Category: Independent Commentary

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My fight against testicular cancer

While the cancer I have is mostly survivable, discovering a lump and treating it was a jolt I was entirely unprepared for.

It was the beginning of November 2015,

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The big budget question is why the surplus wasn’t big

The budget was for practical purposes in neither deficit nor in surplus in 2018-19, the final figures released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Thursday reveal.

The underlying cash deficit was just A$690 million, which, on the scale of Commonwealth budgets, is close to nothing: 0.0%

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NSW abortion bill dividing Liberals

Read moreSep 21, 2019NewsNSW abortion bill dividing LiberalsRussell MarksThe decriminalisation of abortion threatens a schism in the NSW Liberal Party, with opponents of the reform putting Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership in peril.

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Robo-debt class action launched

Read moreSep 21, 2019NewsRobo-debt class action launchedMike SeccombeAs prominent lawyer Peter Gordon launches a class action against Centrelink’s controversial robo-debt scheme, the minister in charge claims it’s all a political stunt.

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The murky ethics of political donations

Read moreSep 21, 2019NewsThe murky ethics of political donationsKaren MiddletonAs Gladys Liu faces questions about raising $1 million for the Liberal Party, a repentant Sam Dastyari is calling for an end to the ‘arms race’ of political donations.

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Extinction Rebellion: Leaving it to the Students

The protestor of school age sported a placard featuring a distorted caricature of Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison: “Scomo was liking it hot.” A glorious spring day, and a gathering was already fussing and buzzing outside the Victorian State Library and students were striking. The placard image was one that

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Can Trump win?

It’s one of the most popular genres in American political commentary: articles explaining how Donald Trump “might” win a second term in office in November next year.

Not that he “will” or “probably will” or “is likely to,” but he “might.” Or he “could” or “can.” Don’t dismiss the possibility, don’t

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I hope today’s climate change demonstrations are heard, and I hope to see you there

In my generation, we’ve had demonstrations against the Iraq War, Wall Street and against marriage inequality, but today’s climate change protests will stand alone. 

I have spent almost two decades protesting for the causes I care most about. In all of these years, perhaps only three demonstrations actually felt like a seismic shift was taking place — and that we were part of a massive social upheaval that would turn the world in a more positive direction.

In 2003, there was mass mobilisation to stop the United States from invading Iraq — the largest global peace protest since the Vietnam War era. On a single day in March, some millions of people protested around the world, including over 200,000 in my hometown of Sydney.

I was 19 years old and felt inspired by the numbers —with so many of us against the invasion, there was no way that we could be ignored. As we know, the disastrous and brutal Iraq War went ahead anyway and has never really ended. We were ignored.

I had recently moved to New York when I was accidentally caught up in the early Occupy Wall Street protests. Held against a wall by police for simply being an onlooker, I was terrified of losing my visa status as I watched protesters rounded up and handcuffed on the other side of the street.

But by the next demonstration, Occupy had become mainstream — attracting thousands of people from all demographics in a display of collective rage against systemic inequalities. I was 27 years old, and I was sure that 2011 would go down as a change-making year in history, one that started with the Arab Spring and reverberated around the world. But, as we know, the Occupy movement petered out with no real agenda achieved.

And then two years ago, tens of thousands of people in my new city of Melbourne rallied in favour of marriage equality — and this time, we won (albeit only after a cruel referendum). When same-sex marriage was legalised in 2017, I felt hopeful in a way that I haven’t since before the Iraq War protests. With so many of

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Reef Alarmists Find What They Need to Find

Some 50 years ago an outbreak of coral eating crown-of-thorns (CoT) starfish on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) came to the attention of biologists.  Today, after a half-century and hundreds of millions of dollars in research, during which time the starfish have blossomed and declined numerous times, there is still

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She’ll not be right. Thousands join protests all over Australia

And so it begins. There are 110 towns and cities taking part in the Global Strike 4 Climate in Australia, with thousands already gathering in capital cities.

They’ve arrived with their best signs, their Earth balls, their kids, their parents, their colleagues and their loudest voices to protest inaction on

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The Formidable, Unturnable Hal Colebatch

The author Hal Colebatch, born in 1945, died unexpectedly on September 9 during a stay in a Perth hospital. His personality settled early, and was not for turning.  A tall and thin six-foot-sixer with a deep voice and commanding, even formidable, personality, he was not easily forgotten. But he did

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China, the world, and us

Strong exports have been one of the key pillars of Australia’s economic growth in the past decade. In sheer volume, the amount of stuff we sell the world has grown in that time by close to 60 per cent, and average export prices are now at an all-time high.


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