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Tag Archives: Oz Politics

Who’s afraid of Perrottet ?

The selection of Dominic Perrottett as leader of the NSW Liberal Party, and therefore Premier has raised lots of concern about his conservative religious views. But the only concrete instance raised so far is a dispute over whether the Catholic Church should get management rights over cemeteries.To see how little impact Perrottett is likely to have, consider that in the last eight years, we have had two Prime Ministers clearly aligned with the religious right, and one too weak to...

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What about other avoidable deaths? …

… Should we really learn to live with Covid? That’s the headline and standfirst for my latest piece in Inside Story. It’s an expansion of my previous response to the kind of whataboutery offered by Gladys Berejklian, saying ““outside of a pandemic, we lose between 600 and 800 people every year to the flu.” Read there, comment here. Share this:Like this:Like Loading...

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Labor and its imaginary friends: why the party’s traditional core is not an election winner

That’s the headline for my latest piece in Crikey reproduced over the fold. Labor’s poor performance in the by-election seat of Upper Hunter, held by the National Party since 1931 has provoked a new round of soul-searching about the party’s failure to maintain the support of its traditional ‘base’. Implicitly or explicitly, the ‘base’ is assumed to be typified by male manual workers, particularly those in rural and regional areas like Upper Hunter, or in industrial cities like...

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After the pandemic, let’s not keep families separated by borders

That’s the headline for a piece that ran in the Canberra Times on New Years’ Eve, looking at the way borders separate families for serious reasons (like controlling the pandemic) and for frivolous ones (for example, because of spurious claims about the effect of migration on wages, or because people are uncomfortable about a changing population). Like most Australians, my wife and I have spent much of 2020 unable to visit family and loved ones. International borders closed...

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We’re all “real Australians”

That’s the title for my latest piece in Inside Story. Opening para One of the most tired tropes in Australian politics involves identifying some part of the country (or a particular occupational or identity group) as the “real Australians” who must be catered to in order to win or retain government. In the last decade or so, we’ve been through rural and regional Australia, Western Sydney, Queensland, “tradies,” “people of faith” and probably a few I haven’t noticed. Share...

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Labor and the Greens

My latest piece in Independent Australia, motivated by today’s election in Queensland is about the relationship between Labor and the Greens and, in particular, the increasingly common case when Labor must rely on Green support to form a government. The headline, ‘Why a coalition between Queensland Labor and the Greens would work’, isn’t exactly what I would have chosen, but I neglected to supply my own, so I can’t complain. Key paras (including some material from this blog) both...

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Hank Jongen, the general manager who isn’t

When a PR man presents himself as the boss of the organization he spruiks for, you are well advised to disbelieve anything he says. Hank Jongen “general manager” of Services Australia and its predecessors (such as Centrelink) has been doing this for years, most recently here . In reality, Jongen is the agency spokesperson. The trick is that “General Manager, Function X” is a title given to lots of middle-ranking public servants. By contrast, Jongen’s statements never qualify the...

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Whataboutery and the pandemic (crosspost from Crooked Timber)

Among the many consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the measures taken to control it, there has been an epidemic of whataboutery. The starting point is the claim “we have locked down the entire economy to reduce the number of deaths from Covid-19, but we tolerate comparably large numbers of deaths from X”. Popular candidates for X include smoking, road crashes and influenza. In most, though not all, cases, the inference is that we should accept more deaths from the pandemic....

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Border deflection

Another recent piece, this time in Inside Story. Opening paras Supporters of ethnonationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment have been quick to seize on the Covid-19 pandemic as evidence against what they call “open borders,” by which they mean any relaxation of the stringent controls that prohibit international migration by anyone who falls outside a tightly defined set of categories, each subject to numerical limits. The underlying idea is that foreigners who don’t look or think...

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