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

August 2021

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

Khaki creep betrays lack of plan

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s repeated offer to deploy troops to help control people’s movements in Sydney’s lockdown areas has found acceptance – not by Gladys Berejiklian, but by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. The commissioner likes a bit of fear in the community, and with a couple of regiments of soldiers in cams, he’ll have it.

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Coming soon: The carbon taxes that cannot be repealed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

April 2021

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

January 2021

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

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

Until recently, pressure on Australia to drop carryover credits had little impact. But times change

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss [Originally published by Guardian Australia, 09 December 2020] Political pressure makes the impossible inevitable. Unfortunately, so much has been written about how democracy is broken, that it can seem churlish to point out that sometimes it works just as it is designed to: slowly, imperfectly and then suddenly. Take, for example, Scott

November 2020

Australia’s diplomatic approach needs a major revamp

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

by Ben Oquist[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 28 November 2020] Suddenly it seems diplomacy is important.  The Foreign Minister has praised the role Australia’s diplomats played in the release of Kylie Moore-Gilbert; the Prime Minister is defending the use of an Air Force plane to help get Mathias Cormann elected to the plum post

Australia’s leaders are lagging behind on climate

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 14 November 2020] Australia is experiencing climate change now and warming is set to continue, according to the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO’s 2020 State of the Climate report released yesterday. This news won’t come as a galloping shock to most Australians – we can see the evidence of global warming

Biden as president would pursue climate ‘cheaters’ – and Australia could be among them

by Richie Merzian in The Guardian

by Richie Merzian[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 04 November 2020] Whether Donald Trump loses or wins the presidential election, the US will officially withdraw from the Paris agreement on Wednesday. The US intention to withdraw was announced in mid-2017 and, exactly one year ago, formal notification was sent to the United Nations. It caps

October 2019

Free trade deals undermine sovereignty

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 30 October 2019] After decades of pursuing free trade at the expense of local jobs, the conservatives in the Coalition — aping Donald Trump and Boris Johnson — have decided to pivot to populism. Gone is the rhetoric of Alexander Downer and Julie Bishop about how

September 2019

How we have sold ourselves short

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 02 September 2019] Neoliberalism has made Australia more fragile, fractious and open to foreign influence. We talk a lot about the rise of Chinese influence but there’s less discussion about the decline in our national self-confidence. Despite living in the world’s 14th largest economy with some

August 2019

A condescending Pacific step down

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 20 August 2019] Short-term thinking is often a feature of Australian domestic politics but when it comes to foreign policy, we’ve usually played the long game. Not any more. The Morrison Government is placing 1000 potential coal jobs ahead of its ‘Pacific Step Up’, announced in 2017 to

We’re wasting too much energy on nuclear talk

by Richie Merzian in The Canberra Times

by Richie Merzian[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 10 August 2019] Late last Friday – a timeslot where ministers are known to announce policies they are most proud of – the Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, ordered a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear energy.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus

May 2019

Bob Hawke leaves behind an important environmental legacy

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 17 May 2019] Bob Hawke is perhaps credited most often for his economic reforms, but he also leaves a tremendous legacy of protecting Earth’s wilderness. Without Bob Hawke, Antarctica would be a quarry, Tasmania’s iconic Franklin River would be flooded and Queensland’s Daintree rainforest would be a

March 2019

Australia’s gun lobby and its political donations laid bare

by Bill Browne in The Sydney Morning Herald

The footage was shocking: One Nation figures meeting with the National Rifle Association in the US in search of political donations, media support and strategic advice. Australians may be surprised to discover the gun lobby in Australia rivals the NRA in size and spending, according to Australia Institute research commissioned by Gun Control Australia. Most people have

July 2018

Green Finance Is Flowing, From Paris To The Pacific

by Richie Merzian in New Matilda

By Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program.  [Read article in the New Matilda Here] Private and public investment in a safe climate future is growing, despite the best and worst efforts of some of the world’s leading polluters, writes Richie Merzian. On a reclaimed swamp fringing the outskirts of the industrial

The Abbott doctrine of dumping deals

By Richard Denniss, Chief Economist at The Australia Institute. [View this article in the Australian Financial Review] Having abandoned the principles of small government, the right of Australian politics are now urging Australia to embrace Donald Trump’s attack on international agreements. Is there any institution these so-called “conservatives” aren’t willing to wreck in pursuit of

March 2018

The Difference Between Trade and ‘Free Trade’

by Jim Stanford in The Guardian

U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent trade policies (including tariffs on steel and aluminium that could affect Australian exports) have raised fears of a worldwide slide into protectionism and trade conflict.  Trump’s approach has been widely and legitimately criticised.  But his argument that many U.S. workers have been hurt by the operation of current free trade

June 2017

Donald Trump is more honest about climate inaction than Malcolm Turnbull

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

There is a depressing honesty about Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. It stands in stark contrast to the hypocrisy of Malcolm Turnbull’s big talk on climate change, which is accompanied by a $1 billion subsidy for the enormous new Adani coal mine. At least Trump is

October 2016

Denying The Downside Of Globalization Won’t Stop Populism

by Jim Stanford in The Huffington Post

The rise of anti-globalization sentiment, including in Australia, poses a big challenge to mainstream politicians who’ve been trumpeting the virtues of free trade for decades. [This article was first published by the Huffington Post – here] Treasurer Scott Morrison recently started pushing back, delivering a staunch defense of globalization to an audience in Sydney. Like other world

June 2016

Why the IPA and Libs like Brexit

Britain will now decide which Germans can invest in, or travel to, the UK and the circumstances in which they can do so.  The Brexit decision provides clear evidence of the tension within conservative politics between strident nationalism and economic rationalism. And as the business community is discovering, there are enormous economic risks when conservatives

April 2014

February 2014

Trade agreement could prevent the next SA government introducing laws citizens want

by Richard Denniss

Would you support a trade agreement that prevented the Australian Government from requiring genetically modified foods to be clearly labelled? According to a recent survey by The Australia Institute, 73 per cent of South Australians would not. How about a trade agreement that allowed Australian television stations to show fewer Australian-made TV programs? According to

January 2014

Populism before policy

by Richard Denniss

It’s an election year in Indonesia and, like some Australian politicians, there are Indonesian politicians who are willing to put a surge in the polls ahead of sound policy. And like some of their counterparts in Australia, there are Indonesian politicians who think the easiest way to get a surge in the polls is to

December 2013

November 2013

The foreign takeover of GrainCorp – can Joe Hockey demand conditions?

by David Richardson in On Line Opinion

At the moment the Abbott government’s position on foreign investment is being put to the test. GrainCorp is subject to a takeover bid by American company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).  This bid has received approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and we now await the decision of Treasurer, Joe Hockey.

Media Enquiries

Anna Chang Communications Director

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anna@australiainstitute.org.au