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.

The Government championing free speech is a red herring

The refusal of some social media to allow Donald Trump a platform to spread lies and incite violence is too little too late. Expressions of unease by senior Coalition figures about some dubious threat to free speech are no more … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

Stop playing with our lives, this is not a game

While it has proven very difficult to convince politicians that we have a climate change emergency on our hands, we might expect that bushfires and the pandemic would rock their complacency. And yet, the New South Wales government insists on … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

How NSW lost control of the virus. Yet Scott Morrison said that NSW was the ‘gold standard’ in infection control.

When Covid was detected in Sydney’s northern beaches area, the peninsula was locked down strongly by the Berejiklian government. While that cluster seems to have been contained, outbreaks elsewhere around Sydney have thrown some curious decisions into the limelight.

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

On Grace Karskens’ The People of the River. A remarkable story of settler and Indigenous co-existence.

 The Nepean-Hawkesbury – Dyarubbin – witnessed a remarkable story of settler and Indigenous co-existence. In her recent tome, Grace Karskens uncovers this story while shattering many myths and setting new standards for interpretation of historical records.

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | 5 Comments

We need the diplomatic skills of a ‘Chinese Morrison’

Tensions between China and Australia over trade and security hurt both countries. It is time that the great salesman Prime Minister Morrison went to Beijing to resolve misunderstandings.

Posted in China, Politics | 6 Comments

The essence of war is to kill

A recent spike in the statistics has seen the number of suicides by Australia’s Afghanistan veterans pass 500. This is an appalling toll which raises many deep questions for us all.

Posted in Human Rights | 6 Comments

Anyone laughing has not heard the news. Vale Mungo.

In 2001 I reviewed Mungo MacCallum’s memoir ‘The Man Who Laughs’ (AQ 73(6), Nov-December). Although this entertaining writer appeared to have retired from political commentary, I, like so many readers, was thankful that he took up the pen for Pearls … Continue reading

Posted in Tributes | 1 Comment

Wilful blindness of the Anzac myth and our military death toll

A recent spike in the statistics has seen the number of suicides by Australia’s Afghanistan veterans pass 500. This is an appalling toll which raises many deep questions for all of us.

Posted in Defence and Security | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 10 Comments

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.

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | Leave a comment

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

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