Category Archives: Democratic Renewal

MICHAEL KEATING. The role and responsibilities of government.

  With the election of the new government, I have decided to repost several articles from our policy series that are still relevant.  One of these is by Michael Keating (below) on the role and responsibilities of government.  John Menadue … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Democratic renewal.

Vested interests and the subversion of the public interest. There are many key public issues that we must address such as climate change, growing inequality, tax avoidance, budget repair, an ageing population, lifting our productivity and our treatment of asylum … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Democratic Renewal.

  Our loss of trust in institutions. We speak often about the need for new ideas and policies to fill the void in the public debate. We will be examining these issues in this series Fairness, Opportunity and Security. But … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Democratic Renewal.

  In the series, Fairness, Opportunity and Security that Michael Keating and I edited there were several articles that are still particularly relevant. Several of them deal with the disappointment many of us feel about our institutions and the lack … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. A major madness

  It is only the most naive among us who equate democracy with majoritarianism. The ‘Brexit’ plebiscite certainly returned a majority in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, but the distress caused by the decision shows that the plan … Continue reading

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MARK TRIFFITT & TRAVERS McCLEOD. Stability will only be found through ideas and democratic renewal

  On Saturday, Australia’s political system crossed a line. From the normal messiness of democracy into fragmented incoherence. From voter unrest to potential revolt. The implications are clear for anyone who wants to see. Instability is no longer a one-off … Continue reading

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KLAAS & AAFKE WOLDRING. Has Australia now become ungovernable?

  While the final outcome of the 2016 election will have to wait for a few days, a Hung Parliament or a Government with a narrow majority seems likely. The outcome for the Senate will take longer but will be … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. A hung parliament could be a good thing.

  We have been warned time and time again about hung parliaments and the chaos that follows. The media which is so often more concerned about politics and personalities than good governance, joins in the chorus about the risks of … Continue reading

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JOHN KEANE. Money, Capitalism and the Slow Death of Social Democracy.

In this article, John Keane speaks of the slow death of social democracy but suggests that there may be possibilities that social democracy could embrace Green movements, intellectuals and parties that have common interests. See extracts from article below and … Continue reading

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IAN MARSH. Our political system is in gridlock.

Longer term policy making in Australia. Longer term policy making in Australia is in a parlous state. The scale and significance of this problem is totally unrecognised. For example, since 1996 almost no contested measure that required legislative approval has … Continue reading

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Bruce Wearne. Political questions that can’t be answered by our publicly funded public relations firms.

Last week, four days before the election was called, I received a “pre-election” letter from my “Parliamentary representative”. It began with the following disclaimer: Dear Fellow Corangamite Resident: Soon there will be another election and I write to apologise for the … Continue reading

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Alison Broinowski. Who decides when we go to war?

 Setbacks for democratic reform of war powers. Having taken one step forward, Australia’s major allies have now taken two steps back from reform of their war powers. In the UK, the Defence Minister has set aside years of bipartisan promises … Continue reading

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Klaas Woldring-electoral reform,who are the reformers?

  Electoral reform in Australia is extremely important. The self-interest of the parties should not dominate it. I believe an entirely Independent Inquiry should be held about Australia’s electoral systems altogether, similar to the Royal Commission in NZ in the … Continue reading

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Ian Marsh. What’s wrong with Australian politics? Part 3.

Here’s a puzzle. Over the past decade or so Australian politics has veered from one crisis to another. In that same period New Zealand has enjoyed effective and constructive government. What’s the difference? Let’s start with the different records. First … Continue reading

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Ian Marsh. Disaffected electorates? Dysfunctional political systems? Part 2 of 3.

Malcolm Turnbull’s has created the grounds for a July election. This crafty electoral ploy offers short term gains. If the cross bench resist, the election is legitimate. If the cross bench cave in, he will have demonstrated bold leadership. Moreover, … Continue reading

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Ian Marsh. What wrong with Australia’s political system? Part 1 of 3.

Most people are familiar with the power of incentives in economic markets. They know that efficient price signals can channel investment into productive assets and these same signals can drain funds from unconstructive pursuits. The same process more or less … Continue reading

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Cameron Douglas. Thailand and the military junta – an update.

Thailand’s military government got almost all it wanted in the country’s draft constitution, which will now be put to the people in a referendum on August 7. The next four months, however, will be a rough time for Thailand: the … Continue reading

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Greg Bailey. The Liberal Party and the Institute of Public Affairs. Who is Whose?

Arguably the most influential think tank in Australia over the last decade, the   Melbourne based Institute of Public Affairs, serves good beer at its functions, so I have been told. Whilst it has always been significant in pushing right wing, … Continue reading

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Bruce Duncan. Pope Francis supports social revolution among the Zapatistas in Mexico

The western media largely missed the significance of Pope Francis’s visit to the ‘Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas’ in the south of Mexico on the border with Guatemala in February 2016. He not only reiterated the message he bore … Continue reading

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John Menadue. Making the Federation work better.

The Abbott Government decided that over the next decade commencing in 2017 the Commonwealth Government would reduce grants to the states for education and health by $80 b. This is likely to produce a major and concerted campaign by the … Continue reading

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Crony capitalism, lobbyists and markets.

In the AFR today, John Kehoe writes about the power of lobbyists and crony capitalists who are killing faith in markets. He refers particularly to the US where ‘crony capitalism’ is sapping vitality out of the US economy. He adds … Continue reading

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Victoria Rollison. Couples counselling for Labor and Unions

When I saw the news that the Electrical Trades Union invited the Greens’ Adam Bandt to address their National Officers conference, and didn’t invite a speaker from the Labor Party, the lyrics of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” came to … Continue reading

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Victoria Rollison. The Future of Australia’s Trade Unions

A strong trade union movement is crucial to combating growing wealth inequality in the Australian economy. When asked in 2014 what Australia ‘had done right’ to defend the economy against the chronic wealth inequality experienced in the US, Nobel Prize … Continue reading

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John Menadue. Prince Charles and John Kerr – an odd pair.

Prince Charles has been mobbed by regal enthusiasts in his recent visit to Australia. Opinion polls tell us a different story. The latest poll conducted by Essential  Research tells us that if Prince Charles became King Charles, 51% would prefer … Continue reading

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Bruce Wearne. Politics for Government or Politics for Politics?

At the election of December 1975, the Australian electorate confirmed the sacking of the Whitlam Government. It was an implicit “thumbs up!” to Malcolm Fraser and those on his “side” of politics. Whatever the actual cause of the constitutional crisis … Continue reading

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Erica Feller. Good democracy is challenged by mass migration.

Mass migration in a globalised world might well turn out to become, not least from the perspective of democracy, one of the overarching and defining challenges of our time. Syria and the exodus of millions of Syrians to neighbouring states … Continue reading

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Ian Marsh. Revolving Prime Ministers.

As has been widely noted, Malcolm Turnbull is our fifth prime minister in as many years. You have to go back to the 1901-1909 pre two-party period for a roughly similar record. Then it was six leaders in seven years. … Continue reading

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Ian Marsh. What wrong with Australia’s political system?

Most readers of this piece will not need lessons about the power of economic incentives. They know that efficient price signals can channel investment into productive assets and these same signals will drain funds from unconstructive pursuits. The same process … Continue reading

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Josef Szwarc. Measuring our response to the refugee crisis of Syria and Iraq

“PM RESCUE MISSION” shouts the headline of the morning newspaper. My heart races with expectation that is immediately deflated by the first sentence: “Australian will open its doors to more Syrian refugees fleeing the troubled nation but won’t increase the … Continue reading

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Nicholas Reece. How Australia’s cartel-like political parties drag own democracy.

In a modern democracy like Australia, political parties are the main delivery mechanism of change. But recent events suggest these vehicles for change have become incapable of changing themselves. For the ALP it is the rejection of internal democratic reform … Continue reading

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