Dissent Magazine - Issue 30

Editorial: Insofar as environment, education, health, industrial relations and tax policies are concerned the policies of the Rudd Government amount to an extension for another three years of the policies of the defeated Howard Government. These policies are hidden behind a forest of fig leaves designed to hide from voters the seamless capture of the new government by vested interests.

Ian McAuley argues that private health insurance undermines efficient and equitable delivery of health care and its only purpose is to allow ‘queue-jumping’ by those are prepared to pay for private insurance.

Michael Fisher examines who is responsible for the global financial crisis and asks whether the pressure to re-regulate the financial system suggests that the world is entering a post-neoliberal age.

Richard Denniss looks at income tax rates introduced by the Hawke and Rudd governments and shows how tax cuts have been structured to reduce the progressivity of the system and eroded the ability of government to finance services and invest in infrastructure to offset climate change.

John M. Legge argues that the two arguments for establishing compulsory superannuation—that it would boost savings and avoid an ageing population becoming a drain on the working population in the future—were both deeply flawed. The fee-based privately-managed super scheme is being run for the benefit of its managers, not its clients.

Charles Livingstone looks at the evidence which suggests that more equal societies provide a better quality of life than unequal societies for everyone—including the richest members.

David Spratt shows why Australians concerned about global warming should support the majority of climate advocacy groups in opposing the Rudd Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Cam Walker looks at the scheme under which rich countries can offset their global emission targets by financing offsets in developing countries. He argues that it has a negative impact on the carbon reduction strategies of both rich and poor countries and will hit hardest indigenous peoples already likely to be most adversely affected by global warming.

Graham Palmer and Ian MacDougall provide two critiques of geosequestration. Palmer concludes it may offer a partial transitional solution to CO2 emissions from electricity power stations while MacDougall suggests it will fail to offer a practical solution. Both argue that investments in energy efficiency and renewables will be more cost effective.

Patricia Ranald looks at the Washington Consensus as it is applied through the World Trade Organisation which had limited impact while it was restricted to tariffs. Now WTO policies complement IMF and World Bank policies (which are essentially about making global production chains more profitable and redistributing income from low-income groups to corporate interests) via bilateral and regional trade agreements negotiated in secret despite their large social impacts.

Derek Woolner concludes his history of Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war, the lessons from which appear to have been ignored in Australia’s recently increased military commitment in Afghanistan.

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.