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[9 Nov 2017 | One Comment | 14 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
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 …

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[6 Nov 2017 | 2 Comments | 15 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 …

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[26 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 39 views ]

ROSS FITZGERALD
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 …

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[15 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 35 views ]

By ROSS FITZGERALD
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 …

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[12 Oct 2017 | Comments Off on Ten More Newspolls To Go… | 14 views ]

Ten More Newspolls To Go…
by ROSS FITZGERALD
Thirty Newspoll losses in a row: this is the leadership test that Malcolm Turnbull used to justify his coup against Tony Abbott. Turnbull has now lost twenty Newspolls in a row and there seems to be no light at the end of his tunnel. So what does the Prime Minister do when he fails his own leadership test? This is the question that must be haunting Turnbull. And what does the Liberal Party do when its leader fails the leadership test that he himself …

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[28 Sep 2017 | One Comment | 73 views ]

As 38 public universities face budget cuts from federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham where can they find their own cuts?
With the taxpayer salary bill for Vice Chancellors (VC) in excess of $34 million each year, the superstructure of Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors (DVC), and Pro-Vice Chancellors (PVC) is an obvious starting point.
Reducing VC’s salary packages from an average $1 million per annum to only just over three times the average salary for a full Professor, or about twice the salary of a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, would …

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[14 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Our energy farce | 30 views ]

Our energy farce
by ROSS FITZGERALD
What a mess! Australia has the world’s largest readily available supplies of coal, gas and uranium yet our power prices are among the world’s highest. Moreover it looks like the lights are likely to go out this summer, especially in Victoria and South Australia. This is what happens when our energy policy is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions rather than to produce the most affordable and reliable power.
The absurdity of our position and its implications for our future as an industrial economy seem …

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[31 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on When Communists Invaded Cold War Canberra | 28 views ]

When Communists Invaded Cold War Canberra
by ROSS FITZGERALD
The seemingly endless second prime ministerial stint of Liberal Party stalwart Robert Gordon Menzies from 1949 to 1966 was not, as it is now often portrayed, a period of unbroken certainty, somnolence and solidity. The first years of the Menzies restoration in particular were quite rocky.
For a start, when Menzies won the 1949 federal election, his incoming government faced a hostile Senate. Sixteen months later a double-dissolution defeat for Labor ended the impasse. But success on this front was shortly …

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[25 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Why safe drug-consumption rooms make more sense than drug-testing welfare recipients | 31 views ]

Why safe drug-consumption rooms make more sense than drug-testing welfare recipients
BY ROSS FITZGERALD
Sparked by a spate of overdose deaths of young people, there is currently a debate about establishing a ‘Drug Consumption Room’ (DCR) in Richmond, in Melbourne.
This follows MP Fiona Patten introducing a bill in February in the Victorian Parliament for an Australian trial of such a facility.
But it is not only in Melbourne that debate is raging. It is now occurring nationally, and especially in western Sydney where, at Canterbury-Bankstown, the federal government is planning to drug-test welfare …

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[24 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Stopping Shorten | 76 views ]

SPECTATOR AUSTRALIA: Australian Notes
Stopping Shorten
by Ross Fitzgerald
For once, Malcolm Turnbull’s current travails are not all his own fault. The Prime Minister could hardly be blamed for questions over the Deputy Prime Minister’s eligibility to sit in federal parliament. Indeed, it’s hard to see Barnaby Joyce’s culpability either: he could not be expected to know what his father – who had left New Zealand as a youth and never held a Kiwi passport – also didn’t know and had no reason to suspect.
The dual citizenship crisis is the kind of bolt-from-the-blue …

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[27 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on Abbott’s mission | 53 views ]

Abbott’s mission
The Liberal party now needs saving from itself
ROSS FITZGERALD
As Adam Smith once observed, in most nations there’s often a lot of ruin. His point was that it takes much more than a short period of bad government to inflict major damage on a strong country.
In a well-developed civil society, very little requires the express say-so of government. People are always trying to improve their lot, and largely succeeding, even when the government of the day is consistently getting it wrong. That said, government matters because it …