NUMBER 4 SUMMER 2000-2001
In the 1996 election, the Coalition ran the debt truck showing foreign debts of
$280 Billion. Since then, foreign debt has increased by over $100 billion and
the value of the $A has declined by more than a third against the $US. The debt
truck is now garaged, apparent concern has given away to benign neglect, and
Australia appears destined to follow New Zealand as a once-rich state ¾
unless industry policy is directed towards improving the balance of payments.
that the old fault lines in society ¾ between left and right, rich and poor, and which once defined the
differences between the major political parties in Australia ¾
are giving away to a cultural divide based on elitist and populist beliefs and
priorities. This has led to the introduction of US-style 'wedge politics' which
emphasises poll-driven policies and appeals to 'Howard's battlers' as the
Coalition attempts to capture traditional labour voters.
Whitehead, ABC CEO from 1984-86, reviews Death Struggle by ABC Reporter
Quentin Dempster. Whitehead points out that the threats to the ABC described by
Dempster are typical of the worldwide shift in policy against public
broadcasters. This has further upset the balance between communications systems
designed to meet our wants as consumers and our needs as citizens. It is wishful
thinking on the part of politicians that the market will meet our needs. It is
not its job ¾
or that of the 'invisible proprietors', the advertisers ¾
to do so.
the S11 protesters against the WTO which, by promoting globalisation on US,
European and Japanese terms, protects the rights of their multinational
companies at the expense of the interests of other nation states, including
the role of economists as myth makers who created the intellectual climate in
which the rollback of the welfare state, and the single-minded pursuit of profit
by the corporate sector, was not only seen as respectable, but necessary for
that Communism failed because Marx's fully rational society could not be brought
about even when backed by the coercive power of the state. He asks what should
replace communism as a counterweight to capitalism which is running riot in the
absence of a powerful opponent.
the post war history of Australian multiculturalism and argues that Australia
will remain multicultural, however much assimilationists deny that reality.
the recent public service obsession with the bottom line which has obliterated
traditional concerns associated with nation building and national values. Public
service reform now means downsizing, outsourcing, and emulation of an imaginary
out that serious apologists for privatisation have now retreated to the argument
that public ownership exposes the government to unnecessary risks. But Quiggin
argues that where the risks are associated with economy-wide fluctuations, risk
can be reduced by government ownership.
the Enterprise University by Simon Marginson and Mark Considine, which
examines how academic values have been subordinated to market values as
universities have to rely increasingly on their own sources of revenue.
that contrary to popular belief, road transport is subsidised by the general
community when the costs of accidents, congestion, noise and pollution are taken
into account. He concludes that more investment in urban rail at the expense of
roads is the only way Australia will achieve livable, sustainable cities.
that the proposed VFT from Canberra to Sydney would waste nearly $6 billion (1%
of GDP) which could be better spent on alternative infrastructure. To be viable,
the VFT would require nearly a third of the Canberra population to travel to
Sydney by VFT each week, even though there are excellent road and air
connections available already.
Brian Martin points out that most whistleblowers suffer personal hardship as a result of their public spiritedness, and that most legislation ostensibly designed to protect whistleblowers is a hindrance designed to discourage people from seeking media publicity ¾ which is the most effective protection for whistleblowers.