2016 – Turnbull year of destiny

My holiday reading included a very readable book called Born to Rule, an unauthorised biography of Malcolm Turnbull by veteran journalist Paddy Manning. I enjoyed it immensely.

Paddy makes it clear he is not a Turnbull fan, but he treats the Prime Minister in as unbiased a manner as is possible in politics and journalism. However, it is interesting that, in the end, he acknowledges that Turnbull has what it takes to be a great leader of the nation if he conquers a few idiosyncrasies. Continue reading “2016 – Turnbull year of destiny”

TONY ABBOTT AND THE LONG SEARCH FOR YESTERDAY

Whenever our nation is in crisis we yearn for the good old days when threats like this did not happen. Whenever we avoid a crisis we say it is because we honoured old traditions that were certain to keep us safe. Of course, as we all know, there has never been any such things as good old days, nor could we revive them even if there were. We just enjoy a bit of nostalgia here and there. Continue reading “TONY ABBOTT AND THE LONG SEARCH FOR YESTERDAY”

Rail and Water Agenda for an Infrastructure Prime Minister

Article written for On Line Opinion “Under New Management” feature.

I greeted with enthusiasm Tony Abbott’s election comment that he wanted to be remembered in history as Australia’s Infrastructure Prime Minister. I formed the view that his words were welcomed by many who have genuine concern that our nation has an appalling record of neglected infrastructure stretching back for far more the half a century that has elapsed since the Snowy Mountains Project became a reality.

During this time, there has been a steady, but not spectacular, investment in roads and some expansion of ports, but very little spent on railways or water. If the PM can make a difference in these two areas, it will make an enormous contribution to the progress of the nation. Continue reading “Rail and Water Agenda for an Infrastructure Prime Minister”

Why Joe Hockey should not have sacked me.

As we face an ageing tsunami, Treasurer Joe Hockey has sacked the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing (and me as its chairman), declaring it to be irrelevant without stating why this is so. Shortly before that, Prime Minister Tony Abbott decided not to have a minister for ageing, downgrading the importance of millions of seniors in the life of the nation.

The sole reason for the dismissal of the panel, as conveyed to me privately by Coalition MPs, is that it was established by former treasurer Wayne Swan and it has been decided that every vestige of Swan’s term as treasurer must be obliterated. Such is the waste that politics represents in our national life. Continue reading “Why Joe Hockey should not have sacked me.”

For whom the bell tolls – The last days of Rudd or Abbott or both.

Saturday will be a time of great personal relief for the vast majority of Australian voters. After the most painful and boring election of a lifetime, we will have made the decision that most of us would prefer not to make.

Is Abbott about to achieve his dream of becoming Australia’s Prime Minister, or will Rudd pull-off what will be recorded as a political miracle? The making of this sad choice will enable us to experience the profound relief we cherish when we get-up after sitting for a long time on a really nasty bit of prickly pear. You feel a hell of a lot better, but you know also that you will have a sore backside for a long time thereafter.

It is not an exaggeration to say that I have never before seen Australians so disgusted with politics, or so disillusioned with the choice that political parties have forced upon us by presenting us with leaders who inspire such little confidence. But, there is not much we can do about it right now, and it is our democratic responsibility to ensure that whoever wins is given a fair go at trying to give positive and sustainable leadership to Australia.

So, let us look for a few moments at the key figures in this eminently forgettable election:

Continue reading “For whom the bell tolls – The last days of Rudd or Abbott or both.”

Do we get value for money from the NBN?

Everyone on earth has to face the fact that we have entered an era of digital revolution which will change our lives irrevocably. Even the most primitive tribesman in the remotest part of the world will find that, if he wants to buy and sell goods or send money to relatives, it will be necessary to have a mobile phone as a minimum requirement of life. If fact, he will find that he actually wants to do it. Continue reading “Do we get value for money from the NBN?”

Join the debate on a Northern Food Bowl, a Referendum, Voter Intentions and Boat People

 I note with considerable interest that the creation of a food bowl in Northern Australia is now very much on the political and business agenda, particularly as there are persistent reports of interest from Chinese corporations in exploring the prospects of investment in our agricultural industries. Continue reading “Join the debate on a Northern Food Bowl, a Referendum, Voter Intentions and Boat People”

Good Books about Rupert Murdoch, Harry Belafonte,The Dead Sea Deception and Great Expectations of our Angry Nation

After penning my article regarding the decadence of entitlement, I received a number of emails suggesting that I buy the most recent edition of Quarterly Essay and read Laura Tingle’s thoughts on the same issue. It is entitled “Great Expectations – Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation” and I am pleased that I took their advice as it is 64 pages of absorbing reading. She makes the compelling point Continue reading “Good Books about Rupert Murdoch, Harry Belafonte,The Dead Sea Deception and Great Expectations of our Angry Nation”