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Cartels now criminal

Today marks the first day the long-awaited criminal cartel laws enter force in Australia.  The news laws create new civil and criminal offences for engaging in cartel conduct.  Cartel participants now risk up to 10 years jail for making or giving effect to cartel provisions, defined (in s 44ZZRD(2)!) to include price-fixing (this replaces s 45A which has been repealed), bid-rigging, restricting outputs and market division between competitors.  Despite the flaws in the drafting of the laws, it is appropriate to treat cartels as criminal and the law should be welcomed.

Trade Practices Act - Time to split it up?

The Trade Practices Act (TPA) is too big and too complicated. The Government has introduced phase I of their two-phase plan to implement a new Australian Consumer Law which will bulk up the Act even further (the Bill alone runs to 84 pages).  The adds to the additional 90 pages of statutory text generated by the recent passage of the criminal cartel act.  It cannot go on ... the annotated acts are bursting at their seems.

 

Student engagement is on the federal government agenda

I have been at two national forums on student engagement in the last 3 weeks - one here in Melbourne and one in New Zealand.  I've been talking about student engagement for about 3 years now and was just beginning to give up hope that it would ever catch on.  But catch on it appears to have done.

 

Its popularity is probably due in part to the federal government's stamp of approval of student engagement as a site of interest.  In 2009, the Australian federal government responded to the Bradley Review of Higher Education report through the May 2009 federal budget.  In their budget summary document, Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System (http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Pages/TransformingAustraliasHESy...), the government indicate the status of each of the specific recommendations made by the Bradley Review. 

 

Indonesia's vicious circle renewed

Just two weeks ago, observers were congratulating Indonesia for a presidential election that was seen to consolidate that country’s process of democratisation.

Viruses, and Viral Marketing or What's the difference between Swine Flu, Facebook, Susan Boyle, and "chk chk boom"?

Lots, but there are some very scary similarities.

 

Okay, I’m not really qualified to write about flu epidemics, but the increased incidence of swine flu reports, made me return to an article that I read a little while ago.

 

Desperately seeking success: Or maybe hoping for a bit of luck

The link between success and luck is stronger than most people think, writes Economist Robert Frank of Cornell University in The New York Times. The difficulty that some have with his argument is that it challenges everything about the American dream. But, sadly for all those people who like to think that they are fully responsible for "pulling themselves up by their boot strings", "brushing themselves off", and "thinking about tomorrow", it is very much the truth.

 

Friends of Balibo

For those interested, please see my other blog site: Friends of Balibo at http://friendsofbalibo.blogspot.com/

Friends of Balibo is one of about 50 Friends of East Timor groups operating across Australia, and acts to suppor the community of the town of Balibo and its surrounding sub-district.

For those further interested, the movie 'Balibo', based on the events surrounding the murder of five Australian based newsmen at Balibo in October 1975 and another two months later in Dili, will headline the coming Melbourne International Film Festival and will be available on general release in August.

 

West Papua shooting of Australian, two others

The shooting of a young Australian engineer at the Freeport mine in West Papua on Saturday morning has raised questions about who did it and why. Immediate attention focused on the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) and the long-held grievances of the local indigenous peoples who have been displaced by the massive mine. However, it is more likely this is a set-up job, with the usual suspects, the Indonesian military (TNI), behind it.
There is no doubt that the OPM and other West Papuan independence organisations want a very different arrangement with Jakarta. However, their policy over the past few months has been one of public protest, with the aim of getting the Indonesian government to the negotiating table.

Indonesia's democratic consolidation

There has been some disquiet about each of the three pairs of candidates for president and vice-president are former army generals. Two of these generals have been identified as having been responsible for war crimes in the pre-democratic era.

New Unfair Terms Law

The Trade Practices (Australian Consumer Law) Bill 2009 was introduced into Parliament last month and contains the new unfair terms laws which, if passed, will enter into force on 1 January 2009.  They are, however, considerably watered down from the original proposed unfair terms laws and the Government has provided insufficient explanation for this change.
 

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