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Close Encounters of the Hanson Kind

I had the great privilege to be present in the Legislative Council chamber during the opening of the NSW Parliament today. The highlight for me was the Presentation of the Message Stick by representatives of the Aboriginal Languages community, who spoke eloquently and movingly in their language and in English. The lowlight was the Governor’s Opening Speech, which was nothing more than a prolonged and tedious political party broadcast. Why this is … Read more

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Show me your climate solution

Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teenager who so dramatically made the world take notice with her candid, incisive calls for action on combatting global warming. Here is a part of Greta Thunberg’s speech that she gave to the British Parliament in April 2019: “Many people say that we don’t have any solutions to the climate crisis. And they are right. Because how could we? How do you “solve” the greatest crisis that … Read more

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Extinction Rebellion

I became a member of this group not long after it was formed in the UK. At the time I thought it, like so many similar movements, might prevail on the margins of political action, but I liked its objectives and so added my name to its small list of supporters. This past week has been quite an eye-opener. The demonstrations, especially in London, by ER have raised not only the group’s … Read more

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Will we survive?

When I was young our existential fear, despite the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, was nuclear annhilation. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, this fear evaporated and for a while we enjoyed a period of relative safety. Only recently have we woken up to an even greater threat to our future wellbeing, namely that of global warming. There is no doctrine to assuage our fears this time, rather we’re faced with … Read more

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Egg Boy

The actions of the 17-year-old youth in hitting Senator Anning with an egg amounted to assault and he could find himself in court as a result, unless the police caution him instead. The senator’s response, by punching the teenager, was something else. Provoked it may have been, but it was grossly disproportionate. Far too aggressive in the circumstances. When Julia Gillard was our prime minister, she was also on the receiving end … Read more

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Is it any wonder?

Scott Morrison in February 2011 tried to persuade Cabinet to capitalise on fear of Muslim immigration as an election-winning strategy. To his credit, Phillip Ruddock persuaded the meeting that it was against the Liberal’s policy. The Murdoch media in 2017 published well over 2000 articles vilifying Muslims. Trump calls innocent South American asylum seekers murderers, rapists, and drug dealers and declares it a national emergency. With all this hate-filled rhetoric circulating, is … Read more

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Here we go again

You would have thought that after the global financial crisis of 2018 some if not many lessons were learned and acted upon. Sadly, you’d be wrong. The finance industry (large parts of which serve no productive purpose) simply cannot help itself.  The prevailing mantra remains “greed is good”. Take the latest risky financial instrument, the collateralized loan obligation (CLO). You may remember its cousin, the collateralized debt obligation or CDO that played … Read more

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Human rights defender sentenced to 33 years and 148 lashes

When it comes to religious belief, I try not to be judgemental. After all, if it’s harmless and gives people comfort, why condemn it. Organised religion is a different story, often trying to impose its teachings and practices on society. We see this in many countries, in particular the US. This is especially so where there is no separation between state and religion. One such country is Iran. According to Amnesty International, … Read more

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Clearing of NSW native vegetation jumps 800% in three years

It took the Guardian 8 months using freedom of information laws to reveal the extent of the problem. “In 2013-14, 900 hectares was cleared in total. In 2014-15 this jumped to 2,730 hectares and by 2015-16 it had increased to 7,390 hectares.” Read the Guardian article here.

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The open secret

Cardinal Pell’s conviction took place in December 2018 but could not be published in Australia because another trial in which Pell was the defendant had yet to be held. That case has now been dropped and the gag order lifted. It’s understandable that a gag was placed on Australian media, but to expect it to apply elsewhere must have been wishful thinking in this Internet age. Needless to say, many of us … Read more

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China’s taking too much fish

I saw in the news that China consumes 50% of the world’s caught fish. In economics, exploiting shared resources is called “the tragedy of the commons” and refers to the common grazing area used by a community of farmers. When they share equitably, there are no problems, but when one adds extra livestock to graze, he depletes the land available for the rest. If he continues to do that, the others get … Read more

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More Chicanery

The Guardian has taken up the cause of greater transparency in our politics (see previous post). Here are two recent articles on the extent of lobbyists’ integration with our politicians. They show just how serious the problem is becoming. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/16/in-the-family-majority-of-australias-lobbyists-are-former-political-insiders https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/17/australias-lax-lobbying-regime-the-domain-of-party-powerbrokers