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[27 Jul 2017 | No Comment | 9 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 …

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[6 Jul 2017 | No Comment | 20 views ]

It’s over
by ROSS FITZGERALD
The first duty of a leader is to keep the team together. This is Malcolm Turnbull’s biggest failure. The federal parliamentary party is split, some of its strongest talent is banished to the backbench, party members are resigning in droves and the government is pursuing policies it would condemn coming from Labor.
Turnbull has never understood that loyalty is a two way street. You’ve got to give loyalty in order to get it. This involves fidelity to principles as well as loyalty to people. As leader of the …

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[28 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on Manning Clark and the Vanishing Archaeologist | 13 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald
Students of Australian prehistory were once thin on the ground and interest in the field was equally limited. But that all began to change in the 1960s when work opportunities in the field began opening up. The search for archaeological traces of Australia’s ever more remote inhabited past was at last taking off as a discipline in the nation’s expanding universities.
Importantly, the subject already had acquired a dynamic exponent and champion in the person of John Mulvaney from Melbourne University. Mulvaney had completed …

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[23 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on Trouble in Libland | 28 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
The clock is now ticking on Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. He currently faces active resistance from more than a score of Coalition MPs who didn’t enter public life to mimic the Labor Party. To them, the current PM’s not just leading a ‘Labor-lite’ government; he’s in the process of undermining fundamental Liberal Party values.
Edmund Burke defined a political party as a group of people working to advance the national interest according to a set of principles upon which they all agree. As John …

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[1 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on A Vainglorious PM’s Bankrupt Budget | 18 views ]

By capitulating as dramatically as he has, Malcolm Turnbull further highlighted the question of his character while simultaneously trashing his party’s brand. Is there any principle he stands for or would fight for, other than personal ambition, blind vanity and his current position?
A Vainglorious PM’s Bankrupt Budget
by ROSS FITZGERALD
For the past few weeks in Canberra, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been congratulating himself on how well the budget has been received. No one in the Coalition party room has yet chosen to contradict him, but that doesn’t mean he’s right.
In …

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[19 May 2017 | Comments Off on Identity politics | 20 views ]

Liberal? Labor? Is there any visible difference between our two major parties?
ROSS FITZGERALD
The budget week just gone has marked the moment when both sides of politics officially gave up on budget repair and economic reform. Barring a change of leadership on the Coalition side or a change of heart from Labor, Australia now faces budget deficits as far as the eye can see and is set on an indefinite period of ever higher spending chased by ever higher taxes.
Going down the European path is likely to give us the European …

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[4 May 2017 | Comments Off on Dance of the budget veils | 19 views ]

Conventional wisdom holds that an elected government’s first budget should be its bravest. Albeit with a micro-majority, Malcolm Turnbull is an elected prime minister, rather than merely a coup leader. So next week’s budget should be an opportunity to place his economic stamp on the country.
It’s becoming clearer what the budget is likely to contain: there’ll be ‘good’ borrowing to fund more infrastructure, especially railways; there’ll be some superannuation concessions for seniors who downsize the family home; there’ll be some savings that will annoy the hell out of the impacted …

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[30 Apr 2017 | 2 Comments | 34 views ]

Despite a long career as a professor of history and politics, I am still fascinated by the spread of, and resistance to, evidence-based policies that work to reduce crime.
In the Western world, pills have been tested at youth music dance events for almost 20 years, improving public safety and saving scarce resources. Yet Australia has been slow to accept such testing, while rushing to adopt expensive, tough, anti-crime policies not backed by evidence. Having accepted these expensive ways of making a bad problem worse, our governments often persist with such …

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[20 Apr 2017 | Comments Off on We’ve lost faith in pollies. Only Abbott can stop the back-stabbing. | 28 views ]

IN the recent NSW by-elections, 23 per cent of the electorate ­either failed to vote at all or voted informal. At last year’s federal election, 23 per cent voted for minor parties or independents, 5 per cent voted informal and 9 per cent didn’t turn up. That’s well over a third of the electorate that ­declined to vote for the two big parties that have governed Australia, in one form or another, since Federation.
It’s hard to recall a time when people have been so disillusioned with politicians. This matters because …

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[7 Apr 2017 | Comments Off on Judging Turnbull | 19 views ]

Recently, Malcolm Turnbull has from time to time tried to act like the centre-right leader of a centre-right government, which is what is needed if the Coalition is to have any chance of being reelected.
After rejecting any change during the last election campaign, last week the Turnbull government had a good go at reforming section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. In this, the PM had the public support from Tony Abbott that Abbott never had from him last time round. Then last Friday, Turnbull achieved success in passing significant …

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[7 Apr 2017 | One Comment | 18 views ]

TONIGHT, with both sides yet to register a win, Collingwood and Sydney play a crucial game of Aussie rules at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Sydney/Collingwood contest under lights has all the hallmarks of a blockbuster, especially as it will see Sydney’s superstar Lance (‘Buddy’) Franklin celebrate his 250th senior AFL game.
And yet something doesn’t feel quite right.
Perhaps it’s the oddly quiet build-up to the match from two teams usually all too happy to trade barbs across the border. Or perhaps it’s just the calm before the storm?
Collingwood’s president has …