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Showing posts from 2022
  So there’s a crisis in global democracy? Actually, no. It’s the autocrats, not the democrats, who are in trouble.
  Need health care in Australia? Just try not to be young. When there’s not enough health care for everyone, who misses out?
  How the Tasmanian government screws its workers. Most state governments have tried to suppress the wages of their employees. Nowhere have the effects been as savage as in Tasmania.
Labor on refugees: just as nasty and even more secretive. Refugees in Australia’s detention camps learnt long ago that hope was an illusion. The new Labor government, endorsing the Coalition’s cruelty, has again shown them the bleak wisdom of hopelessness.
Do our climate targets mean anything at all? Reaching net-zero in 27 years looks near-impossible. It's going to take a hell of a lot more than getting rid of coal-fired power stations.
You’re better off than you think. (Who knew?) All the news is bad. Power prices up, wages down, interest rates up. Poverty and doom await. Or do they?
Neoliberalism: an obituary. The ideology which ruled the world’s economies for half a century has, after a long illness, finally died. Liz Truss tripped over its decaying corpse on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street.
Profit from pain: how our most corrupt industry really works. When the Tasmanian government announced the nation’s first pre-commitment system to limit harmful betting on poker machines, there was unrestrained fury from the pokie lobby.
  After 50 years of cuts, is it now too late to rescue the ABC? For almost half a century, the ABC has been squeezed between two opposing forces – rapidly increasing costs on one hand, savage budget cuts on the other.
As America prepares for war with China, we’re in the crossfire. Strategic ambiguity is all but dead. The United States has left China and the world in no doubt that if Taiwan is attacked, America will go to war.
Is our unwritten constitution worth the paper it’s not written on?   When it finally became known that Scott Morrison, in darkest secrecy, had made himself the Lord High Everything Else, the solicitor-general said there wasn’t anything illegal about it. But was there?
Could the Greens (one day) govern Australia? Bob Brown is pretty sure about it. “It’s inevitable,” he told me. Bob, and many within the Greens, see environmental policies – on climate change particularly – as being the single decisive issue around which future politics will revolve.
‘It would be the end of Xi’: Andrew Wilkie on war over Taiwan, America’s decline and a new era in Canberra. It was an unruly conscience that first made Andrew Wilkie famous.
Meet Australia’s most overstretched hospital. Every major hospital in the nation is in trouble. Most were struggling to cope with ever-rising patient numbers even before the pandemic pushed them over the edge.
In denial: Defence’s giant carbon footprint.   In almost every country, armed forces are responsible for massive greenhouse gas pollution. But governments – including Australia’s – do not disclose that, and do not accurately include defence emissions in their carbon-reduction targets.
Survive or perish? Bob Brown on the greatest choice facing humanity. Bob Brown’s Eureka moment came in 1973, when he and a local dairy farmer went chasing thylacines in the Tarkine wilderness of north-west Tasmania.
How the GP crisis happened – and why it will get much worse. For most of the last 25 years, there has been a war of attrition against Medicare. Nowhere are the effects more crippling than in general practice.
Rednecks on the run: how Australia transformed itself. The bookies don’t think much of Peter Dutton’s chances of becoming Prime Minister. Shortly after the last election, Sportsbet put the chances of a coalition victory in 2025 at $3.10. That’s probably generous.
A new arms race and nuclear Armageddon: UN chief’s grim warning. “Humanity,” said António Guterres in Hiroshima, “is playing with a loaded gun.”
Factions have crippled Tasmania’s ALP. Now the paramedics are here. Factional warfare has cost the Tasmanian ALP its two most popular and credible politicians; its parliamentary leader and state president; a state election; and two federal seats.
What’s gone wrong in mental health? For the past 50 years, governments have taken money and resources out of the mental health sector. Now, we have a ballooning crisis that disproportionately affect women, the poor, the young, and homosexual men and women.
Treatment, not prison: Australians now firmly reject the war on drugs. Many powerful interests – police drug agencies, mafias, bikie gangs, law-and-order politicians – base their business models on continuing the war on drugs. Voters, though, have a different idea.
Climate change is already turning Australians into refugees. But it's only the beginning. Over the next couple of decades, hundreds of thousands of people will have to find somewhere else to live.
The loneliness of the long-distance health reformer: Stephen Duckett on politics, bureaucracies and the pandemic. Anyone who still thinks Australia’s health system is fit for purpose really hasn’t been paying attention.
Thousands dying. A whole economy in chaos. Hospitals in pandemonium. Why won’t our governments do their bloody job? Almost everyone now knows that living-with-Covid isn’t working. Everyone, that is, except the people we have elected to run the country.
Census delivers a big budget windfall to the small states. Almost $900 million will be transferred this financial year from the biggest states to the smaller jurisdictions. And Victoria will lose the federal seat it recently gained.
‘The economy exists within society, not vice-versa’: Saul Eslake on the GFC, debt-and-deficit and why we need to pay more tax.
  How will we survive this cascade of crises? Around twice in every century, an old era ends and a new one begins. The Global Financial Crisis. Climate change. The precipitous decline of the United States. China. Ukraine. The pandemic. No wonder we’re feeling depressed.
No God, please, we’re Tasmanian. Tasmania has become the first – and only – Australian jurisdiction in which the majority of people no longer believe in God. According to the census, 54% of Tasmanians have no religion. That’s 11% higher than the national average.
Labor’s plans for a whole new health system. Starting with Curtin and Chifley, every federal Labor government has redesigned the nation’s health system. Based on what they’ve said so far, this government will do the same.
The Renegade: Greg Barns on law, prisoners, a republic – and fleeing the Liberals. Even now, Greg Barns insists he’s still a liberal. Small l. That’s a bit surprising, when you think about it.
Russian oligarchs, sanctions, money laundering – and the art market. If you had a lazy $280 million just lying around, you could buy 199 average-priced houses in Sydney, or 396 in Hobart.
Money can’t buy you love – but it can buy you life. Have you ever wondered why the British royals last so long? It’s not about genetics. Not “breeding”. It’s about a healthy, controlled lifestyle – and the most rigorous, attentive and stupendously expensive health care anywhere.
Does the Liberal Party have a future? If these were ordinary times, if it was only about one election result, the question would not need to be asked. These are not ordinary times.
Labor wins friends with cost-free policies. It can't last.   Here’s a list. The Uluru statement. The Biloela family. Corruption commission. Wages. Republic. Arts. Robodebt royal commission. Climate. Support for the ABC.
Tasmania’s disastrous health budget. During the internal discussions for the 2014 state budget, the Department of Health put a business case for upgrading the health system’s creaking and outdated computer systems.
A nine-year fight against a government’s inhumanity. In 2013, when Hugh de Kretser became CEO of the Human Rights Law Centre, Labor was still in power.
Why Labor failed in Tasmania. Two weeks before the federal election, there was another vote that was little noticed in Tasmania and ignored entirely everywhere else. As omens go, though, this one was a doozy.
Wear a mask and save the economy. Covid lockdowns and border closures were necessary at the time, but they caused a recession. Quickly, we went from one extreme to the other – from lockdowns to let-it-rip. Political leaders promised a sunny outlook.
Don’t expect Nirvana; or, how to avoid being disappointed by a Labor government.     Whenever a Labor government is elected, its supporters expect the world to change. They are always disappointed.
Crimes against aesthetics: architectural adventures in Hobart. Less is more, they said. Form follows function. A house is a machine to live in. And so, a hundred years ago, led by Le Corbusier and the German avant-garde, architecture began its journey into the dark tunnel of modernism.
Universal health care is the cheapest option. Anything less costs more. Starving the health system of money and resources is the economics of stupidity. Any savings are soon eclipsed by the massive cost to the economy, to the society and to government budgets.
A colossal all-party health FAIL ! Every element of the Australian health system is in deep dysfunction. Hospitals in every state are in greater disarray than ever before. Emergency department overcrowding alone is killing as many people as the road toll.
Budget cuts loom as Frydenberg ramps up debt-and-deficit. Here’s why it’s bullshit.   It’s time, declared the Financial Review , to start budget repair. “The budget is spinning out of control.” It’s code, of course.