High Court says no to indefinite refugee detention

by Crispin Hull on September 20, 2014

THE High Court has put a bit of a dent in John Howard’s 2001 election slogan: “We decide who comes here, and the circumstances in which they come.” Last week, the court overturned action of the Minister for Immigration which would have blocked a stateless refugee’s chance at applying for a visa. [click to continue…]


Scaremongers on Scottish independence meet match

by Crispin Hull on September 13, 2014

I WONDER if the Prime Minister of an independent Scotland will be as witty as former New Zealand Prime Minister Robert “Piggy” Muldoon when bands of Scottish unemployed move across the border to pick up higher unemployment benefits in a more prosperous England. [click to continue…]


‘Independent’ inquiries go up in smoke

by Crispin Hull on September 5, 2014

ANOTHER week, another shift towards great inequality in Australia. Another week and another “independent” inquiry delivers precisely the recommendations that the government expected and wanted from the people it appointed to the inquiry. Former Reserve Bank board member Dick Warburton’s review of the Renewable Energy Target was a classic example of the political adage “never have an inquiry unless you know the result” and the best way to know the result is to pick the right person to head the inquiry. [click to continue…]


Two things Abbott has done well

by Crispin Hull on August 30, 2014

A READER challenged me last week to find just one good thing Tony Abbott and his government has done. I have to confess that it is a big challenge. It came after last week’s column lambasting Abbott for bringing us “Team Australia”. [click to continue…]


Team Australia a refuge for scoundrels

by Crispin Hull on August 23, 2014

TONY Abbott has been at it for a couple of weeks now – referring to “Team Australia”. It tells us a lot about how he and his government think. [click to continue…]


Private education no help at uni or for jobs

by Crispin Hull on August 16, 2014

THE evidence is mounting that sending your children to a private school is a waste of money.

New work by University of Canberra research fellow Jennifer Chesters shows that the employment success after university of private-school students was no better than that of students from government schools with equivalent tertiary-entry scores. [click to continue…]


Brandis: one down two to go

by Crispin Hull on August 9, 2014

ONE down; two to go. The pet projects of Attorney-General Senator George Brandis that is. His project to get rid of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act fell foul of an usually discriminating Prime Minister who said it was a distraction from the main game. The sub-text was that it was impossible because of Brandis’s hopelessly indefensible comment that people had a right to be bigoted. [click to continue…]


The coral can take only so much

by Crispin Hull on August 2, 2014

DR LYLE Vail says coral is very resilient, but it can only take so much. Vail is director of the Lizard Island Research Station 220km north of Cairns where he has been for 24 years.

“Coral has ways of flicking off sediment,” he said this week. “But if there is too much sediment, the coral gets tired, cannot keep up and gets buried.” [click to continue…]

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Failure of “successful” referendums

by Crispin Hull on July 31, 2014

AS WE inch closer to another referendum — this time it is to recognise the place of indigenous Australians – there is the usual talk about the dismal record of 44 failed referendums and only 8 successful ones. However, few look at how spectacularly unsuccessful the “successful” ones were. [click to continue…]

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Climate policy foundering on a reef

by Crispin Hull on July 19, 2014

WE ARE about 10km north-west of Endeavour Reef. These days with electronic navigation, GPS, EPIRB and the like, it is no big deal. I am even writing this aboard SV Biringari and will send it back to The Canberra Times by internet from an aerial 15m up the mast. [click to continue…]