Category Archives: Politics

The Manus Island agreement is a failure; Turnbull and Shorten need to accept that: Robert Manne, Tim Costello, Frank Brennan and John Menadue.

There is now a humanitarian disaster on Australia’s doorstep. And it’s our responsibility. The refugees on Manus Island must be resettled promptly. After four years, all options other than Australia have come to nothing or have been rejected by our government. There is now no option … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 5 Comments


In 1974 Rex Connor, Minister for Minerals and Energy in the Whitlam Government, had a vision of a national pipeline linking the gas fields in WA to the gas markets in the nation’s southeast. His attempt to raise funds for … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Parliamentary eligibility – did the High Court get it wrong?

The response to the High Court’s decision in the Parliamentarians eligibility case has been largely uncritical and disappointing. While Section 44 (i) of the Constitution allows for a simplistic literal interpretation the Court’s failure to transpose that provision into the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

FRANK BRENNAN. A mate’s take on Rudd’s call to arms.

Kevin Rudd is back. Last week he was blitzing the country with a whirlwind book tour, having flown in from New York where he continues his post-prime-ministerial life as President of the Asia Society. He is promoting volume one of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. We need to curb rent-seekers and lobbyists.

In the series “Fairness, Opportunity and Security” last year I drew attention to the pervasive loss of trust in institutions. Essential Research revealed that the six least trusted institutions were: the news media, state parliaments, trade unions, business groups, religious … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

JIM COOMBS. Doing right by our First Peoples needs a little understanding but a LOT MORE RESPECT.

As my Dad, “Nugget” Coombs, said in his Boyer Lectures years ago, though still ringing true, we are all demeaned by our treatment of our aboriginal people. Even back then, he implored our leaders to consult with, listen to and … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | 3 Comments

PETER BROOKS AND ALEX WODAK. A response to the open letter from Crown Resorts on gambling.

On Tuesday 31 October a rally to support Women against Gambling, coordinated by the Alliance for Gambling Reform (, was held outside the Victorian Parliament. This was (amongst others) supported by Fiona Patten MLC to send a message to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

HENRY REYNOLDS. Beersheba and the Militarisation of Australian History.

The commemoration of the centenary of the battle for Beersheba illustrates many features of the progressive militarization of Australian history. No other aspect of our past attracts the lavish funding provided by the federal government. The cost of the commemoration … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Media, Politics | 4 Comments

ROGER SCOTT. Personalities and Millstones in Queensland

Personalities are increasingly significant in political contests, particularly as voters in all countries are abandoning the dominant parties. Politics in most Australian states are firmly controlled by capital city interests. Queensland has been slightly different, in this as in so … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. How a rogue organization operates.

This week Crikey has been running a series, the Holy Wars on ‘How The Australian targets and attacks its enemies ‘This prompted me to recall my own experiences and earlier writing on how News Corp intimidates its critics and threatens … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 7 Comments

ROGER SCOTT. Hanson and Queensland Politics – Explaining the Phoenix

Pauline Hanson has been a magnet for the media and for academic analysts since she burst on the scene in 1996 as the federal member for Oxley and her party won eleven seats and potentially the balance of power at … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

MICHAEL WEST. BCA investigation: power of the business lobby in Australia

This is part in a series of investigations by Michael West into Australia’s most powerful business lobby groups and rent seekers. To begin, we have selected the Business Council of Australia, the most elite and influential peak body of them … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Base politics or incredibly clumsy policing?

Police raids on political parties or associated institutions at any time should raise concerns – and the hackles – among democratically minded citizens. The recent raids on AWU offices in Sydney and Melbourne, seemingly in search for “dirt” on Bill … Continue reading

Posted in Industrial relations, Politics | 5 Comments

GEORGE RENNIE. Senate crossbenchers take the first steps on lobbying reform – now to ensure it succeeds.

The suite of codes, statements and laws governing lobbying are failing Australian voters. Yet, for decades, the two major parties have been unwilling to meaningfully improve them. But, having recognised the seriousness of the problems with lobbying and corruption in … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

JIM COOMBS. An energy crisis? My Hat!

The present ‘energy crisis’ is symptomatic of our nation’s leaders to obfuscate the truth to avoid doing what should be done.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

MARK BEESON. Western Australia and the resource curse

 The failure of successive WA governments to tax the resource sector effectively has meant that much of revenue generated by the most recent resource boom was appropriated by the multinational corporations that dominate the sector – more than 80 per … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. The NBN and the wholesale/network arm of Telstra that should never have been sold.

Yesterday Malcolm Turnbull , perhaps unwittingly,sheeted home the real responsibility for the NBN debacle to the privatisation of Telstra by the Howard Government.  In his attempt to blame the Rudd government for the current problems, he really let the cat … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, NBN, Politics | 7 Comments

IAN VERRENDER. The case for an east coast gas reservation policy

A little over a decade ago, then-West Australian premier Alan Carpenter had his back against the wall with threats from the gas and oil companies.. But he insisted on a gas reservation policy for WA.  Exxon quickly came to heel.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 4 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Trouble in infrastructure paradise, NSW Part 1 of 2

Sydney readers are being subjected to an onslaught of infrastructure puff pieces featuring former Transport Minister now Premier the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP.  It coincides with a desire to ‘showcase the Government’s infrastructure credentials’ and raise the Premier’s profile.  It also … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | 3 Comments

GREG BAILEY. Lobbyists and the Privatisation of the Political Process

Recent exposures of the extent of lobbying in Canberra and the revolving door of politicians becoming lobbyists highlight the extent to which politics here and in other Anglo-Saxon countries has become privatized. The effectiveness of the lobbyists–who are essentially mercenaries–poses … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Game changer.

Malcolm Turnbull crows that his National Energy Guarantee is a game changer – and so it is, but that doesn’t mean much.  The energy game has been changing for well over the last decade, and in all likelihood will go … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Politics | Comments Off on MUNGO MacCALLUM. Game changer.

WALTER HAMILTON. When Nothing Happened in Japan

After Sunday’s election, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be entitled to quote Mark Twain: ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’. Political death, that is. His ruling coalition threw back all challengers and retained the crucial two-thirds majority in … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull and Daniel Andrews.

The success of Victoria’s Labor government in passing its Assisted Dying legislation through the lower house is surely an object lesson in how to handle a sensitive and contentious subject.  

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 3 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. “A Royal Green Light”: The Palace, the Governor-General and the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government

Contrary to the accepted story that the Queen was not involved in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975, it is now clear that the Palace had a significant role in the process. Those involved, in Australia and in … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 11 Comments

MAX HAYTON. NZ election finally produces a government.

A stunning election outcome has given New Zealand a new government with the potential to transform the country’s economy and society. Risen star and youngest ever New Zealand woman Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, aged 37, leads a coalition that ends … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, International Affairs, Politics | 3 Comments

MICHAEL LAMBERT. The National Energy Guarantee – what do we make of it?

After a progression of schemes, such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), The Carbon Pollution Tax (CPT), Direct Action, including the Renewable Energy Target (RET) as well as dabbling with the Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS) and the Clean Energy Target … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Rent-seekers and corruption risks in the Australian mining industry and elsewhere.

In this blog Gigi Foster and Paul Frijters said:  ‘The vast majority of the richest Australians work in property, mining and banking/finance. … Tellingly, the highest earning workers in these industries do not invent or use advanced production or distribution … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

ALAN PEARS, ANNA SKARBEK, DYLAN MCCONNELL. Federal government unveils ‘National Energy Guarantee’ – experts react

The federal government has announced a new energy policy, after deciding against adopting the Clean Energy Target recommended by chief scientist Alan Finkel.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. John Kerr talked to John Guise

We know that John Kerr spoke in advance to many people, in secret ,about the dismissal of the Whitlam Government . He spoke to Garfield Barwick, Anthony Mason, Prince Charles and Lord Mountbatten. But he did not speak to his … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. A Commonwealth Hospital Benefit to replace the $11b private health insurance subsidy.

The wasteful and unfair $ 11b  per annum cost to taxpayers of the subsidy to Private Health Insurance should be abolished and the savings used in two possible ways – part funding a Medicare dental scheme and/or part  funding private … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | Comments Off on JOHN MENADUE. A Commonwealth Hospital Benefit to replace the $11b private health insurance subsidy.