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Australia is leading the Western world in enacting tough new laws to curb foreign interference and influence-peddling in domestic affairs. The primary intended target is China. Continue reading
Last Tuesday marked 90 years since the last recorded massacre of Aboriginal people in Australia. Continue reading
When Socceroo defender Aziz Behich put the ball in his own net during the recent World Cup, handing France the win, Australia groaned in collective disappointment. He didn’t mean to, and he is already forgiven. But when CEO Michelle Guthrie launched ABC’s new lifestyle section, it was an own goal for which it is hard to give absolution. Continue reading
The outcome of the super Saturday by-elections have settled the question of Bill Shorten’s leadership at least until after the next general election. Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership also seems secure, if for no other reason than the lack of plausible alternatives. Both are unpopular and the by-elections (and polls) suggest that the electorate is sick of the focus on the leadership challenges and three word slogans masquerading as policy. Continue reading
In a key paper titled “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene“, published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Science (6.8.2018), a group of 17 climate and environment scientists (Will Steffen, Johan Rockström, Katherine Richardson, Timothy M. Lenton, Carl Folke, Diana Liverman, Colin P. Summerhayes, Anthony D. Barnosky, Sarah E. Cornell, Michel Crucifix, Jonathan F. Donges, Ingo Fetzer, Steven J. Lade, Marten Scheffer, Ricarda Winkelmann, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber) have issued a stern warning to humanity with regard to the future of advanced life on Earth (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1810141115) Continue reading
Treating personal drug use as an administrative offence along the lines of a parking violation has worked well for Portugal. It has not only been a public health and public policy success but also a political one. Continue reading
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced the move to legalise marijuana earlier this year. He said the move would take the market share away from organised crime and protect the country’s youth. Continue reading
A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts covered in other media. Continue reading
Every week now, we are presented with another reason to think hard about exactly what our “joined at the hip” relationship with the US obliges us to do. July Bishop’s Foreign Policy White paper doesn’t meet that need. Indeed, it urges us to deepen our relationship with the US as the way ahead. Our relationship of dependence on the US renders us unable to address effectively the key current and foreseeable determinants, of politics among nations. Continue reading
US President Donald Trump has been widely criticised for his supposed fawning performance in Helsinki at the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But a minority of commentators have made three countervailing arguments to explain and justify Trump’s statements: preventing a US–Russia nuclear war by calming bilateral tensions that have arisen from the dangerous infection of Russophobia is a transcendental goal that should override all other considerations; if the main strategic rival in the foreseeable future is going to be China, then improving relations with Russia is a strategic move on the geopolitical chessboard; and Russian cooperation is essential to extricating the US from the mess created by the Obama administration’s pursuit of incoherent and inconsistent goals in the Middle East. Continue reading
In a recent post Roger Scott asks an appropriate question but it’s anachronistic – like asking why doesn’t Elvis do live concert anymore? Political Science was always a bastard, left-handed, red-haired child of the turn to scientism by the social sciences in the late 19th Century and it never recovered, thanks to the domination of successive generations of third-rate positivists deriving chimerical insights from mathematics ill-suited to a decent understanding of their subject matter. Continue reading
On the northwestern edge of Los Angeles, where I grew up, the wildfires came in late summer. We lived in a new subdivision, and behind our house were the hills, golden and parched. We would hose down the wood-shingled roof as fire crews bivouacked in our street. Our neighborhood never burned, but others did. In the Bel Air fire of 1961, nearly five hundred homes burned, including those of Burt Lancaster and Zsa Zsa Gabor. We were all living in the “wildland-urban interface,” as it is now called. More subdivisions were built, farther out, and for my family the wildfire threat receded. Continue reading
When West Australian Opposition Leader Mike Nahan appeared on the news under fire for dual citizenship I hope everybody else shared my reaction. Not again, I moaned. Surely, we had enough of this nonsense in the federal Parliament. Do we have to go through it in the States? Continue reading
The World Congress of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) was held jointly with the annual conference of the Australian Political Studies Association (AuPSA) in Brisbane in July 2018. The papers on Australia provided a snapshot of the breadth of scholarship and also underlying attitudes among political scientists towards the political system within which Australian universities function. Continue reading
In this Q&A, former senior bureaucrat Michael Dillon offers some very thoughtful insights into the last several decades of Indigenous policy-making and the role of historical knowledge in the policy process. Continue reading
Australia’s drug policy regime is ruining people’s lives and causing more misery and cost than it saves. A new approach is needed, one that is evidence based and recognises the personal, social and economic benefits of policies other than mere prohibition and law enforcement. With good leadership and open-minded public debate, we can do better. Continue reading
Current drug policy is based on the unrealistic belief that we can stamp out possession and use of illicit drugs, much like prohibition of alcohol in 1920s America. It also fails to account for the harm caused by our strictly punitive policy approach. Continue reading
This is mostly a personal story, about my son Damien, who died from heroin use in 1997, at the age of 23. I feel sure that his death could have been avoided if we had at the time an approach to drug use that was based on harm prevention rather than punishment. Continue reading
The new squatters on public land are being given a leg-up, as they were in the 19th Century, to seize and occupy public land. By deliberately underfunding National Parks developer-friendly governments are putting commercial interests ahead of the public interest.
Our early wealthy and powerful squatters forced indigenous people off the land they had occupied for tens of thousands of years. The new squatters are taking over more and more of our public land – national parks, botanic gardens and public reserves.
There is currently an attempt by a latter-day squatter, aka developer – Gap Bluff Hospitality Pty Ltd – to in effect destroy the ‘peaceful enjoyment’ of the Sydney Harbour National Park by developing a series of quite inappropriate features for weddings, ‘bucks’ and hens’ parties’ and student formals. Continue reading
At the sidelines of the 2017 East Asia Summit (EAS) in Manila, senior officials from Australia, India, Japan and the United States’ respective foreign ministries met under the aegis of the ‘Australia-India-Japan- United States consultations on the Indo-Pacific’. This was followed by a stage-managed meeting of the four countries’ naval chiefs at the Raisina Dialogue, a Track 1.5 process in India. The 2007 still-born Quadrilateral Security Initiative was back. Continue reading
They may be disappointed. Continue reading
What GM used to be to America, Toyota is to Japan: a weathervane for macro trends. On Friday, the carmaker admitted it is downhill from now. Continue reading
American prosperity since World War II has been built upon science and technology breakthroughs spurred by a powerful innovation system linking the federal government, business, academia and venture capital. U.S. innovation policy has been successfully emulated in Europe and Asia, most recently by China. President Trump’s trade war against China aims to slow China’s technology ascent but is misguided and doomed to fail; instead, American prosperity should be assured by doing what America does best: innovating at home and trading with the rest of the world. Continue reading
Every day people are imprisoned for drug-related crimes in line with ‘tough on drugs’ policies. It’s time to face the futility and unsustainability of this approach to drug use. Continue reading
Australian prisons are severely overcrowded. Much crime is drug related. Some 75% of prisoners have a substance abuse problem. The majority of prisoners are not rehabilitated by their prison experience as evidenced by high recidivism rates, particularly for First Nation people. A holistic, whole of community response is required founded in restorative justice and justice reinvestment. Continue reading
We are finally seeing in Australia the first signs of a recognition by government of the important public health benefits of sanctioned pill testing programs. Law enforcement alone will never overcome the problems that can arise from drug use. Much like needle and syringe programs, pill testing is a real-world response which is evidence based and rightly treats harm reduction as one of the primary objectives of drug policy.
The insults hurled by David Leyonhjelm at Sarah Hanson-Young recently put parliamentary discourse in the gutter. Leyonhjelm was roundly condemned, but not by our leaders. A limp slap across the knuckles from Turnbull and Shorten, then on to more pressing matters, hoping it will all go away. Continue reading
The best outcome for electricity consumers would be for state governments to kill the National Energy Guarantee when the COAG energy council meets on Friday. Having gone nine years without a well-grounded energy policy we can wait a few months until the next election. Continue reading
Just imagine if a Labor prime minister handed out a $444 million grant to a small reef ‘charity’ without any due process. The Murdoch media would be even more apoplectic than usual. There is a lack of transparency and probity in this case. The Chairman’s Panel for this reef charity is full of mates and cronies. Continue reading