Author Archives: Tony Smith


About Tony Smith

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

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

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

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.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 13 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

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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TONY SMITH. The unacceptable road toll.

We should not accept that it is inevitable that people will die on our roads. While drivers must behave responsibly, governments need to take actions which might seem radical in a society obsessed with cars. 

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. What is a good MP?

It is hardly surprising that, as female Liberal Party parliamentarians have expressed dismay over the way that they were bullied during the removal of Prime Minister Turnbull, party powerbrokers have reacted by seeking to  prescribe the role of the politician.  … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

TONY SMITH. Hostage to the masculine sense of entitlement.

When a society seems unable to ameliorate its social problems, something is obviously amiss. People in the USA might despair of ever breaking free of the pervasive firearms culture which is implicated in frequent mass shootings. In Australia, we have … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Politics | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. Under siege – the ABC, the Coalition and News Ltd.

When the Liberal Party Council endorsed a motion that sought to make privatisation of the ABC party policy, it laid bare several realities about Australian politics and media. The most obvious is that the ABC is under siege by the … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | 2 Comments

TONY SMITH. A hope for the future?

There is plenty to criticise in the current state of Australian politics. It is important that expert commentators continue to point out the shortcomings of the system and the poor quality of those attracted to politics. There are however, occasional … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. Australia’s worst threat from terrorism lies in the home.

The recent shooting in Las Vegas is a reminder that massacres are not the preserve of international terrorists. While the US Ambassador in Canberra has suggested Australia’s firearms laws could be a useful model for the USA, we cannot feel … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment