David Jones does a McLibel?

A few months ago I wrote a piece on a discussion paper put out by The Australia Institue which raised the issue of the sexualising of children in advertising and marketing – a concern which I believe definitely merits debate. The major Australian retailer David Jones was named as one of those who engaged in…

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Affordable housing crisis II

Following on from my previous post, there were some stories in the weekend papers about the housing affordability crisis – such as this one in The Courier Mail saying “housing affordability in southeast Queensland could be squeezed to crushing point“, and this in The Australian saying “Sydney and the boom states of Queensland and West…

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What now for wheat sales?

The scandal over AWB’s major breaches of UN sanctions on Iraq has understandably led to major questions about the future of the single desk system used for all wheat exported from Australia. Like all political parties, the Democrats have supported the single desk arrangement, but I don’t believe it can be justified any longer. It…

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Copyright changes due for debate next week: impacts on musicians, schools, publishers – and you?

The wide-ranging amendments proposed to the Copyright Act are listed for debate in the Senate next week. Issues touched on by the legislation included defining and confining the copying of material such as music or videos for personal use, the use of printed and online articles by educational institutions and the use of so-called Technological…

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Cottoning onto fair trade

I attended and spoke at a rally in Brisbane today as part of the Make Poverty History campaign. This event was pushing the need for greater action on fair trade in helping overcome international poverty. It included a few nice symbolic demonstrations of the key message. There was a giant quilt decorated with many messages…

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Peace = no poverty?

October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. We had a debate about it in the Senate, which I think was a valuable way to make some of us turn our minds to the topic. It is also a good opportunity to note the very worthwhile winner of this year’s Nobel Peace…

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Banana Splits

It is usually not a good idea as a Queenslander to say something that might be portrayed as providing anything less than 150% support to banana growers. Despite that, I must say found the mini-furore sparked by the revelation that eleven thousand tonnes of Vietnamese bananas (reportedly pre-processed and frozen) had been allowed in to…

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Quiggin plays City Hall

Tonight I went along to see a speech by John Quiggin, an Economics Professor from Qld University. The talk was one in a series put on by BrisScience, who provide regular free talks on a range of topics related to science. These have proved to be so popular that they have had to shift from…

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Fuel tax legislation

An issue which has not got very much attention so far has been the planned changes to fuel tax. It is a complicated area, but it has significant ramifications for biodiesel, renewable fuels and oil recycling. The Senate Committee examining the legislation is tabling its report today. I understand it will recommend some changes, although…

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Interest Rate Rise

Today’s interest rate rise will dominate political coverage for the next day or so. On it’s own it won’t change the political dynamic much, but if inflation rises and there’s a further rate rise. I saw a list on AAP comparing Australia’s interest rate with some other developed nations, which I found interesting: Australia –…

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