Dissent Magazine - Issue 27

Editorial: How Australia fits into the global conspiracy to corruptly privatise urban water supplies. It argues that potable water should be seen as a human right and discusses practical policies which can make this possible.

Robert Salter: Social solidarity as the foundation for policies of redistribution to create a fairer society is eroding. In order to make policies designed to deal with disadvantage palatable to the majority the policies will have to be justified as social investment.

George Williams & Tom Campbell present the arguments pro and con for an Australian Bill of Rights.

Bob Johnstone: How the Rudd and three state governments have managed between them to mangle the chances of kick-starting the development of a solar photovoltaic industry—based on the successful example of the German parallel feed-in tariff—and instead have adopted half-baked policies which are doomed to fail.

Patrick Jones traces the impact on the environment of consumers’ preference for bottled ground water from traditional aboriginal grounds when they could get quality potable water at a fraction of the price from a tap.

Geoffrey Chia shows how petroleum addiction has driven morally bankrupt US foreign policy in the Middle East and directly caused and funded terrorism.

Dirk Baltzly argues that the US is the only industrialised country without a labour-based party because it was subject to the overwhelming hostility of the powerful US court system (apart from the New Deal period). He sees parallels between the roll-back in US union rights with the Rudd Government’s failure to wind back WorkChoices—which invites the question whether there is still a labour party in Australia.

John M. Legge says it is a fiction that shareholders own the corporations they invest in because ownership conflicts with the concept of limited liability. Directors are responsible for the company but their interests may not coincide with the long-term interests of the company. Because there is no legal, moral or economic argument that justifies the maximisation of shareholder returns there is no justification for laws which facilitate hostile takeovers.

Kevin Morgan concludes that only Telstra is capable of building the Broadband network which Australia requires but this is prevented by the fiction that a consortium of Telstra’s competitors have an alternative plan to build the network and promote competition.

Kim Beazley reviews the Collins Class submarine project and defends it as a first-class weapons system and nation-building project — in contrast to the myth propagated by the Howard Government that the submarine was lemon.

John L. Perkins asks why the churches have been able to accumulate billions of dollars in wealth due to their tax-free status which—unlike non-religious charities—extends to their commercial activities.

Anitra Nelson & Frans Timmerman discuss the important contributions made to the global warming debate in Australia by David Spratt (Carbon Equity), Dr John Kaye (NSW Greens) and Dr Mark Diesendorf (University of NSW) from the positions respectively of activist, politician and academic and how their different perspectives identify controversies which will dominate future debate.

Clinton Fernandes reviews East Timor specialist Dr Juan Federer’s The UN in East Timor: Building Timor Leste, A Fragile State to show how UN policies have contributed to East Timor’s present instability.

David Yencken discusses the history of the Heritage Commission leading up to the election of the Rudd Government. He suggests that the new government is in danger of continuing the idea that heritage consists of a few national jewels rather than a representation of our full environmental and cultural history (which was the original vision of the Whitlam Government).

Eva Collins interviews Waleed Aly.

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.