THE big business lobbies must be licking their lips over the out-pouring of racially motivated calls for lower immigration – in the very week that Australia’s population hit 25 million. It means that sensible people arguing for lower immigration on economic and environmental grounds will now also have to run the gauntlet of being branded as racist. [click to continue…]

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IN 1938 “appeasement” was not dirty word. It was regarded as a legitimate response to Adolf Hitler’s increasingly menacing actions towards his neighbours. Today one could ask whether liberal democracies are similarly appeasing authoritarian regimes. The situations are different, but there are similarities. It would be folly to suggest a pre-emptive war against any one or all of the authoritarian regimes around the world. But a little bit of deterrence would not go amiss. [click to continue…]

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Seeking justice for MH17 victims

by on July 27, 2018

HERE’S a bit of constructive mischief.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said this week: “We remain committed to seeking justice for the victims of MH17. We have attributed state responsibility to Russia.” And US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “We need the Russians to continue to be held accountable for that.”

So perhaps Australia (and the Netherlands, Malaysia and Britain, for that matter) should make it clear that when President Vladimir Putin sets foot on US soil (at the astonishing invitation of President Donald Trump) that we will seek his extradition to Australia to stand trial for the murder, or at least the manslaughter, of the 38 Australians who were aboard the Malaysian Airlines flight when it was shot down in 2014 over eastern Ukraine by separatists supplied with Russian weapons. [click to continue…]

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From Russia without kid gloves

by on July 20, 2018

WHILE President Trump dissembles over whether he can’t see “why it would be Russia” or why it “wouldn’t be” and prefers Vladimir Putin’s denial over his own intelligence services, all the evidence points to Russia. First, why, one might ask, would anyone trust the US intelligence services, after the post 9/11 call on Iraq’s so-called weapons of mass destruction? [click to continue…]

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Boris Johnson and a female cyclist

The resigning British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that, as mayor of London, he could not save female cyclists’ lives because the EU would not legislate to lower truck-window heights when every arm of the British Government wanted action, and that this had convinced him to support Brexit.

Bunkum. It has the same credibility as President Donald Trump saying the rising stock market proves that his economic policy is correct. But the two are related. It all comes down to regulation and duping the population. [click to continue…]

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IN THE week that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott called for Australia to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, it is worth reminding readers that legs of lamb can be bought in Whyalla for under $100. Indeed, this week you can click and collect a 1.8kg leg at Coles Whyalla for $16.20. [click to continue…]

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A COUPLE of recent Australian developments show that xenophobic fury and trade wars are not the answer to foreign businesses taking domestic profits and jobs, as President Donald Trump thinks. The answer is to either just to accept the benefits of the cheaper goods and services that foreigners provide or to go out in active competition. [click to continue…]

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THIS week’s pledge by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to counter-balance China’s power push in the Pacific with a greater Australian presence on the ground offers a sliver of hope in an otherwise grim international outlook. There has been much wringing of foreign-policy hands recently over threats to the rules-based international order. The sources of that threat can be distilled to three. Russia is unabashedly using an arsenal of weapons of mass deception. China is expanding its program of weapons of mass construction. And, meanwhile, the United States has slowly and unilaterally disarmed itself of great portions of its diplomatic power. [click to continue…]

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SOCIAL media has been such a game changer that NSW is to have a look at how the 2005 uniform defamation law is coping. But some things remain constant: humans like to be liked, like to be respected and like to be trusted. It is in our evolved genes. So we should be careful. [click to continue…]

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EAST Hope Island, about 35km south-east of Cooktown, is one of the prettiest small tropical islands in the world. It is ringed with coral and a white-sand beach with rich bird and fish life. You can walk around it in 15 minutes, which I did on World Environment Day this week.

But something stood out on that pristine beach: a plastic soft-drink bottle. [click to continue…]

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