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Articles tagged with: Australian politics

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[3 Sep 2014 | No Comment | 469 views ]

Dame Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, awards me a Member of the Order of Australia at Government House, Sydney, on September 3, 2014. I was appointed Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for significant service to education in the field of politics and history as an academic, and to community and public health organisations.

Reviews »

[15 Oct 2011 | No Comment | 1,731 views ]

THE screaming subtext of Susan Mitchell’s political potboiler, Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man, is that no woman should ever vote for him. Yet almost no one who knows Abbott, however much he or she might disagree with him, would dismiss him as a misogynist.
The judgement of Adele Horin (no fan) was that Abbott was ”easy to hate” but also ”easy to like”. Mia Freedman – whose reaction to Abbott’s accession to the leadership was: ”PS Libs, are you on crack?” – said after actually talking to him: ”I did like …

Columns »

[2 Jul 2011 | One Comment | 2,058 views ]

THE new Australian Party could soon set a Katter among the pigeons. Party founder, the Queensland independent federal MP for Kennedy, Bob Katter Jr, is aiming to influence the cross benches in some states but he’s also after a slice of the traditional conservative vote and a sliver of the Greens vote as well.
While he’s offering voters a mix of rural socialism, nationalism and protectionist economic policy, he’s also wrong-footed not just the National Party but also the Liberal Party by calling for more personal freedom and civil liberties. Bob …

Books »

[20 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 2,502 views ]

WHAT came to be known as the Australian Labor Party was formed in 1891 and by December 1, 1899, Queensland had the first Labor government in the world. Led by Anderson Dawson from the dual electorate of Charters Towers, it lasted only a week but it gave the ALP a valuable opportunity to get the dirt on the conservatives by examining previous governments’ files.
By April 27, 1904, the party’s progress was confirmed by the installation of the world’s first national Labor government. Led by Chilean-born J. C. (Chris) Watson, …

Columns »

[18 Jun 2011 | One Comment | 3,003 views ]

WITH the upcoming anniversary of Labor’s removal of Kevin Rudd from the office of prime minister, his successor Julia Gillard will be nervously keeping watch on her dangerously low approval ratings.
If she cannot turn public opinion, it can only be a matter of time before her caucus colleagues remove her from the top job.
Gillard’s ability to recover from her slide in the polls will depend on how well entrenched public opinion is of her and her leadership style.
If the public decides it has seen enough of this Prime Minister to …

Columns »

[11 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 1,668 views ]

ECENT draconian, anti-democratic provisions, especially in NSW, are threatening the survival of small parties such as the Australian Sex Party and the eccentrically named Outdoor Recreation Party.
As for aspiring political minnows, well, it’s getting tougher to register as official political parties in the populous state.
In last year’s federal election, 21 political parties nominated candidates in NSW for the Senate. In this year’s state election, only 14 political parties nominated candidates for the Legislative Council, its state equivalent.
Based on the potential for success, these numbers should have been reversed. The first …

Reviews »

[14 May 2011 | No Comment | 1,210 views ]

HAVING held the seat of Melbourne for the ALP since 1993, the minister for finance, Lindsay Tanner, retired from parliamentary politics at the 2010 federal election. Since then, Tanner, a politician of considerable talent and integrity, has given much thought to the sorry state of politics in Australia.
In its own way, Sideshow is as revealing as Tony Abbott’s important 2009 book Battlelines, which was also part memoir, part analysis and part impassioned critique. Tanner argues that the degradation of civic culture and the dumbing down of democracy is …

Columns »

[2 May 2011 | 5 Comments | 7,992 views ]

TOWARDS the end of fifth form, after I had devoured The Communist Manifesto and endeavoured to understand Das Kapital, I tried, unsuccessfully, to join the Communist Party of Australia. Along with my fellow student at Melbourne Boys High School, Alan Piper (with whom I had played cricket for the Victorian schoolboys team and who later became a multi-millionaire Brisbane car dealer) I met a CPA organiser outside the Bryant & May match factory in Richmond, near Melbourne High.
That afternoon after school I’d had a few beers but I wasn’t drunk. …

Reviews »

[1 May 2011 | No Comment | 1,787 views ]

THE reality is that Manning Charles Hope Clark was never an objectively inclined academic scholar. Thus his magnum opus, the six-volume A History of Australia, had more in common with the vision of 19th-century English writer Thomas Carlyle, whose three-volume History of the French Revolution was inspired by a distinctly personal vision spelled out in an epic narrative style.
Indeed, Clark sometimes admitted there wasn’t very much difference between literary fiction and “his kind of history”.
As academic Mark McKenna tellingly puts it, in the romantic tradition of Carlyle, who spoke from …

Reviews »

[1 May 2011 | No Comment | 4,498 views ]

FOR reasons that are unclear, the University of Queensland Press parted company from Philip Luker over publication of his biography of “the ideas man”, Phillip Adams.
Perhaps some clues can be found in Luker’s acknowledgements to this controversial book. There he states that the veteran columnist for The Weekend Australian Magazine and long-running broadcaster for ABC’s Radio National “seemed to believe that I had agreed not to delve into his private life. He never asked me to agree and I did not do so, either verbally or in writing.” Luker continues: …

Columns »

[23 Apr 2011 | 3 Comments | 2,752 views ]

THERE is an old adage that, to avoid heated arguments and acrimony, sex, politics and religion should never be discussed at the dinner table. In many parts of Australia, fresh water should be added to the list.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world, with most of our landmass regarded as desert, arid or semi-arid. However, the far north receives huge amounts of mostly summer rain, with vast volumes of water wastefully flowing out to sea.
Many thinkers have been fascinated by the potential for diverting some of this water …