Australian Politics


Vale Gough

From the always superb Guy Rundle at Crikey: Born in 1916, when the Labor Party was not much more than a decade old, the son of a senior public servant, he grew up in Canberra, when it was not much more than a pseudo-English village. He went on to Sydney University in the ’30s, where


Gough Whitlam dies

From the AFR: “Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98,” a statement issued by his children on Tuesday morning said. “A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.” Mr Whitlam was prime minister from 1972 until


Abbott shirtfronts polls

From The Australian: THREE out of five Australians are in favour of Tony Abbott confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when he visits Australia next month. But despite endorsing the Prime Minister’s tough talk, the latest Newspoll, taken exclusively for The Australian, shows overall support for the ­Coalition has


Coalition revolts against Abbott’s stupid PPL

By Leith van Onselen The Australian has revealed today that Coalition members continue to revolt against Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave (PPL) scheme, with five members resolving to cross the floor and vote against the measure: [The members] are Barry O’Sullivan and Ian Macdonald from Queensland, Dean Smith from Western Australia, Cory Bernardi from South


Abbott releases Putin’s shirtfront

Perhaps intimidated by Vladimir Putin’s physique or his judo black belt, Prime Minister Abbott has backed away from yesterday’s threats: Russian President Vladimir Putin may dodge a shirtfront if he visits Australia next month but should expect a “very robust conversation” over the downing of MH17. …Mr Abbott wouldn’t repeat the aggressive term on Tuesday,


Colin Barnett has no idea

From the AFR, it’s difficult to know where to start with this from WA Premier Colin Barnett in parliament yesterday: “If you are selling a product into a market and the price is falling and falling at a very fast rate, the normal commercial reaction would be to cut back on supply into that industry…You


Russian envoy warns Abbott of Putin judo

It’s a laugh a minute this story. From the AFR: Russian embassy second secretary Alex Oedovskiy said he considered Mr Abbott’s words immature, rather than tough. “As I understand, this is quite an old fashioned term which is not widely used in the modern day game,” he said. “Also, it is illegal. “Another observation would


Abbott to punch-out Putin at G20

Hit ‘im, Tone: “I’m going to shirtfront Mr Putin,” the prime minister said on Monday. “I’m going to be saying to Mr Putin, Australians were murdered. They were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment.” He said he would also be demanding Russia co-operate with the criminal investigation and if evidence is sought it should be


Nothing like a good war to lift the incumbent

From The Australian: TONY Abbott and the Coalition are clawing back support in South Australia, Western Australia and NSW but Bill Shorten and Labor are making strong gains in Queensland and dominate in Victoria. Men and voters aged over 50 are clear backers of the Prime Minister, while the Opposition Leader’s strongest support comes from


Australia goes to war again in Iraq

by Chris Becker Well at least the RAAF will get a chance to use their new Super Hornets. From the SMH: Tony Abbott has given the go-ahead for RAAF fighters to begin air strikes against the feared Islamic State in Iraq, marking the start of Australia’s military involvement in a campaign likely to last months


Crikey fights lone hand on Iraq

Good for Crikey, fighting a lone hand in bringing debate to the rush to war. From Bernard Keane: Yesterday’s massive anti-terror raids were, apart from the success of possibly disrupting an alleged murder plot, quite a media event…Examined a little more closely, the details became more problematic. Despite talk of a “cell”, a total of two


Ausmerican President declares war on ISIL

Barrack Obama, President of Australian foreign policy, has today declared war upon ISIL: “My fellow Americans [Australians] – tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL. As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security


In bed with business

Credlingate appears to gathering some momentum. From Fairfax: Labor has accused the federal government of taking “cash for questions” after it was revealed that Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, planned to use Parliament to showcase the case of a prominent Liberal Party donor against the carbon tax. …The emails reveal that, in March


A stocktake of Abbott’s first year

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Tony Abbott promised a government of no surprises but has delivered a year chock-full of them. A prime minister expected to lean to caution has thrown it to the winds. A leader without a cushion of popularity has taken big political risks. A man who campaigned on trust has squandered much


Time to pause before war

The evidence is everywhere that we have a dilettante government: in failed policy ideas and process, a political tin-ear, butchered budgets, negotiating ineptitude, shifting values and whacky ideologies. That doesn’t mean that the Government won’t learn and improve. Sure it will. It’s slowly backtracking from it’s more outlandish budget ideas, is crawling back to the political


How damaging is the Coalition identity crisis?

The think tank loon pond that underpins Coalition ideas these days appears to have overreached. A shakeout of sorts has begun and one wonders if it can transpire without further deleterious impacts upon the economy.  Tristan Edis reports that: Alan Moran, who has been one of the most vociferous and long-standing opponents of renewable energy and


Labor’s lead narrows, or not

From Newspoll: Looks like Tony and Rupert may have finally have picked themselves a winner in “terror”. Meanwhile, from Roy Morgan: ALP support fell to 55.5% (down 0.5%) still well ahead of the L-NP 44.5%, (up 0.5%) on a two-party preferred basis. If a Federal Election had been held the ALP would have won easily


The Palmer singularity sucks in all

Clive Palmer’s spectacular personality explosion continues to wreak havoc in politics. Following the last few weeks of conservative hand-wringing and bluster over free speech and the “right to be a bigot” ensconced in the now withdrawn repeal to section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, conservatives are now queuing up to condemn and shut down that


Coalition slow to learn compromise

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott Government appears to finally be giving ground on controversial Budget measures, flagging that it might accept compromise packages that water down the proposed $7 GP co-payment and Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave (PPL) scheme. Regarding the GP co-payment, the Government is reportedly looking “seriously” at exempting vulnerable groups, such


Boots on the ground as Iraq must be saved!

It’s back into Iraq we go. From The Australian: PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has refused to rule out deploying Australian troops on the ground in Northern Iraq — the first such mission in more than a decade — to assist in the humanitarian protection of the Yazidi people stranded on Mount Sinjar. It is understood