NUMBER 28 SUMMER 2008 / 2009

Dissent Magazine - Issue 28Editorial: So far the Rudd Government’s self-proclaimed education revolution appears to be a sham. It retains the Howard policy of under-funding government schools. Publishing school performance league tables will encourage the ‘shame game’ designed to shift the blame of underperforming schools from government to schools and teachers.

John M. Legge traces the financial history which led to the global financial crisis. If conventional monetary and fiscal measures fail to restore confidence the next step may involve mass nationalisation of US banks or alternatively a burst of inflation severe enough to double the price of US homes.

Mark Furlong asks whether the comprehensive failure of global financial markets means that the privatisation of public issues will be intensified, or is there another path to choose?

Gaynor Macdonald looks at settler societies–formed through the violent dispossession of indigenous owners–and explains how race-based polices were mutually developed and legitimised.

Jessie Taylor complains that Australians don’t appear to be bothered by the injustices associated with mandatory detention of asylum seekers which may explain the Rudd Government’s reluctance to abolish this practice.

Bill Russell argues that state governments put state revenue and the interests of gambling providers first and, in a conspiracy against the public, cooperate in reprehensible practices which target low-income areas and provide a smokescreen of protective measures for problem gamblers that don’t really work.

David Spratt says the environment movement is advocating polices which it sees as politically palatable rather than scientifically necessary while governments remain preoccupied with appeasing the fossil fuel industry.

Richard Denniss says ‘tax reform’ is premised on cutting the tax burden rather than acknowledging that lightening the ‘tax burden’ means increasing the burden of private heath insurance or private transport which, if spelled out, might not be the preferred choice of voters.

Jim McMorrow explains how the Rudd Government appears to have made the ‘wicked choice’ not to reverse the inequities in school funding which have accumulated during the Howard era.

John Kaye contends that the funding bias against government schools undermines values of inclusiveness which can only be nurtured in government schools and will be needed if those born today are to be successful in meeting the problems of 30 years hence.

Doug Mullett shows that inadequate global budgets for government schools means maintenance spending has been cut back so that more urgent education and administrative costs could be met.

Betty Con Walker and Bob Walker compare the facts with the claims made by the former NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, to justify the failed attempt to sell the state’s electricity assets.

Kevin Morgan shows the farcical nature of the fibre optic broadband tender process. Only Telstra has the financial and technical skills to build the network at an acceptable cost which will also have the effect of driving Telstra’s ersatz competitors out of the market.

Ian Hundley argues by reference to the failed private equity bid for Qantas in 2007 that trade union superannuation fund trustees have a fundamental conflict of interest between their fiduciary duty to maximise shareholder value on the one hand and their duty to their union members and the public interest.

Roy Hay points out that taxpayer funding of elite sport yields little in the way of economic benefits or increased community participation and suggests that some of the money spent on elite sports could be redirected to more direct funding for community sporting participation.

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.