The Gladstone Lines moves south

Boats destroyed by Yasi in 2011

The Gladstone Line is likely to move further south after the catastrophic floods. The Gladstone Line is an imaginary line north of which it is harder to get insurance at what was hitherto a reasonable price or it is impossible to get it at all.

The moving of the Gladstone Line south will cause the Morrison Government a few headaches. Helping out will be a tacit acceptance that adaptation to global heating is necessary, but doing nothing (a favourite Morrison option) could cost a lot of votes.

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The parallels of history

Historians, political scientists, military strategists and others have postulated numerous parallels with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most notably Germany’s invasion of the Sudetenland and later the whole of Czechoslovakia in 1938-39.

Putin has been compared to any number of other autocrats. But there is another disarming parallel of a paranoid bully using military might to overturn a democratically elected government in what it saw as its sphere of influence on the basis of trumped-up evidence.

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Busting the security and economy myth

Several events in the past week should (but probably won’t) dispel the idiotic belief among voters that the Coalition is better on national security and economic management than Labor.

The first was the great big bucket of cold water poured all over Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton by none other than the head of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation, Mike Burgess. Burgess went public to condemn the politicisation of national security – very rare for an ASIO boss.

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Religious freedom less pressing than others

The Coalition’s ill-conceived religious ‘freedom” legislation has been withdrawn with a promise to revive it after the election. That promise, of course, is practically undeliverable. 

Even if, and that’s a very big if, the Coalition gets a government-forming majority in the House of Representatives, it will almost certainly be in a worse position in the Senate after the election.

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Donorocracy and corrosive lies

This is a new word, and you read it here first. It describes Australian democracy to a tee. The word is “donorocracy”.

It means rule by donors. These donors give money to the major parties who in turn do the donors’ bidding. The donors rule.

Nearly every policy failure at Federal or State level has a parallel donor, especially going to the Coalition side federally, where the donation is usually larger. They come from industry lobbies as well as individual companies and individuals.

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Inequality makes Reserve’s job impossible

The western democracies and semi-democracies could be dragged into a major recession because of a combination of two things. The first is that economists in central banks adhere to a fairly rigid set of equations which form the foundations of their discipline.

The second is that governments over the past 30 years have given ever greater tax cuts and breaks, subsidies and concessions to business and high-income earners while at the same time making life more difficult for the middle.

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‘Patriots’ depriving the rest of a national day

We approach yet another Australia Day – the national day that most nations celebrate their identity and/or birth – with continued human confusion and muddle about both. Geographically we are certain about what Australia is. Humanly we are not.

Every Australia Day reminds us of the two big unresolved matters of Australian identification: finding the proper place for indigenous people and removing the obsolete place of the British monarchy in the Constitution.

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The GG, constitution and pandemic

The Governor-General, General David Hurley, has tested positive for Covid. We wish him a speedy recovery, of course, but it gives rise to the question of whether Australia needs a Governor-General at all, and more broadly how have our constitutional arrangements stood up, and how well will they stand up in the face of the pandemic.

In the past several months we have seen endless speculation over the election date, adding to the uncertainties of the pandemic.

In the past week we have seen the confusion over state-federal responsibilities with the Novak Djokovic case. 

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