December 2021

Pork-barrelling and the undermining of public institutions is bad for democracy’s health

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

“Democracy doesn’t happen by accident, we have to renew it with each generation”, announced President Joe Biden, opening his global Summit for Democracy. There is certainly an urgent need to renew the health of Australia’s democracy as we head to the next federal election. Pork barrelling has somehow become business as usual, whistleblowers are being prosecuted

November 2021

Audacity of hype: Scott Morrison is betting voters will settle for plans over performance

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Scott Morrison thrives in the empty space between three-year terms and 30-year plans. Whether it is climate change, nuclear submarines or budget repair – it is no accident the prime minister with the shortest planning horizon in living memory is our greatest announcer of long-run plans. While the vacuousness of Morrison’s net-zero “plan” and his

I’d appreciate it if ministers lost their appetite for decapitation

by Allan Behm in The Canberra Times

NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption has revealed extraordinary amorality and cynicism in how the Berejiklian government, and its predecessors, approached both public policy and the use of public money. The ICAC has also revealed Berejiklian’s vicious approach to imposing compliance, complicity and ultimately connivance on the public servants who advise government. In an extraordinary few

October 2021

Scott Morrison’s ‘net zero by 2050’ emissions reduction plan will be filled with tricks and rorts

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

Sometime this month Scott Morrison will announce a net zero by 2050 emissions-reduction target for Australia. This announcement will be made with the expectation of praise. However, much like the world was indifferent when Australia signalled it would no longer be using Kyoto credits to meet its Paris targets, so too will this announcement be

September 2021

Richard Denniss: Australia’s carbon credits are a joke. Taxpayer money is being wasted on ‘hot air’

by Richard Denniss in The New Daily

If a tree doesn’t fall in a forest, was the climate really saved? Sadly, such esoteric questions have become the main game in the topsy-turvy world of Australian climate policy, where rising emissions from the oil and gas industry are ‘offset’ by not chopping down trees. The polite term for the creation of dodgy carbon

The ultimate alchemy: transforming Pandora’s box into a can of worms

by Allan Behm in The Canberra Times

To say the very least, the government’s decision to acquire the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines is problematic. For those Australians familiar with the role of submarines in Australia’s defence planning – and there are more people involved in that arcane world than you might think – there is a kind of inevitability in the

The US reacted to the 9/11 attacks as an act of war, not an act of terror

by Allan Behm in The Canberra Times

Twenty years pass so quickly, and so slowly. Memories of that Tuesday in September are very much alive because the shock remains so fresh, just as the shock of the fall of Kabul is so immediate. Of course, 9/11 and the catastrophe that has become Afghanistan are deeply connected – historically, psychologically and strategically. The

Morrison and Berejiklian are attempting to shift the blame for Covid on to us

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

In an amazing feat, both leaders shift attention away from their past performances and on to future freedoms to be granted, based on decisions made by the public In the ultimate expression of neoliberal language, prime minister Scott Morrison and New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian are gradually shifting their messaging away from the dangers

August 2021

Richard Denniss: Scott Morrison’s COVID-19 plan is more spin than science

by Richard Denniss in The New Daily

The same Prime Minister who spruiks ‘technology not taxes’ as a climate change strategy is now championing ‘pharmaceuticals not physical distancing’ in the battle against COVID-19. As always, his slogan is more spin than science, and the phoney distinction will be dangerous to our health, our wealth and our society. Just as virtually every economist agrees that

Complacency spells doom, at home and in Afghanistan

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

Things feel like they’ve taken a turn for the apocalyptic lately. Between the fall of Afghanistan, the IPCC report and the exponential growth of Covid cases in NSW, every time you turn on the news things are spinning out of control. Not because there’s no hope, but because of the hubris of some of our

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