ERIC HODGENS: A Possible Australian Church Contribution.

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (RC) is one of the most thorough investigations of its kind worldwide. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) have made a combined response accepting virtually all the commission’s recommendations. This puts them further down the track of adaptation than most countries in the world. If it works out, Australia has the chance to be showing the way for other nations, the Roman Curia and even the Canon Law itself. Continue reading

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MARK SWIVEL. ‘To be without a home. Like a complete unknown. Just like a rolling stone’. – Bob Dylan.

Having a home one of the most basic human needs. We talk about housing or shelter as a human right – as we should. But that is not what we want. Not just the bricks and mortar but the sense of place and belonging. It’s why homeless people gather. Sure there’s safety in numbers when sleeping rough but we need each other and want to be together with others. Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Human Rights | 1 Comment

TANYA PLIBERSEK. Education in an election year

As we approach the election, I’m thinking carefully about how a Shorten Labor Government will be remembered for our reform of education. It feels like every week, I meet someone in their 60s or 70s who reminds me about how Gough Whitlam was responsible for them going to university. I’m struck by the way they passionately talk about this – even after so many decades. They tell me how the opportunity of a university education transformed not just their life, but the course of their family’s life.   Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 2 Comments

ABUL RIZVI. The loss of control of our air borders and with the AAT drowning

The backlog of migration and asylum cases at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) reached a record 57,597 at end April 2019. That includes an astonishing 19,469 applications for asylum. The AAT is drowning. With the Dutton/Pezzullo engineered chaos in our visa system and loss of control of our air borders (see here and here), the situation at the AAT will get quite a lot worse before it gets any better irrespective of who wins the forthcoming Election. Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 2 Comments

ANNIKA DEAN. We cannot afford inaction on climate change

There has been a lot of recent speculation in the media about the economic costs of each party’s climate policies. But so far, there has been little talk of the costs of inaction.   Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

BRENDAN COATES AND JOHN DALEY. Someone has to lose for first homebuyers to win: This is who it should be. (ABC 14.5.2109)

The one thing that would actually help home buyers the most:  letting housing prices fall.   Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Politics | 1 Comment

STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Election lies we cannot afford


The choice that citizens – not mere “voters” – will exercise on Saturday is primarily between socially beneficial policies, a gender-equal leadership team, a leader who can pause, listen and think – up against a leader weirdly bereft of team or original thought, but ample in promises of yet more protections for corporate and wealth interests. And bursting with self-belief. That’s an opinion, of course. Yours may differ. So maybe we should also consider how this election is positioning facts, analysis and information up against misinformation – lies, con jobs – raised to an art form.

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MACK WILLIAMS . North Korea : Any movement?

North Korea has been squeezed out of the media headlines in the months since the Hanoi Summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un failed to achieve a breakthrough in February. This has been a factor both of there not being much new to report and the seeming plethora of other crises – at home and abroad – which Trump has on his agenda.

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In a tweet to President Rouhani in July 2018, President Trump warned: Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. Similar threats to Kim Jong-un in 2018 did not result in war with North Korea. Could they now, in Iran? Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The Newspeak road to four degrees Celsius warming.

While a price placed on the Earth, estimated at $5000 trillion (New Formula Values Earth), belongs to the unthinkable, the haggle by conservatives over the price of mitigation of climate change underpins the reality of the Faustian Bargain.   Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

ANDREW JAKUBOWICZ. Election 2019: finally, the beginning of the end of White Australia?

Somewhere along the road to May 18, the Australian media discovered multicultural Australia, and began to sense its import and influence.  Journalists who could speak Putonghua or track threads through WeChat, or tap away on one of the many desi social media, suddenly found they were in demand. Names never before seen on by-lines suddenly were paired with the old guard Euro-Australian reporters.   Continue reading

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MICHAEL MAZENGARB. Global fossil fuel subsidies reach $5.2 trillion, and $29 billion in Australia (Renew Economy)

New analysis commissioned by the International Monetary Fund has shown that global fossil fuel subsidies continue to grow, despite the growing urgency of the need to decarbonise the global economy. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate | 1 Comment

CHRIS BONNOR The education election: it’s the same old song

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that school education was taking a back seat in the election campaign. With just a few days to go not much has changed: the various protagonists are making more noise, while managing to avoid the mounting wicked problems that beset school education. The coalition has stuck to business as usual without really understanding what the business is delivering; Labor knows more, but its otherwise courageous policy development has not touched education.

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MICHAEL KEATING. This election offers a very real choice. Part 2

In a previous article (posted yesterday) I compared the Coalition and Labor fiscal plans. The credibility of these plans, as well as their value, depends significantly on whether the underlying economic parameters upon which the plans are based are sound, and equally how those plans will impact on economic activity and growth. These issues are discussed further below in the second part of this series comparing the two Parties fiscal plans.   Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Sanctions – a follow-up

Several people have written seeking clarification and explanation of some of my arguments in my previous article on sanctions, published here on Friday 10 May. The academic literature on the success and effectiveness of sanctions is in something of a mess, for a number of reasons.

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DAVID SOLOMON. Vote earlier.

Am I missing something? Voting early is becoming increasingly popular, yet the politicians are thinking of cutting it back, and/or making it more difficult. I thought politicians were in the business of picking up, or at least reflecting, the public mood. But somehow, they believe they should resist this particular trend – this very strong trend that has gained the approval of more than a third of voters from across the political spectrum.   Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER Iran: Another US War by Choice

The character and political needs of President Trump and the obsessions of John Bolton are coalescing towards US action directed at regime change in Iran. The reasons given for the current increase in US military deployments in the Persian Gulf demand careful, independent analysis, before Australia responds to any US request that it join it in its actions. It is not simply an Alliance issue.
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Posted in International Affairs | 11 Comments

MARK CROSYBY. Trick question: who’s the better economic manager? (The Conversation)

In 1995 I co-authored a paper with Diane Brown and Louise Malady which examined economic outcomes under Labor and Liberal governments in Australia to that time. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

ROSS GITTINS. Universities: both sides should clean up the mess they’ve made

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BELINDA KINKEAD. Australia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Australia is experiencing a remarkable renewable energy transition – not that you would know if you listen to some federal politicians. The Coalition consistently tells us that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are “coming down” and that we’re on track to meet our Paris climate targets “at a canter”. In reality, neither of those statements is true. Continue reading

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THOMAS FRIEDMAN. Has Our Luck Run Out? (New York Times)

Most crucial problems today are global in nature and can be dealt with only by a global coalition. Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 3 Comments

CAMERON LECKIE. The global war of terror and the demise of the empire

As a young Army officer, watching Prime Minister John Howard’s announcement of the deployment of Australian military forces to Afghanistan in late 2001, I remember the extreme disappointment from both my soldiers and I that we would not be going to fight what would become known as the Global War on Terror.  Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. This election offers a very real choice. Part I

The two major issues in this election are climate change and the economy and cost of living pressures. In both cases the two major parties are offering very different strategies.

In these two articles I will focus on the economic choice being offered to voters. In this article, I will compare the two Parties’ fiscal plans, and in a second part to be posted tomorrow I will comment on the likely economic impacts of these respective plans.   Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Finally, the beginning of the end.

Scott Morrison’s launch was, ironically, the last of the big set pieces. The remaining mad (and largely irrelevant) days will be scrabbling over a few marginal seats in which the vast majority of those who have not already voted will have already made up their minds.   Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments


No Australian adorned the professions of politics and journalism like Evan Williams.  He was much more than a beautiful writer.  He was a beautiful man, who brought a shining light and grace to thousands of lives. He died a few days ago. Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Reviews, Media | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. The communist threat curbed capitalist greed, but no longer

Five years ago in this blog I warned about  growing inequality.With the communist threat gone we have seen again  greed  coming back into full play around the world. We have seen it here in the greed and anti social  behaviour of our banks and massive tax avoidance by large multinational companies in co-operation with our major audit and accounting firms.Paying tax has become optional for many powerful people and companies.Our largely American owned print media is promoting this dangerous lurch to the right. Conservative political parties have turned a blind eye to this more aggressive attack on fellow citizens and the consequent inequality.

And the greed for economic growth at any cost is endangering our planet.

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Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

MICHAEL PASCOE. Hey PM, you’re either lying or ignorant about the RBA’s forecasts. (New Daily, 12.5.2019)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is either desperately lying or ignorant about the Reserve Bank seriously downgrading Australia’s economic outlook – a downgrade that could easily wipe out the government’s “back in black” surplus claim.   Continue reading

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LAURIE PATTON. It’s the vision, stupid! Why we need #BetterBroadband

While neither side of politics is saying much about our increasingly-maligned National Broadband Network during the election period, the fact is Australia is falling behind in the race to leverage the benefits – economic and social – of an emerging digitally-enabled future. Irrespective of the outcome of the election we need #BetterBroadband and we need a less politicised future for NBN Co.   Continue reading

Posted in Media, NBN | 2 Comments

PETER SAINSBURY. How do the parties’ environmental policies compare?

If climate change is going to influence your vote this Saturday you may want to know how the three main political parties’ environment policies shape up. Here are three scorecards to help you decide who to favour with your vote.

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JAMES O’NEILL. There are “Nutters” and then there are “Nutters”

In interview given to Australia’s ABC network former Prime Minister Paul Keating referred to the Australian intelligence agencies as “nutters”. The comment was in the context of the advice that those intelligence agencies were giving the government on relations with China, Australia’s most important economic partner by a considerable margin. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments