Author Archives: Tony Smith

Tony Smith

About Tony Smith

Dr Tony Smith is a former political science academic with interests in elections, parliament and political ethics.

There is a crisis in Australian democracy. Corruption is rampant.

While a number of institutions exist to scrutinise federal government and MPs, calls for establishment of a federal corruption watchdog like the Independent Commission Against Corruption in New South Wales or the Criminal Justice Commission in Queensland have never been … Continue reading

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Will they be renamed ‘koala tears’?

Possible koala extinction in New South Wales is a symptom of a deeper malaise. The inability of this cherished herbivore to bounce back following the summer’s inferno shows that many species are threatened by cynical human activity.

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An Indigenous inspired paradigm for the War Memorial

The debate over the purpose of the Australian War Memorial needs to be revisited with a view to recognising the Indigenous people who mounted heroic resistance to a ruthless invader from 1788.

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Parramatta needs a Jack Mundey

Students always had some difficulty believing that I remembered the first traffic light turned on in Parramatta. The pace of change is such that memories vanish before they can be recorded. In the cradle city of Australia, ‘development’ is about … Continue reading

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Remove place names dedicated to racists. *

* This article uses the names of some deceased persons. The removal of the visual reminders of perpetrators of racism is a good move towards helping Indigenous peoples feel as though they belong in their own land.

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs, Politics | 5 Comments

Poor prospects for Indigenous justice.

Those of us who would like to live in a more just Australia have little reason for optimism. We endure the shame of continually failing to address the social disadvantage affecting Indigenous peoples. Demands for change will continue.

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | 3 Comments

TONY SMITH. Time to abolish the spies?

Planned expansion of the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) should alarm anyone who believes in democratic values and rule of law.

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 4 Comments

TONY SMITH. Promoting ignorance over education.

True education is open minded and open ended. It is the antithesis of propaganda and works to free minds, not control them. The federal government has a minister who lacks any understanding of basic educational principles.

Posted in Education, Health | 5 Comments

TONY SMITH. Viral vulnerability is universal – the economic impact is not.

While I sit at home in splendid isolation contemplating viral vulnerability, I am alarmed by the way some members of the Australian community are being disadvantaged by government responses to the pandemic. I was ashamed to see the lines outside … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH.- Virtual parliament or elective dictatorship?

As the Morrison Government responds incrementally to the Corona Virus epidemic – apparently following expert medical advice – there has been much comment about decisions to close businesses such as hairdressing salons. Sadly, the decision to shut down parliament received … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Government in perpetual crisis.

Dealing with the corona virus epidemic requires extraordinary measures by governments. Unfortunately, the Australian government’s response has been piecemeal and does not inspire confidence.

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TONY SMITH. Time for real leadership on domestic violence.

The latest horrific episode of domestic violence involving multiple murders and suicide in Brisbane has elicited expressions of disgust and dismay across the country. Given that such atrocities occur frequently, it is obvious that something is lacking in society’s attempts … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Gladys for Prime Minister? Winning friends in a crisis

It has been interesting to watch the various leadership styles on display during the bushfire crisis. In contrast to the Prime Minister’s pathetic attempts to dominate, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has displayed integrity, administrative ability and empathy. Indeed … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. The short sighted politicians dividing the nation.

The first speeches of most federal and state parliamentarians (MPs) are idealistic. Some MPs stick to these principles. Others do not. An aim commonly stated by MPs is to represent all the people in their electorates, whether they voted for … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. A flicker of interest in human rights

Foreign Minister Marise Payne recently incurred the wrath of China by daring to mention the treatment of the Uighurs. At first sight this might seem to signal the beginning of a new commitment to human rights by the Coalition Government. … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. The use and abuse of victims

Victims and their suffering are politically important to the Australian government. The Coalition creates some victims who genuinely suffer as a result of policy decisions. They persuade other people that they are victims – of political correctness for example – … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. CEO remuneration and socio-economic decline

Superannuation investors are keenly interested in income distribution patterns. They also monitor the ethics of companies in which they might invest. Recently they published a report of research into the Australian Stock Exchange’s top 100 Chief Executive Officers. The report … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 5 Comments

TONY SMITH. What price an early election? Ten grand a head?

As the Prime Minister looks over his shoulder for the inevitable challenge, the prospect of an early election must be tempting. With the New South Wales Labor Party before the Independent Commission Against Corruption and Channel 9 giving the Liberals … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Pre-dawn raids find a ready place in our nasty political culture

There are many precedents for the thuggish pre-dawn raid in Biloela to remove a harmless Sri Lankan couple from their home and support base. While the incident has shocked fair minded Australians such heartless behaviour has become increasingly normalised as … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Time to revisit Agent Orange

The recently deceased former Nationals Leader Tim Fischer was widely respected for his sincerity and integrity, two qualities in short supply in parliament today. He always behaved with dignity and self-control. While some of that self-discipline might be attributable to … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Capital punishment will not stop gun violence

It is perhaps understandable that in their anger and grief, people who have lost loved ones in gun violence call for the perpetrators to be executed. It is however, inappropriate for political leaders to pretend that capital punishment is an … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Time to stop this marginal madness

The reputation of the New South Wales Coalition Government in the area of environmental management has taken yet another tumble. Along with decimation of National Parks, poor management of Murray-Darling water, failure to act on carbon emissions and ignorance of … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Here come the boats – and the boots.

When the Australian Government allowed the USA to establish a permanent military base in the Darwin area, it began a process likely to result in expansion. Regardless of how local ‘Hawks’ might try to depict the latest plans for ‘investment’ … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Two ears, one mouth. Not quite enough listening yet.

While every Australian must wish Ken Wyatt well in the portfolio of Indigenous Australians, he still must operate in a system which has shown itself unsympathetic to the needs of first Australians. His intention to present a referendum on recognition … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Time to revive the ‘most appalling’ list.

As a naive teacher of undergraduates I always assumed that research findings about wealth distribution in Australia would be of vital interest to students in any discipline. Understanding the extremes of wealth and poverty and their causes seemed to be … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Christchurch: a challenge to the sincerity of Australian politicians

Two weeks after the massacres of worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealanders held a moving multilingual commemorative service emphasising unity. Among the speakers was Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel who said that it was important that each of us looks into our … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Disability and disenfranchisement: the social construction of political disadvantage

Thanks to the determination of disability advocates such as Senator Steele-John, national attention is being drawn to ways in which society fails people with ‘disabilities’. Indeed, in our general disregard for the needs of Australians of different abilities, we exclude … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. The environment – top issue for New South Wales voters

Traditionally, New South Wales election campaigns are tightly controlled affairs. Perhaps because the major party planners think that most elections will be close, they concentrate on one or two key statewide issues and hope that local campaigning will see them … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. Last hurrah for New South Wales Coalition Government – a festival election?

The Coalition Government in New South Wales faces the fixed four year election in late March. It has been looking desperate for the last couple of years and has come under pressure recently about drug deaths at music festivals. Its … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Refusal of custodianship and environmental crises.

Whitefella criticisms of Australia Day have argued that 26 January is a significant date mainly for New South Wales and especially Sydney. Recently, fish kills in western waterways and the wind erosion of topsoil have shown that the state faces … Continue reading

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