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Articles Archive for September 2015

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[19 Sep 2015 | No Comment | ]

What to do about e-cigarettes is currently an extremely controversial issue in the areas of public health and addictions policy.
There is no doubt that Action on Smoking and Health Australia (ASH) and some tobacco control advocates, who were remarkably effective in reducing smoking in Australia, have been deeply traumatised by Big Tobacco’s unscrupulous behaviour.
Although ASH Australia, a national health group established in 1994 to reduce diseases, disabilities and premature deaths caused by tobacco products, closed in 2013, it continues to rally support through its website.
In May this year, Celeste Poulton, …

Columns »

[12 Sep 2015 | One Comment | ]

As someone involved in academia for a number of decades, I hold our universities to the highest standards. And we all should.
Universities have existed for hundreds of years representing the very best of human civilisation. They represent research. They represent learning. They represent fundamental human values.
The decision of Sydney University to divest stocks in resource companies is, at its worst attacking one of Australia’s most successful industries. At best, it is rank hypocrisy.
The Australian National University kicked this so-called “ethical divestment” of resource companies policy off last year, and Sydney …

Reviews »

[5 Sep 2015 | No Comment | ]

Comrade Ambassador: Whitlam’s Beijing Envoy
By Stephen FitzGerald
MUP, 272pp, $34.99
When Gough Whitlam appointed Stephen FitzGerald as Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, he did so with typical ironic humour: “I shall now call you Comrade Ambassador. Hence the title of this engaging memoir.
Schooled in Hobart, FitzGerald, the youngest of five children, did not know a single Asian person until he went to the University of Tasmania in 1957. Even there, few students regarded the discovery of Asia as a burning issue.
But, as FitzGerald puts it, “the deeply …

Columns »

[5 Sep 2015 | One Comment | ]

The hypocrisy of federal Labor in recent weeks is breathtaking.
For years in government, Labor talked about the importance of free trade. The party told us free trade wasn’t just a desire but a necessity — and, most important, it told Australians that, because of our geographic location, we must embrace free trade, not fear it.
It said we were living in the Asian century and we should take advantage of it.
Oh, how times have changed.
The behaviour of the puppet masters — the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the Electrical …

Columns »

[5 Sep 2015 | 2 Comments | ]

Abortion is an issue that deeply divides many in the community. To put it in proper perspective, it divides the less than 20 per cent of people who do not support abortion from the more than 80 per cent who do.
The recent introduction of an abortion-related private member’s bill in the Victorian Parliament brought forth some interesting strategies and alliances. At the same time, it demonstrated the changing nature of gender politics.
The bill was introduced into the Victorian Parliament by Sex Party MP Fiona Patten. It …