Better to kick banks while they are up

by Crispin Hull on February 17, 2018

NOW that the banking Royal Commission is under way, it is a good time to reflect on the Australian financial system over the past decade and be grateful that we are kicking the banks while they are up, not down. Far better to have obscenely profitable banks than grotesquely bankrupt ones. [click to continue…]

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Cigarettes, weapons – anything for jobs and exports

by Crispin Hull on February 9, 2018

THE Australian Government should consider setting up, or at least subsidise, a major domestic and exporting cigarette industry in Australia, even if the subsidies go to foreign companies or that the domestic industry is run by foreign companies. It would create jobs and promote exports. If the demand for the product can be boosted both here and abroad, the jobs created would outweigh any downsides. [click to continue…]

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Great Barrier Reef needs more than denial or despair

by Crispin Hull on February 2, 2018

Is the fate of the whole reef?

WE WERE out of internet range, anchored on No Name Reef, when the Federal Government announced its too-little-too-late $60 million package “to secure the viability of the Great Barrier Reef”. No Name Reef, sometimes called Cormorant Reef, 200km north east of Cairns, had a reputation for spectacular coral. [click to continue…]

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Australia marking time IV: population

by Crispin Hull on January 28, 2018

THIS is the fourth in our four-part January series on how our politicians have not done a good job in adapting policy to changing circumstances or when policies do not work. This week we look at the related topics of infrastructure, population and environment, and briefly at defence. [click to continue…]

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Australia marking time III: governance

by Crispin Hull on January 28, 2018

WHAT is the difference between “governance” and “government”? Some say nothing and that “governance” is just affectation, but political scientists usually make the distinction. Governance, they say is the overarching architecture of government – the constitution, broad electoral rules, rules on disclosure, and the institutional set-up. Government, on the other hand is the nitty gritty of everyday revenue-raising and spending and the myriad pieces of legislation and regulation dealing with everyday matters.
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Australia marking time II. Education and health

by Crispin Hull on January 28, 2018

THIS is the second in a four-part January series on how our politicians have not done a good job in adapting policy to changing circumstances or when policies do not work. This week it is education and health policies, both of which suffer from flaws which had their genesis in the Howard years and which successive governments have not fixed. [click to continue…]

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Australia marking time Part I: tax

by Crispin Hull on January 6, 2018

ONE of the aims of good government is to change law and policy as circumstances change and even to make sensible predictions about how they may change in the future and prepare for those changes. Australia appears to have marked time recently. January is a good time to reflect and look forward. In the next few weeks I will look at some major policy areas and suggest how circumstances have changed and what is needed for us to deal with those changes. [click to continue…]

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New info networks v old political hierarchy

by Crispin Hull on December 30, 2017

MUCH is made of how the 24-hour media cycle is having a disturbing influence on politics in Australia and elsewhere, but perhaps it is not so much the change to the timing of publication, but the change to the nature of the sources that is causing the disruption. In the pre-internet model, news and opinion was presented to the public by organisations which were highly hierarchical. Media corporations had a CEO, an editor, news directors, various section heads, sub-editors, a chief of reporting staff down to the lowly reporters. [click to continue…]

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Winning against sugar and coal

by Crispin Hull on December 23, 2017

THE solar monitor has just ticked over 3000kw and we are about to stuff ourselves over Christmas New Year, so it is as good a time as any to give an update on our solar experience and the long-term effect of my five-two diet, and to ruminate on the public policy surrounding them. [click to continue…]

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A story of second-hand clothes

by Crispin Hull on December 14, 2017

“Nice jacket, Dylan,” I said to my first-year-university-student grandson as he picked me up in the first week of summer at Canberra Airport where the outside temperature was a sizzling 12.5 degrees. “How much was it?’

Dylan: I got it for five bucks at the Salvos. [click to continue…]

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