Dubbo Photo News & Dubbo Weekender

Columnists & Opinion

Trump, populism and the rest of the world

More than just a reckoning day for the Divided States of America, next week’s election has consequences for the rest of world. Worsening economic and political relations with China, Russian expansionism, Middle East conflicts and climate change policy are just some of the lenses through which the world is observing the American election. The election is also a test of populism – the campaigning strategy that claims society is split into the ‘ordinary people’ and…

Judgement day: This American election matters

The American election next month matters not only to Americans, but to the rest of the world as well. It will determine how we view America and how influential they will be for generations to come. America has taken the concept of Manifest Destiny – a mid-19th Century imperialist belief the United States was destined to expand its dominion across North America spreading democracy and capitalism – to market itself as the paragon of democracy…

Converting your privacy into corporate profits

No doubt many of you use or know people who use the online genealogy website Ancestry.com. Its billions of genealogy records are innocuously searched by millions looking to research their near and distant ancestors. Ancestry.com is the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, and the world’s largest provider of DNA testing and tracing services. It was sold several weeks ago for US$4.7 billion to private equity fund Blackstone Group Inc. With an eye to…

Taxing matters: Spending my tax matters to me

I HAVE been paying income tax for the best part of 35 years, always as a salaried employee who dutifully did their annual tax return and kept within the ‘rules’. I always felt paying tax was part of the societal contract we agree to when being part of an educated, healthy and peaceful society. But here we are at tax return time and I’m suddenly agreeing with the late Kerry Packer, who in 1991 declared…

Racism: it’s the age old virus untreated

The killing of yet another African American by police in the United States has rightfully sparked outrage and protests on American soil and around the globe. The anger is righteous, for the killing of George Floyd was the latest unprovoked death by excessive police force to stain the history of American ‘democracy.’ What was once able to be silenced and withheld from the public, the silent scourge of American society, has been brought to the…

The cost of allowing power to come at all cost

When the President is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution allows the Vice President and a majority of heads of the executive departments to formally declare the Vice President as Acting President, and divest the President of all authority. Given the subnormal mental capacity of the current President, his incompetence, conflicts of interest, cronyism, and his ignorance of the rule…

Coronavirus brings an awakening for capitalism

Humans occupy the middle earth between the microscopic we cannot see and the cosmos we barely comprehend. For millennia this led us to attribute our existence to the supernatural and the unseen. Without an understanding of germ theory, plagues were seen as punishment for ungodliness or revenge from a warring neighbour. In the modern civilised world, it took a scientific understanding of microorganisms to give us the basic hygiene practices which provide the level of…

Holden’s Aussie demise was the inevitable result

The announcement that Holden was withdrawing from the Australian car market was presented by the media as a huge shock and the death of an Aussie icon, but it was a pragmatic and inevitable result that should have surprised no one. Up to the early 2000s, Holden was the number 1 brand in Australia, riding high on the back of Australia’s long term love of large cars. In 2003 it had over 40 per cent…

Male privilege continues to rear his ugly head

Male privilege took two forms recently that bears discussion. Students of the elite Catholic all boys school, St Kevin’s College in Melbourne, were filmed late last year performing loud and offensive sexist chants on a tram by a member of the public. The chants which denigrated women to the level of a male sexual conquest were sung loud and proud by the Year 10 and 11 boys whilst wearing their school uniforms. By entering the…

The year that was: It’s not how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose

Here we are stumbling towards the finishing line of 2019, safe in the knowledge we went the whole year without a change of Prime Minister. That means it’s time for annual Dubbo Photo News/Weekender Winner and Loser Awards. The judges raked through a year of vainglorious political inertia, spoke quietly to many Quiet Australians, and found the following worthy award recipients: Winners: Tony Abbott – The long-time member for Warringah lost his job in the…

Rich pickings in a decade of commentary when history repeats

This year marks my 10th year of writing opinion pieces for the Dubbo Photo News and Dubbo Weekender. A couple of one-off articles I wrote in 2009 morphed into the Dubbo Photo News editor asking if I wanted to be part of a regular roster of writers for the proposed weekly magazine-style publication Dubbo Weekender. He thought I had the ability to string words together (he obviously hadn’t meet any of my high school English…

Australians beware, you’re under increasing surveillance

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Since 9/11, this phrase has been regularly used by government in announcing and justifying increased public surveillance – both physically and digitally – in the war against terrorism. Law enforcement agencies around the world have been afforded increased powers to monitor the public by increasingly covert means; as technology drives us online, we leave a digital footprint that is ripe for surveillance, and laws…