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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Who’s the Biggest Taxer of Them All?


As we gear up for a federal election I’m already hearing people characterise the Labor Party as big taxers and big spenders and the Coalition as the party of lower spending and lower taxes. Really? The chart below shows government receipts and payments as a proportion of GDP from 1975 until the present. The black line represents government payments, the coloured bar tracks tax receipts (red...

My kids reckon I will be an ugly bald man. A health update


Many of those who follow my blog are aware I have Parkinsons. Less well known is that the same year (2012) I was diagnosed with Parkinsons I was also diagnosed as having Chronic Lymphomatic Leukemia (CLL). CLL usually progresses very slowly and doesn’t need treatment for many years.  So at my last six monthly checkup I was expecting my Doctor to give me the same message I’ve...

Say No to the Australian Christian Lobby’s Latest Campaign of Fear


Popping up regularly in my facebook feed is a campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby titled “You won’t Believe Labor’s Latest Attack on Parent’s Rights”. This is what the ACL campaign page says: The party’s National Secretary has released a consultation draft of the platform and it contains some radical, extreme material.   Hidden on page 183 (clause 83), we can see the party is seeking...

Unanswered Questions about Kids Off Nauru


I have been celebrating the news that the Federal Government is bringing all refugee children on Nauru to  Australia for medical treatment. Yet there remain disturbing, unanswered questions. Why not bring them all now? The mental health crisis among child detainees is well-documented. So why are we waiting until Christmas to bring all of them to Australia? At the same time the government...

What the church needs more than freedom of religion


Freedom of religion, conscience and speech are at the heart of a free society. They protect us from an ideological totalitarianism which demands everyone believe, speak and act in the same way. The price of any of us enjoying these freedoms is that we respect the freedom of others to believe things we find unreasonable, to hold morals we find objectionable, and to say things we find offensive...

Kids Off Nauru. Why Isn’t This A No-Brainer?


Like many others, my heart skipped a beat this week when I heard that three Coalition MPs had broken ranks on offshore detention and were calling for children and their families detained on Nauru to be brought to Australia.   The situation on Nauru is heartbreaking. Medicins Sans Frontieres, whose staff were very recently expelled from Nauru, describe the situation of asylum seekers and...

That lump of coal stunt looks even more lame now


Last year Scott Morrison, then the Treasurer, carried a lump of coal into Parliament during Question Time, where he brandished it about, saying “This is coal. Don’t be scared. It won’t hurt you…It’s coal that has ensured Australia has for over one hundred years enjoyed an energy advantage that has delivered prosperity”. He went on to describe the Opposition as...

The day the world’s leaders mocked the emperor with no clothes


I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to speeches made at the United Nations General Assembly, but there were two speeches this week that were important for all of us, one by US President Donald Trump and the other by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. President Trump’s speech was yet another announcement that the US was abandoning internationalism. For the last 2...

Scomo, Politicians & Prophets


There has been a lot of commentary over the past 2 weeks on the faith of our new PM, Scott Morrison. Here is my two bobs worth: Politicians and prophets have very different callings. Prophets, or in their secular version, social activists, point us to what we can and should be. They are not satisfied with simple improvements in the human condition, but long for a world in which every person finds...

The Violent Elephant in the Room


By global standards, Australia is not a particularly violent society. We don’t fear bombs dropping from the sky, nor do we have a government that employs violence to suppress the population. We do of course, have pockets of illegitimate state sanctioned violence (eg offshore detention centres), but overall, the State in Australia is relatively benign. We sit at the lower end of rates of...

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