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[18 Dec 2017 | No Comment | 8 views ]

Bennelong was hardly a normal by-election. In most by-elections, the sitting member has decamped for a cushy job outside the parliament, which is why voters normally punish the incumbent party with a swing in the order of 5 per cent. This time, the sitting member was running again so Bennelong was more along the lines of a general election, only in just one seat.
Still, Malcolm Turnbull will ­believe that, like the earlier New ­England result, this victory is a vindication, and that nothing much needs to change. So there’ll be …

Featured »

[15 Dec 2017 | No Comment | 8 views ]

The Australian Republic Movement will today announce establishment of a high-level advisory panel, comprising a diverse group from politics, business, academia, media and the law.
The group of eminent republicans includes former parliamentarians from across the political divide: Labor leader Kim Beazley, Victorian premier Steve Bracks, Nationals leader Tim Fischer and Liberal Senate leader Robert Hill.
The Australian Republic Advisory Panel will act as patrons for the republican cause, provide guidance on legal and constitutional issues and advise on campaign strategy and tactics.
The other appointments are: book publisher Louise …

Reviews »

[9 Dec 2017 | No Comment | 16 views ]

‘Monash and Chauvel: How Australia’s Two Greatest Generals Changed the Course of World History’
By Roland Perry
Allen & Unwin, 567pp, $34.99
The legend of Gallipoli may never be eclipsed but recent celebrations have accentuated the heroes of the Western Front and the Middle East. The gallantry and sacrifice of our Diggers is legendary but we should also honour two of World War I’s most outstanding field commanders, both Australians: John Monash and Harry Chauvel.
In this fine book about the two Aussie generals, Roland Perry cogently argues that the Anzacs’ experience at Gallipoli …

Columns »

[4 Dec 2017 | 2 Comments | 49 views ]

Ross Fitzgerald
After the euphoria of Saturday night’s big win for Barnaby Joyce comes today’s Newspoll and, with it, once more, Malcolm Turnbull is back to a zombie prime ministership. To succeed, Turnbull needs big policy changes and big personnel changes that, temperamentally, he just can’t deliver.
More fundamentally, he’s doomed by his history. In a democracy, the top job is the gift of the people, not the politicians, and you can’t seize the job from the people’s choice and expect to overcome that dishonour.
Paul Keating just got away with politically …

Columns »

[21 Nov 2017 | No Comment | 40 views ]

Go Now, Mr Turnbull. Just Go
A prime minister who would rather not face the Parliament is a leader in terminal trouble. Let’s face it, PMs owe their position to their command of the party room and of the House of Representatives. But Malcolm Turnbull’s fear of both shows that his leadership has, at best, become a day-to-day proposition.
The government’s excuse for putting off the parliament just doesn’t wash. House leader Christopher Pyne says that all the parliament has to consider before Christmas is same sex marriage and …

Columns »

[21 Nov 2017 | No Comment | 20 views ]

The Light on the Hill and the Gink’s Revenge
by Ross Fitzgerald
Mythologising in politics rarely survives intact when confronted with the results of sober historical research.
A case in point, with strong political resonance, concerns Australian Labor Party leader Ben Chifley and his famed expression, “the light on the hill”. These words, both in the immediate post-Second World War Chifley years and ever since then in Labor circles, are intended to sum up the vision that supposedly energises and ennobles the ALP and its leaders as they strive for a fairer …

Columns »

[9 Nov 2017 | One Comment | 33 views ]

What a mess: and for once, it didn’t start with Malcolm Turnbull. The citizenship fiasco is a consequence of the Constitution, the High Court and politicians who assumed too much. But it’s now the Prime Minister’s responsibility to fix and, so far, he’s making a complete hash of it. Even a dud isn’t responsible for everything that goes wrong. But you can rely on a dud to further muck things up.
After floundering for weeks, Mr Turnbull has now announced a process of sorts …

Columns »

[6 Nov 2017 | 2 Comments | 20 views ]

Surely the revelation that the president of the Australian Senate, Stephen Parry, is ineligible to hold office will sound the death knell of this stumbling, embarrassing shambles we call the Australian government.
While former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce waits for the result of the December 2 New England by-election, the existence of the Coalition government rests with four independent members of the House of Representatives: Bob Katter, Cathy McGowan, Rebekha Sharkie and Andrew Wilkie. Each has pledged to support the Turnbull government on matters of supply and against no-confidence …

Columns »

[27 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 10 views ]

Here’s the link to this week’s ‘Future Tense’ program on ABC Radio National about Tertiary Education, which features Ross Fitzgerald and others being interviewed by Antony Funnell.
The audio is available to listen to from this site as either a download or streaming audio –
This program on Tertiary Education will be first broadcast this Sunday (October 29) at 10.30am on ABC Radio National, then at 7.30pm next Wed on RN and finally at 1.00pm on RN next Friday .

Columns »

[26 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 49 views ]

The “Malcolm project”, to the extent that it’s not all about him, is actually about making the Liberal Party less conservative. Malcolm Turnbull let the cat out of the bag in London in July when he noted that Robert Menzies said: “We took the name ‘Liberal’ because we were determined to be a progressive party (and) in no sense reactionary.”
Although the Prime Minister also said “the Liberal Party stands for freedom or it stands for nothing”, contrasting this with Labor’s insistence that “government knows best”, so far the …

Columns »

[15 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 40 views ]

Surely it is time for Australia to abandon its punitive approach to people struggling with illicit drug problems. This should include rejecting the draconian Welfare Reform Bill in its entirety.
The Senate is expected to vote on the Turnbull government’s bill on October 18, with a proposal to trial drug-testing applicants for income support, as well as including the use of a cashless welfare card for some recipients.
This trial has attracted overwhelming criticism from professional groups.
The Welfare Reform Bill also proposes some harsh exclusions for the receipt of …