Journalistic confidence trivialised at media ball

by Crispin Hull on June 23, 2017

WHAT does “off the record” mean? When I taught journalism at the University of Canberra I routinely asked my classes this question when covering the treatment of sources. The answers were varied. The question has arisen again in the light of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech at the “off-the-record” press gallery mid-winter’s ball and the enlightening Four Corners program on how Chris Masters got his material on the “Moonlight State” that blew apart the systemic corruption in the Queensland Police three decades ago. [click to continue…]

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Marginal tax rates a scandal of unfairness

by Crispin Hull on June 16, 2017

THE minimum-wage earners are knocking at the door and just one more increase like the one this month will push them through it. The door is the second tax rung above which they will pay 34.5 per cent of any additional income in income tax and Medicare levy. It is a scandal of unfairness. These people have very few deductions, so once the minimum wage surpasses $37,000 which it will almost inevitably do after the next rise, they will be paying more than a third of their marginal income (any extra income in the form of overtime or penalty rates) in tax. The same marginal rate as all the people earning up to $87,000. How can that be fair? [click to continue…]

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Diplomacy and science v Trump the barbarian

by Crispin Hull on June 9, 2017

Horsey. LA Times

TWO of the great civilising forces in human history have been diplomacy and science. And that is why President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris Accord on climate change is the act of a barbarian.

In ancient times, barbarians were those outside the civilised worlds of Greece and Rome. In more recent times, it was epitomised by Trump at the G7 refusing to join the leaders of Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Germany and Canada in a civilised conversational 700-metre stroll to the piazza of the Sicilian hilltop town of Taormina which has been there since at lease 345BC. Trump had to wait for a golf cart to take him just 700 metres. [click to continue…]

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Uluru statement requires end to monarchy as well

by Crispin Hull on June 2, 2017

DELEGATES at the First Nations Constitutional Convention at Uluru have rejected symbolic constitutional recognition with some justification. In 1999 Australians rejected (55-45) a proposal to insert a preamble in the Constitution which included the words “honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation’s first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country”. [click to continue…]

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Rich getting too much with education funding

by Crispin Hull on May 26, 2017

IT IS is all very well talking about needs-based funding, but Gonski 2.0 is increasingly looking like the cynic’s view of foreign aid (poor people in rich countries giving to rich people in poor countries). With Gonski 2.0 it looks like: poor parents of government-school students in middle and rich suburbs subsidising rich parents of private-school students in in middle and poor suburbs. [click to continue…]

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The danger of dialogue and appeasing North Korea

by Crispin Hull on May 19, 2017

EIGHTY years ago, Hitler had just remilitarised the Rhineland and had his eye on taking Austria and the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. Nothing happened after those takeovers but talks, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declaring, “Peace in our time.” Naivety and appeasement. Today we have North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The history is similar. [click to continue…]

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Budget: season of sectors and selfishness

by Crispin Hull on May 12, 2017

BUDGET time often shows Australia at its most sectional and selfish, especially if it is a Coalition Budget. This one was certainly no exception. It has been described as a turning away from the meanness of the Abbott Government’s mean approach of the 2014 Budget and turning away from obsession with deficits. But I get the sense that virtually every 2017 Budget measure was done with an eye to voters, but not to voters or society overall, but to particular “sectors” of voters who might change their vote for or against the Government according to how well or badly or unchanged the Budget affected their individual financial position. [click to continue…]

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Good debt. Bad debt. Good govt. Bad Govt

by Crispin Hull on May 5, 2017

LET’S start with some definitions.

Good Investment: spending on things like disadvantaged schools where you get more bang for your bucks rather than elite schools because at disadvantaged schools the extra money goes on teaching. Elite schools already spend enough on education so the extra money goes on diving pools and the like, and do not improve educational outcomes. So that is Bad Investment. [click to continue…]

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IS Malcolm Turnbull determined to lose the 2019 election? His statement this week that the Government could underwrite the rail line for the Adani mine would have increased the anger among small businesses in the six Reef Seats. [click to continue…]

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80 years on, Guernica has lessons about bombing for us

by Crispin Hull on April 22, 2017

THURSDAY (26 April) will be the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War. It is perhaps timely to reflect on it, given the emphasis on bombing in the past couple of weeks: the bombing of Syria “in retaliation” for the use of chemical weapons; the Mother of All Bombs being dropped in Afghanistan; and the threats by North Korea to pre-emptively use nuclear bombs. [click to continue…]

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