CategoryGovernment

Anyone else disturbed by the tone of the anti-terror debate?

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Is anyone else disturbed by the tone of the anti-terror discussion? We have the PM calling for heads to roll at the ABC because a guy who was acquitted of terror offences and has since renounced his support for jihad asks some pointed questions on Q & A; the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection not only wanting the right to unilaterally strip citizenship from Australians he suspects...

Did anyone else think government spending was going down?

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With all the hype about “budget repair” I had made the assumption that government spending was going down. Turns out I am wrong. At the same time that our government is demanding we slash and burn things like foreign aid, it is planning on spending $14 billion dollars more next year than it did this year,  and projects that by the year 2018-19 it will be spending $79 billion more than...

All that campaigning and the aid program is still savaged. Did we achieve anything?

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Having spent more than a decade of my life campaigning for increases in both the quantity and the quality of the Australian aid program, it has been devastating to see the aid budget slashed by more than 20%, the greatest single decrease in the history of the program. I have travelled to a number of countries with large numbers of people living in extreme poverty and seen the amazing impacts that...

Who pays too much tax? Probably not you

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Put ten Australians in a room and ask them if they pay too much tax and you’re likely to find everyone agreeing, “why yes, I do pay too much tax.” None of us likes paying tax, but are we really paying too much? Here are three ways you can answer that question. How much should we pay? At the end of the day we need to pay enough tax to pay for the services we want. At the moment...

I haven’t lost my confidence in Gillian Triggs. I have lost my confidence in the PM.

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In the last week the Prime Minister has launched a scathing attack on Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, declaring the government has lost confidence in her. He cites two reasons for this: 1) the call for the release of a convicted manslaughterer; 2) the timing of the report into children in detention. The Prime Minister’s first accusation, that Gillian Triggs displayed...

Joe Hockey ends the idea that Australia can help make poverty history

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Yesterday Treasurer Joe hockey announced that next year’s international aid budget would be slashed by $1 billion. This decision marked much more than the cutting of the aid budget. It marked the end of the idea that Australia could play a significant role in bringing extreme poverty to a halt. In the last decade a revolution occurred in the Australian aid program. Inspired by the...

A time to stand shoulder to shoulder with Australian Muslims

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The great environmentalist David Suzuki has spoken of the shame he experienced when as a Canadian of Japanese descent, he and his family were incarcerated in their homeland during WWII. Being of Japanese heritage they were viewed with suspicion, so untrustworthy they had to be locked up. This experience was so damaging that Suzuki spent his teenage years saving for a plastic surgery operation to...

The biggest threat to our democracy is not asylum seekers but the Minister responsible for them

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According to this year’s Lowy Poll 48% of Australians see asylum seekers arriving by boat as a critical threat to Australia’s national interest.  It is somewhat ironic then, that the greatest threat currently comes not from refugees but the Minister who oversees the refugee program, the Minister for Immigration, Mr Scott Morrison. Two things lie at the heart of a liberal democracy...

Why I am a Republican. A Queen’s Birthday holiday reflection

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Today is the Queen’s Birthday holiday. Yet I suspect that not many of my fellow Australians will give much thought to the Queen nor her birthday. For most today is just another public holiday. Nonetheless, this public holiday always arouses my republican inclinations. I find it odd that Australians have a foreign monarch, for the institution is inherently un-Australian. It is elitist – only...

A Budget is a Values Statement

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As the nation prepares itself for what is predicted to be a particularly tough budget, I find it worthwhile remembering something I learnt at theological college, that a budget is a values statement. Whether a church budget or a national budget, we can never reduce budgets to simply being financial statements. Budgets require choices, and when we choose one thing rather than another we reveal the...

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