NUMBER 10 SUMMER 2002/2003

EDITORIAL: Citizens’ rights depend on the power and authority of the nation state. This is why globalisation, which extends the power of the market at the expense of government, is central to the neoliberal agenda. Conversely, internationalism – involving rules-based systems in international economic and political relations – can deliver all the benefits of free trade while also protecting national sovereignty and constraining US hegemony.

MICHAEL MACKLIN, who served two terms as a Democrat Senator from Queensland, defends the centuries old middle class ‘do-goodism’ in which a tiny minority of people is prepared to give time, energy and money to progressive causes. He argues that the Democrats have been at the forefront of this tradition in Australia, but if the impulse is to continue effectively it will probably require an alliance with the like-minded Greens.

ALP member IAN HUNDLEY argues that the Hawke/Wran inquiry and the special federal conference were largely a sham to create a perception of party ‘modernisation’, while actually protecting existing factional power structures and ignoring the need to democratise the party by giving some real power to rank-and-file members.

DIRK BALTZLY argues that law derived exclusively from religious belief (e.g. that embryos are human) is bad law because it demands that non-believers obey the law through fear of the consequences, whereas laws based on reason allow the citizen to internalise the reasons for obeying the law.

DENIS KENNY looks to English history to explain why Australia, and other societies influenced by the puritan ethic, are faced with political roundheads obsessively pursuing a policy of unreconstructed market economics, while simultaneously deploring outcomes that are the social and ethical consequences of that policy.

JAY BULWORTH examines the history of US war fighting to show that America still fights wars in the tradition of Ulysses S Grant. This tradition is exemplified by the strategy of annihilation based on overwhelming force, and the waging of war on armies as well as civil infrastructure, all justified by exaggerating enemy capabilities.  Online extract available

KEN MACNAB sees in American exceptionalism an ignorance of America’s own history which must be recognised if the war on terrorism is to be brought to a successful conclusion.

SIMON HUGHES observes how the American Empire has used the threat of the ‘other’ – once called communism, now transmogrified into terrorism – in order to justify its imperial cause.

GREG BARNS compares Australia’s commitment to liberal democracy with New Zealand and Canada and finds us wanting because Australia has a dependency syndrome expressed through a foreign policy sycophantic to the US.

GREG BARTON looks at Indonesia’s long march towards democracy, which began with the East Asian Economic Crisis and the fall of the Soeharto regime, and examines the contribution of the Wahid and Megawati presidencies.

CAROLYN ALLPORT, President of the NTEU, looks at the globalisation of education services via the WTO and the global networks that are developing to negotiate on education rights and teachers’ rights.

JOHN M LEGGE describes how corporate governance was undermined when neoliberal economists successfully promoted the false proposition that directors of public limited liability companies were responsible to shareholders alone, and how this allowed directors and senior managers to pay themselves salaries and bonuses on a scale which adversely affected the value and viability of the companies they were supposed to protect.

HUGH SADDLER explains how Australia’s powerful coal and related electricity and aluminium industries have opposed measures including the Kyoto Protocol and carbon tax/ emissions trading, and how this has led to a split in the hitherto united front of corporate Australia against policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

BOB BIRRELL reviews From White Australia to Woomera: The Story of Australian Immigration by James Jupp. The book traces the rise of immigration under Australia’s liberal post war policies and the fall after the Hawke era.

NOTE FOR EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: For permission to reprint articles, or for interviews, contact Kenneth Davidson or Lesley Vick on tel/fax 03 9347 7839 or email

D!SSENT is published 3 times a year, is available on subscription and is on sale nationally at newsagents and major bookshops.