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.

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

TONY SMITH. The farcical appeal to ‘family values’

Some opponents of marriage equality have resorted to spurious arguments about ‘family values’. The record of arch-conservatives on war, overseas aid, asylum seekers, Indigenous affairs, the social safety net, free market capitalism, the working poor and the monarchy suggests that … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights | 2 Comments

TONY SMITH. In Defence of the Yarra Council

Local government leading the way on an important political issue? Who would have thought it? Well, anyone with an eye to federal ossification on Indigenous policy will welcome the move to stop calling 26 January ‘Australia Day’ as a potential … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. After the high hopes of Garma, disappointment sets in.

Last weekend, Indigenous leaders gathered at the Garma festival in north east Arnhem Land. The coverage on NITV showed a distinct slide from initial politeness and hope to disappointment and anger.

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs | 1 Comment

TONY SMITH. The ‘Masked’ Man on Horseback.

When Prime Minister Turnbull announced changes to the way Australia’s security is conducted, he was accompanied by a member of the military. There is nothing unusual about that – except that the soldier was masked. The Prime Minister seemed to … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 5 Comments

TONY SMITH. The political ugliness we cannot hide

Half a century ago in The Australian Ugliness Robin Boyd reminded us what  happens when architectural planners embrace utilitarianism and abandon aesthetics. During the days of the Howard Coalition Government, examining the invasion of Iraq and policy on asylum seekers, … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 7 Comments

TONY SMITH. Company tax cuts by any other name

The federal government might have called its company tax cuts bill by another almost Orwellian name, but semantic disguises should not fool anyone. Tax cuts are being delivered to Australian business.  

Posted in Economy, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

TONY SMITH. Hope in diversity and real cases, not ideological claptrap

Self-righteous people, believing themselves to be ‘self-made’ are prepared to punish children along with single mothers and so entrench disadvantage for generations. 

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

TONY SMITH. Media ignorance of disrespect for parliament and people

It is a shame that at a time when government is so hollow, only a handful of journalists can escape the cliché and find a basis for critical analysis of policy, which ought to be the basis for judging a … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

TONY SMITH. A nasty government

The compact between government and citizen is being destroyed. 

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

TONY SMITH. The US presidential election: no Australian perspective

We can’t get enough of Donald and Hilary! John Tulloh correctly identifies US influence in the priorities of Australian media. Half a century ago Henry Mayer argued that while media might not influence how we think, they do decide what … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Hopes End: the cynics must not prevail

  Dear Prime Minister Turnbull Congratulations on your election success. Two years ago very few observers believed the Coalition Government deserved another term so you have a personal achievement of which you can be proud. While you were busy campaigning, … 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

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Tony Smith. There is a hole in my heart where NITV News used to be

There are times when the rhetoric about ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the population sticks in the throat. This week I turned on my preferred television news source – the 5.30 bulletin on National Indigenous … Continue reading

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Tony Smith. Wasting money on domestic violence?

The implementation of most Government policies requires some kind of expenditure. One of the laziest approaches an Opposition can adopt is to cite slogans about cost. This sloganeering is at its most shallow when arguing that the Government is just … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Tony Smith. Baird’s risk on asylum seekers

When New South Wales Premier Michael Baird told an Australia Day luncheon that we should be more accepting of asylum seekers, he was taking quite a risk. Baird’s federal Liberal Party colleagues have espoused the hard policy of stopping the … Continue reading

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Tony Smith. Our dubious talent as jailers

In 2004 I was a patient in the cardiac unit of RPAH Sydney. I had mysterious heart inflammation which turned out to be due to a rare auto-immune condition known as Churg-Strauss Syndrome, a form of vasculitis that raises the … Continue reading

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Tony Smith. The failure of imagination

Australia has rushed to despatch even more armaments into the already troubled areas contested by men of violence across Iraq and Syria. It is clear that once again, our national government has assumed that this action is necessary and unavoidable. … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Tony Smith. Dubious celebrations of war.

On 28 July 1914, the world was thrown into a terrible conflict. On that day, a Serbian nationalist assassinated an Austrian archduke and his wife. Because European states belonged to alliances which were heavily armed and many countries on other … Continue reading

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

Tony Smith. Singing out for asylum seekers.

Recent poll results that show rising support for the Abbott Government’s approach to border security are disturbing even if not entirely surprising. Asylum seekers have been detained offshore, out of general sight and conveniently out of mind for those Australians … Continue reading

Posted in Refugees, Immigration | Tagged , | 1 Comment