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John Quiggin

We shouldn’t be wasting time on (Issue I oppose)

Something I read a lot in political discussion is the claim “We shouldn’t be wasting time on Issue X”. Almost invariably, the writer clearly has strong views on Issue X, supports the status quo, and is aware that some change has majority support. So, their best hope is to avoid any decision at all. Of course, while statements like this logically imply that the speaker shouldn’t waste their own time on the issue, this inference is rarely drawn. The same people who tell us not to waste...

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Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link Like this:Like Loading...

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The Coal Cartel ? Why Adani’s prospects haven’t improved

In my recent piece in The Guardian, mostly about Adani, I observed The paradoxes of Adani are mirrored in the global coal market. Despite a small increase in 2017, global coal production is below its 2013 peak. Yet prices have recovered strongly, yielding big profits to existing miners and offering a seemingly tempting prospect for new mines. It turns out that this isn’t quite right. The benchmark Newcastle price, for low-ash coal with a heat content of 6000kcal/kg has risen strongly,...

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Adani on life support

I have a piece in The Guardian under the headline Adani’s rail line cut shows project is on life support but still a threat to climate, starting with the observation The recent announcement by Adani that it will halve the costs of its rail line to the proposed Carmichael coalmine by building a shorter, narrow-gauge line raises an obvious question: if such a massive cost-saving is feasible, why didn’t Adani go that way in the first place? I also address the broader question If coal is...

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Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link Like this:Like Loading...

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Failing upwards

I’ve been busy finishing the manuscript of my book, and dealing with policy issues as they came up, so I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the Liberal leadership saga. One thing that strikes me is that Josh Frydenberg has had exceptionally favorable coverage, apparently on the basis that he’s likable and popular. That’s fine, but if you’re going to appoint someone as Treasurer, shouldn’t a successful track record be a necessary (though not sufficient) condition? Morrison, for example,...

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A deliberative Parliament in NSW

Talk about “hung parliaments” always presses my hot buttons. It’s coming up in relation to the NSW elections due in March, and will doubtless re-emerge when the next national election is called, unless it looks like an obvious walkover. As I’ve said many times, the term, derived by analogy from “hung jury” rests on the presumption that a Parliament without  a majority for either Labor or the L-NP coalition is incapable of governing properly. Experience suggests the opposite. A majority...

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Reality, not greenies, the enemy of irrigation expansion

That’s the title of my latest piece in The Guardian, responding to a Matt Canavan spray against critics of a recent CSIRO report canvassing options for expanded irrigation in Northern Australia. Interestingly, although Canavan comes across as a typical North Queensland developmentalist (for whom I would have some sympathy) he’s actually from the South-East corner, a UQ economics graduate and a former senior official of the Productivity Commission. Ten years ago, he’d have been debunking...

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