Democracy’s fragility revealed

The fragility of Australian democracy has been illustrated again in the past week with further exposure of unsatisfactory political funding rules and the preselection defeat of the arch-conservative longest-serving Member of the House of Representatives Kevin Andrews for the safe plush eastern Melbourne seat of Menzies.

The surprising thing was not that Andrews lost. Nor was it the size of his defeat.

Nor was is surprising that he lost despite the endorsement of a queue line of federal ministers and party luminaries. Perhaps he lost because of that support not despite it.

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National identity in crisis and confusion

Every year the opposition to 26 January as Australia Day grows as the knowledge and understanding of ever more Australians grows. It exemplifies the whole Australian identity crisis and confusion. 

The blame lies with those who drafted the Australian Constitution. Whereas most countries celebrate their national day to mark some progression, such as independence from a colonial power, the formation of the Australian nation on 1 January 1901 was tainted with racism and apron strings attached to the “mother country”.

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Nats should relent on speed camera rules

Earlier this month, then Acting Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack wrote a heart-tugging article for The Canberra Times and several regional news outlets about how 36 years ago as a cadet reporter he covered a shocking fatal crash in which two children and their parents were killed.

Pity about the shameless politicking on road funding at the end of the piece. And, worse, pity about the unstated National Party hypocrisy on road safety.

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Hypocrisy beats consistency on speech

Health hazards: Christiansen and Kelly

What about Twitter’s freedom of speech? And that of other social media platforms which have banned President Trump. Surely, non-government corporations have got a right to publish or not publish whatever they want, subject to the law.

Twitter owns its own show, so it is entitled to ban whomever it wants or remove whatever comments it wants.

That is not censorship. Censorship is when the state imposes legal sanction against publication, especially if there are no national security, public order or defamation reasons for it.

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Blokes and money jeopardise health and life

Potential Covid carriers watch Australia v India at the SCG

If you needed any proof that blokes and the blokes that run big corporations rule our lives to our detriment, look no further than the Covid cricket fiasco.

The MCG is now listed as a potential COVID-19 acquisition site after a man who attended Day Two of the Boxing Day Test later tested positive to coronavirus. It will be impossible to track down all his contacts.

And yet on Thursday, the NSW Government has permitted another cricket test at the SCG with thousands of spectators and the cricket writers and commentators complain that the crowd has been restricted to 25% and they must wear masks.

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Ever upward. Wealth in time of plague

It should have come as no surprise this week that Australia’s billionaires collectively added more than 50% to their wealth in 2020 – the year of the pandemic. That is what extreme wealth, and most extremely wealthy people, do when unchecked. They take advantage of things, especially adverse conditions.

When the pandemic struck and people struggled to make ends meet, they ate into savings, especially superannuation and shares. Asset prices fell, especially shares and property. Very wealthy people, unconcerned about making ends meet, snapped up the bargains, in the sure knowledge that they would rise again.

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Covid crime in a class of its own

Breaking quarantine, social-distancing or mask-wearing laws are crimes in a class on their own.

They are so different from other crimes. The criminal act itself – just travelling around the place – in other times would be unpunishable normal conduct.

But the consequences of the crime are profoundly consequential – death of innocent people, widespread suffering and significant economic damage which itself can inflict death and ill-health.

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Two good things to come from Brexit

Friday is the 100 th anniversary of the Royal Assent to the UK Parliament’s Government of Ireland Act which partitioned the island of Ireland to provide two Parliaments, the Parliament of Southern Ireland and the Parliament of Northern Ireland.

It was an example of the great colonialist strategy of divide and rule. Well, 100 years later it is all coming unstuck. It is now a case of rule and divide.

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Lessons from the year of living precariously

As this year of living precariously draws to a close, it is worth reflecting why life in Australia is so much less precarious than in most other places on earth and what we should do to make it remain so.

For a start we should expunge from the lexicon the Reaganite nonsense that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

The things that have made life so much less precarious for Australians than Americans this year are mostly creations of government.

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