Without dog whistles, Abbott is right on two scores

by Crispin Hull on July 21, 2017

Tony Abbott’s conservative manifesto correctly questioned Australia’s high immigration and the build-in-Australia conventional submarine program, but there was some dog-whistling in the arguments. On immigration, the dog whistle was a xenophobic call for a slow down so present immigrants could get time to settle in and assimilate. On the submarines, he wanted an off-the-shelf one, but he thought it should be a nuclear one, which would be the thin edge of the wedge for a nuclear power industry that would in turn undermine renewables. [click to continue…]

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Turnbull should stare down the reactionaries

by Crispin Hull on July 14, 2017

The Peter Corlett 2012 sculpture of Menzies on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin.

ONE morning this week I did an agile, exciting and even innovative traverse of the R. G. Menzies Walk on the northern side of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. What a progressive Menzies was. [click to continue…]

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Political system needs repair work

by Crispin Hull on July 7, 2017

HUMAN nature does not change much. Politicians are as idealistic, selfish, greedy, altruistic, competent, incompetent, foolish, smart and gifted as they ever were. So the explanation for Australia’s decade of political dysfunction must lie elsewhere. [click to continue…]

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The alarming Census: debt and population

by Crispin Hull on June 30, 2017

ONE OF the most alarming statistics to come out of this week’s release of the 2016 census figures was the dramatic decrease in outright home-ownership over the past quarter century.

It was coupled with a large increase in the portion of people renting – mostly from people who have taken out investment loans.

It bespeaks a gluttonous baby-boomer generation stealing from the next generation, egged on by greedy banks and poor monetary policy, and compounded by cowered do-nothing governments. [click to continue…]

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Journalistic confidence trivialised at media ball

by Crispin Hull on June 23, 2017

WHAT does “off the record” mean? When I taught journalism at the University of Canberra I routinely asked my classes this question when covering the treatment of sources. The answers were varied. The question has arisen again in the light of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech at the “off-the-record” press gallery mid-winter’s ball and the enlightening Four Corners program on how Chris Masters got his material on the “Moonlight State” that blew apart the systemic corruption in the Queensland Police three decades ago. [click to continue…]

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Marginal tax rates a scandal of unfairness

by Crispin Hull on June 16, 2017

THE minimum-wage earners are knocking at the door and just one more increase like the one this month will push them through it. The door is the second tax rung above which they will pay 34.5 per cent of any additional income in income tax and Medicare levy. It is a scandal of unfairness. These people have very few deductions, so once the minimum wage surpasses $37,000 which it will almost inevitably do after the next rise, they will be paying more than a third of their marginal income (any extra income in the form of overtime or penalty rates) in tax. The same marginal rate as all the people earning up to $87,000. How can that be fair? [click to continue…]

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Diplomacy and science v Trump the barbarian

by Crispin Hull on June 9, 2017

Horsey. LA Times

TWO of the great civilising forces in human history have been diplomacy and science. And that is why President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris Accord on climate change is the act of a barbarian.

In ancient times, barbarians were those outside the civilised worlds of Greece and Rome. In more recent times, it was epitomised by Trump at the G7 refusing to join the leaders of Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Germany and Canada in a civilised conversational 700-metre stroll to the piazza of the Sicilian hilltop town of Taormina which has been there since at lease 345BC. Trump had to wait for a golf cart to take him just 700 metres. [click to continue…]

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Uluru statement requires end to monarchy as well

by Crispin Hull on June 2, 2017

DELEGATES at the First Nations Constitutional Convention at Uluru have rejected symbolic constitutional recognition with some justification. In 1999 Australians rejected (55-45) a proposal to insert a preamble in the Constitution which included the words “honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation’s first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country”. [click to continue…]

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Rich getting too much with education funding

by Crispin Hull on May 26, 2017

IT IS is all very well talking about needs-based funding, but Gonski 2.0 is increasingly looking like the cynic’s view of foreign aid (poor people in rich countries giving to rich people in poor countries). With Gonski 2.0 it looks like: poor parents of government-school students in middle and rich suburbs subsidising rich parents of private-school students in in middle and poor suburbs. [click to continue…]

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The danger of dialogue and appeasing North Korea

by Crispin Hull on May 19, 2017

EIGHTY years ago, Hitler had just remilitarised the Rhineland and had his eye on taking Austria and the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. Nothing happened after those takeovers but talks, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declaring, “Peace in our time.” Naivety and appeasement. Today we have North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The history is similar. [click to continue…]

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