NUMBER 12 SPRING 2003

EDITORIAL: The ‘coalition of the willing’ lies about Iraq’s WMDs were assisted by a compliant media, particularly the USA’s commercial broadcasting media. In Australia and the UK public broadcasters imposed some restraint on the commercial broadcasters. In all three countries the media’s corporate owners are now seeking a reward via the removal of ownership restrictions to allow further concentration of ownership.

DENIS KENNY examines the history of the USA and concludes that it is an ongoing struggle between the ideas of Enlightenment rationality and the presently dominant Puritan righteousness. By supporting the Puritan impulse, Australia is becoming a pawn in America’s globalisation strategy.

PAUL STREET is an American urban social policy researcher who uses his experience in Chicago to show that the Bush administration’s idea of freedom is the liberty to be desperately poor for a disproportionate share of the black population.

DAVID SPRATT evaluates the unprecedented global demonstrations against the Iraq war and argues that, although they failed to stop the war, the effect was significant. The mass marches played an important role in limiting the ‘coalition of the willing’ to three countries and contributed to the USA’s failure to get majority Security Council backing for the war – despite threats and inducements – because the legal and moral case for invasion was found wanting in the court of global public opinion.

ANN CURTHOYS discusses the role of non-Indigenous Australians in Aboriginal struggles for equality and self-determination by reference to her experience in the 1965 student Freedom Ride which generated national headlines following the discrimination exposed in Walgett and Moree and led to the successful 1967 referendum.

IAN MCAULEY exposes the phoney accountancy lying behind Australia’s phobia with public debt and how this has led to under-investment in Australia’s national infrastructure and undermined the nation’s growth potential.

DOUG COCKS looks at CSIRO’s recent report on the resource and environmental impacts of three possible population projections through to 2050. These projections were attacked by economists who see any attempt to build ‘what if’ scenarios to provide timely warning of future economic or environmental bottlenecks as interference in the market.

ANNABELLE LUKIN & TIM MOORE look at the way politicians and business leaders use language that is apparently factual and objective but which is structured to support a particular point of view or to avoid responsibility for the unpopular consequences of policies and actions for which they are directly responsible.

JOHN M LEGGE says there is no benefit in the proposed Australia-US Free Trade Agreement for consumers or farmers and it will probably damage our economic interests in Asia. The FTA’s primary function is to enable the main provisions of the aborted Multilateral Agreement on Investment to be implemented on a bilateral basis. Howard could then argue that he has to push ahead with unpopular policies such as the further privatisation of electricity, and the abolition of the PBS, the FIRB and film and television local content rules.

ANDREA SHARAM argues that in order to minimise greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation a higher priority should be given to demand management and energy efficiency measures, rather than mandated renewable energy targets which are not as economically or environmentally efficient or as equitable in leading to energy savings.

BRIAN WALTERS explains the implications of the Government’s ASIO anti-terrorism bill (supported by Labor) to show how it is a major threat to democracy and individual rights.

L.R. HIATT argues that all the reasons advanced for the invasion of Iraq were morally unsustainable. Even human rights considerations should not take precedence over sovereignty because of the danger that strong nations will use human rights as an excuse to pursue their own material interests.

JONATHON MUIR traces the rise and fall of Keynesianism and the rise of neoliberalism in the C20th as a nexus between ideas and events, suggesting that no idea is unassailable and no trend inexorable. He thinks neoliberalism’s chronic weakness of is its lack of public support.

JAY BULWORTH argues that Australia will not be able to develop an independent defence policy and an ‘armed neutrality’ defence force structure until our fear of Asia is reduced.

ROB WATTS reviews Michael Pusey’s The Experience of Middle Australia.


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