November 2014

Coal companies talking rubbish on energy poverty

The term “energy poverty” refers to people who do not have access to electricity and clean cooking facilities. Globally, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity in their houses and 2.6 billion people cook by burning coal, wood and other solid fuels. This has major impacts on people’s health, safety and quality of

October 2014

Greens under Christine Milne put protest ahead of progress

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

You’d never know it from their behaviour, but the Greens hold 10 seats in the current Senate compared to the Palmer United Party’s three. Their current strategy of voting against virtually everything the Abbott Government announces, including things they actually support, has made them largely irrelevant since the last election. It is hard to think

Liberals’ core conundrum laid bare by ANU row

The Abbott government can’t decide if it wants to tell people how to live their lives or free them to make their own decisions. The Coalition’s education policy, for example, reveals the contradictions between the world views of libertarianism and conservatism that the Coalition claims to represent. For many years, the balancing act has worked.

Divestment is just the free market at work

by Richard Denniss in ABC The Drum

Divestment By the shrill sound of things, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Australian National University (ANU) had sent its teaching staff on a paid trip to blockade the Pilliga. Jamie Briggs, Minister for Infrastructure, attacked ANU for “damaging” job creation. Christopher Pyne, Minister for Education, called the university “bizarre”. Joe Hockey made similar intonations,

ANU’s green investment policy reflects real world concern

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

If universities can’t be trusted to make their own investment decisions, who can be? Indeed, if the federal Coalition wants to join in the mining industry’s attack on the Australian National University for having the temerity to divest its shares in Santos and six other companies, why is the government proposing fee deregulation for the

August 2014

Coalition reaps what it sowed

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

The hypocrisy of Joe Hockey’s call for big business to make the case for his economic reforms is breathtaking. His government’s signature economic ”reform” was to rip up a perfectly good carbon tax. The Prime Minister and Treasurer rightly bet that business groups would sit silently by while this populist policy destruction took place. But

June 2014

Tony Abbott is out of step on green business

There is a disparity between politicians’ love of symbolism and shareholders’ love of results. Unfortunately for Prime Minister Tony Abbott, that disparity seems set to distance his government even further from the agenda of the mainstream business community in Australia. As if proposing to introduce a new levy on corporate profits and increasing the top

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

November 2013

A better way to work

by Prue Cameron in ABC The Drum

The idea that more flexible workplaces promise advantages to all is not new. For decades, Australians have been told that with the aid of new technologies, we can “work smarter, not harder” to achieve a better work-life balance and greater productivity. Goodbye to rigid nine-to-five office-based regimes. Employees will be able to negotiate working arrangements that

October 2013

September 2013

Time for the major political parties to acknowledge their significant others

by Richard Denniss and Brenton Prosser in On Line Opinion

Australia has listened, it has voted and it has decided. Australia wants political arrangements ‘other’ than what the major parties intended. It’s not what Sophie Mirabella expected before being ‘outgunned’ by the independent forces of Cathy McGowan and Tony Windsor. It’s not what ALP faceless man, Don Farrell, expected when he gave up his number

Micro parties with macro powers

by Richard Denniss in The Australian Financial Review

Small reforms to Senate preference voting could deliver a better and more stable system for everyone. A simple solution would be to ensure that parties which polled below a threshold, say 2 per cent, could disburse but not receive preferential votes. Such an approach would ensure no votes were “wasted” but at the same time

August 2013

Why all the hang-ups over a hung parliament?

by Richard Denniss and Brenton Prosser in Crikey

With polls showing we may be on track for another minority government, suddenly we seem surrounded by cries of “not another hung parliament”. And segments of the media and business are again raising exaggerated fears about the “risk and uncertainty” or “instability and short-termism” that will accompany such an outcome. But the fact is that

June 2013

Tasmanian Forests Agreement: liberal society needs an alternative

by Andrew Macintosh in The Conversation

Fred Gale’s article, Tasmanian Forests Agreement: deeply flawed, worth backing, provides interesting insights into the views of one segment of the Tasmanian community that supports the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. However, he fails to fully grasp many of the fundamental reasons for continuing opposition to the deal and its associated legislation. Most notably, there is no

May 2013

Can Tassie see the deal for the trees? Peace comes at a cost

by Andrew Macintosh in Crikey

Passage of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Bill in the state’s lower house effectively ended three years of negotiations between the forestry industry and environment groups. The deal is being celebrated by many as a resolution to the 30-year conflict over native forests in Tasmania and a win for the environment and economy. Nothing could be

March 2013

Gray must not follow Ferguson’s path

by Richard Denniss in The Australian Financial Review

A cabinet reshuffle provides the perfect opportunity for a prime minister to clarify the role of incoming ministers. From his deeds, it’s pretty clear Martin Ferguson interpreted his job as representing the interests of those who profit from extracting our resources rather than the citizens who own those resources. And given their praise on his

February 2013

January 2013

Competition vital in online marketplace

by Richard Denniss in The Australian Financial Review

Traditional retailers are happy to pay a premium for high visibility locations and the same is true online. In the online marketplace, high visibility means featuring prominently in search engine results. Google is by far the most used search engine in the world with more than 85 per cent of global search engine revenue. It’s

November 2012

Where the buck stops in politics

by Richard Denniss in The Australian Financial Review

Conservative politicians used to bemoan the way Australia’s youth mindlessly imported American culture, but you don’t hear so much of that these days. Maybe it’s because many conservative politicians have become so comfortable importing their political talking points from their US counterparts. Like Republicans in the US, many in the Coalition seem alarmed about debt,

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