August 2011

Abbott reads from Mao’s little green book of nonsense

by Richard Denniss in The Punch

Australian politicians have spent more than 20 years thinking up reasons not to tackle climate change, but the latest from Tony Abbott really must take the cake. According to the Opposition Leader, it now seems that until Communist China introduces a market-based mechanism to reduce their emissions, Australia shouldn’t either. That should buy us some

The right gets it very wrong

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

The concepts of economic rationalism and market liberalism seem to have been abandoned by the Liberals. Whatever happened to the term economic rationalist? It wasn’t that long ago that the favourite insult hurled by the left was the badge of honour worn by the right. The arguments were hilarious. “You’re nothing but a self-serving economic

July 2011

Debating Lord Monckton

by Richard Denniss in ABC The Drum

If your doctor told you that you had cancer and Lord Christopher Monckton told you to ignore their advice would you listen to him? What if he told you not to immunise your children or drink fluoridated water? It’s interesting how many people are unlikely to trust him for personal advice but who seem willing

Denniss: My tactics for debating Monckton

by Richard Denniss in Crikey

The House of Lords says that Christopher Monckton is not entitled to claim he is a member of that House, but he disputes this. The internet is full of scientists carefully debunking the claims about climate change made by him, but he is similarly impervious to correction. Put simply, Lord Monckton is a case study

Economic road map failure

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Economics is often called the dismal science. The accusation was justly made after Thomas Malthus predicted that “misery and vice” were the only check on world population growth. Of course these days many economists argue the exact opposite and suggest that population growth is essential for community wellbeing, but despite the U-turn the dismal tag

June 2011

Walking both sides of the street

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

It can’t be only nine months since the last federal election. It feels like an eternity. That, of course, is the objective of Tony Abbott who has worked 24/7 to argue that the election result, the formation of the minority Gillard Government, and in turn, any legislation it proposes, is illegitimate and undemocratic. But this

Lost in a budget charade

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Once upon a time the justification for delivering the federal budget speech at 7.30pm was so that the stock market and money market would have time to absorb the information before the next day’s trading began. But these days, with many Australian shares listed on international stock exchanges and the Australian dollar traded just as

Targeting meaningful change

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

What is the point of Canberra’s 40 per cent emission reduction target? If you thought it was to help reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions then you should probably be far more concerned with the current negotiations between the Gillard Government, the Greens, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor. Put simply, unless those negotiations result in a

May 2011

Green jobs’ won’t save the debate

by Richard Denniss in The Australian

There has been a lot of talk about the need to ‘reframe’ the debate about climate change among the Australian environment groups who have tasked themselves with persuading our politicians to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, their attempts to reframe the debate have been as unsuccessful as their attempts to persuade our politicians. The

April 2011

High risks in carbon gamble

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

The only thing that big business in Australia wants more than certainty is the certainty that they will get their own way. When they aren’t certain about that, it’s amazing how much uncertainty they are willing to tolerate. It seems it’s better to have a chance of a win than be certain of a loss.

Supermarkets too big to fail

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Picking teams in Australian policy debates used to be as simple as picking sides in old movies; the good guys wore white, the bad guys wore black, and the audience knew where everybody stood. But life just isn’t that simple especially when we consider the milk price war that is raging at the moment. Am

March 2011

Let the shopping spree begin

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to give U.S. President Barack Obama an iPod of Australian music speaks volumes about the ongoing evolution of the strong relationship between Australia and the United States. While successive leaders have demonstrated their warm commitment to the international relationship, it is hard to imagine John Howard, or even Kevin Rudd,

February 2011

Good politics, good policy

by Richard Denniss in The Australian

Julia Gillard’s multi-party committee on climate change (MPCCC) has achieved what the Rudd government should have relied on its cabinet for – a good political outcome likely to deliver a good policy outcome on that wicked problem of climate change. While there is still plenty of room for negotiations to go off the rails, the

January 2011

December 2010

Power to the people, simply

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Most people when they get back from a week at a tropical resort are usually inclined to want to lead a simpler life. For the planet’s sake, let’s hope the entourage getting back from the latest round of climate talks in Cancun are also in the mood for simplicity. What simpler way could there be

November 2010

More pulp fiction from the banks

by Richard Denniss in Crikey

There is nothing more profitable for the banks than confusion about what they do. As long as they keep talking about acronyms no one has heard of and financial theories that no one understands, they can continue the enormously profitable business of borrowing money at low rates and lending it at high rates. This year

August 2010

ACT leads carbon cuts charge

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Political power, like nature, abhors a vacuum. The second the Commonwealth Government began to vacate the policy stage the state and territory governments began to pour in. It’s a good thing too. The first shot in this new battle between the states and the Commonwealth came from John Brumby. And what a shot it was.

July 2010

For the love of profits: Australia’s skills shortage

by Richard Denniss in ABC The Drum

Big business loves rapid population growth for the simple reason that they profit from having more potential customers. Governments seem to love rapid population growth because they benefit from having more taxpayers. But neither big business nor government wants to invest in the essential infrastructure that all those extra customers and taxpayers require. While the

May 2010

Populate or perish

by Richard Denniss in On Line Opinion

Should Australia increase its population to 36 million? In this era of evidence-based policy, it seems strange that for all the government inquiries that have been held there is yet to be a major scientific, social and economic analysis of the impact of rapid population growth in Australia. While it might be hard to agree

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