Population boom puts us in depression

“A word means what I want it to mean, nothing more, nothing less,” Humpty Dumpty said in “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There”.

The International Monetary Fund says “most commentators” define “recession” as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. And the “growth” refers to growth in Gross National Product.

Hence we have the Alice in Wonderland conclusion that Australia is not in recession.

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Anglosheric political madness

In politics, it seems, rationality has become but a small episode in a general theatre of madness. 

In the US a convicted felon is poised to be President again. In Britain, a dying government is sending refugees to Rwanda and wants to draft 19-year-olds into “national service”. In Australia, the Opposition sees nuclear power as the salvation when coal power stations shut down, as if the power stations are pieces of Leggo – throw out a brown bit and immediately replace it with a silver bit.

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Explaining Dutton’s dumb nuclear plan

UK’s Hinkley nuclear power station – 17 years and $50 billion over.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s desperate clinging to a nuclear-power policy tells us a great deal about what is wrong with Australian politics today.

Seventy years ago next month, the world’s first nuclear-power station at Obninsk in the Soviet Union was connected to the Moscow grid.

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An extremely rank list

Ranked lists are everywhere: the NYT bestsellers; 10 best holiday towns; best 10 cars; Eurovision; best Italian restaurants in Perth; top 40; best actor; best supporting actor. And on and on it goes.

So, what is wrong with the boys at the Anglican Yarra Valley Grammar School making a ratings list of the senior girls at the school, as they were caught doing this month?

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Legal talent wasted on speech cases

In the past few months staggering millions of dollars in costs have been run up in cases of people complaining about what publishers publish or twits Tweet.

The Roberts-Smith was costly enough, but the Lehrmann case metastatised into multiple defamation actions with lawyers on thousands of dollars a day applying complicated defamation law to the entrails of what was said or published on multiple platforms.

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Lehrmann: a sideshow in public discourse

A loud Phew! echoed yesterday afternoon across newsrooms, broadcast studios, and the lone desks of journalists who work at home.

I used to say that there is an almost irrebuttable presumption of law and fact in defamation: media loses. But with successful truth defences yesterday in Lehrmann (rape) closely following Roberts-Smith (murder), is the tide turning for public-interest journalism and freedom of speech?

We will come back to that. But more importantly in this five-year Lehrmann-Higgins “omnishambles” (to quote Justice Michael Lee), the true side show has been what everyone thought was the main event: did Bruce Lehrmann rape Brittany Higgins?

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It’s time to think more slowly

The disclosure last week of donation details for last October’s Indigenous referendum displayed again the weakness of electoral law, but also gave insights into political campaigning generally.

There is a whole lot more to this than the mere disclosure and recording of donations. And a whole lot more than the mere recording of spending on paid commercial advertising slots.

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