The challenge of the dentally challenged

by Crispin Hull on September 21, 2016

jaws_profile_tempMEDIBANK Private’s decision this week to pay a little bit for dental checkups comes just as I am feeling like “Jaws”, the character in the James Bond movies. [click to continue…]


Exhaust yourself on election day, I say

by Crispin Hull on September 14, 2016

act_electorates_2016NUMBER to the bitter end, I say. The electoral roll for the 15 October ACT election closed this week. As voters make up their minds, the experience of the recent Senate and Northern Territory are instructive. [click to continue…]


Political donation reform can meet constitutional problem

by Crispin Hull on September 9, 2016

high-courtAT LAST some agreement among the three major parties. All agree that it is not acceptable for a frontbencher to take money from a corporation with strong ties to the Chinese Government. And that it is a resigning offence. But something does not quite add up in the case of Senator Sam Dastyari having some expenses paid by the corporation. Why isn’t it equally unacceptable for any Australian MP to take any foreign money? [click to continue…]


The fragility of democracy

by Crispin Hull on September 2, 2016


AFTER the collapse of communism and the holding of mostly free and fair elections in nearly all the Eastern Bloc countries, US policy makers made an historic mistake. They thought events were confirming their belief that there was a natural progression in political development that led to liberal democracy as the highest and best form of government, and that once achieved there would be no going back. This was because people would see democracy’s obvious advantages. [click to continue…]


Intelligence and China: mushroom cloud of the unknowing

by Crispin Hull on August 27, 2016

ausgridTHIS week’s revelations that individuals and corporations linked to the Chinese Government have made large donations to the two major Australian political parties might make you think that the Foreign Investment Review Board had its finger on the pulse when it recommended that the Treasurer block the bid by two Chinese companies to buy more than 50 per cent of the NSW electricity company Ausgrid. [click to continue…]


Secrecy, loopholes mark political funding

by Crispin Hull on August 19, 2016

The fairest Senate election in Australian history.

The fairest Senate election in Australian history.

DEMOCRACY and market capitalism hand in hand achieve much. But equally market capitalism can get out of hand. Money can influence votes and voters and the politicians they elect. We were reminded of this last Thursday when the Australian Electoral Commission announced the breakdown of $62.8 million in public funding to political parties, up from $58.1 million after the 2013 election. [click to continue…]

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Many voters get no say in last Senate seats

by Crispin Hull on August 12, 2016

THE final Senate vote is in. It shows some problems with the new voting system. Four senators were elected with less that a quota of votes. Exhausted votes ranged from a high of more than nine percent in NSW to a low of two percent in South Australia. [click to continue…]


AUSTRALIA will spend $440 million on next week’s census. The census will ask about 55 questions, making it about $8 million a question. That is a lot more useful and a lot cheaper than the proposed $160m plebiscite on marriage equality. The plebiscite will get an answer to only one question, and we already know what that answer is. Moreover, the answer is completely useless because MPs will not be bound by it and nor will the question contain any exact legislative words. [click to continue…]


Destroying liberty in order to save it

by Crispin Hull on July 30, 2016

DO WE have to destroy liberty and the rule of law in order to preserve it? In the quest to deal with terrorism, Australia has passed ever more draconian and privacy-infringing laws. Now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is proposing indefinite detention for people convicted of terrorism offences after they have served their sentences. [click to continue…]


Reaching for high fruit in domestic solar generation

by Crispin Hull on July 23, 2016

IN THE summer of my Year 10, 11 and 12, I worked cherry-picking during the two frenetic weeks when the fruit ripened in the Beechworth orchards. It was low-paid, hard work and the horticulture was not well-advanced. The trees were allowed to grow too high. [click to continue…]