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[18 Apr 2015 | No Comment | 2 views ]

The recent bid by commercial television interests to increase alcohol advertising during prime time television, and in particular to allow more alcohol ads during major sporting events, deserves our vigorous condemnation.
As we should all know by now, to protect our children and their vulnerable developing brains, such TV alcohol ads should be substantially reduced, and preferably banned altogether. Unsurprisingly, peak health bodies are also outraged by plans by the liquor industry to make it even more difficult for us as citizens to complain about ads that we regard as breaching …

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[11 Apr 2015 | One Comment | 25 views ]

The British established a prison colony in Australia in 1788 because they ran out of prison capacity in Britain, and America was no longer available after the 1776 revolution. But the fact incarceration had failed to dent Britain’s huge social and economic problems has not stopped successive Australian governments trying to solve our own problems by imprisoning more people.
It’s an admission of failure and a national disgrace. Recently in Australia, incarceration rates increased from 158.8 per 100,000 in 2004 to 185.6 last year. This is an area where growth is …

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[4 Apr 2015 | One Comment | 8 views ]

One of the casualties of modern life in a technological age has been our attention span.
Some scientists maintain that our attention spans have halved during the past three decades. Instead of someone being able to pay attention for an average of eight seconds, it is now estimated to be four. Instead of paying attention for four minutes, it is now two. Instead of spending 30 seconds on a website, it’s 15 seconds. So what does this mean for politics and governments?
It means our attention span and consequently our tolerance of …

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[28 Mar 2015 | One Comment | 18 views ]

In Australia, domestic violence is universally recognised as a serious and widespread problem with massive social costs. But we wouldn’t know this from the way most of our politicians have responded to this crucial issue. Surely all our major political parties and their apparatchiks could find a way for an effective, consensus-based approach supported by all Australians?
Domestic violence was firmly back on the agenda with the announcement by Tony Abbott of family violence campaigner, Rosie Batty, as the 2015 Australian of the Year. Abbott also announced the formation of a …

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[14 Mar 2015 | 2 Comments | 232 views ]

BEFORE last year’s Victorian election I predicted in this newspaper that the Australian Sex Party’s Fiona Patten would win a seat in the Legislative Council. This occurred and the feisty Ms Patten is now one of those Upper House MPs who hold the balance of power.
With the Sex Party not standing in this month’s NSW election there is another minor party that deserves attention.
Formed nationally in 2013, the Voluntary Euthanasia Party (NSW) has endorsed Shayne Higson as its lead candidate for election to the NSW Legislative Council on March 28, …

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[28 Feb 2015 | No Comment | 30 views ]

IF the old saying of “follow the money” is any indication, this year will be a roller coaster for the medical marijuana movement.
Late last month, an Initial Public Offering for a company touted as “Australia’s first medical marijuana stock” was wildly oversubscribed and the issue price of 20c a share looked like a bargain as within days the stock headed towards $1.
Despite the prospectus going to considerable lengths to explain the highly speculative nature of the venture, there was little restraint. After opening at 20c, the stock soon reached 92c …

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[14 Feb 2015 | One Comment | 31 views ]

IN some ways it is not surprising that the new Opposition Leader in NSW, Luke Foley (who admits to twice having been found guilty of drink driving), has leapt on to the bandwagon by declaring “a war on ice” as one of his key policies for the state election on March 28.
Ice is indeed a nasty drug that lately has been catching the headlines, but it is important to understand that the drug causing most harm is alcohol.
This is why the trial legislation introduced in NSW in January last year …

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[31 Jan 2015 | One Comment | 49 views ]

IN the one-house 89-seat Queensland Parliament, Premier Campbell Newman’s Liberal-National Party holds 73 seats and the ALP a mere nine. This was after Labor won two by-elections to add to the abysmal seven seats it gained at the last state election in 2012.
Hence, despite considerable voter dissatisfaction with the conservative state government and with the federal Coalition, don’t be surprised if the LNP wins today’s Queensland election with more than a few seats to spare.
But even though he may have clawed back some ground, it is possible the autocratic Newman …

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[24 Jan 2015 | One Comment | 206 views ]

SHORTLY before the Victorian election in November, I predicted in this newspaper that the Australian Sex Party’s Fiona Patten would be elected to the Legislative Council. I said this would follow a fierce struggle with the religious party, Family First, in the Northern Metropolitan region.
It happened. Not only did the Sex Party win a seat in Northern Metro but it missed out on winning a second one in South East Metro by a mere 230 votes. With 50 per cent of the vote counted, Family First and the Sex Party …