China, terrorism and the rule of law

Most governments, especially western democratic ones, say they will not deal with terrorists. It only encourages further violence, they argue. There are occasional exceptions, of course, for some terrorists who do not wield AK47s nor carry suicide bombs.

If the terrorist is dressed in a suit and tie and his name is Xi Jinping, dialogue and trade continue.

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Intrinstically corrupting

After the Australian Electoral Commission released the 2022-23 political-donation data various think tanks and media commentators painted a picture of corporate Australia sloshing vast amounts of money into the coffers of the major parties to make sure that the bidding of big business is done.

And further that much of it is opaque; cannot be traced; and is only made public months after the money has been handed over.

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Can we bet on PM doing something

The week that sees Australia’s biggest lottery jackpot in history on offer is perhaps the wrong time to talk about gambling. But Prime Minister Albanese’s determination with the cost of living and tax to “do something about it”, should augur well for the Government’s response to the parliamentary committee’s gambling report.

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The case for major reform

If Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants a second term, he will have fix the causes of the cost-of-living crisis, rather than throw a bit of direct relief at the bottom of the income ladder.

It is a bit like giving people walking sticks when they need joint replacements. It might increase their mobility a bit but it will not remove the pain.

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Lessons from Howard autocracy

Never in the 40-year history of releasing Cabinet documents after 20 years have we learnt so much about the value of proper Cabinet Government and the catastrophic consequences of departing from it as we learnt with this month’s release of the 2003 Cabinet papers.

Among the worst government decisions in Australia’s history, two were made that year by the Howard Cabinet – the decision to go to war in Iraq and the decision not to put a price on carbon or do anything much about reducing greenhouse gases.

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Psephological bomb awaits PM

Unless things change this year, the Albanese Government will not deserve to win the next election. That said, neither will the Peter Dutton-led Opposition.

The Government’s slow decline in the polls, however, should not be ascribed to the loss of the Voice referendum, which many see as the main political event of 2023.

No, the 2023 event which will have the most significant political fallout was the Albanese Government’s loss of control of Australia’s borders.

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Lessons from Cyclone Jasper

Powerlines downed by Jasper in Port Douglas

Cyclone Jasper wasn’t supposed to hover there, right next to the coastline dumping a metre of rain (two and half times Canberra’s annual rainfall) in just a few days.

Blame the Bureau of Meteorology, of course. The same scientists who have been warning us for decades that the climate has changed because we have pumped too much carbon into the air and that the weather will get more extreme and more unpredictable.

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Beware the new normal

In the brouhaha over immigration in the past fortnight, we must ask ourselves how did Australia allow 512,000 people enter Australia as immigrants in the past year? It is a critical question to this nation’s future.

How did we allow this mind-blowing number in when we have a housing crisis; a hospital-waiting crisis; a congestion crisis; an endangered-species crisis; and an infrastructure crisis? And when more than three quarters of voters surveyed say that it is too many.

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A 25-year failed education lesson

The report card is in and the results are bad, and appear to be getting steadily worse.

Last week’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results reveal Australian students have fallen nearly two academic years behind students who went to school in the early 2000s. Nearly half of pupils do not reach national standards in maths and reading.

Why? We can safely rule out all the educational hyperbole about class sizes, phonetics, open or closed classrooms, teacher training and the like. 

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