Australian politics, society & culture


The politics of the day

Wed, 2014-04-23 10:25
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Joint Strike Fighters: Government to spend $12 billion on 58 more next-generation F-35s

"The $12.4 billion price tag makes the Joint Strike Fighters Australia's most expensive Defence asset. The Government says it will also consider the option of buying another squadron of the next-generation fighter jets to eventually replace the RAAF'S F/A-18 Super Hornets."

Coalition banks on blind faith in budget 'fix'

"Among all the talk in the run-up to the budget, the overriding narrative has been that 'fixing' the budget is required to fix the economy. It's a narrative the Government hopes you take on faith rather than on evidence."

Also: Hockey to give firm date on Audit Commission unveiling (Michelle Grattan, The Conversation)

And: Tony Abbott's chief business adviser Maurice Newman backs GP visit fee and denies that climate change is man-made (Dan Harrison, Sydney Morning Herald

See Maurice Newman's interview on the ABC's Lateline. And see also the Grattan Institute's argument against Medicare co-payments.


Australia has refused to provide information to UNHCR inquiry

"The regional head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees revealed that Australia has refused to provide information to its inquiry about three asylum seekers who claim they had their hands deliberately burned during a tow-back mission in January. And UNHCR senior regional protection adviser Tom Vargas criticised Australia’s proposal to send refugees to Cambodia, saying it was 'not in the spirit of resettlement'."

Also: Sleepless nights until the Manus nightmare ends (Ben Pynt, Sydney Morning Herald)

An Australian killed, to the studied indifference of his government

"Why was Christopher Harvard of Townsville killed in Yemen in November by a American drone strike, along with a dual New Zealand-Australian citizen known as 'Muslim Bin John', and three other 'militants'? And why do New Zealanders know more about the killing of Muslim Bin John than we do about Harvard’s death?"

Brandis confuses right to be heard with right to be taken seriously

"Brandis hopes that our natural repulsion at excluding a particular view from the public arena will be aroused in support of climate science denial. This, however, ignores a vital characteristic of public debate: when ideas suffer body blows of sustained scientific refutation any attempt to maintain their status by appeal to an equal right of hearing is also an attempt to exempt them from evidential requirements and argumentative rigour."

Also: Brandis misses the finer points of free speech (Henry Martyn Lloyd, The Drum)