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David Rowe: AFR The age of entitlement is over. The age of personal responsibility has begun. Joe Hockey, 2 February 2014 Four discussions are going on right now that tells a lot about the current state of play between Australian government and society: means testing on pensions, the Centrelink fiasco, MPs expenses and the implementation […]

John Pilger: The Issue Is Not Donald Trump. It Is Us.

Donald Trump. for all his flaws, is not Barack Obama, an American president who has set new lows in foreign slaughter and the transfer of wealth from the poor to the mega-rich, writes John Pilger. On the day President Trump is inaugurated, thousands of writers in the United States will express their indignation. “In order [...]Show More Summary

The LNP-ONP coalition heading for a train wreck?

With a Queensland election due in the next 12 months and the usual journalistic speculation about an early election, the LNP will soon be faced with the decision of whether to formalise its coalition with the ONP. At a minimum, that would mean an exchange of preferences. But, given that the LNP doesn’t look like […]

Jobs, robots and self-driving vehicles

Lately I’ve been reading Tim Dunlop’s excellent book Why the future is workless, and thinking about the issues it raises, particularly in the light of the prospect of autonomous vehicles and other transport technologies. Tim raises the obvious question: what will happen to people who currently drive for a living, and the broader issue […]

Colin Barnett's Comment on Senate Vacancies

One Nation criticised for not nominating next of Senate ticket for casual vacancy, when that is normal practice for Labor and Liberal.

Australia Day Lamb Ads: Vastly Improved, But A Pig In Lipstick Is Still A Pig

Perpetual killjoy Chris Graham is not amused. Here he explains why you shouldn’t be either. At the outset, I’ll concede that Meat and Livestock Australia has come a long way from the days of Sam Kekovich staring into a camera and lecturing a nation about how to be an ‘ocker’. The latest Australia Day Lamb [...]Show More Summary

Filling any Rod Culleton Senate Vacancy

Who fills the WA Senate vacancy if Rod Culleton no longer holds the seat?

How The Other Half Lives: Welfare Torts Vs Travel Rorts

The Turnbull government is in chaos, and we’re not even halfway through January, writes Ben Eltham. Human Services Minister Alan Tudge finally returned from his summer holidays this week. While he was away, the Department he oversees was melting down. Centrelink was sending out tens of thousands of threatening letters to innocent Australians, falsely accusing [...]Show More Summary

Inglourious Basterds

John Howard, the former politician, author, public speaker and Iraq war criminal, is still being lionised by Australian media, particularly at the ABC. Lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter takes aim. In 2013, Professor Stuart Rees, Founder and Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, wrote in an article John Howard’s Iraq War Fantasy that, “The [...]Show More Summary

Curtain And The Case For Freedom: How Many Indigenous Prisoners In Australia Are Innocent?

Amy McQuire has been investigating the jailing of an Aboriginal man in Queensland for over a year. Here she details at the case, and the broader reality of wrongful convictions in Australia. In 1991, an Aboriginal woman named Lynda tragically lost her life on the banks of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, Central Queensland. She as found by [...]Show More Summary

The Australian’s clean coal magic trick

A day after my post pointing out the failure of CCS, the Oz has a piece by Nathan Vass of the Australian Power Project (which appears to be a solo effort), claiming that it’s finally on the way. My response is in Crikey, with the title above.

Death of a blog

My blog operated for 10 years and, at one stage, had more than 1000 hits per day. It has remained unloved and almost unused for two years now. The delete button is presenting itself as an option. There are problems in posting photographs that I cannot resolve and cross-postings to Facebook, where I tend to [...]

The IT revolution comes to transport

One of the striking features of technological progress over the past fifty years or so has been that of incredibly rapid progress in information and communications technology, combined with near-stasis in most other sectors. Here’s what I wrote on the topic in 2003, and could have reposted, essentially unchanged, a decade later On most of […]

Health policy: Excerpt from Economics in Two Lessons

Another excerpt from my book-in-progress, Economics in Two Lessons (partial draft here). As usual, praise is welcome, useful criticism even more so. On most measures, health care is among the largest industries in a modern economy, and its share is likely to grow in future. Health costs are a major item of expenditure for Individuals, […]

Clean coal

The most plausible argument put forward by opponents of immediate action to mitigate global warming is that some form of ‘clean coal’ technology will emerge that will obviate any need for costly changes in our current way of doing things. The term ‘clean coal’ is sometimes used to refer to ‘ultra-supercritical’ or ‘high efficiency, low […]

High Farce: The Turnbull Government’s Centrelink ‘Robo-Debt’ Debacle Continues To Grow

In the lead-up to Christmas, tens of thousands of Australians started receiving threatening debt collection notices from Centrelink and its agents. Coming from a government that couldn’t run an online census, you can probably guess what happened. Ben Eltham explains just in case you can’t. The worried emails and social media posts starting piling up [...]Show More Summary


In the computer business, the term “vaporware” refers to products that are announced, described in glossy brochures, and even offered for sale, but never actually delivered. A similar term is certainly needed for books. My own book-in-progress, Economics in Two Lessons is years behind schedule, but a first draft is, at least, in sight. The […]

Market Failure and Income Distribution: Notes for Economics in Two Lessons

For quite a while now, I’ve been working through my book-in-progress, Economics in Two Lessons (partial draft here), focusing on applications of Lesson 2 Lesson 2: Market prices don’t reflect all the opportunity costs we face as a society. Thinking about the standard market failures (monopoly, externality and so on), I’ve come to the conclusion […]

Open thread

An open thread until I get around to posting again.

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