Author Archives: John Menadue

MUNGO MacCALLUM. The great marketeer seems determined to double down on the tactics and double up on the volume.

So that was the parliamentary year that was, finishing in rancour, dysfunction and procrastination, a triumph of politics over policy. This was not a surprise, but the level of hyperbole and hysteria whipped up by the desperate prime minister and … Continue reading

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ROGER SCOTT. Universities and the competition for international students

Compared to Britain, Australia has been highly successful in its venture into international education over the past decade but a number of writers have raised concerns over the continuing viability of depending on this source of funding into the future.  

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JACK WATERFORD. Why do crime-busters need ASIO-type powers?

Any political cynic will see excellent reasons for giving the Australian Federal Police a lead role in the crusade against online child pornography, the grooming of children for sexual abuse, and other sexual abuse of children, matters which might ordinarily … Continue reading

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ABUL RIZVI. Dutton Sets New Asylum Seeker Application Record

Why did 50,000 asylum seekers arriving by boat represent a crisis for our border sovereignty while the arrival of a similar number over the past two and a half years by plane is just ho hum? Peter Dutton in 2017-18 … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. The Occupation of the Australian Mind.

Fear and apathy have taken up residence in the collective political consciousness of Australia. Indeed, it may be that they have achieved that most desirable of states for governments seeking to remain in power, or oppositions sensing their imminent ascendency … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Protecting buffoons.

According to at least one member of the New South Wales Liberal executive, Sally Betts, the member of Hughes, Craig Kelly, is a bully, a thug and a disgrace.  

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HELEN DAVIDSON. Gareth Evans and Bob Carr join call for Labor to increase Australia’s foreign aid. (The Guardian 7.12.2018)

Former ministers want party’s national conference to commit to target of 0.7% of gross national income.  

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KIM WINGEREI. The Particracy Rules!

If this week of political machinations, tactical manouverings and partisan grandstanding hasn’t proved beyond doubt what the real problem with our democracy is, I don’t know what will. We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a particracy.  

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ABUL RIZVI. Dutton Sets New Asylum Seeker Application Record

Why did 50,000 asylum seekers arriving by boat represent a crisis for our border sovereignty while the arrival of a similar number over the past two and a half years by plane is just ho hum? Peter Dutton in 2017-18 … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. The ascendancy of the age of Thorby (PART 1 – the state’s justification for requiring passive citizens)

Contrary to popular belief, modern democracy does not welcome an active, engaged citizenry especially between election campaigns because its interventions would hinder the operations of the state. The preferred condition is one of citizen passivity in which the authorities go … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The age of Thorby (PART 2 – The addictive denial of transparency and the protection of malfeasance)

Where matters defined under the rubric of national security are concerned, the intelligence agencies of the state demand nothing less than the indulgence to act with unwarranted secrecy – secrecy beyond that which is absolutely essential.  Over the last 80 … Continue reading

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GARETH EVANS. Australia in the world: it’s time to punch our weight.

In this lecture, Gareth Evans calls for “Less America … More self-reliance … More Asia … More global engagement”.  See below, extracts from Gareth Evans’ Tom Uren Memorial Lecture delivered in Balmain 2 December 2018.  

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Politics | 7 Comments

KIM WINGEREI. Media Ethics and Politics

As the political circus goes from bad to worse, it is important to not only demand that our politicians improve their behaviour, but the media has an equally important role to play. Journalists and the media already have a code … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 9 Comments

MARCIA ANGELL. Opioid Nation. (NYRB 6.12.2018)

In this article, Marcia Angell reviews four books on pain-killers, doctors ,drug overdoses and the drug companies.  She concludes that alcohol and tobacco have far more serious health consequences than opioids.Opioids at least have the redeeming feature that they have … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Health Reform Priorities

Health costs are rising through greater use of technology, ageing, lack of coordination and waste. Doctors provide too many services. Mental , Indigenous and dental health have serious problems. Services are being delivered less equitably. Progress has been made particularly … Continue reading

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GARETH PORTER. America’s permanent-war complex. (The American Conservative, 15.11.2108)

What President Dwight D. Eisenhower dubbed the “military-industrial complex” has been constantly evolving over the decades, adjusting to shifts in the economic and political system as well as international events. The result today is a “permanent-war complex,” which is now … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Another week, another stuff-up. Israel and Indonesia.

Bill Shorten and Penny Wong got it right last week: ScoMo’s pre-Wentworth thought bubble about moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem should be dead, buried and cremated. It was always a bad idea and if there was any doubt the … Continue reading

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ERIC SIDOTI. Let the Privatisation Games Begin

Privatisation has been the source of ongoing debate in this country since at least the 1980s. For much of the intervening years though to question the virtues of privatisation – and the accompanying sanctification of competition and choice- has been … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 7 Comments

CAVAN HOGUE. Where the bloody Hell are You?

Our current Prime Minister loves P R slogans and seems to believe that they are a satisfactory alternative to an understanding of a world that does not eat meat pies. To his credit, however, he has publicly criticised US trade … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit: The Beginning of the End

Thursday 15th November was a most extraordinary day at Westminster where a besieged lady tenaciously stood her ground at the despatch box and stared down some hundreds of howling Parliamentary interlocutors (mostly of her own party) and remained totally unfazed … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

ALISON BROINOWSKI. The latest hobgoblins.

On the eve of an APEC meeting, with impeccable timing, Australia’s lack of foreign policy independence was once again on display for our Asian neighbours: mimicry of US decisions, militarism abroad, securitised borders, containment of China, and fear of Islam. … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. China, The US and the Manus Island naval base.

APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, was really Bob Hawke’s idea.  The Prime Minister of the day envisaged it as a purely economic gathering, a meeting of finance ministers to deal with the growing impact of globalism and ensure dialogue and the rule … Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Frydenberg will pick up the election bill (Canberra Times 16.11.2018)

If I were a Labor warrior, thinking cautiously ahead about political warfare from mid-2019 – after Labor had taken government – I might be judging that no present preparation could repay the investment more than a very strong focus on … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

RICHARD McGREGOR AND JONATHAN PRYKE. Australia must tread carefully in its Pacific contest with China. (SMH 9.11.2018)

If you want a glimpse into the future of Australia’s relationship with China, with all the elements of competition and co-operation, and tensions and bridge-building, then this week is a good place to start.  

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JACK WATERFORD. Let’s hope independents take lead on corruption. (Canberra Times 10.11.2018)

Perhaps the greatest service the House of Representatives’ six independent MPs could do for themselves and the nation over the dying days of this Parliament is to take charge of progress with a federal anti-corruption commission. Good for them – … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Domestic violence is a major threat,not terrorism

In The Conversation on 1November, 2018, Silke Myer said ‘After a deadly month for domestic violence the message doesn’t appear to be getting through’   Repost from  2 November 2018

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 2 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Our oldies have never had it so good (SMH 5.11.2018)

Don’t let anyone tell you Scott Morrison is out of touch. When he says that, if he had the money, he’d increase the age pension rather than the dole, he’s reflecting the views of most older Australians. Everyone knows it’s … Continue reading

Posted in economics, Politics | 3 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Time to pull the curtain on memorial industry (Canberra Times 3.11.2018)

A fairly safe rule of public life is that the more flag lapels one wears, and the more one speaks of love of country or national greatness, the less likely the person has served in the nation’s armed forces and … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 6 Comments

LATIKA BOURKE. Forget Barnaby Joyce’s affair – this is why he should not return to the leadership

Although Barnaby Joyce’s name is not mentioned, it is his legacy that informs Philip Moss’ damning report into the Department of Agriculture’s performance as the regulator of the live exports industry. 

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

SIMON SCHAMA. On the battle for America (Financial Times 2.11.2018)

Ten days before the midterm elections in America, murder came to the Tree of Life. Shouting “all Jews need to die”, a neo-Nazi gunman with an animus against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society slaughtered 11 Jews gathered at their synagogue … Continue reading

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