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[1 Dec 2014 | One Comment | 32 views ]

Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8) universities are all in capital cities. Victoria and NSW each have two Go8 universities, while the other states and territories, except for Tasmania and the Northern Territory, each have only one. Tasmania and the NT have none.
The richest pickings for universities are in the large capital cities where most Australians live. This will be even more the case following fee deregulation. Several regional and smaller universities have sought to cash in on the big city market with mini-campuses. Central Queensland University, for example, has mini-campuses …

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[22 Nov 2014 | No Comment | 22 views ]

VICTORIANS go to the polls next Saturday to elect a new government and the bookies have Labor as odds on favourites to win. However an even shorter-priced bet is that neither the Coalition nor Labor will have control of the Victorian upper house. This may well reside with a small party and possibly a religious one.
Saturday could be one of the most crucial upper house state elections that Australia has seen for many years. This is because it comes at a time when a clutch of progressive social issues are …

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[17 Nov 2014 | One Comment | 17 views ]

In the US mid term elections on November 4, voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC, like voters in Colorado and Washington states back in 2012, passed ballot initiatives to start taxing and regulating recreational cannabis. Also in the 2014 elections, voters in California supported a very important ballot initiative to reduce the severity of penalties for drug offences. This initiative is expected to substantially reduce the very high incarceration rate in the most populous state of the union. It is now clear that voters in the US are growing …

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[11 Nov 2014 | No Comment | 18 views ]

Retired Supreme Court judge and former corruption inquiry head Tony Fitzgerald has described former Queensland premier Wayne Goss as a man of “uncompromising integrity”.
Mr Goss implemented the reforms Mr Fitzgerald recommended in his 1989 landmark report into Queensland police corruption.
The report’s findings of entrenched corruptions led to an election which swept away of 32 years of conservative Queensland government.
“Wayne Goss was a man of uncompromising integrity and an outstanding Queenslander whom I greatly admired,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“We first met when I held a few meetings with him and the other …

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[8 Nov 2014 | No Comment | 29 views ]

“RUSSIANS are shits. They always have been shits. They always will be shits. If you understand that, boys, you can understand foreign policy!”
This is what our biology teacher, Norton Hobson, a strongly anti-communist ex-communist, said to us at Melbourne High School in 1960.
Although somewhat of a caricature, Mr Hobson’s pithy statement contains at least an element of truth, which Tony Abbott might keep in mind when he meets President Vladimir Putin at next Saturday’s G20 leaders summit in Brisbane.
Because the G20 is a consensus-based forum, any decision to ban the …

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[25 Oct 2014 | No Comment | 27 views ]

FOR three or four decades Australia has been slipping slowly into a quagmire of idiosyncratic governmental and bureaucratic interference gone mad.
To demonstrate where we are headed, the Advertising Standards Board recently adjudicated a complaint about a television commercial that showed a child picking his nose. The complainant alleged that nose picking was a dangerous activity: “With all the germs and viruses around in this day and age, I would of (sic) thought Hygiene would of (sic) been a high priority.”
Surely the ASB should have immediately dismissed this complaint. But incredibly, …

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[11 Oct 2014 | No Comment | 26 views ]

SOMETHING is rotten in the state of NSW. Last month, despite overwhelming community opposition, the NSW Liberal government joined with the Shooters and Fishers Party to pass legislation to manipulate votes in the City of Sydney.
In essence, the next City of Sydney council election will see every corporation that owns land or runs a business in the local area given two votes, while ordinary citizens get one.
In NSW there is no debate about whether businesses should vote in local council elections. As is the case in other council areas, businesses …

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[27 Sep 2014 | One Comment | 30 views ]

AS someone fascinated by the great split in the Australian Labor Party in the mid-1950s I was delighted to read Julian Croft’s satirical novel ‘Out of Print’, which deals in some detail with the background to the split.
Most of the action takes place in Newcastle in about 1953-54 and deals with a female protagonist, a reporter for the fictional ‘Sydney Morning Times’, who covers the activities of the industrial groupers and the communists in the trade union movement and the sectarian divisions of the time.
The novel does this by featuring …

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[13 Sep 2014 | One Comment | 30 views ]

EIGHTY-FIVE per cent of Australians support the idea that a human being who is terminally ill, with no hope of recovery, should be able to get medical assistance to die. Moreover, there are plenty of medical practitioners who would be willing to provide this ­assistance.
This is the reality of today’s Australia. As a baby boomer entering my twilight years, I have a vested interest in our federal parliament facing up to this reality and passing the necessary legislation without undue delay.
The Medical Board of Australia’s suspension of Philip Nitschke, the …