weeks, Fr James Clarke, Chair of  the National Council of Priests (NCP), has stated that the majority of Australian priests and probably most laity support a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the Catholic priesthood and pastoral ministry in Australia including seminary formation of future priests. Clarke has also flagged that in their submission to the forthcoming National Plenary Council the NCP will also be calling for decisive action to be taken to address the issues related to the crisis facing the Australian Church as a direct result of the drastic decline of Australian-born priests in active parish ministry. The NCP is also calling into question the bishops’ policy on the run of importing foreign priests to make up for the shortfall. Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit: Calamity awaits the world trading system.

The route to overcoming any impasse in the UK/EU Brexit negotiations may involve riding roughshod over their respective obligations under the global trading system, in particular the WTO. This, together with President Trump’s on-going assault on the system, threatens to bring it down altogether – with nothing better in its place.  Continue reading

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Along the evolutionary trail we have somewhat ambitiously called ourselves homo sapiens, or humans who are sapient – knowing or wise. The truth of the matter is tragically far from this: we seek to resolve difference through violence rather than dialogue;  we give greater weight to possessing rather than being (our other species name); we assume winning to be an achievement of the individual rather than the community, thus imposing losing on others; we claim exceptionalness  for our momentary place in history and we constantly appoint leaders who show absolutely no aptitude for the task. Continue reading

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IAN BURUMA. From Charlottesville to Chemnitz: the West’s race problem.

For obvious reasons, the sight of a German mob chasing foreigners through the streets and throwing up their arms in Hitler salutes is particularly disturbing. This is what happened recently in Chemnitz, a bleak industrial city in Saxony that was touted in the former German Democratic Republic as a model socialist city (it was called Karl-Marx-Stadt between 1953 and 1990). Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE How Murdoch extracted concessions from governments.

 Rupert Murdoch claims, falsely, that he has never asked a Prime Minister for anything. Yet his whole business career in three countries has been founded on threatening or seducing politicians for privileged commercial access or opportunities.

I posted an article  earlier this week on how he got favoured treatment from the Hawke Government for Ansett Airlines in which he was a major shareholder at the time.. Today I post extracts from an earlier article on how, with the help of the Keating Government, he got a foothold in 1995.  Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE How Kerr, Fraser and Murdoch engineered the dismissal of the Whitlam Government. A slightly edited repost from 27 October 2015

 Rupert Murdoch has form in conniving to get rid of Prime Ministers from 1975 to 2018 Continue reading

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BRUCE GUTHRIE. The growing power of media mates (The New Daily, 20.09.18)

The news that billionaires Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Stokes essentially war-gamed the ousting of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should appal all Australians wanting media diversity and an open and transparent polity. Continue reading

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KATHARINE MURPHY. AMA president calls for urgent transfer of refugee families from Nauru.

Exclusive: Tony Bartone writes to Scott Morrison saying situation is ‘a humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention’.

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. Scott Morrison smashes shortest Prime Minister records.

Is Scott Morrison really on his way to a full half-term? As Liberal MPs flee the parliament and by-elections mushroom, the Member for Cook has already failed to earn the distinction of Australia’s fastest prime ministership. But will he vanquish the record of Arthur Fadden? Michael Sainsbury reports. Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. News Corp – a rogue organisation (Repost from 23 June 2014)

Rupert Murdoch’s form in abusing power and finding truth hard to handle continues. ‘Turnbull has to go’ is typical behaviour for a man who has done more to damage democracy than any living media person .

I worked with Rupert Murdoch  for seven years in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I was General Manager of his Sydney operations. It was then exciting working for him.He derided the stuffy old guard establishment . He was open to new ideas and opportunities. Then it all steadily went down hill. Ending his days in the embrace of the extreme right of the American Republican Party and Donald Trump says it all. What a wasted life that had so much going for it. What a disappointment.

My assessment of News Corp and Murdoch  in 2014 follows.Little has changed. The media tragedy and abuse continues. Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI. Morrison’s U-Turn on Migrants for the Bush.

Scott Morrison has given another exclusive, this time to, on his ideas to encourage more skilled migrants to settle in the regions and smaller cities and away from the major metropolitan centres. While it’s great to have a prime minister prepared to talk about immigration and population, he again failed to explain why usage of existing visas for the regions and smaller cities has steadily declined since he first became immigration minister under Tony Abbott and why Peter Dutton took steps to strangle the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. Will Morrison now reverse Dutton’s changes? Continue reading

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK: Free the suffering children on Nauru – now.

Most readers of “Pearls and Irritations” will be at least somewhat sympathetic to the plight (what an inadequate word) of the refugee families on Nauru. You won’t need me to remind you that those families sought asylum because they were fleeing violence, war, death. You won’t either need me to remind you that they have now been held in detention for more than five years. There is much talk that refugees on Nauru are now “free” on the island. This is nonsense. The truth is they have been systematically deprived of community, purpose, future and hope – of anything resembling a normal life.  And it is not just the adults who are suffering from extreme stress and despair, it is also – inevitably – the children. This is not just child abuse in our name and on our watch, it is torment of the worst and most unnecessary kind. Continue reading

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MELISSA SWEET. Please support this crowdfunding campaign, so we can cover the 4th Peoples’ Health Assembly – #PHA4.

Please consider supporting this crowdfunding campaign to enable Dr Lesley Russell to report for Croakey from a landmark global health meeting in Bangladesh from November 15-19 – the 4th Peoples’ Health Assembly – or #PHA4. Continue reading

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RICHARD DENNISS. Our regulators fail to protect the vulnerable from the greedy. Let’s find out why.

Neoliberalism’s best trick was convincing us that ‘empowering’ citizens to shop around would deliver better services at a lower cost. 

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JERRY ROBERTS. The Cuckoo and the Nest.

Of all the abuse heaped on the head of Malcolm Turnbull the heaviest spray came from Noel Crichton-Browne, a past President of the West Australian Division of the Liberal Party, a Senator and political power-broker par excellence. Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. How market forces have failed the nation (SMH 19.9.2018)

With the memory of the government’s embarrassing delay in yielding to public pressure for a royal commission into banking still fresh, Scott Morrison got in before the Four Corners expose to announce a royal commission into aged care.

Who’s to say this will be the last? A royal commission into electricity and gas prices is mooted. Maybe sometime in the future we’ll see a royal commission into problems with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.   Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Wentworth, Bill Shorten and refugees.

What a boost it would be for humanity and decency if Bill Shorten  broke with the government’s  refugees policy and told us during the Wentworth by-election that the ALP would no longer support the  cruel and crippling policies that leave refugees and asylum seekers  stranded and abused on Nauru and Manus. 

What is happening is not on Planet Nauru or Planet Manus. It is happening in our neighbourhood to people it is our duty to protect.  Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 4 Comments

ISABELLE LANE. Six big players dominate Australia’s scandal-hit aged care sector (The New Daily, 19.09.18)

Aged care providers are expected to rake in $1.7 billion worth of profits in 2018-19, but reports of poor living conditions in nursing homes have raised concerns that the industry is putting profit before people. Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The scourge of lobbyists is likely to continue if there is a change of government.A Repost from June 22 2018

Lobbyists are back in the news but it looks as  if the scourge of lobbyists will continue in Canberra if Bill Shorten wins the next election. There is no sign that the ALP, like the Coalition is prepared to curb the way lobbyists are corrupting public policy in Australia.. The media reports that lobby firms are taking on ‘labor staffers’ so that they can influence a future Labor Government.   Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Ladies in Red.

In the late 1970s, federal Labor, still in opposition after Whitlam, was struggling. New polling research enabled me to advise national conference that Labor would not regain office unless it increased its support among women voters. If women had voted Labor in the same proportion as men had, Labor would have won every election since World War 2 , with the possible exception of the Chifley loss in 1949.With these findings, measuring the gender  gap in polling analysis was introduced, and has remained there ever since.  Continue reading

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TROY BRAMSTON. Ex-Labor leader Bill Hayden, 85, baptised into Catholic Church.

Bill Hayden, at age 85, has renounced his atheism and been baptised into the Catholic Church.

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JAMES FERNYHOUGH. Claim we’re on track to meet emissions targets is false.

Australia’s new energy minister Angus Taylor made a claim about carbon emissions this week that looked on the surface to be fantastic news, but on closer inspection is false. Continue reading

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JOE ASTON AND MYRIAM ROBIN. Clean hands? How five Scott Morrison supporters voted to get rid of Turnbull. (AFR 17.9.2018)

Make no mistake, this new PM stood by the last one just like he stood by the one before. Like Brutus stood by Caesar.  Continue reading

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DAVID DODWELL. Keep Calm and carry on amid the current state of the trade war, for time is on China’s side. (South China Morning Post 16.9.2018)

Over the weekend, Donald Trump’s trade team invited Beijing to fresh trade talks. Almost simultaneously, tweets from the White House cast doubt on the talks.

Having mulled this conundrum carefully over the weekend, and without any attempt to discover what Beijing’s leaders might do, I have decided to imagine a secret internal memo from Liu He to Xi Jinping and the Beijing trade team.   Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Long way to go to get banks back in their box (SMH 17.9.2018)

Have we learnt from the mistakes of the global financial crisis, now 10 years ago? Yes, but not nearly as much as we should have.   Continue reading

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ROD TIFFIN. Murdoch and Stokes

If the Liberal leadership upheaval was a Muppet show, as Scott Morrison described it, Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Stokes have been revealed as its Statler and Waldorf. Muppets fans will remember the two cantankerous old men who heckled from the sidelines. The media moguls did not publicly heckle, but their behind the scenes barracking was reflected in their media.   Continue reading

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