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MICHAEL MULLINS. Wilson conviction exposes Australian bishops’ lack of contrition

Recently a friend abused by a priest in Newcastle 40 years ago took his own life. Archbishop Philip Wilson was convicted this week for concealing sexual abuse in that diocese around the same time. Church leaders valued the institution ahead of its people, and unfortunately it appears little has changed in the attitude of the Australian bishops. Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

NED CUTCHER. House prices off the boil in some cities, but it’s still grim for renters.

2017 was hoped to have been the year of the renter.  As Federal Budget 2018 ticks by, the picture remains grim for low-income renters, despite property prices having come off the boil (for now) in some capital cities.   Continue reading

Posted in Housing | Leave a comment

JACK DE GROOT. A home is much more than a roof over your head

This year’s Federal Budget delivered no vision, plan or commitment for addressing the growing housing affordability crisis, yet again failing to recognise how fundamental it is to our nation’s wellbeing to prioritise solving this problem. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | Leave a comment

LUKE FRASER. Freight: fresh disappointment for our Prime Minister

Pity Prime Minister Turnbull – an intelligent man, trying to secure productive reform of this sector, yet met with fresh disappointment at each turn.    Turnbull has made a number of moves in the transport space to suggest he has seen through a lot of second-rate advice and now wants something better: a more efficient freight sector, for one thing. Continue reading

Posted in Economy | Leave a comment

GRAEME WORBOYS. Save Kosciuszko.

Australians need to save Kosciuszko from legislative action that will lead to the decline of one of Australia’s most beautiful areas, its mountain water catchments and unique alpine native animals and plants. Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

DAVID JAMES. Japan could lead the way in forgiving debt

As the world economy groans under soaring levels of debt, the place to look is Japan, whose current government debt-to-GDP ratio is an eye watering 253 per cent. It is Japan, which led the developed world into its current mess, that is likely to lead the world out of it by cancelling debt. The consequences of such a move, if it happens, would be far reaching. Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 2 Comments

CHRIS GERAGHTY. The Plenary Council.

After the Royal Commission in Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, the Irish child abuse commission 2009 on the other side of the world and the resignation of all the bishops in Chile, the Roman Catholic Church as we know it has received the last rites lying in periculo mortis in intensive care and is now on a respirator. The family has been notified, a plot has been purchased and the funeral director is on stand-by.  Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

URI AVNERY. The Day of Shame

ON BLOODY MONDAY this past week, when the number of Palestinian killed and wounded was rising by the hour, I asked myself: what would I have done if I had been a youngster of 15 in the Gaza Strip? Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 1 Comment

WENDY HAYHURST. Budget 2018: What happened to affordable housing?

No joy from Budget 2018.  Governments do have the resources to tackle affordable housing shortfalls.  They just don’t have the will to accord it the requisite priority.  In so failing, they ignore not only the deep and lasting social costs of such neglect, but also the strong economic case for addressing housing affordability. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | Leave a comment

PETER PHIBBS. Australian housing policy – going around in circles

The housing affordability report card for the last 12 months is a mixed one.  A welcome reduction in price and rental pressures in some capital cities is offset by rising homelessness and ongoing housing stress for those on lower incomes, for whom more direct help is needed.  Policy debate is often still very confused, even amongst some of our most revered institutions, including the RBA. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | Leave a comment

SUE WAREHAM. How the Australian War Memorial has lost its way.

In a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories inquiry into Canberra’s national institutions Sue Wareham ,on behalf of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) calls for major changes at the AWM

The submission notes that the inquiry’s purpose is to report on strategies that Canberra’s national institutions are using to “maintain viability and relevance to sustainably grow their profile, visitor numbers, and revenue”. Extracts below  from this submission by MAPW call for new forms of public engagement and audience participation.   Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 4 Comments

WANNING SUN. Is Anti-China Rhetoric Harming Social Cohesion in Australia?

In September 2016, I published a major report on the Chinese-language media in Australia, and one of the points I made there was that the state Chinese media have been making gradual inroads into Australia’s existing ethnic Chinese newspapers and radio programs. Many commentators have cited this trend as evidence of China’s influence within our nation.  Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 4 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Attempts to appease Trump will end badly

When the Iran deal was signed three years ago, it met with stiff opposition from hardliners in Tehran and Washington. The former were infuriated at closing off possible pathways to the bomb while the agreement lasts in return for sipping from the poisoned chalice of an untrustworthy Satan. The American neocons were frustrated that regime change by all means necessary was closed off as long as the agreement held. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | Leave a comment

DMITRI TRENIN. Russia and Ukraine: From Brothers to Neighbours.

Russia is parting ways with both Ukraine and Belarus. This did not have to be a tragedy with Ukraine, and can still be handled amicably with Belarus. Moreover, an independent Ukrainian state and a Ukrainian political nation ease Russia’s transition from its post-imperial condition and facilitate the formation of a Russian political nation. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

PETER DAY. An Open Letter to Pope Francis

Dear Papa Francesco,

The Australian Catholic Church is in deep crisis and is in urgent need of your pastoral presence and leadership.

Today, the former President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, archbishop Phillip Wilson, was formally charged with covering-up child sexual abuse; while Cardinal George Pell has himself be charged with sexual abuse and will face trial later this year. Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 12 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. United States and Israel: Known By the Company We Keep.

In our voting with the US against a resolution of the UN Human Rights Commission to establish an independent enquiry into recent Israeli use of lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators, we have shown far and wide, our subservience to the US and, by extension, to the policies of Benyamin Netanyahu. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

JOHN TULLOH. Count Australia out on Iran, Uncle Sam.

A U.S. presidential executive order makes it illegal for America to target a foreign leader for assassination. But it seems it is perfectly acceptable to try to throttle another country’s struggling economy as a means of getting rid of its leader through regime change. This appears to be the raison dêtre of President Trump in dealing with Iran.   Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

JOHN DALEY AND BRENDAN COATES. We can’t begin to fix our housing crisis until our leaders start levelling with the public

Governments at both Federal and State level are still avoiding the politically difficult changes that would make a real difference to housing affordability. But we won’t make progress unless our leaders eschew the popular but ineffective options in favour of planning and tax reforms that could actually improve affordability. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | 1 Comment

CHRIS MARTIN AND HAL PAWSON. Last year’s affordable housing green shoots have withered

Budget 2018 fails the 1.5 million Australian households living in unaffordable rental housing or officially homeless, despite the urgent need for Commonwealth leadership on affordable housing policy. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | Leave a comment

PAUL COLLINS Stop the Buck-passing and Resign.

President Harry S. Truman promised that ‘the buck stops here’. Well, last Friday afternoon Rome time, the Chilean bishops—all thirty-four of them—decided to stop the buck-passing and ‘face the music’, that is confront the consequences of their pretty-much complete failure to deal with the sexual abuse crisis. They all offered to resign. What are the implications for the Australian bishops? Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 8 Comments

MUNGO MACCALLUM. Liberals have a bloke problem.

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison were determinedly hitting the hustings last week as they tried to persuade the sceptical that their Enterprise Tax Plan was not only viable, but is actually a good idea. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

IAN McAULEY. Dutton’s extended police powers won’t be confined to airports

Dutton’s proposal to allow police to stop people at random at airports has little if anything to do with community safety, and everything to do with his desire to extend police powers and to help the government in its bid for re-election. Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

ANDREW FARRAN. Parliamentary report on Section 44: Despite serious democratic deficit, referendum can wait!

There could be no clearer case for an early referendum than the fact that over half of all Australians today have barriers to nomination under s.44.  In practice, the Report states, some may never be able to overcome these barriers and nominate.  Indeed, 10,779,230 people (46% of the population) were born overseas or have one or more parents who were born overseas – a percentage much the same as may have existed when s.44 was drafted in 1898; and clearly it was not intended then that all such persons should be excluded from the Parliament after Federation.  Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN AUSTEN. Newcastle port restriction – action not words please!

Instead of handwringing politicians should act to reverse the outrageous restriction on Newcastle port. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 1 Comment

HENRY SIEGMAN. The two-State solution: an autopsy

During the latest outbreak of violence in Gaza, Israeli security forces, using high-powered rifles and live ammunition, have killed forty Palestinians (and counting), and wounded more than five thousand. B’Tselem, a leading Israeli human rights group, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have all accused Israel’s government and its minister of defence, Avigdor Lieberman, of targeting reporters and mostly unarmed civilians. Lieberman replied that there are ‘no innocent people’ in Hamas-run Gaza. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE, SUSAN RYAN AND OLIVER FRANKEL. Update to May 2017 ‘Making Housing Affordable’ series

Pearls and Irritations continues to publish various blogs on housing affordability, recognising that the cost of and accessibility to appropriate housing remains out of reach for a significant part of the Australian population. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | 1 Comment

SAUL ESLAKE. What has changed in the housing market over the past year?

Property prices have moderated in our largest cities over the past year, thanks in part to tightening of lending by APRA, and on inflows of foreign capital.  There is some respite for first-time buyers, but the picture for renters is mixed.  This year’s Budget had nothing significant for housing and those on lower incomes have little to celebrate in terms of housing reform. Continue reading

Posted in Housing | Leave a comment

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Turning a blind eye to the sheep trade.

The problem with exporting live sheep is that the practice is inherently unpleasant.   Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

TAREQ BACONI. What the Gaza Protests Portend

The battle against infiltration in the border areas at all times of day and night will be carried out mainly by opening fire, without giving warning, on any individual or group that cannot be identified from afar by our troops as Israeli citizens and who are, at the moment they are spotted, [infiltrating] into Israeli territory. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | Leave a comment

JENNIFER DOGGETT. Health Budget Gaps.

Prevention, out-of-pocket costs, and oral health. 
Continue reading

Posted in Health | Leave a comment