Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s admission that “the Commonwealth has no line of sight” on vocational training spending and that “where targets do exist, they are aspirational. If not met, there are no consequences” applies equally to all spending on education at all levels by all levels of government.
Education funding in Australia is a quagmire of blame shifting, cost shifting, and caving in to lobbying and special interests.
Continue reading “Education: quagmire of blame and cost shifting”
President Donald Trump’s assertion this week that the US having the world’s most Covid-19 cases should be seen as a “badge of honour” epitomised all the failings of irrational, autocratic decision-making. And in this crisis, decision-making has been a matter of life and death.
Trump, like his fellow autocratic strongmen (and they are invariably men) in Brazil, Russia and China, has inflicted massive unnecessary pain on his people.
Continue reading “Trump’s deadly badge of dishonour”
More fundamental questions must be asked. People, quite reasonably are drafting wishlists for a post-Covid world – such as action on climate, energy, tax, water, industrial relations and so on – but that risks a return to politics as usual.
Rather we should be asking: what sort of economy do we want; what is the economy for; what role should government play and who should decide how government acts?
Continue reading “Virus puts economics in back seat”
This week’s report on ABC funding should alarm Australians.
The death by a thousand cuts of the ABC and the slow strangulation of Medicare have become woven into in Liberal Party’s DNA since John Howard turned Robert Menzies’ broad church of a liberal-conservative Liberal Party into a purely conservative one by shutting out almost everyone left of the nave.
Continue reading “With luck the ABC can be saved”
We have been here before, so do not worry. If China wants to boycott Australia over our perfectly reasonable request for an independent inquiry into the Covid-19 virus, it is their problem, not ours. The inquiry is not political brinksmanship but essential for reasons I’ll come back to.
There was a time in the 19 th century when 70 per cent of our imports came from Britain and 80 per cent of our exports went to Britain. By the turn of the 20 th century still half our exports went to Britain. We were still heavily dependent on Britain when it went in to the European Economic Community in 1973.
Continue reading “We can withstand Chinese pressure”
Just as the bushfire crisis was a flaw-exposing dress rehearsal that helped Australia deal with the Covid-19 crisis, the Covid-19 crisis should itself be a dress rehearsal for possibly worse things to come. And the most recent report of the Commission for the Human Future suggests that we would do well to prepare for them.
Indeed, the report suggests we need more than the traditional Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to illustrate the threats, which can be summarised as follows:
Continue reading “Covid a dress rehearsal for worse to come”
Fair’s fair. The Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1960) have always moved through the economy and society taking the best of everything – education, health care, opportunities, housing, jobs, income, prestige and tax perks. It is now time to recognise a new big debt.
Because of COVID-19, the economy has been trashed in order that the infection curve be flattened so the health system would be able to cope and not have to triage older people out of treatment.
Continue reading “Boomers should repay debt to young”
The Covid-19 crisis has put a stay on many jury trials. If we were sensible, the High Court’s judgement to overturn the conviction of George Pell should result in the end of them forever.
Imagine designing from scratch a system today for society to determine an accused’s guilt. You would be laughed at if you suggested you should go out on the street and pick 12 people at random and make them listen to evidence and legal submissions and then be locked in a room until they came up with a verdict and you did not require them to give any reasons.
Continue reading “Pell case shows juries should go”
What was Prime Minister Scott Morrison thinking, if anything, when he sent a video from what appears to be his office in which he said in prayer: “Heavenly Father, we just commit our nation to you in this terrible time of great need and suffering of so many people”?
Presumably, the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god he was praying to for help is the same all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god that inflicted the pandemic on us in the first place.
Continue reading “Rendering unto Caesar”
Sadly, recovery from the Covid19-induced economic crash will almost totally depend on the actions of the narcissistic, erratic, sociopath in the White House.
Let me explain.
With apologies to Leo Tolstoy, every market boom is similar; every market crash is different. In Australia, this one is different from the global financial crisis, the crash of 1987, the oil shock of the 1970s, and the crash of 1929 in several ways. Those differences will most likely determine its duration and who are the big losers and who gains.
Continue reading “It is down to the erratic sociopath”