Peter Costello’s $150 billion Future Fund will take the surplus from
asset sales and record high levels of taxation. This money should be
used in nation-building or given back to taxpayers. Instead, financiers
will earn multi-billion dollar commissions for speculating in
Australian and international financial markets and developing even more
expensive Public Private Partnerships.
DIRK BALTZLY compares Australia with the US in the rising
influence of conservative religion on Australian politics. He suggests
that this trend may be more apparent than real and could be due more to
the ALP’s lack of principle in diverting preferences away from the
Greens to Family First than to any upsurge in religious sentiment.
TONY SCHUMACHER JONES argues that the ‘war on terror’ is
not the real problem facing liberal democracies, but is an
intellectually and morally bankrupt excuse to avoid facing up to the
problems associated with the invasion of Iraq.
TOM SWITZER implies that the US is losing the war in Iraq
because it will not be able to sustain even the already inadequate
135,000 US troop presence in Iraq for more than another year.
JOHN M. LEGGE explains the recent referendum defeat in
France and Holland of the proposed EU constitution was not a defeat for
the idea of a unified Europe but a defeat of the Anglo-American
neo-liberal model and a vote for retaining the ‘social’ model adopted
by France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries.
RON MCCALLUM analyses the Howard Government’s proposed IR
changes and argues that the corporatisation of Australia’s labour laws
will do far more to diminish the rights and dignity of Australian
workers that will the stripping back of awards and the gutting of the
unfair dismissal law.
RICHARD DENNISS reviews studies suggesting that when
countries reach average incomes of around $20,000 per person a year,
further increases in income do not lead to increased happiness. He
examines the policy implications of adopting policies which promote
happiness as the prime national goal.
DENIS KENNY continues his history of American imperialism
in the context of the Bush-Cheney revolution in US foreign policy.
JOHN BRADFORD assesses the evidence on global warming and
concludes that the ‘techno-market-optimism’ that science and technology
will enable the continuation of energy intensive growth is a dangerous
myth. A solution requires unused fossil fuels to be left in the ground
and a transformation of our economy, lifestyle and politics.
writes that human rights are under systematic threat by the Howard
government – based on examples including its voting record in the UN,
its mandatory detention and terrorism laws, and its failure to follow
up allegations that Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was tortured.
BOB WALKER suggests that Auditors-General should use their
statutory powers to conduct more rigorous efficiency audits,
particularly as they relate to Public Private Partnerships whose main
purpose has been to keep public debt ‘off balance sheet’.
PAUL MEES argues that outer suburban voters have sound
reasons for their dislike of Federal Labor, namely that services such
as public transport are inadequate and inferior to services in the
wealthier, inner suburbs where labour has been more successful in
retaining its support base.
KEVIN MORGAN looks at the poor track record of the
American telco, US West under Telstra’s new boss, Sol Trujillo. He
finds that many of US West’s remote and rural customers suffered poor
service because of under-investment in the network, according to a
class action taken by customers in 14 states the company served.
NORMAN WINTROP analyses the relevance of George Orwell’s
political thought to political issues of concern today.