I’ll be holding plenty of mobile offices and community events over coming months. These are a good chance to raise policy issues, chat about matters affecting you and your family, or just to say g’day.
Sun 24 February – 10.30am-12.30 Welcoming the Babies, Glebe Park
Sat 9 Feb – 11am-2pm, Multicultural Festival, Civic
Thu 28 March – 8-9am Civic Bus interchange
Sat 30 March – 10-11am at Gungahlin (on Hibberson St, outside Big W)
Sat 30 March – 11.15am-12.15pm at Dickson (outside Woolworths)
On 26 February, FARE will be hosting a lunchtime forum at Parliament House with UCLA’s Mark Kleiman, author of When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment. Mark is one of my favourite criminologists, and I’d recommend the event for anyone interested in crime and punishment.
In about 12 months, people living in the shaded area will be able to connect to the NBN
Yesterday, I welcomed the release of detailed maps by NBN Co, showing where construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) will start in Civic.
This is really exciting for local families and business in the Civic area. In around 12 months’ time, people in Civic will be able to start connecting to the National Broadband Network. The map shows that NBN fibre is being rolled out Civic, Acton and parts of Braddon which will allow more residents access to faster, affordable and more reliable broadband.
The map is another sign that construction of the National Broadband Network is continuing to accelerate, with work now having commenced or been completed to over 784,000 homes and businesses across Australia. The release of this map means that work is starting in this area and over the next few months, we’ll start to see NBN Co workers locally doing the detailed planning and inspection work, and then rolling out the fibre. Within around twelve months, construction of the NBN in Civic will be completed. This means that families and businesses will be able to connect to faster, more reliable broadband services. A standard NBN connection to the home or office is free – and NBN retail services are available for similar prices to what people are paying now, but for a much superior service.
The National Broadband Network is about preparing Australia for the future. It’s about ensuring that our local communities in places like Canberra are not left behind as the world and our local economy changes. From seeing your local doctor from home, to your kids being able to take a specialist class at another school – the NBN will change the way we live, work, and access services. It will lead to a new wave of innovation, and I’m delighted that people in Civic will be among the first to benefit.
On ABC666, I spoke with Adam Shirley about the challenge of balancing local ALP democracy with having a caucus that looks like the rest of Australia. While rank and file preselections are at the heart of the ALP, it’s also true that in twelve decades, that system has failed to put a single Indigenous Labor member into the federal parliament.
I spoke with both Mark Parton and Richard Glover about Australia’s gun buy-back program. We chatted about Philip Alpers’ new paper for a Baltimore gun summit, and some of the issues it raised. Can population growth explain the increase in the number of guns in Australia? And has the number of households with a gun increased? Have a listen…
Since the 1997 gun buyback, your chance of being a victim of gun violence has more than halved. Yet as yesterday’s Herald/Agepointed out, the number of guns in Australia has increased by nearly one-fifth over the same period. What’s going on?
The simplest answer is that Australia’s population is a fifth larger than it was in 1997. In reality, Australia has about as many guns per person as we did after the gun buyback. The only way you can conclude that the gun buyback has been undone is if to ignore a decade and a half of population growth.
Moreover, the figure that really matters is the share of gun-owning households. In 1997, many households used the chance to clean out the closet, and take a weapon to the local police station that hadn’t been used in years (the most common weapon handed in was a .22 calibre rifle). So the share of gun-owning households nearly halved, from 15 percent to 8 percent.
On the first AM Agenda for the year, I spoke with host David Lipson and Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield about how the declining tax/GDP share affects the government’s bottom line, why a profits-based mining tax beats royalties, and the complexities of providing arms to Syrian rebels.
My column in the Chronicle this week is on local Canberra history, and a chance to get to know your neighbours a little better.
A good year to have a street party and make new friends, The Chronicle, 8 January 2013
January in Canberra. The cicadas in the Northbourne Avenue eucalypts are singing by 9am. Lakeshore paths are pounded with the determination of many new year’s resolutions. Most of us are heading back into the office (hopefully a bit more relaxed than when we left, and perhaps gently sunkissed).
I’m particularly excited for 2013 to get underway, because – as you would no doubt know – this year marks the Centenary of Canberra. It’s a great chance to learn more about the city’s past, to experience all the wonderful things it has to offer, and to have conversations about its future.
In the United States, if you want to insult a right-winger, call them a ‘liberal’. In Australia, if you want to insult a left-winger, call them a ‘Liberal’. In both countries, liberalism has become detached from its original meaning.
It’s time to bring Australian liberalism back to its traditional roots. Small-L liberalism involves a willingness to protect minority rights (even when they’re unpopular) and a recognition that open markets are the best way to boost prosperity.
Rarely have economic commentators been so united on an issue arguing that the Australian Government should not aim for a budget surplus this year. From John Quiggin to Warwick McKibbin, the OECD to the IMF, respected economists across the political spectrum have taken the view that the best economic approach is not to try and fill the 2012-13 government revenue shortfall by making further budget cuts.
From a macroeconomic standpoint, there’s barely any difference between a $1 billion surplus and a $1 billion deficit. Far more important is the fact that when the Global Financial Crisis hit, we increased spending: supporting jobs through household payments and infrastructure programs. In the past five years, we’ve found savings that total $138 billion. We boosted government spending when private demand fell, and cut spending as private demand recovered.