Dissent Magazine - Issue 29Editorial: Politicians become statesmen in the eyes of voters by solving crises, not by avoiding them. The message of science is if we wait for global warming to reach the tipping point it will be too late to reverse a global catastrophe. The message of economics is that the global recession opens the way for a massive increase in infrastructure spending necessary to solve both problems without imposing the burden of higher taxes and interest rates.

Ian McAuley says the romance of grazing in the outback is starting to wear thin due to global warming. It is time the industry was reduced and those who remain employed in land management should do so under an integrated settlement and conservation policy.

Bryn Davidson explains that the problems associated with Peak Oil and climate change overlap so that the policies to reduce emissions and oil dependence must be mutually reinforcing if they are to be successful.

John M. Legge
argues that the size of the fiscal stimulus to offset recession must be determined by the size of the collapse in private spending—in Australia’s case the boost to spending by the government should be about twice the $42 billion announced so far by the Rudd Government.

Pat Calton Buoncristiani says the school league tables introduced by Joel Klein into New York schools and about to be introduced in Australia as a condition of federal funding by Julia Gillard are a disaster.

Michael Faulkner describes the education policies based on national values of equity, inclusiveness and social justice which have made Finland top of the OECD’s student assessment for key competencies.

Harry Glasbeek argues that the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation was rejected by the electorate because it raised the spectre of a class-divided society. WorkChoices overtly threatened the legitimate existence of trade unions. The new legislation undermines union power by constraining the right to industry bargaining and the right to strike.

Catherine Scott claims that the failure to provide character-forming education leaves a large number of children rudderless, uncertain and struggling to create a meaningful existence for themselves.

Peter Baume contends that the rapid ageing of the population, and the exponential growth in dementia in particular, will require new thinking about what constitutes the good life and the responsibilities of the shrinking share of the working age population.

Maher Mughrabi looks at the consequences for an enduring peace between the Palestinians and Israel as a result of the election of President Obama. Obama will have to make the case for genuine Palestinian sovereignty which will require a big change in US public opinion.

John L. Perkins points out that Islam is the only religion founded by a military leader. He argues that any religion should be subject to rational evaluation. Only without the thrall of warrior religions can we aspire to live in a more benign world.

Derek Woolner traces the history of how the Howard Government got Australia into the Iraq war.

Phillip Mendes argues that the extra cost of helping wards of the state to make the full transition into independent adulthood after the age of 18—like most families—is a social investment which will pay off for the community in the long run.

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.