Death throes of Coalition Governments

by on November 9, 2018

THE past couple of decades are not unique in Australian political history: the despising of the loathsome politicians and the sudden and late coming around of those loathsome politicians to abandon the positions of their financial backers and appease the majority of thoughtful people in the face of impending electoral defeat.

No doubt some diehard Labor supporters are nervous that the Scott Morrison Government will neutralise the big issues like Nauru, climate change and an anti-corruption commission with a bit of policy sop and then sneak back into office, that he will road-to-Damascus like see the light and be as successful as St Paul in gaining conversions and followers.

Do not fear.

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Google pain worth the gain

by on November 2, 2018

THE Australian-accented woman’s voice on Google Maps can sure murder the pronunciation of Italian street names. “In 800 metres turn left at VIE-AH LEPARD-DIE then turn right into VIE-HA GUY-SEP LEDG-EO,” and so on.

Just as well.

The car we (my wife Louise and I) had hired for our two-week drive around Sicily had a navigation system, but it was set to Italian and there was no teenager or PhD in electronic engineering readily available to set it to English, even if such a thing were possible. [click to continue…]


Going by the trend in Wentworth it seems that the big stich-up against minor parties and independents in the Senate by the Coalition and Labor in 2016 is not going to work.

I will return to the Senate stich-up shortly. But first to the House of Representatives.

Everyone assumes the election will be in May. But maybe not. [click to continue…]


“This is just Government 101: carefully consider the issues in front of you and make the best possible judgments about the way forward,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said about the reason for the Government withholding the Ruddock report on religious freedom. It presumes basic university-level learning. Alas, this Government’s behaviour belongs in primary school.

The reference to “101” is to the way universities label their subjects. Government 101 would be the subject Government in first semester of first year. [click to continue…]


THE political stunts and partisanship over the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court should make Australians feel lucky. The stand-out element of stability in the Australian political system during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Abbott-Turnbull madness has been appointments to the High Court. [click to continue…]


IT SEEMS that the Government is going to hang on to Philip Ruddock’s report on religious freedom until after this month’s by-election and then, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, take some legislative action on it.
First we have the obvious question about open and accountable government. Who paid for this report? Why do freedom-of-information laws give such broad exemptions to Cabinet documents on topics which have absolutely no national-security or national-finance questions? [click to continue…]


IT IS difficult to work out the degree of Australia’s growing inequality in income and wealth, simply because a lot of high-wealth, high-income people disguise it. But in the past week or so a couple of publications show inequality is higher than officially recognised. [click to continue…]


IN A week in which the ABC exposed yet another scandal resulting from corporatisation, privatisation and deregulation of public services – this time aged care – forcing the Government to launch an inquiry without admitting any blame and in which the ABC continues to play promos on the esteem it is held in the eyes of the famous and not so famous, I must relate this story which links them all. [click to continue…]


Chinese infrastructure on Subi Reef in the South China Sea

IN A perverse way, we may all come to be grateful for China’s military build-up in the South China Sea and its increased meddling in Pacific island nations. China has spent billions of dollars turning rocks and atolls in the South China Sea into full-scale islands complete with runways and re-supply facilities. [click to continue…]


The curse of interesting times

by on September 7, 2018

The sharp fall in the Coalition’s primary vote in the Longman by-election and in the polls after Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership may well be the harbinger of politics in which majority government becomes the exception rather than the rule. This is because we are reaching a tipping point where the primary vote splits more evenly into the three boxes: Labor, the Coalition and Minors. [click to continue…]