EDITORIAL: asks whether Kim Beazley is capable of
reinventing himself as a credible leader of the opposition based on an
ability to develop alternative policies derived from traditional Labor
values or, as his actions suggest since he regained the leadership, he
is the recycled Tin Man of Australian politics.
argues that President Bush’s appeal to ‘loser males’ based on ‘moral
values’ was crucial in his narrow election win and it may well be an
issue which wins the next Australian election for John Howard.
looks at America’s foreign policy record and shows that US actions,
which are usually wrapped in the mantle of altruism and universal human
ideals, have often turned out to be exercises in ruthless
self-interest. What is new is that since the Reagan restoration, the
voices opposing US imperialism have been excluded from the public
debate and since 9/11 have been accused of appeasement, if not treason.
GEOFFREY BARKER examines the geo-political balance of
power in the Asia-Pacific region and says Australia’s key problem will
be how to balance Australia’s long-term security dependence on the US
alliance with its growing economic dependence on China.
IAN McAULEY argues that Canberra is refusing to face up to
structural issues including running an unsustainable external deficit;
households financing spending from debt based on inflated personal
balance sheets; a tax system favouring speculation; crumbling
infrastructure; and the failure of the economy to generate well-paid
jobs so that transfers now account for nearly half the disposable
income of low income families.
PETER NEWMAN shows how the restoration of the Fremantle
rail service and the refocusing of Perth’s development around train
lines is achieving a more liveable city and explains the lessons this
experience has for sustainable development in other capital cities.
KEVIN MORGAN discusses the sale of T3 and argues that the
government’s only concern is raising a $30 billion slush fund to take
the Coalition to another term of government. He argues the competitive
environment used to justify the privatisation is an artificial
construct which has undermined the economies inherent in the natural
monopoly – at the consumer’s expense. Telstra will only be able to meet
the national need for an advanced telecommunications system if its
monopoly is largely restored.
JAMES JUPP examines the state of the ALP and finds that
the trouble is not that it is losing its heartlands, but that it is
hardly winning anywhere else. To win nationally Labor needs to recruit
those who vote for Labor at the state level but not federally. Most
federal issues are non-parochial, which means Labor must establish
alliances with so-called elites and open up policy to wide debate and
BARBARA PRESTON looks at two significant schools programs
– boarding allowances for isolated children and the SES (socio-economic
status) criteria for funding non-government schools – to show how
egalitarian principles (access to quality education for isolated
children and needs based funding for non-government schools) have been
used as a cover to reward the already educationally advantaged at the
expense of the relatively disadvantaged.
ANDREA SHARAM shows how the privatisation and deregulation
of essential services under national competition policy that promised
nearly $30 billion in savings has led to market segmentation and a
distinction between attractive (profitable) customers from unattractive
(unprofitable) customers. Those ‘selected out’ – who are referred to as
value dilutors, barrens or BOZOs – are likely to be relegated to a
residual market and pay a higher price than more favoured customers in
the absence of regulation to prevent this.
JOHN L PERKINS examines religious vilification laws
intended to promote social harmony at the expense of freedom of speech.
He argues that such legislation, which attempts to put religious
vilification in an equivalent position to racial vilification, is
inherently flawed. Religious views should be open to challenge in the
same way as political views and be subject to the same laws against
incitement to violence, defamation, slander and libel.
JOHN LANGMORE argues there is still a role for the UN and
that most of the perceived weaknesses of the organisation are in fact
related to the lack of commitment to the UN charter by individual
members, particularly the US.
BILL ROWLINGS satirises federal education Minister Dr
Brendan Nelson’s attempt to impose a ‘back to basics’ 3Rs national
curriculum on state schools.