I’ll be giving a lecture in December to the ACT Fabians. For more details see flyer overleaf.
Archive for November 2010
The RBA Governor Glenn Stevens appeared before the House Economics Committee on Friday, to be quizzed by the seven members, myself included. One of the things that struck me most was his comment that when he attends meetings of central bank governors, he looks around the room at his 40-50 colleagues, and there’s none that he’d choose to change places with. A transcript of the hearings is available via Parlinfo.
This week, the Committee will be holding hearings into Indigenous economic development in Queensland, particularly as it balances with the preservation of the area’s wild rivers. Parliament-permitting, I’ll be spending Tuesday to Thursday in far north Queensland. If you’d like to make a submission to our inquiry, details are here.
A few things that I’ve been reading over recent weeks.
- Michael Fullilove’s moving tribute to his father, WWII soldier and Skippy director Eric Fullilove
- John Langmore (former member for Fraser, and prolific thinker) on how Australia can become a more effective UN member
- Nicholas Kristof on good and bad charitable donations
- Thomas Friedman on Arne Duncan’s “national teacher campaign”
- McKinsey’s recent report on attracting and retaining ‘top-third graduates’ to careers in teaching
- Skeptical Science, a blog responding to bogus anti-climate change arguments (includes a post on the impact of carbon pricing on the US economy)
- The declining effective tax rates paid by the richest 400 Americans
- The technological and ethical issues surrounding fighting robots
I spoke in Parliament on Thursday about the death of Professor Frank Fenner.
I spoke in Parliament on Wednesday on the topic of electric cars.
The parliamentary calendar has us in the building from morning to late-evening, so it was terrific this morning to get out to Manuka Oval for an event with ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr, Commonwealth Sports Minister Mark Arbib, my Canberra colleague Gai Brodtmann, and a couple of AFL GWS Giants players. Thanks to some help from Josh Bruce and Israel Folau, I reckon my handpassing skills have improved from utterly appalling to merely bad.
I’m on the House of Representatives Economics Committee, which is holding a public hearing with the Reserve Bank Governor on Friday. All welcome – details below.
My AFR column today discusses the current populist campaign against foreign investment. (And remember, writers don’t choose their headlines!)
I spoke in parliament yesterday, seconding a motion by John Murphy on the science of climate change.
I spoke in parliament yesterday about the ACT Children’s Services Awards.
I spoke in Parliament yesterday, seconding Michael Danby’s private members’ motion on Liu Xiaobo.
I spoke in parliament yesterday on a private members’ motion moved by Bob Katter on the ASX/SGX.
I spoke in Parliament yesterday about early childhood intervention (my first chance to fulfill the promise I made in my maiden speech to mention randomised policy trials on a regular basis!).
I spoke in Parliament yesterday about the issue of education programs in prisons. I’m grateful to Emily Murray, a volunteer in my office who helped with the speech.
I spoke in Parliament yesterday about the MindMatters program.
I spoke in Parliament yesterday on reforming the World Bank.
Dr Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fraser, today launched the 2010 UnitingCare Kippax 2010 Christmas Appeal.
Operation Santa, a combined effort of UnitingCare and Target Australia will help bring Christmas joy to people in need throughout Australia. This year is the 19th year of the partnership between UnitingCare and Target and the partnership has helped 1.7 million Australians in this time.
I spoke yesterday on the Matter of Public Importance debate – on the topic of economic reform.
A congratulatory message to the latest batch of ARC Future Fellowship recipients.
I spoke in parliament yesterday about higher education reform.
A few links that caught my eye this week:
- Joshua Gans on Australian economics in 2020 (and Joshua’s view on my Dismissal speech)
- Which works should be read in their original language?
- Philip Clarke on academonomics
- George Williams on territorial legislatures
- Why isn’t Mexico rich?
Today is World Diabetes Day – a chance to recognise the enormous burden that type 1 and type 2 diabetes places on Australians and our health system. More information on the World Diabetes Day website.
Last night, I gave the guest lecture at Werriwa FEC’s 35th anniversary dinner to remember the Dismissal. My theme was ‘Whitlam Without the Dismissal’ – taking a guess at how Australia might have looked if Kerr hadn’t acted. Counterfactual history isn’t new – one of my favourites is Mark Lawson’s Idlewild (which imagines a US in which Marilyn and JFK survived). And there was even an Australian book titled What If? that was published a few years ago.
I’m not sure that I’ll get a chance to turn my speech notes into a transcript, so let me give you the short version. Whitlam survives until 1983, carrying out major economic reforms, a vast arts renaissance, and a treaty with Indigenous Australians. The Peacock government rules from 1983-93, and is socially liberal but economically inept. The Beazley government takes over from 1993 and continues economic reform, while deftly defusing the Hanson phenomenon. (I resisted the temptation to go past the Beazley government.)
Under this theory, Australia stays in sync with the US and UK political cycles: left-wing in the 1980s, and right-wing from the mid-1990s. That said, luck still plays a major part in my story – it’s just that instead of Bertie Miliner’s heart attack and Vince Gair’s love of prawns, it’s the global recessions of the early-1980s and early-1990s that cause power to change in Australia.
One of the House of Representatives Committees I am on is the Economics Committee. The Economics Committee will be examining Indigenous economic development in Queensland including issues surrounding Queensland’s Wild Rivers Act 2005.
The ‘Politzer’ prize is for photographs taken by politicians of places in their electorate. A photo of mine – taken at Floriade – has made the shortlist. If you’d like to check out the finalists (and vote for the people’s choice awards), go to this website.