Chinese infrastructure on Subi Reef in the South China Sea

IN A perverse way, we may all come to be grateful for China’s military build-up in the South China Sea and its increased meddling in Pacific island nations. China has spent billions of dollars turning rocks and atolls in the South China Sea into full-scale islands complete with runways and re-supply facilities. [click to continue…]

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The curse of interesting times

by on September 7, 2018

The sharp fall in the Coalition’s primary vote in the Longman by-election and in the polls after Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership may well be the harbinger of politics in which majority government becomes the exception rather than the rule. This is because we are reaching a tipping point where the primary vote splits more evenly into the three boxes: Labor, the Coalition and Minors. [click to continue…]

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SNIPING at the Liberal Prime Minister will no doubt continue. The difference now will be that the sniping will come from the left or progressive side of the Liberal Party. The other difference is that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not take any notice of it, unlike his predecessor who made endless concessions to the far right. The main policy discord will be over refugees and climate change. [click to continue…]

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IF YOU cannot fulfill the voters’ hopes you end up having to pander to their fears. Malcolm Turnbull, barrister tactician to the end, failed because almost from Day One his political strategy was wrong. [click to continue…]

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MyHealth: everybody should be in

by on August 18, 2018

THE furore in the past fortnight over whether MyHealth should be opt-in or opt-out misses the point. Once the security concerns are fixed, there should be no “opt” at all. Everyone who uses Medicare or the PBS should be in MyHealth whether they like it or not. [click to continue…]

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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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