MANY Australians bemoan the wasteful duplication of our federation. But there is an upside. Often a state or territory can achieve ground-breaking reform which might take a lot of extra time and effort for a large unitary state to do, if it could be done at all. [click to continue…]
IT IS a pity that it is considered OK to say, “I’m no good at maths.” An ABC TV news presenter said it this week, for example. The pity is that the more people get turned off by any news or commentary that requires a bit of arithmetic, let alone maths, the easier it is for governments and sharp people to rip them off. Never has this been truer than in the recent tax debate. [click to continue…]
THANK you, Senator Eric Abetz. Abetz’s comments this week on marriage equality should serve as a timely warning to the Australian Republican Movement and to all those who support the cause of removing the hereditary monarchy from our Constitution. [click to continue…]
A DELIGHTFUL ding-dong has been going on this month between South Australian Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and the noted psephologist Malcolm Mackerras that has led Mackerras to call for a re-run of the 1984 High Court case that declared the present mad Senate voting system constitutionally valid. [click to continue…]
PRIME Minister Jim Hacker in the Yes, Prime Minister series said of the British public, “I am their leader, I must follow them.” [click to continue…]
THE brass plaques are everywhere. On bridges, hospitals, schools, highways and also on additions and extensions to them. They are on telecommunications towers, railway stations, bus interchanges, airports, ports, fire stations, police stations and sport stadiums. On virtually every bit of infrastructure that any drop of public money helped build. [click to continue…]
AN ASSERTION of judicial power to protect rights in Australia would not go amiss after a decade of onslaught by the legislature and executive against ordinary liberal-democratic principles.
An analysis by constitutional lawyer George Williams tallies 350 Australian laws that now infringe those basic democratic standards. The laws cover not just anti-terror and defence, but also general crime, discrimination, consumer law, migration, industrial relations, intellectual property, evidence, shipping, environment, education and health. [click to continue…]
IN THE 2016 election year we will hear a lot more about one of Australia’s hitherto practically unsung federal-state imbalances.
The much sung one, of course, is the fact that the Federal Government raises the bulk of the taxes, but the states are the ones with the responsibility for spending them – schools, hospitals, police, most roads and so on. It goes by the rather ugly name of vertical fiscal imbalance. [click to continue…]
THE average financial adviser will not tell you this, but one investment beats virtually anything else. Its effective rate of return is about 27 per cent. Yes 27 per cent. It is achieved by making sure you pay your credit card off by the due date every month. [click to continue…]
US Republican candidate Donald Trump’s call to prevent all Muslims from entering the United States gives rise to the question: what are the limits of toleration in a liberal democracy? To what extent can a liberal democracy tolerate religious bigotry? It is a double-edged question. To what extent can a liberal democracy tolerate the bigotry espoused by Trump? Equally to what extent can a liberal democracy tolerate a religion (or sect of a religion) that espouses repression of women and homosexuals; the death for adultery and apostasy; and amputation for thieves. [click to continue…]