Category Archives: Social issues

Virtue signalling as the nation burns

Greenies who back costly renewables over workable nuclear energy are doing more than anyone to keep coal in business.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 21 January 2020

If this is a climate emergency, then it’s time for us to demand actions that produce results.

We don’t need a royal commission into the bushfires. A royal commission would be a costly way to find out what past reviews and royal commissions have found: namely that the Australian bush is full of highly flammable trees and that, as population increases create suburban sprawl and lifestyle preferences entice treechangers into leafy regions, more people and assets are at risk.

Refusal to accept nuclear means a longer dependence on coal. Not for Syndication Continue reading

Morrison must reconcile the extremists

It will not be enough to announce a prudent pragmatic approach to climate change. The Prime Minister will also have to find a way to satisfy the fanatics on both sides of the climate wars.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 7 January 2020

The bushfires have brought out the best in Australians. And the bushfires have also shown us the worst: hysterical, inflexible, identity-obsessed and vengeful.

“This will be Exhibit A in the coming climate trials,” Greens MP Adam Bandt tweeted, above a photo of Liberals celebrating the passing of the Carbon Tax Repeal Bills. Assuming his goal is consensus on the need for climate action, he just set the cause back significantly. Continue reading

The lunatics declare war on the centre

The shouty progressive left is bent on alienating the mainstream population. Too many conservatives are anxious to follow suit.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 11 December 2019

Sometimes you see a culture get a little bit crazier right before your very eyes. And thanks to Twitter, these moments are becoming more frequent. As the “cancel” decade draws to a close, the thumb-slamming warriors have abandoned reason itself.

In 2019, the term “cancel culture” entered the Macquarie Dictionary as its word of the year. “The attitudes within a community which call for or bring about the withdrawal of support from a public figure … usually in response to an accusation of a socially unacceptable action or comment by the figure” is a very prim way of describing a baying mob set on destroying the livelihoods of anyone who commits real or perceived transgressions. Continue reading

It’s the cover-up that’s killed the prince and the banker

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 27 November 2019

Westpac has, as Prince Andrew might say, acted in a “manner unbecoming”. And even more unbecomingly, it at first sought to scratch sand over the stinking little heap and sidle away.

As any communications professional will tell you, it’s not the crisis that kills you: it’s the response.

Prince Andrew during his BBC interview. 

The time it took the Westpac chief executive and board to recognise that their problem could not be solved with cosmetic PR invites parallels to the tin-eared Duke of York, who could not see that it wasn’t the optics but the substance of his situation that left the world aghast. Continue reading

What the Berlin Wall did for women’s liberation

The original article appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 1 November 2019

In the spring of 1961, Brigitte Palme applied for permission to travel to West Berlin, ostensibly to go to the dentist. She took the train from the apartment she lived in with her parents, headed straight to the embassy and applied for a West German passport.

She’d left just in time to avoid being trapped in the misleadingly named German Democratic Republic (DDR). Three months later, coincidentally on her mother’s birthday, Berlin awoke to find itself divided by barbed wire, reinforced by heavily armed East German soldiers. The barbed wire was the first iteration of the Berlin Wall.

West Berliners watch East German border guards open up a new crossing point in the Berlin Wall in 1989.  AFP

It came as no surprise, despite assurances by DDR head of state Walter Ulbricht in June of that year, that “no one had the intention of building a wall”. The wall turned West Berlin into a tiny island in the midst of East Germany, accessible only by aircraft, and put a stop to the flow of defectors like my mother, voting with their feet against the Soviets and their rapacious regime. Continue reading