Author Archives: Louisa Gunning

BOB BIRRELL. Overseas Students. A labour market program?

As readers of Pearls and Irritations will be aware, Net Overseas Migration to Australia (NOM) in 2017-18 was 236,731. This is equivalent to 0.9 per cent of Australia’s population. NOM was the main source of Australia’s overall 1.6 per cent … Continue reading

Posted in Education, International Affairs | 1 Comment

MARC HUDSON. In Australia, climate policy battles are endlessly reheated (The Conversation)

This article is part of a series examining the Coalition government’s record on key issues while in power and what Labor is promising if it wins the 2019 federal election. It might feel like the past decade of climate policy … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | Comments Off on MARC HUDSON. In Australia, climate policy battles are endlessly reheated (The Conversation)

MELISSA SWEET. What might Greta Thunberg tell the Australian Parliament? (Croakey)

This week, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who must surely go down in history as one of the great champions for global health, addressed the British Parliament.

Posted in Environment and climate | 3 Comments

PAUL BARRATT. Ten Neglected Issues that Australia21 Believes Should be Addressed During the Election Campaign.

The 2019 election campaign having begun, I wish, on behalf of Australia21, which I chair, to draw attention to a number of issues that require proper attention and debate in order to enable Australian voters to make an informed choice … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

TIM WINTON. Our leaders are ignoring global warming to the point of criminal negligence. It’s unforgivable (The Guardian)

Humanity survived the cold war because no one pushed the button. On climate change, the button has been pushed again and again.

Posted in Environment and climate | 5 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Best we forget – the Frontier and Maori Wars. An update

 The Frontier Wars were the most destructive and decisive in our history. The first war we fought alongside ‘New Zealanders’ was not at Gallipoli in 1915 but in the Maori Wars in the middle of the nineteenth century. Yet both … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

DAVID STEPHENS. Beneath the tumult and the shouting: Anzac Day as a private experience.

Anzac should be mostly private. It should be about the quiet, within-family, remembrance of – and caring about – people who have suffered in war, those who have been killed and not come home, those who have come home injured … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

DAVID SHEARMAN. Parliamentary reform is vital to address the complex problems of environmental change.

The poor standing of politicians and the lack of expertise in their ranks and Ministries increasingly results in inadequate policy in complex problems such as climate change. It is essential that the next government commences reform of Parliamentary processes and … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | Comments Off on DAVID SHEARMAN. Parliamentary reform is vital to address the complex problems of environmental change.

ABUL RIZVI. Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton have lost control of our borders.

Chaos in our visa system and extraordinary border control failures are being exploited by people smugglers to deliver record numbers of non-genuine asylum seekers arriving by air.  The Coalition pretends we only have sea borders and can ignore our air … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Easter and the banality of evil. An edited repost

Our policies towards asylum seekers that are cruel,evil and immoral,depend on our first dehumanising and then demonising them. Ministers,even the Prime Minister have recently reminded us that some of them are rapists and murderers.They  infer that they are not like … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

IAN DUNLOP, DAVID SPRATT. Is the Australian Public Service fit-for-purpose to handle existential climate risk?

The first duty of a government is to “protect the people”, their safety and well-being. Nowhere is this duty more important than in addressing climate change, which now constitutes a near-term existential threat to human civilisation. It is an open, … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

ELAINE PEARSON. Australian Children are Trapped in Syria and the Government Must Bring Them Home (Human Rights Watch)

An ABC Four Corners investigation has exposed the callous indifference of Australian officials over the return of Australian children held without charge in foreign camps for families of Islamic State members.

Posted in Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Appealing to our Better Angels. A repost from 30 June 2011

In an appeal to Secessionists in his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln appealed to ‘the better angels of our nature’. Today we lack the bi-partisan leadership on refugees that would appeal to our better angels. I have yet to hear … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

TIM WOODRUFF. Health Policy and Successful Politics.

Health policy reform is difficult. There are an abundance of powerful stakeholders whose number one priority is definitely not optimum health care for all Australians. But most Australians do share the view that our health care system (which isn’t really … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

ANDREW CHUBB. China’s assertive maritime policy is older than Xi (East Asia Forum)

The toughening of China’s policies in the South and East China Seas is widely regarded as a defining characteristic of Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. But while it is true that the PRC has become more assertive in its maritime disputes … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 2 Comments

H.K. COLEBATCH. What’s wrong with the APS?

The Thodey review has stimulated a wide variety of diagnoses of what’s wrong with the APS, but one has been missed.  Could it be that its problem is hubris?

Posted in Health | 4 Comments

MEGHAN SULLIVAN. Envisioning the Afterlife. The problem with Lazarus.

During Lent, Christians are asked to think much more concretely about our short, precarious lives. We swear off chocolate, alcohol, or, in my case, swearing itself.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said greenhouse gas emissions have turned around by 1.1 billion tonnes under the Coalition. Is he correct? (ABC News)

The Morrison Government has for months argued Australia is on track to meet its international greenhouse gas emissions abatement targets “in a canter”.

Posted in Environment and climate | Comments Off on Energy Minister Angus Taylor said greenhouse gas emissions have turned around by 1.1 billion tonnes under the Coalition. Is he correct? (ABC News)

JOSHUA J. McELWEE. In new letter, Benedict blames clergy abuse on sexual revolution, Vatican II theology.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a new letter blaming the continuing Catholic clergy abuse crisis on the sexual revolution, developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council, and modern society’s aversion to speaking about God.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 6 Comments

Australia unprepared for worsening wild weather, ex-emergency chiefs warn (The New Daily)

Concerned former fire and emergency chiefs have warned of increasingly catastrophic extreme weather events and demanded action on climate change. The group of 23 ex-top brass fired a salvo against Prime Minister Scott Morrison as well as state and territory … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. We need a national summit to promote trust in politics. An edited repost

At the forthcoming election  the Liberal Party will be asking, Who do you trust Scott Morrison or Bill Shorten? Scott Morrison repeated it yesterday many times. This seems odd for a  leader who  most reminds me of  salesman, Donald Trump. … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

ELAINE PEARSON. China’s Efforts to Curb Australia’s Academic Freedom: What Universities Can Do.

There’s been a vigorous debate of late in Australia about the extent of Chinese government interference in domestic politics. Less has been said about what occurs on our university campuses. Pressure from the Chinese government comes in numerous ways, including … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Education, International Affairs | 2 Comments

ALBERT VAN DIJK. Australia’s 2018 environmental scorecard: a dreadful year that demands action (The Conversation).

Environmental news is rarely good. But even by those low standards, 2018 was especially bad. That is the main conclusion from Australia’s Environment in 2018, the latest in an annual series of environmental condition reports, released today. Every year, we … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | Comments Off on ALBERT VAN DIJK. Australia’s 2018 environmental scorecard: a dreadful year that demands action (The Conversation).

JIM STANDFORD. Wages: Oops, They Did It Again! (The Australia Institute)

You would think that after 5 consecutive years of wage forecasts that wildly overestimated actual experience, the government might have learned from its past errors – and published a wage forecast more in line with reality. But not this government.

Posted in Economy | Comments Off on JIM STANDFORD. Wages: Oops, They Did It Again! (The Australia Institute)

ABUL RIZVI. Dodgy Population Assumptions Crucial to Budget Figuring.

Ken Henry was forever explaining economic growth, and consequently the strength of the budget, is a function of productivity, participation and population. With the weak productivity growth of recent years likely to continue, the population and labour participation assumptions become … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | Comments Off on ABUL RIZVI. Dodgy Population Assumptions Crucial to Budget Figuring.

MICHAEL NIMAN. Weaponised Social Media Is Driving the Explosion of Fascism (Truthout)

Social media platforms give governments, extremists, haters and propagandists the ability to excite and incite hate amplified by algorithms.

Posted in Media | Comments Off on MICHAEL NIMAN. Weaponised Social Media Is Driving the Explosion of Fascism (Truthout)

JOHN MENADUE. The anti- China ‘think tank’ receives farewell largesse from the Coalition

 In this week’s budget the Australian Strategic Policy Institute received an enormous increase in government funding from $3.528m in 2017/18 to $20m in 2018/19.( Budget Papers -3.1.2 Grants ,Tables 39 and 40) .If the grant is for more than one … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 5 Comments

YELENA BIBERMAN, JARED SCHWARTZ. Pakistan is ready for stability in Afghanistan (East Asia Forum).

The Afghan government has an unexpectedly ardent advocate in current peace negotiations between the United States and Taliban—Pakistan. This surprising supporter has been providing sanctuary to the Taliban, thereby placing a pricey bet on its alleged proxy’s recapture of Afghanistan … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

AMANDA McKENZIE. Labor’s climate policy announcement: not perfect, but a significant advance.

In the lead-up to the federal election, the ALP has made climate change a focus of its campaign and has provided significant opportunities to strengthen climate action in Australia. However, if elected, the ALP would need to rapidly ratchet up … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 2 Comments

CAMERON LECKIE. Built on a tower of lies.

The world is going, or perhaps has gone, crazy. How else can we explain Trump, BREXIT, the Gilets Jaunes (yellow jackets) in France, new weather records becoming a regular event, or an ever intensifying Cold War between the Russia, China … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 9 Comments