Opinions

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

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

Australia has shown you can take on big companies – and win

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Big companies are always threatening to take their bat and ball and leave our shores, and Australian politicians usually beg them to stay. Whether it’s cutting company taxes or promising weak IR and environmental laws, for decades the Australian government has behaved like a lonely kid who worries the cool kids won’t talk to them

February 2021

Canberra’s euthanasia insult weakens democracy for all

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

Much has changed in the 24 years since the Federal Parliament voted to prevent Canberrans from deciding for themselves whether they support voluntary euthanasia. Australia has had six prime ministers, hosted an Olympic Games, participated in four wars, and endured a global financial crisis and a global pandemic. What has also changed is the assumption

The Liberals’ agenda is bad for regional Australia – but the Nationals play along anyway

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

The National party represents many electorates which have high rates of unemployment and people receiving government support payments, and a high proportion of workers on the minimum wage. So you can see why they spend so much time attacking industrial laws, renewable energy and “urban elites” – creating blame is a lot easier than creating

Facebook and Google having too much market power is a threat to democracy

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

Forget about how much you loathe Rupert Murdoch for a minute. The well-earned ire for the media mogul’s empire is muddying the waters in the huge battle over the news media bargaining code, a battle Australia cannot afford to lose. At stake is the future of public interest journalism, as well as the ability of

Scott Morrison knows setting a net zero target means picking a fight with the National party

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

The prime minister’s initial target of beginning the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines “as soon as January” is in tatters and mid-February is looking shaky. Likewise, the target of “fully vaccinating” some 26 million Australians by October. But just because someone fails to hit a target doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have set it. On the contrary,

January 2021

Save lives or save the economy? That’s a false choice – and it’s obscene

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

For the past year Australians have heard politicians, business leaders and conservative commentators argue that we need to balance the benefits of protecting Australians from Covid-19 with the costs of those protections to “the economy”. Should we close down risky venues or keep them open? Should we worry about the elderly who might get sick

Yes, lockdowns mean lost jobs. But data shows that not locking down causes much more economic damage

by Jim Stanford in Toronto Star

With new stay-at-home orders covering many parts of the province, Ontarians are settling in for a month (at least) of daunting isolation. Restrictions are also being tightened in other provinces to slow the spread of COVID-19, until vaccines can turn the tide of the pandemic. Despite accelerating infection and overflowing hospitals, many oppose the new restrictions on

Which jobs and what growth?

by Richard Denniss in The Monthly

We need to talk about the economy For decades we have talked about the size of the economy, but it is time we talked about its shape. For decades we have been told that if the economy grew faster it would solve all our problems, but it’s time we talked about which parts of the

There is no reason to believe it couldn’t happen here

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

“We love you, you’re very special.” Thus US President Donald Trump addressed the armed insurrectionists looting the Congress in more loving terms than with which one suspects he has ever addressed his own children. But we have come to expect as much from the President who once described neo-Nazis as “very fine people”. It was

December 2020

Now more than ever we should be strengthening democracy. We’re not.

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

by Ben Oquist [Originally published by the Canberra Times, 26 December 2020] On climate policy, both the election of Joe Biden and the acrimony from China should make Australia’s transition away from coal easier, though more urgent. Likewise, the strains that democracies are under around the world, especially in the United States, make the case

Stop believing in fairytales: Australia’s coal industry doesn’t employ many people or pay its fair share of tax

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Just as people in the Middle Ages mistakenly believed the sun revolved around the Earth, many modern-day Australians mistakenly believe our economy revolves around the coal industry. Of course, such misunderstandings aren’t an indictment of those who have been misled, but those who did the misleading. Galileo was imprisoned for life for the “heresy” of

War Crimes: Where does ultimate responsibility lie? Only a Royal Commission will determine the answer

by Allan Behm in Pearls and Irritations

by Allan Behm[Originally published in public policy journal, Pearls & Irritations, on 21 Dec 2020] The Brereton report has major deficiencies around where ultimate responsibility lies for war crimes in Afghanistan. To understand this and to eradicate the cultural and systemic causes of the alleged crimes, we need a Royal Commission. War crimes are perhaps

States are leading the way in the climate power shift

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published by the Canberra Times, 12 Dec 2020] 2020 has seen a shift in the balance of power. Not in the Senate, but between the Federal Government and the States.   All last summer during the bushfires—while the Prime Minister was infamously not holding a hose—it was the Premiers and Chief Ministers who

Gas-fired recovery a massive employment dud

by Richie Merzian and Mark Ogge in The Newcastle Herald

by Richie Merzian & Mark Ogge[Originally published in the Newcastle Herald, 18 November 2020] A gas-fired recovery from the economic damage caused by Covid-19 will not help the Hunter region.  In fact, a gas-fired recovery will struggle to employ anyone, except the gas executives that proposed the idea. The bottom line is, creating jobs in

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