author: Tony Smith

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A life in song for the working class

    • Tony Smith
    • 22 March 2017
    4 Comments

    Danny sang of farm labourers, poachers, mariners, union martyrs and miners. He did not simply perform the songs - that would be too much like exploiting them. His aim was to help preserve them. When he introduced a song it was clear that he had great respect for the tradition in which he fitted and that he had done extensive research into the song's provenance. The songs were important because of how they recorded aspects of working class life which mainstream histories might neglect.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Market thinking is not the way to improve prison education

    • Tony Smith
    • 13 January 2017
    4 Comments

    If the argument about sacking specialist education officers for NSW prisons holds, then perhaps it should be applied to schools. Sacking all permanent teachers and throwing all lessons across the state open to tender should improve educational outcomes. The absurdity of such a suggestion should be obvious. If the government is serious about improving prison education, it should work with the experienced teachers to make those improvements.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Rise of the corporate cowboys

    • Tony Smith
    • 29 September 2014
    7 Comments

    Unfortunately, when people pin their hopes for a just and fair society to a corporation, they can be sadly disappointed. A spate of deaths around the country suggests that many corporations have plenty of power to influence governments to produce policies and legislation convenient for their operations, but fail to take responsibility for their bad outcomes, which include deaths in workplaces.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's ten wasted years of war

    • Tony Smith
    • 19 March 2013
    14 Comments

    Gone are the days when Australians believed everyone deserved a fair go: the principle that 'might is right' has replaced the ideals of equity and justice in the national psyche. It is not surprising that after engaging in costly military actions over a decade Australians are more fearful now than when we invaded Iraq in 2003. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Trust is shot for cynical NSW Premier

    • Tony Smith
    • 28 February 2013
    8 Comments

    Political trust is fragile and can be destroyed in many ways. The O'Farrell Government's environmental credibility has been forever undermined by its decision to let hunters loose in national parks. More than that, this arrogant and disrespectful act can only lead to the further destruction of public trust.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    NSW Labor's diseased ethics

    • Tony Smith
    • 06 February 2013
    11 Comments

    The Labor Party's ethical problems are deep seated. Once it adopted pragmatism as its first principle, policy debates lost meaning. The ideological vacuum was filled by enslavement to poll driven politics and media images. The Left struggled to retain its influence and Labor's heart vanished. We should expect much more from our politicians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ricky Ponting's dignity

    • Tony Smith
    • 01 April 2011

    As some recent Australian elections have shown, leaders do not always let go in time to avoid embarrassment. Retiring Australian cricket captian Ricky Ponting usually behaved with dignity. But there are moments he'd no doubt prefer to expunge from the record.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The NSW democracy deficit

    • Tony Smith
    • 10 March 2011
    8 Comments

    If voters are disappointed with Labor now, they could be positively angry after the election. Because the Coalition is a shoo-in to win, the public is showing little interest in policy debates and the media have brought little pressure to bear over policy details and likely costs.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    WikiLeaks and artistic freedom in China

    • Tony Smith
    • 14 December 2010
    6 Comments

    While WikiLeaks' exposures of US government secrets have created a media storm, the case of Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei, which reveals much about the authorities in China, has attracted little comment. China has moved towards capitalism but not democracy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kristina Keneally's rational Catholic conscience

    • Tony Smith
    • 15 October 2010
    39 Comments

    Traditionally, Catholic-Labor links have been so strong that wits described the Church as 'the Labor Party at prayer'. NSW Labor Premier Kristina Keneally represents a growingly assertive Catholicism which might be described as progressive, rational and independent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    All MPs have Independents envy

    • Tony Smith
    • 26 August 2010
    10 Comments

    Since both major parties wasted their chance to secure a clear mandate, the Independents have been treated by the media as opportunists and vengeful egotists. By making Parliament complex, the rise of Independents complicates the lives of political hacks.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Moving forward with Gillard

    • Tony Smith
    • 25 June 2010
    4 Comments

    If there is any vestige of democratic socialism left in Labor, the Gillard Government needs to raise taxes without apology, knowing its social welfare policies are just and necessary. It also needs to remain committed to redistributing wealth to eliminate huge discrepancies in living standards.

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