Dog-whistle politics is the art of sending coded or implicit messages to a select group of voters while keeping others in the dark. Dog whistling allows politicians to communicate divisive or reactionary ideas using apparently harmless statements so as to avoid offending or scandalising more tolerant members of the community. This paper represents the first in-depth examination of dog whistle politics in its various forms. It includes a history and theory of dog whistling, a consideration of the context in which dog-whistle politics occurs, and many examples of how politicians say one thing but really mean another.
Government and Accountability
This piece focuses on if the electorate believes that prominent politicians should go to heaven. Out of the six politicians John Howard scored the lowest with less than half of the population believing he should go to heaven, while Peter Garrett scored the highest at 74%. When split into political parties Howard was the most divisive, and Bob Brown and Garrett had the most bipartisan support. There is also a gender divide with women both more prone to believe in heaven, and more prone to believe people should go to heaven.
High income earners are using low-cost private health insurance products to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge according to a report released today by the Australia Institute.
The Institute's analysis uses unpublished ABS data to estimate that the practice is costing Australian taxpayers $230 million a year in lost revenue.
The findings are made in Using cheap private health insurance to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge: What is the cost to taxpayers?, by the Institute's Deputy Director, Andrew Macintosh.
The report analyses the extent to which registered health funds are offering cheap policies to enable people to avoid the surcharge.
Despite the fanfare that surrounds major events, the reality is that state and territory governments are often spending large sums of taxpayer money in attempts to divert events, tourists, jobs and associated revenue from one part of Australia to another, and from one industry to another.
Over the last fifteen years, much effort has gone into the preparation of sustainability reports. These are reports that provide information on social and environmental as well as economic matters. This has been done in the name of improved decision making, accountability and transparency. It has also been motivated by a desire to promote ecologically sustainable development. But for all the effort, it is difficult to know exactly what has been achieved and how useful sustainability reports have been. This is worrying when you consider the amount of resources that have been dedicated to the task. To address this issue, we undertook a review of sustainability reporting in Australia.
The recent rush of activity around climate change has led some to suggest that the Federal Government has finally got the message on the perils of global warming, but history indicates such optimism is misplaced. The Government's announcements of the past month are just more of the window-dressing and stalling tactics that we have had to endure for more than a decade. The Government's strategy on climate change has been simple. Deny it and muddy the waters on the science for as long as possible, while providing large subsidies to the fossil fuel industry under the guise of greenhouse programs.
Giving free rein to the market very often leads to an erosion of moral values””the work we have done on youth and pornography and on the sexualisation of children is an illustration of that. So here's a real contradiction in the heart of conservative politicians; it astonishes me that a moral hard-liner like Tony Abbott can resolutely refuse, time after time, to reign in the market forces that exacerbate the problems he complains about.
The Government argues that encouraging people to work longer is also helping them do something for their own benefit. However, increasing the retirement age is asking people to contribute time at a life stage when time is scarce. For boomers, being compelled to work later means that individuals are giving up something - time - that they cannot retrieve. With superannuation, individuals will get it all back, and more, at a time when they feel that they will need it most. It has only been 14 years since the introduction of compulsory super. It is evident that it is transforming not just retirement incomes but the relationship between citizens and government.
Steve Irwin created a new genre of documentary called "nature nasty" which rejects attempts to portray animals in their natural environment going about their usual activities. Instead, it goes in search of the most dangerous, poisonous and bizarre and provokes animals into extreme behaviour.
Irwin's death provided a trigger for a gratuitous outpouring of hatred directed at the "elites" who found his antics embarrassing, especially when they were represented as authentically Australian. In the present political climate every event is turned by right-wing cultural warriors into an excuse to attack the imagined enemies of John Howard.
The government's industrial relations changes were always going to be controversial, but it has done itself no favours in establishing a regime that is overseen by government agencies that are politically compromised. Until the Office of Workplace Relations and other similar agencies are truly independent of government, employees are justified in suspecting that there is no longer an independent umpire overseeing the workplace.