July 2021

Coming soon: The carbon taxes that cannot be repealed

by Frank Muller and Richie Merzian in The New Daily

Carbon taxes are coming to Australia whether we like it or not. They are coming despite the triumphant ‘axing of the tax’ in 2014. They are coming despite the updated but equally loud ‘technology not taxes’ sloganeering from the Morrison government in 2021. They are coming despite our government’s refusal to commit to a net-zero

June 2021

Australia should look to the Nordics for policy tips

by Andrew Scott and Rod Campbell in Financial Review

Not only are the Nordics among the world’s most prosperous nations, they have also dealt with many of the issues that Australia finds so difficult. As Australia starts to peek at a future beyond COVID-19, where should we look for inspiration on how to take our country, community and politics in a better direction? Scott Morrison’s

Please watch the rhetoric, Mr Morrison. Or match it

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

Eighteen months after Scott Morrison delivered his “negative globalism” diatribe, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to flout the law by refusing an Australia Institute freedom-of-information request that seeks to get the background and reaction from foreign diplomats to the Prime Minister’s now infamous speech. At this rate, the “negative globalism” doctrine will

Richard Denniss explains why he’s returning his alumni award for National Leadership the University of Newcastle in the wake of Mark Vaile’s appointment as chancellor

by Richard Denniss in Newcastle Herald

You can’t be a leader if you follow people down the wrong path, which is why, with a heavy heart, I am returning the alumni award for National Leadership the University of Newcastle bestowed on me in 2017. I cannot understand how the council of a university whose motto is “I look ahead” could appoint

Why freedom of the press matters

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

Australia has a robust democracy, but it has become clear that freedom of the press is under attack. Whether it’s starving the public broadcaster of funding while forking out millions to Foxtel, the further concentration of media ownership in Australia, or the frequency with which journalists, media organisations and whistleblowers are being raided and arrested

Public Sector Informant: National cabinet secrecy hurts energy policies

by Bill Browne in The Canberra Times

Last week, Senator Rex Patrick challenged the secrecy of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s National Cabinet. In the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, parties argued whether the National Cabinet belongs to the Westminster tradition, with its expectations of cabinet confidentiality, solidarity and collective responsibility. The controversy cuts to the core of our system of government. Eventual court decisions

May 2021

Artificial intelligence must enshrine fairness

by Peter Lewis in The Australian

The Human Rights Commission’s call for a pause on the development of Facial Recognition Technology and the placing of guardrails around the development of other AI products could be the kickstart the Australian tech sector desperately needs. While Australia plays perpetual catch-up with the tech superpowers of the US and China, scrounging for government support

Not all doom and gloom: let’s celebrate the wins we’ve seen recently

by Ebony Bennett in Canberra Times

It’s easy to feel like achieving change is impossible. After all, the federal government just delivered another $2.6 billion in post-budget handouts to the fossil fuel industry. Despite promises from the Attorney General, Australia still has no federal independent anti-corruption commission. The national vaccine rollout is way behind schedule and the Prime Minister isn’t in

Australian subsidies give oil refineries the whole carrot farm while electric vehicles get the stick

by Richie Merzian in The Guardian

The only viable long-term solution to our liquid fuel insecurity is to get off fossil fuels. Instead we are giving them taxpayer handouts When I was a kid, every year in early December we would go to the Geelong oil refinery in Corio. The refinery’s fire engine would cruise around, flash its lights and hand

Josh Frydenberg’s wages trap

by Richard Denniss in Australian unions

Josh Frydenberg is playing us all for mugs – and I’m not talking about those ridiculous “Back in the Black” coffee cups he had made in 2019. With his third Federal Budget, Frydenberg has delivered on Matthias Corman’s strategy, which he revealed when he let the mask slip in an interview with Sky News on

The government’s embrace of ‘clean hydrogen’ helps no one but the fossil fuel industry

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Nothing captures prime minister Scott Morrison’s approach to climate change better than his embrace of “clean hydrogen” – a BS marketing term that delivers nothing but obfuscation and helps no one but the fossil fuel industry. Tellingly, this approach isn’t even new: Morrison has simply dusted off an old polluter playbook and changed a few

Federal budget 2021: What will Treasurer Josh Frydenberg deliver?

by Ebony Bennett in Canberra Times

Last year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered what was described as a “Bloke’s Budget”, that targeted stimulus spending in male-heavy industries, while neglecting investment in industries that support women’s employment-including healthcare, education and social services – even though women bore the brunt of last year’s recession. But the fact is every budget is biased towards men

April 2021

Scott Morrison’s climate summit speech was littered with downright dodgy claims

by Richie Merzian in The New Daily

I have sat through countless speeches on climate change from world leaders, both working for the government and outside it, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s rant at President Joe Biden’s climate summit last night was one of the worst performances I have ever seen. Technical glitches and the dreaded mute button were the least of Morrison’s worries,

This Anzac Day, lest we forget the brave Afghans who supported our military venture

by Allan Behm in Sydney Morning Herald

On ANZAC Day we remember lives lost in the strategic failure that was Gallipoli – a salute to Churchillian hubris and a newly emerged ex-colony only too keen to prove itself in defence of the “mother country” and her Empire. On this ANZAC Day, we prepare ourselves for another strategic failure, just as we did

How can NSW allow new coalmines while committing to net zero emissions? It’s bizarre

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

New mines won’t boost world demand for Australian coal — but they will cannibalise jobs from existing coalmines The New South Wales government is simultaneously committed to a net-zero emissions target for 2050 at the same time as new coalmines in the Hunter Valley with the capacity to produce 10 times more coal than Adani’s

We should be funding stress leave and high-quality PTSD care for all victims of abuse

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Australian ministers suffering stress are provided with more taxpayer support than victims of violence Practical support for the thousands of Australian women who are sexually or physically assaulted by men is not simply woefully inadequate, it is nonexistent. If you are a casually employed woman in Australia who is raped or assaulted you are entitled

Is Malcolm Turnbull the only Liberal who understands economics and climate science – or the only one who’ll talk about it?

by Richard Denniss in The Conversation

Yesterday, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was unceremoniously dumped as chair of the New South Wales government’s climate advisory board, just a week after being offered the role. His crime? He questioned the wisdom of building new coal mines when the existing ones are already floundering. No-one would suggest building new hotels in Cairns to help

Right now we’re choosing not to solve our biggest problems

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

It’s incredible what can happen in a year. This time last year Australia was heading into lockdowns and recession. The Treasurer was still sipping on his “Back in Black” mug and clinging to the idea that any stimulus spending would be small, targeted and temporary, and hundreds of thousands of Australians were still recovering from

March 2021

Roderick Campbell writes: Recommending approval of a mine based on economic assessment that not only lost in court, but lost in court against you, is a new level of crazy

by Rod Campbell in The Newcastle Herald

What would happen in your industry if a judge described someone’s methodology as “inflated”, “lacking evidentiary foundation” and “plainly wrong”? If your industry would stop using that methodology, then you probably are not an economist and you don’t work for coal companies. Exactly this happened in 2019 and, with no change and no reflection, the

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