EDITORIAL: the objective of politicians is to get and hold power. Recent events have shown they are prepared to achieve this in ways that undermine democracy. This tendency can only be checked by the discipline of an aware electorate.

CLINTON FERNANDES: Australia’s defence is conducted within a broad consensus that Australia is unlikely to face continental invasion and therefore its forces should be deployed alongside US forces – even though these deployments are not related to specific threats to Australia. This suggests there is room for big savings if defence was refocused on Australia’s essential security interests.

JOHN BRADFORD: argues that government expectations that industry will voluntarily work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to expect industry to voluntarily increase business costs.

JOHN COULTER: explains how the market system can be used to address the problem of climate change by establishing a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Permitted allocations could then be freely traded by producers and consumers.

KEN MACNAB: describes the growth of the adversarial society where aggressive competition and acquisition of spoils is the most important measure of success by reference to international, legal, economic and political institutions.

LAURENCE W. MAHER: discusses what the full implications behind Phillip Ruddock’s lifeless prose justifying the ‘modernisation of language’ in the law of sedition (with the full co-operation of the Labor Opposition) and points out this law is a grotesque relic of the Star Chamber and has no place in our polity.

JOHN M. LEGGE: refutes the neo-liberals’ claim that their version of capitalism is more productive than the European ‘social market’ economies. He argues a civilised labour market and social welfare system are key factors in supporting a high quality of life for all.

PETER HOLDING: critically examines support for a cut in the top marginal tax rate by prominent ALP figures and finds the proposal lacks merit. He advocates a lift in the tax threshold to reduce the even higher effective marginal tax rates on taxpayers transiting from welfare to work.

MICHAEL RAPSON: describes how the Job Network was established to serve the government’s supply side agenda of developing a pool of compliant, cheap and needy labour rather than to facilitate access to suitable employment for the jobless.

COLIN RICHARDSON: defends on economic efficiency grounds the customary land tenure system operating in the South-West Pacific against the alienated or ‘privatised’ system now being advocated by influential right-wing think tanks such the Centre for Independent Studies.

GEOFFREY CHIA: argues we should focus on getting wisdom rather than technological fixes in solving larger issues where multiple factors interact in complex ways resulting in variable outcomes.

STANLEY SCHAETZEL: describes how the explosive growth in science has created uncertainty and insecurity and at the same time diminished the scope for religious explanations for man’s existence. This helps explain the rise of fundamentalism for people who can’t accept that man is simply an animal with a superior brain.

JILL GREENWELL: shows how the Howard government is attempting to undermine the ABC’s independent voice by cutting its funding.

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.