January 2007

December 2006

It’s life, but certainly not as we want it

by Clive Hamilton

Plans revealed this week to squeeze a further 1.1 million people into Sydney over the next 25 years will transform it into the nation’s least liveable city. Twenty years ago Sydney was less congested, slower, more friendly and had more green space. Unregulated population growth and timid planning are choking the city, a situation exacerbated

Ice, ice, baby

by Andrew Macintosh in On Line Opinion

Since the early 1900s, Australias drug policies have been based on the notion that the law should be the primary mechanism for addressing drug problems. By prohibiting both the supply and use of certain undesirable drugs, governments thought they could stamp out drug use and drug-related activities. But drug markets have proved remarkably resistant to

Lack of political will leads to problems for Earth

by Andrew Macintosh

Back in 1999, the Government overhauled the original Commonwealth environment laws that were introduced by the Whitlam Labor government. The old laws needed updating and the Government obliged, creating the loftily titled Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. While an improvement on the original laws, the EPBC Act has proven to be a failure, largely

November 2006

Sustainability Reporting: How far have we come?

by Andrew Macintosh and Deb Wilkinson in New Matilda

Over the last fifteen years, much effort has gone into the preparation of sustainability reports. These are reports that provide information on social and environmental as well as economic matters. This has been done in the name of improved decision making, accountability and transparency. It has also been motivated by a desire to promote ecologically

Dressing windows while the globe burns

by Andrew Macintosh

The recent rush of activity around climate change has led some to suggest that the Federal Government has finally got the message on the perils of global warming, but history indicates such optimism is misplaced. The Government’s announcements of the past month are just more of the window-dressing and stalling tactics that we have had

October 2006

Understanding the retiring kind

by Clive Hamilton and Myra Hamilton in On Line Opinion

The Government argues that encouraging people to work longer is also helping them do something for their own benefit. However, increasing the retirement age is asking people to contribute time at a life stage when time is scarce. For boomers, being compelled to work later means that individuals are giving up something – time –

September 2006

Death becomes an excuse to savage ‘elites’ – now that’s nasty

by Clive Hamilton in The Sydney Morning Herald

Steve Irwin created a new genre of documentary called “nature nasty” which rejects attempts to portray animals in their natural environment going about their usual activities. Instead, it goes in search of the most dangerous, poisonous and bizarre and provokes animals into extreme behaviour. Irwin’s death provided a trigger for a gratuitous outpouring of hatred

August 2006

A leaky ship of State

by Andrew Macintosh in On Line Opinion

The government’s industrial relations changes were always going to be controversial, but it has done itself no favours in establishing a regime that is overseen by government agencies that are politically compromised. Until the Office of Workplace Relations and other similar agencies are truly independent of government, employees are justified in suspecting that there is

A trump card in the nuclear power play

Green consumerism such as that advocated by Tim Flannery privatises responsibility for environmental decline, shifting blame from elected governments and industry onto the shoulders of individual citizens. The cause of climate change becomes the responsibility of “all of us”, which, in effect, means nobody. It is obvious why a government that wants to do nothing

June 2006

May 2006

Minority groups target of vilification

by Andrew Macintosh

The Howard Government’s vilification of indigenous communities and their culture is another in a long line of morally repugnant diversionary tactics employed by a Government devoid of ideas and scrambling to retain the interest of the electorate. When the history of this Government is written, the events in recent times should be placed side-by-side with

Farming the wind getting bad press

by Clive Hamilton and Andrew Macintosh

Community opposition to wind farms is heavily influenced by a network of anti-environmental activists, some with links to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. This helps to explain why apparently independent local opposition groups reproduce the same misinformation and distortions about wind power. The truth is that most wind farm opponents don’t like the look

April 2006

Has the government been selling out Australia’s children?

by Emma Rush in On Line Opinion

Corporate chains – which now own around a quarter of centres in Australia – offer the lowest quality of care on all indicators surveyed, in some cases markedly lower than that provided by community-based centres. Beyond tightening up the centre accreditation processes, as announced recently, the government should consider offering capital grants to new community-based

March 2006

Why we should give a FCUK about advertising standards

by Clive Hamilton in The Age

Our state and local governments have also been cowed by the cultural and economic momentum of the marketing industry and their squadrons of boosters and lickspittles in the media. In the relentless drive to attract advertisers’ dollars into supporting public facilities and events, the guardians of public morals have lost their way, blinded by the

Tougher drug laws only scratch the surface of the problem

A recent Australia Institute report found that drug strategies should be treatment-orientated so that to ease the punitive burden on users we need to discourage people from using drugs and provide those who do with effective treatment. It also found that drug law enforcement is incapable of putting a significant dent in illicit drug markets,

Is Labor near extinction

by Clive Hamilton in The Age

Can Labor reinvent itself as a social democratic party, or as a party with a progressive political stance that distinguishes it in a substantive way from the conservatives? Its recent history provides a few signs that it may be able to do so. Among the thinkers in the party there is an incipient recognition that

October 2004

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