• Society

    Get back to 50 years ago


    David McCooey |  November 28, 2021


    The Beatles’ Get Back project, begun in January 1969, has finally been completed with the release of Peter Jackson’s epic documentary.


  • Coronavirus

    Ominous Omicron


    Open Forum |  November 28, 2021


    Just as the pandemic seemed to be over, a new variant has emerged from South Africa to spark a wave of concern and new travel restrictions around the world.


  • China

    From Mao to now


    Robert Wihtol |  November 27, 2021


    David Shambaugh’s new book is essential reading for anyone interested in the power plays which shape the Chinese Communist party.


Latest Story

  • Uncategorised

    Why a skills focus matters

    proberts     |      January 28, 2008

    Skills and innovation ensure our role in a world awash with cheap labour.

    It is fashionable to think that China and India, with their massive populations, are emerging as a pair of ‘ultimate competitors’ which will knock Australia for six economically.

    But that is not how things are turning out, despite China’s great strengths in manufacturing and India’s in information technology services. In both cases rising labour costs and shortages of highly skilled labour show there are limits to their competitiveness that offer opportunity for Australia. High level managers and knowledge workers in Chinese manufacturing and Indian services companies cost just about as much to employ as they do in Australia. The Chinese and Indian advantages remain in lower level, repetitious work which itself has to be directed and guided by more skilled professionals.

  • Uncategorised

    Paid maternity leave is not a capricious feminist whim

    tamaraplakalo     |      January 20, 2008

     

    A sociology lecturer once gave me a valuable piece of advice: “If you want a government to act on an issue, make sure you tell them how much it is going to cost them if they don’t.”

     

    Understanding that this suggestion was probably truer today than at any other time in history, I recently set out to find some information on the cost of not providing paid maternity leave to the working women of Australia. Surprisingly – or not, I have found no information of the kind.

  • Uncategorised

    Something is rotten in the state of … news-reporting

    tamaraplakalo     |      January 17, 2008

     

    So, let’s see … in the last seven days the Australian share-market lost ground on each consecutive day with no recovery in sight … the Australian Embassy in Kabul was attacked by the Taliban in a guerrilla-style attack … one child has died from malnutrition while you were reading this sentence … someone, somwhere has made an amazing discovery … Yet, the “buzz-iest” news item in the Australian mediascape over the last week was the story of the Victorian party-boy Corey ‘I don’t take my sunglasses off indoors or outdoors’ Delaney, whose contribution to the newsworhiness-starved staple of the mainstream media has been … well, what exactly?

     

  • Swallows flying by: the small flock grows

    Malcolm Crompton     |      January 14, 2008

    And now Ernst & Young have released their swallow, after the earlier ones seen in Privacy gains attention over the Christmas New Year break. Does a swallow or two make a Spring?, then Another swallow flew by, but who was looking?

  • The curse of the rule maker. But there’s a lesson in it.

    Malcolm Crompton     |      January 13, 2008

    Stephen Wilson made an excellent point in his comment "Privacy movement deja vu" on my blog on "Another swallow flew by, but who was looking?"

  • Another swallow flew by, but who was looking ?

    Malcolm Crompton     |      January 12, 2008

    Since posting "Privacy gains attention over the Christmas New Year break. Does a swallow or two make a Spring?", there has been another swallow of sorts.

    But not everybody has been watching or maybe it is typical Spring weather.

  • Privacy gains attention over the Christmas New Year break. Does a swallow or two make a Spring?

    Malcolm Crompton     |      January 3, 2008

    We are in an interesting period of leadership change.  In Australia, we elected a new federal government at the end of 2007.  The UK has a new PM & the USA will have a new president by the end of 2008.

    Is the privacy debate changing too, reflecting a new mood?

  • Uncategorised

    Some things never change

    alison gordon     |      December 19, 2007

    In an odd way it’s comforting to know that despite the “effort” to break down the social and cultural stereotypes and unflattering tags that have attached themselves to various geographic areas of Sydney, at the end of the day many of them live on with vengeance.

  • Uncategorised

    A Modest Proposal

    Open Forum     |      December 18, 2007

    "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." – P.J. O'Rourke

     

  • “Government 2.0” – is it Safe to Play for the citizen?

    Malcolm Crompton     |      December 14, 2007

    How can government make it 'Safe to Play' for citizens when they are offered wiki or blog or social networking styles of interaction with government?

  • Uncategorised

    The electronic grapevine and the great information noise

    tamaraplakalo     |      December 11, 2007

     

    Social media is changing the nature of information exchange, but it is information itself that is suffering an identity crisis.

     

    If Marshall McLuhan’s global village is to be understood as a toponym for a digitally connected world, then social media have to be seen as a cross between a village meeting point and its informal information (ie gossip) network. 

  • Uncategorised

    A mandate from “the Australian people”?

    editor     |      December 5, 2007

    Philip ArgyBy Philip Argy

    Without detracting from the new Government's victory, the media really does a poor job in reporting facts.  With a 5% to 6% swing from the Coalition to Labor, it means that 94% to 95% of voters voted exactly the same as they did in 2004.  Out of about 13.5 million voters, that means around 800,000 people changed their vote.  But of those, some were in electorates where a swing of that magnitude didn't change the result becuase the incumbent had a greater margin, and in others most of the swing was 'absorbed' by the margin, so that the no. of votes that actually determined the outcome of the election were probably less than 100,000 across the country, and perhaps even as few as 20,000.  Ultimately you have to wait for the results to be formally declared and then see by how many votes the ALP candidate won in the aggregate across the seats that changed hands to change the majority in the House of Reps.

    In an average electorate of 80,000 voters a 5% swing is 4,000 votes.  Very few seats were wrested with a margin of that magnitude, so at the end of the day, what are we to make of it all?  In Bennelong, for example, it has been suggested that there is a large enough Chinese community that if they all found appealing the idea of having a Prime Minister who could speak mandarin, and they voted for Labor as a consequence, that was enough to unseat the PM.  We may never know, but language like landslide and overwhelming mandate and suggestions that the Howard government was despised don't seem apt to me given the facts.