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[1 Dec 2009 | One Comment | ]
The Pope’s Battalions

More than half a century ago, the Catholic Church set out to take over Australian political life. The Church set up an underground organization to infiltrate political parties, to control their agenda, and to assume the leadership of their personnel. With church money, church facilities, and church authority, the organization had some noticeable successes. By 1952 it felt able to report that within a few years, Australian governments, federal and state, would be legislating its policies.
If this sounds shocking today, one should reflect that in a democracy it is legitimate …

Columns »

[23 Jan 2009 | No Comment | ]
Labor fears history repeating in Queensland

In Queensland, the populist Peter Beattie first led Labor to power in 1998. Premier Beattie then won three more landslide victories in 2001, 2004 and 2006, and now the state ALP government led by Anna Bligh has a huge majority in Queensland’s one-house Parliament.
Labor has 58 of the 89 seats. It actually won 59 seats at the last state election, but Ronan Lee, the member for Indooroopilly, defected to the Greens last year.
The 2008 redistribution of Queensland electoral boundaries significantly favoured Labor, which now has probably 63 or 64 notional …

Columns »

[25 Oct 2008 | No Comment | ]

THE date was Thursday, March 21, 1963. The time was just after midnight. The instigator of action was the famous political reporter Alan “The Red Fox” Reid, a loyal employee of anti-Labor media mogul Frank Packer.
The locale was the Hotel Kingston in Canberra, where a special conference of the Australian Labor Party had been convened to decide whether the party should endorse a new US communications base in Western Australia.
For weeks Reid had been writing articles in the Packer press (notably The Daily Telegraph, which much later was sold …

Columns »

[20 Oct 2008 | No Comment | ]

IT is rare for a political party to achieve a 10 per cent turnaround in the opinion polls in just six months. But this is what has happened in Queensland, where that state’s newly merged Liberal-National Party, the LNP, has injected new life into conservative politics.
This is why, on one hand, the 10-year-old state Labor Government is becoming nervous, while on the other Malcolm Turnbull – aware of the role Queensland must play if he is to become prime minister – is effusive in his praise for the LNP. Indeed, …

Columns »

[20 Jul 2008 | No Comment | ]

IN 1957 the Queensland Labor premier Vince Gair, who had comfortably won two state elections, found himself at war with his own party over the issue of union influence. So they sold him out.
As a direct consequence of the rift – and despite Labor’s previous strong performances – the conservatives soon took power and there they remained for 32 years.
The stoush also precipitated the rise and rise of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and all it meant for the Sunshine State and Labor’s electoral future.
It’s with a chilling sense of deja vu that …