August 31, 2017

Imagine you are the Vice Chancellor of an Australian University, an extremely demanding job. You are approached by the Australian Human Rights Commission because they are concerned that a rape culture is prevalent in Australian Universities. They seek your commitment to a survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment to measure the extent of the problem. How could you possibly decline?

When the survey is done, it reports that “around half of all university students (51%) were sexually harassed on at least one occasion in 2016, and 6.9% of students were sexually assaulted on at least one occasi...

February 13, 2017

Indigenous disadvantage persists. The gap is not closing.

In many communities, children are not getting an education, health is poor and life expectancy is low. There is a lot of drug abuse and violence, employment opportunities are few or non-existent and there is an entrenched culture of welfare dependence.

Although Indigenous Australians represent only 3 per cent of the population, they represent over 27 per cent of the prison population and this is rising – up from 20 per cent a decade ago.

Social policies for Indigenous Australians have not delivered positive outcomes, despite all the good i...

August 27, 2015

It was six o’clock on a winter’s night in Melbourne. I entered the Trades Hall and climbed the stairs. The bluestone steps were worn concave from a million workers trudging there before me. The place was dingy, deliberately so, as though it had not changed since the Depression, conveying a message that the workers were still downtrodden. Halfway up the stairs was a large poster of Gough covered in lipstick kisses. I entered Bella Hall and joined a throng of young middle class professionals sipping champagne and beer, and eating sushi. 

 

 

Clare O’Neil and Tim Watts were launching the book they h...

Last week, in response to a suggestion that an independent body be established to evaluate infrastructure projects, the Treasurer, Joe Hockey said, “ The thing I’m always wary of is setting up a new independent body…where you just give them money and they determine where the money goes, because ultimately, as a person elected by the people of Australia, I’m accountable for that.”

 

“ If you set up a body that has no accountability – none – no shareholders, no elections, no nothing – and they are spending billions and billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, I instinctively don’t like that.”

 

Well...

March 29, 2015

Noel Pearson is admired as one of Australia’s great political leaders and thinkers.  Last week, he released a 165-page document Empowered Communities: Empowered Peoples recommending radical changes to government policies for Indigenous Australians.

 

Instead of policies being determined by bureaucrats in our capital cities and delivered by a largely non-indigenous support industry, the report calls for the decision making and its execution to be devolved to empowered communities.

 

The idea is that is the principle of subsidiarity should apply.  As Craig Ingrey of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal L...

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