Search Results: State of the Union

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Probing the political culture of corruption in NSW

    • John Warhurst
    • 08 May 2014
    9 Comments

    The Independent Commission against Corruption in New South Wales continues to provide stunning insights into the compromised relationship between the major political parties and government in that state. It has moved on from Labor to the Liberal party and from political lobbying to political donations. But the essence of the story remains the same. Casual self-interest reigns, and the culture of political life at the top-end is corrupted.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ukraine races towards civil war

    • Tony Kevin
    • 05 May 2014
    19 Comments

    Tim Judah, highly regarded historian of the post-Yugoslavia wars of secession, predicted things were about to go very badly in Ukraine. He wrote that in the east he witnessed 'the same brave talk, euphoria, and delusions' that beset Yugoslavs before they 'tipped their country into catastrophe in the 1990s'. Just two weeks later, Ukraine races towards civil war, prompted largely by the provocative clumsiness of Kiev and its Western cheerleaders.

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  • RELIGION

    The peacemaker pope

    • Bruce Duncan
    • 23 April 2014
    7 Comments

    Quite striking is the similarity between the warm response to Pope John XXIII half a century ago and to Pope Francis today. Both broke through the gilded cage of outdated conventions and stereotyped expectations. Both stepped over barriers of ideology or religion to evoke bonds of a common humanity committed to promoting the wellbeing of all people, especially the poor and marginalised. The contexts were of course quite different.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Palmer power! Lessons from the Senate by-election

    • Ray Cassin
    • 10 April 2014
    2 Comments

    The most insidious outcome of the WA Senate election is the bargaining power it has delivered to Clive Palmer, the Queensland mining magnate who dominates the party on which he has bestowed his name. He massively outspent all his rivals, raising yet again the question of whether limits should be placed on private financing of political campaigns. It is a question that, because of his newfound clout, will not be answered anytime soon.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Freedom of expression for the rest of us

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 03 April 2014
    6 Comments

    How ironic that, even as Attorney General Brandis ensures the rights of 'bigots', the rest of us find our own rights under threat. Liberal state governments continue to roll out laws that affect the more marginalised and less privileged among us. Victoria's new 'anti-protest' laws and Queensland's 'anti-bikie' laws threaten public protest and assembly, which for most of us is how we exercise our freedom of expression.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Count the cost of refugee legal aid 'savings'

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 01 April 2014
    8 Comments

    Despite presenting the end of taxpayer-funded immigration advice to 'illegal boat arrivals' as a cost-saving measure, Scott Morrison's announcement demonstrates once again the Government's policy of punishment for those who come on boats without a visa. As an immigration lawyer who does not do any cases that are government funded, in theory I should applaud this decision, as it means possibly more clients. Instead I am appalled.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Unwinding the Coalition's economic pantomime

    • David James
    • 11 March 2014
    10 Comments

    Economics is full of circular arguments. The Government is on the one hand arguing — most notably with the SPC Ardmona case, the exit of the car manufacturers and Qantas — that it will not get involved in supporting Australia's industry base. But then it argues that its policies will boost Australia's industry base. Lower unemployment will inevitably follow. For the first time ever it is apparently possible to have it both ways.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What Minister Morrison is giving up for Lent

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 10 March 2014
    19 Comments

    When I was young, I remember being encouraged to give up lollies or chocolate for Lent. On the eve of the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday last week, the Immigration Minister announced he would be effectively giving up granting protection visas for refugees for the duration of Lent, and beyond, until 1 July.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    West wasting breath huffing and puffing over Crimea

    • Tony Kevin
    • 04 March 2014
    18 Comments

    Tony Abbott's 'We warn the Czar' statements were ludicrously over-the-top, though clearly he was responding to a Washington appeal to friendly allies to say something. I hope Australia will not continue to overplay its hand in the Security Council. There is no point in gratuitously offending Moscow on an issue that is outside our strategic area of interest and raises no human rights concerns whatsoever.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mistaken for Jewish in cold, grand Moscow

    • Howard Willis
    • 18 February 2014
    6 Comments

    On the occasions I got into detailed discussions with strangers in Moscow, a pattern emerged. Saying I was Australian prompted a polite request for clarification: 'But your ancestry?' The reply that I was fifth-generation Australian was treated as an evasion, or met with the assumption that my ancestors were 'bandits'. Generally, Muscovites took a second look at me and the box they ticked was 'Jew'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Economists undaunted by car industry canning

    • Ray Cassin
    • 11 February 2014
    18 Comments

    Malcolm Turnbull assures us that something will come along to fill the gap left by the demise in Australia of Toyota and SPC Ardmona. But new sources of employment do not magically appear because they have been foretold by economic doctrine. Only about a third of those who are about to lose their jobs in car making or food processing are likely to find new jobs on equivalent incomes. Another third will probably never work again.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Deciphering capitalism's corrupt metaphors

    • David James
    • 06 February 2014
    15 Comments

    'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'. This was George Orwell's parody in Animal Farm of the vicious use of language in communist states. It was one of his memorable depictions of how the absurdities of language not only reflect evil, but also predicate it. Language was a tool of oppression in communist states. In capitalism it is no less vicious.

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