The Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry
of New South Wales







Asylum-Seeker Policy

Changing World Order

Climate Change

Cyber Security


Ideology – Shifts and Turns

Inequality in Income and Wealth

National Security

Political Parties and Public Debate

Public Debt, Taxes and Superannuation

Wages, Prices and Unemployment

Workplace Reform

Other issues


Earlier links are at the top of each section



Asylum-Seeker Policy


Asylum-Seeker Policy

Australian Human Rights Commission, “Asylum Seekers and Refugees,” the home page is undated but dates are supplied for links that are included in the text.  Available at:
http://humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/immigration/asylum_seekers.html.  The page explains Australia’s human rights obligations toward asylum seekers and refugees and the role of the Commission in monitoring conditions and treatment of people held in immigration detention.

Dennis Shanahan, “Last Resort to Restore Faith in Our Border Security,” The Australian, 23 November 2012.  Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/last-resort-to-restore-faith-in-our-border-security/story-e6frg75f-1226522306587.  The opinion expressed is that Government incompetence, political opportunism and criminal greed have put Australia's immigration policy into a space where public “cruelty” is the last policy response.

Michael Chertoff, “Obama’s Immigration Agenda,” The Washington Post, 15 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-chertoff-obamas-immigration-agenda/2013/02/14/b07f85aa-763b-11e2-aa12-e6cf1d31106b_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines.  It could be suggested that there is insufficient debate (and information apart from that supplied by groups such as Amnesty International) in Australian about how other nations are approaching similar issues.  Michael Chertoff, who was secretary of homeland security in the George W. Bush administration, concludes from his experience that a major problem is the lack of agreement among interest groups in civil society, and the transfer of this lack of agreement to legislators.

Mark Kenny, “Politics of Fear Commands a High Price,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/politics-of-fear-commands-a-high-price-20130227-2f6d5.html.  The author’s principal comment is: “The opposition's unhesitating call for a freeze on bridging visas for asylum seekers, sparked by a single case of alleged sexual assault, is not merely opportunistic, it is symptomatic of an election contest being defined in terms of western Sydney.

Bianca Hall, “Nothing Illegal about Those Seeking Asylum,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/nothing-illegal-about-those-seeking-asylum-20130407-2heqf.html.  The reporter’s comments include: “It is a policy riddle. If we welcome the boat people, they will come in ever-increasing numbers. Some will drown. If we turn them back, effectively punishing them for fleeing violence and persecution in what some of us deem to be the ''wrong'' manner, we are punishing victims of torture, trauma and oppression”.

Editorial, “Significant Drawbacks in the No-Advantage Policy on Boats”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/significant-drawbacks-in-the-noadvantage-policy-on-boats-20130528-2n9gm.html.  The no-advantage policy for asylum seekers was meant to discourage people from making the risky journey in leaky boats to the land of milk and honey, and welfare and work.  It appears to contain the twin devils of being not only misguided - not to mention cruel - but ineffective.  Its biggest drawback is the no-work rule.

Malcolm Fraser, “Why I am Supporting Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young,” The Guardian, 3 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/malcolm-fraser-sarah-hanson-young-greens.  Malcolm Fraser states that “I am not campaigning for them [the Greens], but I am speaking at one public forum for a Greens senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, because of her position on asylum seekers, and also because her seat is most at risk in the senate – or it certainly was when Julia Gillard was still prime minister.  This is because I don’t think either party deserves to have a majority in both houses.”  For comment on Fraser’s statement see: Van Badham, “Asylum Seekers: Six Things Kevin Rudd Should Learn from Malcolm Fraser”, The Guardian, 3 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/asylum-seekers-kevin-rudd-bob-carr-malcolm-fraser.

Peter Hartcher, “Stop the Boats but Not the People,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/stop-the-boats-but-not-the-people-20130722-2qeqj.html.  Peter Hartcher focuses on the key element of Australia’s current problem with asylum seekers – stop the boats and they formulate a way to proceed with a determination of refugee status in a fair and orderly way.  The question, then, “is whose policy is more likely to succeed, Tony Abbott’s or Kevin Rudd’s?  Both have risks in their implementation. Abbott's policy to tow boats back to the sea border with Indonesia risks inflaming relations with Australia's giant neighbour; Rudd's policy of sending all boats arrivals to PNG or elsewhere, even if they turn out to be legitimate refugees, has unanswered questions of capacity and cost.

Michael Gordon, “Navigating Troubled Waters,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/navigating-troubled-waters-20130927-2ujjo.html.  Michael Gordon concludes that “it is likely Abbott will ultimately succeed in, if not stopping the boats, reducing their number to a trickle.  The question to be answered then is clear: what price will have been paid?

Ina Parlina, “Jakarta Hits Back at Canberra Over Asylum Seekers,” The Jakarta Post, 13 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/11/13/jakarta-hits-back-canberra-over-asylum-seekers.html.  The article stated that the Indonesian government “rebuffed on Tuesday Australia’s claim that Indonesia was responsible for the fate of a group of asylum seekers at the centre of a maritime standoff between the two neighbouring countries as they were rescued in Indonesia’s search-and-rescue zone.  The text of the Jakarta Declaration, which was mentioned in the article, is available at: http://www.unhcr.org/5214ae709.html.

Mark Kenny, “Asylum-Seeker Boats and Indonesia: The Method Behind Scott Morrison’s Mindset,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/asylumseeker-boats-and-indonesia-the-method-behind-scott-morrisons-mindset-20131113-2xh3e.html.  Kenny concludes his analysis of Morrison’s methods by stating:  The problem for the Abbott government domestically is that if controversy is indeed the enemy of improved anti-people smuggling measures in Indonesia, it is asking Australians to take it on trust.  In this of all areas, that is a big ask.”

Yuliasri Perdani, “RI to Stop Arresting Boat People,” The Jakarta Post, 26 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/11/26/ri-stop-arresting-boat-people.html.  Boat people may now have better access to Australia as the [Indonesian] National Police could soon allow boat people to pass through Indonesian waters unimpeded in their attempt to reach Christmas Island.



Changing World Order


Changing World Order

Michael Wesley, “Asia’s New Age of Instability,” The National Interest, 24 October 2012.  Available at:
http://nationalinterest.org/article/asias-new-age-instability-7614.  The American alliance, with its promise of security and prosperity, is rapidly fraying in the Asia-Pacific region and unless a new approach is found soon the region is likely to feel major turbulences within a G-Zero world.

Hugh White, “Australia’s Future Hostage to US-China Rivalry,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 October 2011.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/australias-future-hostage-to-uschina-rivalry-20111024-1mg9d.html.  White argues that both China and the United States are preparing for a war with one another and it is, or was in 2011, the primary strategic priority.

Francis Fukuyama, “Life in a G-Zero World,” The American Interest, 28 January 2013.  Available at: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/fukuyama/2013/01/28/life-in-a-g-zero-world/.  G-Zero refers to the absence of a politically and economically dominant country or bloc and in the context of current literature it is associated with a lack of leverage to drive an agenda for world order. 

Gergor Peter Schmitz, “Global Leadership Vacuum: Europe Incapable, America Unwilling,” Spiegel Online, 1 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-global-leadership-vacuum-europe-incapable-america-unwilling-a-880945.html.  The title provides a good statement of the intention of the article but a sentence near the end provides a clear focus: “As illustrated by the euro crisis and the most recent brouhaha over London's role in the EU, diplomatic unity in Europe has yet to make the leap from paper to reality”.

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, “Come Home, America,” The New York Times, 4 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/opinion/come-home-america.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130305.  The article is useful in summarising the changes to the world order from the end of World War II to the present position of US in questioning its beneficial role as the world’s umpire.

Mark Kenny, “Gillard Lands a Big One with China Deal,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/gillard-lands-a-big-one-with-china-deal-20130409-2hjjw.html.  Additional comment by John Garnaut, “PM Puts Name of Board and Gets Relationship on Track”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/pm-puts-name-on-board-and-gets-relationship-on-track-20130409-2hjjy.html.  Both articles report on the announcement that “Australia and China have formally committed to new annual leadership talks giving Canberra greater access than the Asian superpower has granted to virtually any other Western nation”.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, “Cyber Security: A View from the Front,” The New York Times, 11 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/12/opinion/global/cybersecurity-a-view-from-the-front.html?pagewanted=all.  The author is the president of Estonia and gave these comments about Estonia’s approach to cyber security at the recent Forum for New Diplomacy hosted in Paris by the International Herald Tribune and the Académie Diplomatique Internationale

Gunther Hellmann, “Liberal Foreign Policy and World Order Renewal”, Chapter 10 of The Democratic Disconnect: Citizenship and Accountability in the Transatlantic Community, Transatlantic Academy May 2013.  Available at: http://www.gmfus.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files_mf/1366057825TA20123report_May13_complete_web.pdf.  This chapter focuses on one dimension that has for a long time been considered central to both liberal foreign policy and the establishment and flourishing of a liberal world order — the political aim for and the successful establishment of rule-based institutionalised cooperation.

Hugh White, “The New Security Order, East Asia Forum, 24 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/06/24/the-new-security-order/.  Hugh’s main point is thatcoming to terms with the Asian century means coming to terms with the risks it presents and the options available to avoid them.  We have to acknowledge China’s power and ambitions, but without simply surrendering to them. Whether we can avoid escalating strategic rivalry and, at the same time, avoid Chinese hegemony depends on our ability to simultaneously accommodate China’s ambitions and rein them in.”

Richard N Rosecrance, “Want World Domination? Size Matters,” The New York Times, 27 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/opinion/sunday/want-world-domination-size-matters.html?ref=opinion.  The article is an introduction to the author’s book entitled The Resurgence of the West: How a Trans-Atlantic Union Can Prevent War and Restore the United States and Europe that was published this year by Brookings Institution.  It describes a “national movement” in the USA to diversify the economies of large metropolitan areas through innovative bottom-up approaches.



Climate Change


Climate Change

Tom Arup and Ben Cubby, “All the Dirt on Carbon”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 August 2013.  Available at:
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/all-the-dirt-on-carbon-20130818-2s55c.html.  The lead-in to the article states the following:  “Both main parties agree we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  But which approach is better: Labor's carbon price or the Liberals' direct action?”  The authors provide some partial answers.

Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows, “Beyond ‘Dangerous’ Climate Change: Emission Scenarios for a New World,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Vol. 368 (2011), pp. 20-44.  Available at: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/20.full.pdf%2Bhtml.  The name of the journal is likely to put off a number of readers, but that would be unfortunate since the basic nature of the emission scenarios are relatively easy to follow.

Jörg Schindler, Gregor Peter Schmitz, Olaf Stampf, Gerald Traufetter, Wieland Wagner and Bernhard Zand, “Failed CO2 Targets: Going Through the Motions in Doha,” Spiegel Online, 26 November 2012.  Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/failed-co2-targets-going-through-the-motions-at-un-climate-conference-a-869294.html.  The objective is similar to Hodgkinson’s, but this one is somewhat more definite in the lack of direction among the Doha participants.

David Hodgkinson, “Doha Climate Talks: Time for an Alternative Approach,” East Asia Forum, 24 December 2012.  Available at: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/12/24/doha-climate-talks-time-for-an-alternative-approach/.  The article ends with a quote by Richard S J Tol: “having flogged, ever harder for 18 years, the dead horse of legally binding emission targets, the UNFCCC should close that chapter and try something new”.

Anne Eisenberg, “Pulling Carbon Dioxide Out of Thin Air,” The New York Times, 5 January 2013.  Available at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/business/pigovian-taxes-may-offer-economic-hope.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130106.  The author advocates placing taxes on activities with harmful side-effects since the tax will necessarily result in reduced activity, but putting it into effect be may more difficult than she thinks.

Jeff Goodell, “Obama’s Climate Challenge,” Rolling Stone, 17 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-climate-challenge-20130117.  The author states what many would consider to be obvious -- “making real progress on global warming would require Obama to do something he has shown little inclination for: leading a massive grassroots campaign to rally the American people and overcome the fear-mongering of the fossil-fuel industry and its Republican allies.”

Ben Cubby, “Abbott to ‘Shoot Messenger’ on Climate,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/abbott-to-shoot-messenger-on-climate-20130403-2h776.html.  The article reports and comments on the news that “Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he ‘suspects’ Tim Flannery, the head of Australia's Climate Commission, would be made redundant if Mr Abbott becomes prime minister.

Stanley Reed, “Europe Vote Sets Back Carbon Plan,” The New York Times, 16 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/business/global/europe-rejects-carbon-plan.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.  The article reports that the European Parliament narrowly rejected a proposal to cut the number of pollution permits and in so doing the parliamentarians showed less worry about global environmental implications and more on holding down energy costs as Europe continues to emerge from a deep economic slump.

Tim Radford and The Daily Climate, “Soils Cannot Lock Away Black Carbon,” Scientific American, 26 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=soils-cannot-lock-away-black-carbon.  The article suggests that charcoal and other forms of black carbon do not, as previously thought, stay where they are buried.  Recent studies indicate much of this carbon is dissolved in water and flows into rivers and ultimately to oceans.  While this does not dispute the belief that carbon can be sequestered in the soil, it suggests that it may not be a long term solution to increasing carbon emissions.

James Goldgeier, “JFK’s ‘Strategy of Peace,’” The New York Times, 9 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/opinion/global/jfks-strategy-of-peace.html?ref=global.  The author suggests that Kennedy’s famous strategy for peace has applications to climate change.  The text of Kennedy’s speech is available online at: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BWC7I4C9QUmLG9J6I8oy8w.aspx.

Peter Hartcher, “Climate Itself Is the Really Hot Issue,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/climate-itself-is-the-really-hot-issue-20130715-2q05d.html.  Hartcher elevates the importance of climate change as an election issue by explaining Australia’s tendency to “retreated into its shell as Gillard and Abbott slugged it out over the carbon tax.”  The country now emerges to see what the Rudd government can do with Australia's second chance.

No author cited, “Scientific Feud: Does Global Warming Make Us More Violent?” Spiegel Online, 9 August 2013.  Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/scientists-debate-the-relationship-between-climate-change-and-violence-a-915780.html.  The article reports that a flood of studies on the subject [of global warming and conflict] has failed to provide much clarity.  Some researchers see climate change as a danger to peace, some don't. Still others believe that global warming could even reduce the risk of war.

Ezra Klein, “Al Gore Explains Why He’s Optimistic about Stopping Global Warming,” The Washington Post, 21 August 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/21/al-gore-explains-why-hes-optimistic-about-stopping-global-warming/?hpid=z5.  The article is based on an edited version of an interview with Al Gore and contains an update on his thoughts since his “An Inconvenient Truth” appeared in 2005.

Editorial, “Onus on Abbott to Act on Climate Change,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/onus-on-abbott-to-act-on-climate-change-20130927-2ujjq.html.  The editorial states that: “the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report should be a game-changer in how Australia tackles global warming.  But it won't be - not without strong leadership from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.  The report, which was released on 27 September 2013 is entitled, “Climate Change2013: The Physical Science Basis” and is available at: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013.pdf.

Lenore Taylor, “Climate Change Authority Says Abbott Must Raise Emissions Target,” The Guardian, 30 October 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/30/climate-change-abbott-emissions-target.  The article states: “Australia’s 5% emissions reduction target is ‘not a credible option’ and must be increased, possibly to 15% or 25%, the independent Climate Change Authority has found in recommendations posing a huge challenge for the Coalition’s Direct Action policy. Documents recently released by the Climate Change Authority are available at: http://climatechangeauthority.gov.au/Node/22.

Karl Mathiesen, “Climate Change ‘Exaggerated’, Says Former Australian PM,” The Guardian, 6 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/climate-change-exaggerated-says-former-australian-pm.  In a lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, established by former Thatcher minister and climate sceptic Nigel Lawson, the former Australian prime minister insisted that the high tide of public support for ‘overzealous action’ on global warming has passed. 

Julia Baird, “Australia’s Politics of Global Warming,” The New York Times, 14 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/opinion/baird-australias-politics-of-global-warming.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&hp&rref=opinion.  The author summarises recent developments in Australia’s politics of global warming for the benefit of The New York Times readers and challenges the view, recently expressed by an Australian, that public concern about global warming is waning.

Lenore Taylor, “Climate Institute Urges Coalition to Reconsider Global Carbon Permits,” The Guardian, 21 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/climate-institute-urges-coalition-to-reconsider-global-carbon-permits.  The author’s lead sentence states: “A leading climate think-tank has joined the business community in urging the Coalition to reconsider its ban on using international carbon permits to help meet Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Lenore Taylor, “Carbon-Tax Repeal: Labor and Greens Split Bills to Save Climate Change Bodies.” The Guardian, 2 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/02/carbon-tax-repeal-labor-and-greens-split-bills-to-save-climate-change-bodies.  The article reports on the decision by the major opposition parties to “save” the independent Climate Change authority and the $10 billion “green bank” which is making a profit while financing clean energy loans.”

Peter Hannan, “Greg Hunt’s Claim on Carbon Figures Little Moe than Hot Air,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/greg-hunts-claim-on-carbon-figures-little-more-than-hot-air-20131213-2zc6q.html.  The article describes the latest in spin and counter-spin among the political parties over the carbon tax, with the Coalition government’s “selective release of information that has been misinterpreted (intentionally some believe). 


Cyber Security


Cyber Security

Ronald J Deibert and Masashi Crete-Nishihata, “Global Governance and the Spread of Cyberspace Controls,” Global Governance, Vol. 18 (2012), pp. 339-361.  Available by subscription at: https://www.rienner.com/title/Global_Governance_A_Review_of_Multilateralism_and_International_Organizations.  This article examines international and global mechanisms and dynamics that explain the growth and spread of cyberspace controls.  It also provides a study of "norm regression" in global governance: the growth and spread of practices that undercut cyberspace as an open commons of information and communication.

No author cited, “Hype and Fear,” The Economist, 8 December 2012.  Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21567886-america-leading-way-developing-doctrines-cyber-warfare-other-countries-may.  America is leading the way in developing doctrines for cyber warfare. Other countries may follow, but the value of offensive capabilities is said to be overrated.

Siraj Wahab, “Cyber Attack on Aramco a ‘Global Plot’, Says Saudi Arabia,” Eurasia Review, 10 December 2012.  Available at: http://www.eurasiareview.com/10122012-cyber-attack-on-aramco-a-global-plot-says-saudi-arabia/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29.  The author quotes a spokesperson for Aramco in saying that the attack targeted the whole economy of the country, not just Saudi Aramco as an entity; the ultimate aim was to stop the flow of oil and gas to domestic and international markets.”

Australian Government, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, “Secure and Strong: A Strategy for Australia’s National Security,” undated document launched on 23 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.dpmc.gov.au/national_security/docs/national_security_strategy.pdf.  The document includes cyber security as a “key national security risk”, in addition to espionage and foreign interference, instability in developing and fragile states, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, serious organised crime, state-based conflict or coercion significantly affecting Australian interests and terrorism and violent extremism.  Comments on the document include:

Rajaram Panda, “Australia’s National Security Strategy: What Does It Mean to the Region? – Analysis,” Eurasia Review, 28 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.eurasiareview.com/28022013-australias-national-security-strategy-what-does-it-mean-to-the-region-analysis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29.  The author notes that “critics say the NSS document amounts to lost opportunities as issues such as soft power option, aid and trade as potentially strategic pillars in the emerging national security environment are not mentioned to be leveraged.  The truism is that a government going to the polls later this year could not have done better than what the NSS document brings to the table.

Murray Hunter, “Australia’s National Security Paper: A Case of Lost Opportunities? –Analysis,” Eurasia Review, 15 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.eurasiareview.com/15022013-australias-national-security-paper-a-case-of-lost-opportunities-analysis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29.  Additional commentary: Michael Lee”, Australia Toughens stance of Cyber Security”, ZDNet, 234 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.zdnet.com/au/australia-toughens-stance-on-cybersecurity-7000010159/. 

Ellen Nakashima, “Pentagon to Boost Cyber Security Force,” The Washington Post, 28 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pentagon-to-boost-cybersecurity-force/2013/01/19/d87d9dc2-5fec-11e2-b05a-605528f6b712_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines.  The Pentagon approved a major expansion of its cyber security force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold to bolster the nation’s ability to defend critical computer systems and conduct offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries, according to US officials.

Editorial Board, “Out of the Shadows,”, The Washington Post, 4 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/cyberwar-out-of-the-shadows/2013/02/03/a35f9b96-6a4a-11e2-95b3-272d604a10a3_story.html.  The main point of the editorial is: “if conflict in cyberspace is underway, then it is important to sustain support for the resources and decisions to fight it, and that will require more candour.”

Brad Howarth, “What If They Pulled the Plug?” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/what-if-they-pulled-the-plug-20130327-2gun9.html.  The lead-in to the article summarises its contents: “The internet has become so enmeshed in our daily and business lives that the loss of it - even temporarily - is more than most of us can contemplate,”






National and Transnational Studies and Analyses

Andrew Norton, “Mapping Australian Higher Education 2013 Version,” The Grattan Institute, 21 January 2013.  Available at: http://grattan.edu.au/publications/reports/post/mapping-australian-higher-education-2013/.  This is Grattan Institute’s annual assessment of the state of Australian higher education and shows that both numbers of domestic students and costs are rising sharply, following the abolition of most enrolment controls in 2012.

Ben Jensen, “Catching Up: Learning from the Best School Systems in East Asia,” The Grattan Institute, 17 February 2013.  Available at: http://grattan.edu.au/home/school-education.  Four East Asian school systems are examined with a view to determining how those systems manage the “things that are known to matter in the classroom”, including a relentless, practical focus on learning and the creation of a strong culture of teacher education, research, collaboration, mentoring feedback and sustained professional development.

News and Commentaries on National Education Policies

Tim Colebatch, “Big Fat Zero for Gillard,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 2012.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/big-fat-zero-for-gillard-20120903-25agh.html#ixzz25YGXDGSM.  The author believes that Gillard's solution is to put the federal bureaucracy in charge and suggests that a better idea is to give the states their own funding sources to run it without the unproductive waste of a federal education department overseeing everything they do?

Michelle Grattan, “Gillard Facing Tough Project,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 2012.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/gillard-facing-tough-project-20120903-25amo.html.  Michelle’s article is well described with her opening sentence: Julia Gillard was big on inspiration and aspiration when she stepped out on schools policy, but short on detail.

Jack Waterford, “Gillard’s Education Crusade Flounders,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 2012.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/gillards-education-crusade--flounders-20120904-25cyg.html.  Waterford is critical of the Prime Minister’s proposed education program and states that she will not achieve the success she wants without real decisions, real compacts with difficult customers, including states, teachers, and rich private schools, and some facts, some feet and some programs on the ground.

Nathan Harden, “The End of the University as We Know It,” The American Interest, January/February issue.  Available at: http://the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1352.  Harden speculates on the effect of wide-spread use of online learning on the nature of universities.

Thomas L Friedman, “India vs. China vs. Egyp,” The New York Times, 5 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/opinion/friedman-india-vs-china-vs-egypt.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130206. Friedman presents the view that of these three countries, the one that will thrive the most in the 21st century will be the one that is most successful at converting its youth bulge into a “demographic dividend” that keeps paying off every decade, as opposed to a “demographic bomb” that keeps going off every decade. That will be the society that provides more of its youth with the education, jobs and voice they seek in order to realise their full potential.

Samantha Stark and Tamar Lewin, “Online Learning, en Masse,” The New York Times, 6 February 2013.  http://www.nytimes.com/video/2013/01/06/education/100000001960078/online-learning-en-masse.html.  The video describes the recent developments in free online learning being offered at US universities.

Ben Jensen, “Catching Up: Learning from the Best School Systems in East Asia: Full Report,” Grattan Institute, February 2012.  Available at: http://grattan.edu.au/static/files/assets/00d8aaf4/130_report_learning_from_the_best_detail.pdf.  The report notes that culture cannot be imported from another country, but cultural products can.  “Reform in high-performing systems in East Asia has an unrelenting focus on improving student learning.  An objective to which all school systems aspire.”

Judith Ireland, “Gillard Lays Out the Sums on Gonski,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/gillard-lays-out-the-sums-on-gonski-20130413-2hs9l.html.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to announce ''the biggest change to school education in 40 years'', with schools getting an extra $14.5 billion over the next six years, but the federal government will use deep cuts to universities worth $2.8 billion to help pay for school funding.  The final Gonski Report, dated December 2011, is available at: http://foi.deewr.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/review-of-funding-for-schooling-final-report-dec-2011.pdf.

Catherine Armitage and Daniel Hurst, “Class Action on Gonski Reforms,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/class-action-on-gonski-reforms-20130419-2i5gw.html.  The authors describe the major focus of the Gonski Report (cited above) as “the central, simple idea is that, no matter what school system a child is in, a minimum sum of money should be spent on him or her, which equates to the true cost of providing them with high-quality education.  See also comment by Peter Hartcher, “Reforms a Lesson in Politics,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/reforms-a-lesson-in-politics-20130419-2i5ih.html.  Gillard's protracted state-by-state negotiations on schools funding is more about her election campaign than education.”

Jal Metha, “Why American Education Fails: And How Lessons from Abroad Could Improve It,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 92. No. 3 *May/June 2013), pp. 105-116.  Available with subscription or purchase at: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139113/jal-mehta/why-american-education-fails.  The article is mainly about US education, with an occasional comparison using other countries.  It is nevertheless useful to Australia in noting what to avoid (and what not to avoid) and it comes with a surprisingly good framework for evaluating educational systems.

Thomas L Friedman, “How to Get a Job”, The New York Times, 28 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/opinion/friedman-how-to-get-a-job.html?ref=global-home.  The author reports information obtained from a cofounder of a specialised employment agency in the US, who states that the most successful job candidates, are “inventors and solution-finders, who are relentlessly entrepreneurial because they understand that many employers today don’t care about your résumé, degree or how you got your knowledge, but only what you can do and what you can continuously reinvent yourself to do.

Daniel Hurst, “’Too Hard’ for Coalition to Unpick Education Reforms,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/too-hard-for-coalition-to-unpick-education-reforms-20130605-2nqjf.html.  The article reports on a warning to the Coalition that they are likely to have extreme difficulties in unravelling the Gonski reforms, which apply to all non-government schools regardless of which states sign up.

Andrew Norton, “Quality Fears Over Demand-Driven Uni Funding Misplaced,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/quality-fears-over-demanddriven-uni-funding-misplaced-20130925-2ueei.html.  The author agrees that “there is still room for universities to improve the student experience”, but is emphatic about the possibility the “we have much to lose and nothing to gain from walking away from the reforms of the past few years.”

Van Badham, “Illiteracy Rates: Australia’s National Shame,” The Guardian, 27 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/27/illiteracy-rates-australias-national-shame.  News that half of Tasmanians are functionally illiterate is no surprise: our education system has progressively been run down to privilege the haves and abandon the have-nots.”

Jonathan Swan and Dan Harrison, “Christopher Pyne Blames Journalists for Government’s Apparent Gonski Backflip,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/christopher-pyne-blames-journalists-for-governments-apparent-gonski-backflip-20131127-2y91g.html. The coalition is apparently backing away from its pre-election promise and will be spending $1.2 billion less than originally pledged but the minister claimed the press gallery had caused confusion over his school-funding promises.  A detailed summary of the events leading to what some are calling the education crisis is written by Tom Allard, “Right Hand Drive: The Abbott Government is Doing U-Turns on Policy,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/right-hand-drive-the-abbott-government-is-doing-uturns-on-policy-20131129-2yh2n.html.

Peter Hartcher, “Christopher Pyne, the Minister of Muddles, Is Really the Artful Dodger,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/christopher-pyne-the-minister-of-muddles-is-really-the-artful-dodger-20131202-2ym3q.html.  Hartcher expresses a view on the unexpected turns and flips in the management of the federal-state relations in reference to schools in Australia.

Gareth Hutchens and Rachel Browne, “Coalition Government Asks Childcare Providers to Return Millions Allocated under Labor to Boost Wages,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/coalition-government-asks-childcare-providers-to-return-millions-allocated-under-labor-to-boost-wages-20131210-2z42o.html.  The article describes reactions to the government’s request that childcare providers “do the right thing” and return $65 million given to them by the former Labor government.





Ideology – Shifts and Turns

Mathias Koening-Archibugi, “Is Global Democracy Possible,” European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 17, No. 3 (2010).  Available for purchase at: http://ejt.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/06/08/1354066110366056.full.pdf+html.  An earlier version of the paper is available at: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/koenigar/Koenig-Archibugi_Is_Global_Democracy_Possible.pdf.  This article is a critical evaluation of
hypotheses and evidence about democratic transitions within nation-states, and about transformations in the interaction among the states, and concludes that arguments based on necessary conditions for global democracy are not compelling.  This suggests that a democratically governed global polity may be unlikely but it is not impossible.

No author cited, “True Progressivism: A New Form of Radical Centrist Politics Is Needed to Tackle Inequality Without Hurting Economic Growth,” The Economist, 13 October 2012.  Available at:  http://www.economist.com/node/21564556?spc=scode&spv=xm&ah=9d7f7ab945510a56fa6d37c30b6f1709.  “The twin forces of globalisation and technical innovation have actually narrowed inequality globally, as poorer countries catch with richer ones.”  But within many countries income gaps have widened.  The Economist examines several possible ways of reducing this trend.

David Rothkopf, “The Third Industrial Revolution,” Foreign Policy, November 2012.  Available at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/08/the_third_industrial_revolution?page=0,1.  With the expected restructuring of the work force as a result of technological change, it is important to recognise that the keys to economic growth in the future will be in new infrastructure and more continuous education to adopt the new technology.

No author cited, “Has the Ideas Machine Broken Down,” The Economist, 12 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21569381-idea-innovation-and-new-technology-have-stopped-driving-growth-getting-increasing?fsrc=nlw|pub|1-23-2013|4722150|34237756|.  The article examines the argument that the world is on a technological plateau and concludes that the main risk to advanced economies may not be that the pace of innovation is too slow, but that institutions may have become too rigid to accommodate revolutionary changes.

George Monbiot, “If You Think Were Done with Neoliberalism, Think Again,” The Guardian, 14 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/14/neoliberal-theory-economic-failure.  The author believes that under neoliberalism the demands of the ultra-rich have been dressed up as sophisticated economic theory and applied regardless of outcome, but the application has nothing to do with economics – it has everything to do with power.

Ross Douthat, “The New Liberalism and Its Discontents,” The New York Times, 22 May 2013.  Available at: http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/the-new-liberalism-and-its-discontents/.  Douthat discusses an article in the New Yorker which states that many in America in the 1970s believed that greater inclusiveness (equal opportunity with no racial or gender discrimination) will strike a blow in favour of economic and social equality.  But this did not happen.  Douthat then brings in opinions as to why equality was not realised.  Although the discussion follows USA-defined problems, it has implications for other nations to note what could be avoided and what might happen if it is not avoided, especially if it is correct that we are about to enter a decade in which technological change is much slower than in the past -- the “age of austerity” as some have called it.

Michael West, “Kennett’s Power Play Not Right This Time,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/kennetts-power-play-not-right-this-time-20130922-2u7wp.html.  West comments on Tony Abbott's “self-described infrastructure government” and considers the likely tug of war that the government may face with the states over privatisation plans.

Peter Hartcher, “Abbott and His Inner Hulk,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/abbott-and-his-inner-hulk-20131101-2wrzw.html.  Hartcher suggests that Labor lost the election more than the Coalition won, but that's not necessarily such a bad starting point for Tony Abbott.  Unlike other political leaders, such as Barack Obama and Kevin Rudd who created unrealistically high expectations in the public mind, Abbott is able to start out with a deficit in expectations.

David Runciman, “The Trouble with Democracy,” The Guardian, 9 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/08/trouble-with-democracy-david-runciman.  The article is an introduction and summary of a book by the author entitled, The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present, (Princeton University Press, 2013).  The author states: “The pattern of democratic life is to drift into impending disaster and then to stumble out of it.  Undemocratic practices creep up on us unawares, until the routine practices of democracy – a free press, a few unbiddable politicians – expose them.  When that happens, democracies do not get a grip; they simply make the minimum of necessary adjustments until they drift into the next disaster.”




Inequality in Income and Wealth

Clancy Yeates, “Advance Australia Fair? Maybe Not,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 January 2014.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/advance-australia-fair-maybe-not-20140126-31gpz.html.  Yeates commented on an Oxfam briefing paper (http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-working-for-few-political-capture-economic-inequality-200114-summ-en.pdf) indicating that Australia's wealthiest 1 per cent of households had had a rise in income second only to their peers in the US between 1980 and 2012,  and noted that this appears to be a global trend that was recognised by corporate members of the World Economic Forum in Davos (http://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2014.)



National Security


National Security

Charlie Edwards, “National Security in the Twenty-First Century,” Demos (a UK think tank), November 2007.  Available at:
http://www.demos.co.uk/files/National%20Security%20web.pdf.  This 119-page report underscores the importance of the need for a holistic approach to national security, based upon systems thinking and practical implications of creating an open and transparent “national security architecture for ministers, civil servants and the government’s strategic partners,”

Mr. Y, “A National Strategic Narrative,” The Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, 2011.  Available at: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/A%20National%20Strategic%20Narrative.pdf.  The author expresses the view that it is time to move beyond a strategy of containment to a strategy of sustainment (sustainability); from an emphasis on power and control to an emphasis on strength and influence, from a defensive posture of exclusion to a proactive posture of engagement.

Andrew F Krepinevich, Jr, “Strategy in a Time of Austerity: Why the Pentagon Should Focus on Assuring Access,” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2012 (pp. 58-69.  Available at: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/author/andrew-f-krepinevich-jr.  The author advocates a new strategic framework that is focused less on repelling traditional cross-border invasions, effecting regime change, and conducting large-scale stability operations and more on preserving access to key regions and the global commons.

Hugh White, “White-Papering the Cracks: A Blueprint for the Asian Century?” The Monthly, December 2012 – January 2013.  Available at: http://www.themonthly.com.au/blueprint-asian-century-white-papering-cracks-hugh-white-7139.  The author is critical of the Asian Century White Paper for focusing not on the Asian Century by rather on an “unremittingly optimistic view of Asia’s future and Australia’s place in it.”

Peter Hartcher, “Nightmare Side to China Dream,” The Sydney Morning Herald,  16 April 2013.  Available at:
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/nightmare-side-to-china-dream-20130415-2hw1h.html.  Hartcher comments on a recently released document by Benjamin Schreer entitled, “Planning the Unthinkable War: ‘Air-Sea Battle’ and Its Implications for Australia” by discussing the potential role of the US air-sea battle concept, which, according to Schreer is “aimed at
defeating China's might by withstanding an initial Chinese attack, followed by a blinding campaign against PLA command and control networks, a missile suppression campaign against China's land-based systems, and a distant blockade against Chinese merchant ships in the Malacca Strait and elsewhere.” The document referred to in the article is available at: http://www.aspi.org.au/publications/publication_details.aspx?ContentID=356&pubtype=-1.

Refer also the comments about Australia’s National Security Strategy placed earlier in this document under Cyber Security.



Political Parties


Political Parties and Public Debate

Gerard Henderson, “Don Won’t, But Libs Can Stop Left,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 February 2011.  Available at:
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/don-wont-but-libs-can-stop-left-20110221-1b2f4.html.  The article is based upon the result of Herald/Neilsen poll “that NSW voters who are proposing to junk Labor are moving straight across to Barry O'Farrell and the Coalition, by-passing the Greens.”

Sam Dastyari, “ALP Must Look to Primary System,” The Australian, 15 June 2011.  Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/commentary/alp-must-look-to-primary-system/story-e6frgd0x-1226075231061.  The author states that “the political success story of Labor, the oldest surviving labour party in the world, has been shaped by an ability to reform at critical junctures; an ability to engage with new voices, new faces and new ideas, [but] the Labor Party now finds itself at one of those critical junctures, particularly in NSW.

Ben Keneally and Kristina Keneally, “ALP Needs to Reignite the Light on the Hill,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 June 2011.  Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/alp-needs-to-reignite-the-light-on-the-hill/story-fn59niix-1226076715504.  There is a deep hunger within the ALP for change. It would be a terrible shame to repeat the failure of the Crean reforms and waste energy on reforms that do little to make a real change and simply shift slightly the rules of engagement for the existing forces within the party.”

Annabel Crabb, “Prime Minister, Interrupted: Why One Year after the Election Voters Still Don’t Know Who Gillard Is,” The Monthly, Available at: http://www.themonthly.com.au/why-one-year-after-election-voters-still-don-t-know-who-gillard-prime-minister-interrupted-annabel-c.  Annabel begins her essay with this statement:  In Australia, we engage with our political leaders in a way that is very particular to us, and to our democratic model.”  She ends the essay with these sentences:  “Out of truth and lies, lies are always harder. But when the Labor Party decided – in a mad, exhilarating rush – to get rid of its leader 14 months ago, this is the course it set for itself: to govern without candour, dogged horribly by the memory of what it was and unable to explain what it wants to be.  In between is a lot of detail as to how “particular engagement” by the public combined with individual machinations to provide an answer to the title of the essay. 

Barry Jones, “Stupidity Is on the Rise in Our Age of Enlightenment,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 August 2012.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/stupidity-is-on-the-rise-in-our-age-of-enlightenment-20120808-23uiq.html.  Barry Jones suggests that the quality of debate on public policy has declined since Gough Whitlam’s time and political parties in general, the APL in particular, should “turn outward, embrace democracy and reject oligarchy, thinking in decades, not Twitter moments,”

Lenore Taylor, “Political Death Roll Promises All Bets Off for Major Parties”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/political-death-roll-promises-all-bets-off-for-major-parties-20121217-2bj7u.html.  Lenore observes that it is unusual for the opposition leader and the Prime Minister to both be relatively unpopular at the same time and suggests several reasons for this.  She then states: “But whatever the reason, this parliament has always been a fight to the death over honesty, character and legitimacy, rather than a battle over specific policy ideas.

Peter Martin, “Hey, Big Spender: Howard the King of the Loose Purse Strings,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/hey-big-spender-howard-the-king-of-the-loose-purse-strings-20130110-2cj32.html.  The article reports the findings of an IMF study: “Australia's most needlessly wasteful spending took place under the John Howard-led Coalition government rather than under the Whitlam, Rudd or Gillard Labor governments.”  

The International Monetary Fund examined 200 years of government financial records across 55 leading economies.

It identifies only two periods of Australian "fiscal profligacy" in recent years, both during John Howard's term in office - in 2003 at the start of the mining boom and during his final years in office between 2005 and 2007.

Read more:

Waleed Aly, “Labor has Lost the Plot and the Narrative,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/labor-has-lost-the-plot-and-the-narrative-20130221-2eua9.html.  The author suggests that the crisis now facing the Australian Labor Party is ideological. It [the party] doesn't really mean anything any more, and probably hasn't since Paul Keating lost power in 1996.

Peter Hartcher, “The ‘First Rule’ That Eludes Leaders, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/the-first-rule-that-eludes-leaders-20130308-2fr2j.html.  Hartcher’s “first rule” is relatively simple but frequently overlooked:  To minimise the damage to the deficit, the economy, the social fabric, as our leaders plunge into a frenetic campaign, they need to keep the Hippocratic principle foremost. If you can't assist the national good, at the very least do no harm.

Adel Ferguson, “Labor’s Failure on Infrastructure,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/labors-failure-on-infrastructure-20130311-2fwbx.html.  Amid growing speculation that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will have to abdicate or face a beheading at the federal election, talk is turning to the country's infrastructure as suggestions of pork barrelling and policy backflips emerge.

Mark Kenny, “Back from the Brink,, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/back-from-the-brink-20130321-2gixh.html#poll.  Kenny summarised the outcome of the ALP caucus meeting in the afternoon of 21 March by stating: “Prime Minister Julia Gillard faces an uphill battle rebuilding her party's shattered brand after Labor's crippling leadership crisis ended in farce on Thursday with a party-room spill devoid of a challenger.  Other articles and commentaries are noted in the article.

Mark Latham, “Not Dead Yet: Labor’s Post-Left Future,” Quarterly Essay 49, March 2013.  Available for purchase at: http://www.quarterlyessay.com/issue/not-dead-yet-labors-post-left-future.  Latham produced an 81-page essay on the current crises of the Labor Party.  The text is rich in detail as to what went wrong; though somewhat weaker on what can be done to fix it, his ideas are nevertheless far from meek  For example, he views the changing nature of conservatism in Australia as more damaging to conservative traditions, than are labor’s losses of its traditions.  Conservativism [is] devouring its own heritage and values, but not caring enough to complain.  The Abbott right is like a rat-snake, eating itself from the tail up.”  The essay is review by the following, among others:

No author cited, “Review: Mark Latham’s Not Dead Yet,” The Piping Shrike, 29 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.pipingshrike.com/2013/04/review-mark-lathams-not-dead-yet.html.

Matt Cowgill, “We Are All Dead,” WordPress.com, 12 March 2013.  Available at: http://mattcowgill.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/back-to-the-future-with-mark-latham/.

Graham Mathews, “Latham’s Intonations from the Political Grave,” Green Left, 28 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/54167.

Tim Colebatch, “Abbott’s Big Bold Plan Much Too Short on Detail,, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbotts-big-bold-plan-much-too-short-on-detail-20130409-2hhun.html.  Using whatever information that is currently available, the author attempts to supply an answer to the question: what would an Abbott government by like?

Peter Hartcher, “PM Is Missing the Point About Class Warfare,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/pm-is-missing-the-point-about-class-warfare-20130414-2htrn.html.  The author states that “the government thought it was onto a winner when it decided to pitch the old concept of ''soaking the rich''. It turns out to be wrong. […] The evidence is that Gillard is playing a losing game on an outmoded construct.”

Peter Hartcher, “Taming the Naked Ambition,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/taming-the-naked-ambition-20130524-2k6ns.html.  Hartcher notes that in “two of the most important areas of policy – workplace relations and tax reform – Abbott has promised only the most cautious of changes” and considers reasons for this apparent desire to sacrifice “a great deal of autonomy in policy-making to deliver him better odds of victory.” 

Peter Hartcher, “100 Days of Grey,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/100-days-of-grey-20130605-2nqs0.html .  Hartcher lists the four “burning issues” for the election in 100 days: trusting Gillard, Abbott as Dr No, National Broadband Network and the polls – all 29 of them.”

Lenore Taylor, “Christine Milne: Abbott’s Climate Stance Jeopardises the Future of Children,” The Guardian, 6 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/05/greens-leader-abbott-jeopardises-children.  Lenore Taylor reports an interview with the leader of the Greens Party and the intentions of the Party in preparing a “Democrats-style ‘keep the bastards honest’ election campaign to stop Abbott’s ‘excesses’ in the Senate, on the assumption he will be prime minister.

Paul Sheehan, “Gillard Held Firm in Union Grasp”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/gillard-held-firm-in-union-grasp-20130623-2oqkd.html.  Sheehan makes the point in the middle of his article that the present “government is gone. The game that will have a big and immediate impact on the next government and the economy is the Senate election, and whether the Greens hold the balance of power.He then comments on the Prime Minister's determination to use power while she can, to reaffirm that “everyone knows who calls the shots in the Gillard government.  This is why it is going to be destroyed by an electorate in which 87 per cent of private sector workers are not union members.  See additional comment by Michael C H Jones at: http://www.accci.com.au/JonesCommentonGillard.pdf.

Lenore Taylor, “Labor Leadership Spill: Kevin Rudd’s Real Battle Is Now Ahead of Him,” The Guardian, 26 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/26/labor-leadership-spill-kevin-rudd.  Perhaps distance offers a degree of objectivity.  But even if not, Lenore Taylor’s opinion of the spill represents a concise statement of Labor’s current reality.

William Pesek Jr, “Here’s the Real Crisis in Australia”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 June 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/heres-the-real-crisis-in-australia-20130628-2p0um.html.  This opinion piece was written by an Asian-Pacific columnist with Bloomberg News and is located in Tokyo.  He focuses on Australia’s dependence on the Chinese economy.

Antony Loewenstein, “What Would Tony Abbott’s Foreign Policy Look Like?” The Guardian, 4 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/04/tony-abbott-foreign-policy.  The lead-in to the article states the following:  Abbott's views on foreign policy are rarely discussed, but he seems to retain a Bush administration perspective on the world – ‘you're either with us or against us.’”

Alan Stokes, “Right Has Twigged that Abbott May Be on Shaky Ground,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/right-has-twigged-that-abbott-may-be-on-shaky-ground-20130723-2qhfc.html.  Stokes observes that “if Rudd succeeds and Abbott loses the unloseable election, issues will have to be assessed on their merits, not through the distorted left-right, elite-egalitarian prism so popular in some circles.  Shifting discourse into the middle where most Australians reside would disenfranchise the vested interests and their cheer squads.”  See comment by Michael C H Jones at: http://www.accci.com.au/JonesCommentonStokes.pdf.  Also with online translation into Simplified Chinese here.

Comment by Michael C H Jones on “Transnationalisation of Political Parties” is available at: http://www.accci.com.au/JonesCommentonTransnationalisation.pdf.  Also with online translation into Simplified Chinese here.

Fabio Rojas, “How Twitter Can Help Predict an Election,” The Washington Post, 12 August 2013.  Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-twitter-can-predict-an-election/2013/08/11/35ef885a-0108-11e3-96a8-d3b921c0924a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinion.  The author reports the results of research undertaken at Indiana University in the USA that were obtained from the extraction of 543,969 tweets that mention a Democratic or Republican candidate for Congress in 2010.  It is an example of new research in computer science, sociology and political science indicating that data from social media platforms on which anyone can say anything, and it can be read by millions, often yield accurate measurements of public opinion.

Editorial, “Time’s Up for Rudd but Jury Is Still Out on Abbott,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/times-up-for-rudd-but-jury-is-still-out-on-abbott-20130831-2sx7w.html.

Lenore Taylor, “Abbott’s Removal of Top Public Servants Smacks of Ideology, Not Values,” The Guardian, 20 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/20/abbot-ideology-public-service-parkinson.  The lead-in to the article states: “Losing such talent just to send a political message undermines the prime minister's claim to respect an independent civil service.”

Ross Gittins, “Coalition Heading Backwards with First Steps,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/coalition-heading-backwards-with-first-steps-20130924-2uc1u.html.  Gittins suggests that since the new government took office, “it’s as if Tony Abbott believes returning the Liberals to power will, of itself, solve most of our problems.  Everything was fine when we last had a Liberal government, so restore the Libs and everything will be fine again.  […]  It smacks of complacency, of a belief that nothing much has changed or could change.”

Mark Kenny, “PM Had and Axe After All,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/pm-had-an-axe-after-all-20130927-2ujls.html.  Kenny reports that “despite promises of calm, the second week of Abbott's government was marked by a passion for dismantling and secrecy.

Lally Weymouth, “An Interview with Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott”, The Washington Post, 25 October 2013.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lally-weymouth-an-interview-with-australia-prime-minister-tony-abbott/2013/10/24/f718e9ea-3cc7-11e3-b6a9-da62c264f40e_story.html.  The questions asked by Weymouth are generally those for which Americans are likely to be particularly interested in the answers.  For a number of reasons those answers should nevertheless be of interest to Australians.

Bianca Hall, “Silence Echoes Across Canberra as the Coalition Clams Up,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/silence-echoes-across-canberra-as-the-coalition-clams-up-20131102-2wt5k.html.  The article describes how the “no-surprises, no-excuses government” that was promised by Tony Abbott in August is coming at the cost of

Editorial, “Spring Sitting Will Reveal Extent of Damage to Parliament’s Standing,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/spring-sitting-will-reveal-extent-of-damage-to-parliaments-standing-20131111-2xcaa.html.  The opinion offered by the SMH’s editorial begins with this:  The Coalition has earned the right to implement its program of economic stability and efficiency in a smaller government where it has been clearly defined.  With Prime Minister Tony Abbott's imprecise and vexed approaches to climate change, migration and education, though, some open-mindedness will be required on both sides.

Peter Hartcher, “Any Way the Wind Blows: Tony Abbott’s Conflicting Messages to Business,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 December 2013.  Available at:  http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/any-way-the-wind-blows-tony-abbotts-conflicting-messages-to-business-20131206-2ywpb.html.  The conflicting messages relate to recent announcements by the government that are “precisely the opposite of what the Business Council of Australia sought and advised,” despite the statement by Tony Abbott that the BCA “was the Coalition government’s natural partner in reform.”

Editorial, “Greens Have Opportunity To Be a Force for Change,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/greens-have-opportunity-to-be-a-force-for-change-20131208-2yza3.html.  The editorial board commended the Australian Greens for the “first significant constructive contribution to the efforts of the new Coalition government since the federal election,” and expressed the hope that “the Greens' decision to co-operate on this measure signals a more constructive engagement with the process of reform.

Mark Hawthorne, “Taunts in Parliament and Text Brought about General Motors Holden’s Exit from Australia,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/taunts-in-parliament-and-text-brought-about-general-motors-holdens-exit-from-australia-20131211-2z6i6.html.  The article describes the events leading up to the announcement by General Motors that production in Australia would cease by 1917.  Comment from Peter Hartcher, “Holden Departure Can Be to Joe Hockey What Banana Republic was to Paul Keating,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/holden-departure-can-be-to-joe-hockey-what-banana-republic-was-to-paul-keating-20131211-2z6c3.html.  See also Lenore Taylor, “Did Holden Deserve Endless Assistance?  A Question the Coalition Failed to Ask,” The Guardian, 11 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/11/should-holden-get-endless-assistance.



Public Debt


Public Debt, Taxes and Superannuation

William A Galston and Maya MacGuineas, “The Future is Now: A Balanced Plan to Stabilise Public Debt and Promote Economic Growth,” Governance Studies at Brookings, September 2010.  Available at:
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2010/9/30%20public%20debt%20galston/0930_public_debt_galston.pdf.  The authors suggest that while the US economy struggles to recover from the recent recession, it would be premature to start implementing aggressive deficit reduction measures.  However, policymakers should commit as quickly as possible to a plan—phased in as soon as the economy permits—to stabilize the debt at a healthier and more sustainable level by the end of the decade and to set it on the kind of downward course that existed for much of the post-World War II period.

Malcolm Maiden, “What Price a Hole in Super Shelter?” The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 February 2012.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/what-price-a-hole-in-super-shelter-20130206-2dyqa.html.  A brief introduction to the article and its relevance to the Federal election in Australia on 14 September 2013 is available at:  http://www.accci.com.au/IntrotoMaiden.pdf.

Lenore Taylor, “Poor Returns Could Force Rethink of Mining Tax,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/poor-returns-could-force-rethink-of-mining-tax-20130208-2e3q9.html.  The Treasurer, Wayne Swan said the shortfall was due to lower commodity prices hitting the profits-based tax, but Treasury and the Tax Office would review all the reasons for the lower revenue.

Editorial, “Super System Needs To Be Fairer and Cheaper,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/super-system-needs-to-be-fairer-and-cheaper-20130208-2e3ir.html.  The main opinion expressed by the SMH editorial board is that Australia’s “super system needs thorough reform but short of that the government should pursue measures that make it fairer and cheaper for the vast majority.”

Elizabeth Knight and Philip Wen, “Miners Hoard Credits to Avoid Resources Tax,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/miners-hoard-credits-to-avoid-resources-tax-20130212-2eb6v.html.  Following the announcement that current receipts from the mineral resources rent tax were substantially less than expected, it was further announced that the major mining companies have already accumulated $1.7 billion in tax credits that can be used to offset future mining tax liabilities.  This arises from the way the companies chose to establish the “starting base” for capital asset values and when combined with faster depreciation of new investment means that tax liabilities can be postponed, but not avoided altogether.  See also Tony Wright, ‘From the Icy Depths, Planet Kevin Serves Up Revenge,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/from-the-icy-depths-planet-kevin-serves-up-revenge-20130212-2eb4e.html.  This provides some additional context to the recent developments regarding the mining tax.  A full statement and detail of the new mining tax can be obtained from The Australian, 2 July 2010 at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/full-statement-and-detail-of-new-mining-tax/story-e6frgczf-1225887000521.

Editorial, “We’ve Mineral Wealth for Toil, So How Did a Good Idea Fall Short?”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/weve-mineral-wealth-for-toil-so-how-did-a-good-idea-fall-short-20130213-2edby.html.  The title is descriptive – the editorial examines what went wrong with a good idea.

Max Newnham, “Research Shows Folly of View that Tax on Super Is Too Low,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/research-shows-folly-of-view-that-tax-on-super-is-too-low-20130214-2efnw.html.  The research report mentioned in the article is available at: http://www.mercer.com.au/press-releases/1510675.  The study compares Australia’s tax-based incentives for participation in superannuation schemes with those of other nations.  The results indicate that Australia is neither over-generous nor under-generous compared to the other nations.

Ross Gittins, “Abbott Must Share the Blame for Tax Stuff-Up,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/abbott-must-share-the-blame-for-tax-stuffup-20130217-2el60.html.  Gittins suggests that the responsibility for failure to achieve anything positive in the way of tax reform in Australia must be spread widely.

Mark Kenny, “A Vote for Abbott Will Hit Your Hip Pocket: PM,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/a-vote-for-abbott-will-hit-your-hip-pocket-pm-20130303-2fepj.html.  Armed with new government modelling on the effects of Mr Abbott's plans to scrap the carbon and mining taxes, Ms Gillard will make a big pitch to the hip pockets of low- and middle-income families.

Ross Gittins, “Hockey Would Be No Soft Touch as Treasurer,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/hockey-would-be-no-soft-touch-as-treasurer-20130303-2fegf.html.  In the article Gittins expressed a favourable opinion of Hockey’s “pep talk” to a business audience last week, in which he stated that the “Coalition’s policies would be better for business than Labor’s, but stopped well short of promising business everything its heart desired”.

Malcolm Maiden, “Assets ‘Tax’ Could Hit Banks Hard,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/assets-tax-could-hit-banks-hard-20130308-2fr4k.html.  The article is in response to a proposal made by Greens MP Adam Brandt to impose a levy of 20 basis points on Australian bank assets in excess of $100 billion, which is estimated to raise $11 billion.  The author identifies several problems with such a proposal.

Heath Ashton, “Combet Lashes Berejiklian Over Claim Tax Will Drive Up Fares,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/combet-lashes-berejiklian-over-claim-tax-will-drive-up-fares-20130313-2g160.html.  “The state government has been accused of ‘gross deception’ over claims public transport fares would have to rise because of the carbon tax”.  Additional commentary at: http://www.accci.com.au/CommentonAshtonArticle.pdf.

Ross Gittins, “Facts on Tax Defy Voters’ Perceptions,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 March 2013.  Available at:  http://www.smh.com.au/business/facts-on-tax-defy-voters-perceptions-20130317-2g8ug.html.  Gittins asked the question: Is Labor a big taxing, big spending government, as Tony Abbott and his Liberal colleagues claim, or has it been taxing us a lot less than the Howard government did, as Wayne Swan claims?”  He answered it with the comment:  “As with many conflicting claims by pollies, it depends on how you interpret the figures.”

Editorial, “Good Policy is Being Lost in an Unseemly Scramble,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/good-policy-is-being-lost-in-an-unseemly-scramble-20130402-2h50j.html.  The editorial states that “as polling day approaches, the Herald will continue to argue that the superannuation system must be made fairer.  The super contributions of the highest income earners can be taxed at a less concessional rate.” 

Peter Ker, “Treasury ‘Unable to Know’ How Miners Calculate Tax They Owe,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/treasury-unable-to-know-how-miners-calculate-tax-they-owe-20130403-2h75e.html.  The article discusses the difficulties associated with options available to miners in selecting their starting base deductions, and Treasury will probably not know with certainty until corporate tax returns are filed.  For additional commentary on mining industry taxes, see Elizabeth Knight, “Miners’ Pitch on More Taxing Issues”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/miners-pitch-on-more-taxing-issues-20130403-2h75j.html.

Max Newhnam, “Super Plan Fair and Reasonable, but Probably Won’t Become Law,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/super-plan-fair-and-reasonable-but-probably-wont-become-law-20130411-2hod2.html.  The author sees merit in the recent proposals released by the Treasurer Wayne Swan and Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten, but in the absence of expressed policies by the other parties it is unlikely that the changes will become law.

Georgia Wilkins, “Australia Joins US, UK in Tax Haven Probe,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/australia-joins-us-uk-in-tax-haven-probe-20130510-2jcny.html.  The article announces that an effort to investigate tax avoidance schemes of hundreds of wealthy Australians is part of a multinational inquiry into offshore data believed to include 2.5 million leaked tax records.

Peter Hartcher, “Challenge of an Ageing Nation,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 May 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/challenge-of-an-ageing-nation-20130510-2jdb4.html.  The article begins with a reminder of the implications of an ageing population in Australia and then examines the extent to which the two, major political parties have approached the problem.  Both understand the “demographic challenge” but neither shows of a workable plan.  Additional comment is available at: http://www.accci.com.au/CommentonAgeingNation.pdf.

Tim Colebatch, “Either We Pay the Tax or We Lose the Service,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/either-we-pay-the-tax-or-we-lose-the-service-20130923-2u9zb.html.  The article indicates that Australia’s growing yet ageing population will force up the GST, whether the nation likes it or not.”

Ross Gittins, “Miners Pinch Company Tax-Cut Kitty,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/miners-pinch-company-taxcut-kitty-20131013-2vgny.ht.  The author considers the likelihood of the present government cutting the rate of company tax and concludes that the “mining tax is the last nail in the coffin of the case for a lower

Peter Martin and Heath Aston,” Treasurer Joe Hockey Seeks Deal with Greens to Scrap the Debt Ceiling,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 2013.  Available at: https://www.google.com/search?q=define+semantics&oq=define+semantics&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8.  Treasurer Joe Hockey will seek an agreement with the Greens to abolish the debt ceiling this week as he faces new projections showing 13 more years of continuous budget deficits - enough to last the term of this government and the next four.  Comment available at: http://www.accci.com.au/CommentonRaisingDebtCeiling.pdf.

Peter Martin, “Blowout in Debt Is Government’s Work,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/blowout-in-debt-is-governments-work-20131208-2yzem.html.  The blowout in government debt to more than $400 billion is 8 per cent higher than the forecast of $370 billion, as stated in the Treasury’s pre-election budget update four months ago, and Martin attributes this to “the government itself and the Senate rather than changed economic circumstances.”

Ross Gittins, “Blame for Budget Woe Widely Shared,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/blame-for-budget-woe-widely-shared-20131222-2zt0r.html.  Gittins expressed concern that we may have “collectively lost the political will to make ourselves pay enough tax to cover the cost of all the things we require our governments to do for us.”



Wages and unemployment


Wages, Prices and Unemployment

James Glynn, “Australian Unemployment Rises,” The Wall Street Journal, 17 January 2013.  Available at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323468604578246771399366416.html.  Australia's unemployment rate rose in December, adding to evidence that aggressive interest-rate cuts last year haven't yet rekindled activity across the economy as the mining boom that powered growth in recent times slows

No author cited, “Wage Price Index, Australia, December 2012,” Australia Bureau of Statistics, 20 February 2013.  Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6345.0/.  Data and commentary in the ABS issue indicate that in the December quarter 2012, the public sector, private sector and all sectors wage price indexes rose 0.8%.  The public sector rise of 3.2% through the year to the December quarter was below that of the private sector (3.4%).

Adele Ferguson, “Gender Gap Costs Country $195b, Says Economist,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/gender-gap-costs-country-195b-says-economist-20130308-2fr2n.html.  The article reports the result of an assessment by Tim Toohey of Goldman Sachs that “Australia is missing out on $195 billion or 13 per cent of gross domestic product by failing to close the gender gap.”  

Ross Gittins “Productivity Rising, but Few Notice”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 March 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/productivity-rising-but-few-notice-20130310-2fu3k.html.  Gittins notes that: “For months we had big business arguing the seemingly weak rate of improvement in the productivity of labour during the noughties needed to be corrected by restoring the Howard government's WorkChoices biasing of industrial relations law in favour of employers.”  However, “last week's national accounts for the December quarter confirmed that, if we ever really had an underlying problem with weak productivity improvement, we don't have one now”, and it occurred without pro-business legislation.

Glenda Kwek, “Jobless Hits Highest Level Since 2009,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/jobless-hits-highest-level-since-2009-20130411-2hogh.html.  The unemployment rate in Australia rose to 5.6 per cent in March, the highest in 3½ years, with the economy losing 36,100 positions, reversing about half the gain of the previous month.

Adele Ferguson, “Australia; The Costs are Spiralling,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/australia-the-costs-are-spiralling-20130422-2ian3.html.  Adele reports on a survey by Dutche Bank on prices and price indices of a range of products collected largely from the Internet and concludes that in the “past 11 years Australia has become one of the most expensive places to live, costlier than New York, London, Frankfurt and Singapore on everything from five-star hotels public transport, a pint of beer, cigarettes, jeans and an iPhone.”

John Watson, “As the Public Purse Thins, the Rich Feel the Pinch,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/as-the-public-purse-thins-the-rich-feel-the-pinch-20130425-2ih4y.html.  The author concludes his comments with this statement:  Australians are irate about all the demands on good incomes.  Should they feel dudded by two decades of government tax and spending policy? That is a debate for this year's election. Let's see whether politicians venture there, let alone do anything about it.

Peter Martin, “Labor Must Get Real on the Economy”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/labor-must-get-real-on-the-economy-20130630-2p58q.html.  Martin expresses the view that “playing down the economic risks facing Australia, insisting the economy is ‘growing, stable and strong’ gives waverers a licence to vote for Abbott.  The alternative strategy is to level with Australians.  Resource investment has peaked, commodity prices are slipping and China's outlook is uncertain.

David Potts, “Decoding Mixed Signals”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/money/planning/decoding-mixed-signals-20130806-2rb2d.html.  The author contends that ‘it’s s impossible to tell in advance just when [economic] growth will bottom out because that'll depend on households loosening the purse strings.  They must do so at some point, but it depends on when they decide to take advantage of low interest rates and rising incomes.  They may wait until after the election so they can suss out how tough the next budget will be.”

Malcolm Maiden, “Numbers Puzzle Yet To Pan Out,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 November 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/numbers-puzzle-yet-to-pan-out-20130813-2ruhn.html.  The author examines the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which was released several weeks before the above date, in reference to the election-period economic announcements of the major parties.  He considers the key element to be whether or not the global recovery continues over the outlook period.  If recovery continues the growth outlook may be conservative and whichever party wins the election will have fewer problems in meeting commitments.  Otherwise, additional taxes may be needed.

Waleed Aly, “Holden Demise the Price of Global Economy,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/holden-demise-the-price-of-a-global-economy-20131212-2za89.html.  The main point of the article is summarised by this statement:  The larger story here isn't really about our car industry, or whether we could have delayed Holden's decision to some other day.  “It's about the fact our politics don't match our economics: that the assumptions of a hyper-specialised global free market and its effortlessly mobile labour force don't reflect the more diversified, comparatively static nature of our societies.  Additional comment at: http://www.accci.com.au/CommentonAly.pdf.




Workplace Reform

Editorial, “Car Makers Test Coalition Resolve on Workplace Reform,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/car-makers-test-coalition-resolve-on-workplace-reform-20131210-2z3vx.html.  The editorial suggests that Australia has reached a watershed moment.  “With the high dollar, the nation needs to pull every lever to remain competitive.  The two keys are productivity growth and restraint in labour costs.  Australia is lagging in both areas.” The need to resolve these key elements is made clear with the lingering uncertainty over the viability of car making in Australia.




Other Issues

David Flint, “The Centralist Agenda in Disguise”, Quadrant Online, Volume 57, No. 7-8 (July-August 2013).  Available at:
http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2013/7-8/the-centralist-agenda-in-disguise.  David Flint, states that after rejecting similar proposals in 1974 and 1988, the Australian people are once again being asked to approve the recognition of local government in the Constitution.” But “the amendment fails, on all three counts of ‘desirable, irresistible and inevitable,’ […] Add to this the sinister fact that, rather than encouraging public discussion as the founders indicated, the politicians from the major political parties are attempting to make it difficult for the Australian people to see, hear and read the No case.”

Peter Hartcher, “Rudd Woos CEOs: Let’s Have Your Ideas to Boost Productivity,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/rudd-woos-ceos-lets-have-your-ideas-to-boost-productivity-20130725-2qndv.html. Kevin Rudd is seeking suggestions from Australia's top 100 chief executives for improving productivity as Labor competes for economic credibility and corporate cash.

Editorial, “Review an Opportunity to Make NBN Better, Not Just Cheaper,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 September 2013.  Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/review-an-opportunity-to-make-nbn-better-not-just-cheaper-20130925-2ueeq.html.  The editorial focuses on the need to resolve a number of important issues arising from protracted discussions about the merits, or lack of them, of the original NBN plans.  It also raises concern that “many of those who have the most to gain from high speed broadband will only get the ultra-fast fibre to the home if they pay extra.

Lenore Taylor, “Aid Groups Accuse Coalition of Broken Promise After It Announces New Cuts,” The Guardian, 18 January 2013.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/au.  Jump to notice of media release from the Minister for Foreign Affairs at: http://www.accci.com.au/Announcements.htm#aid.