Articles on Political history

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Ricky Muir makes up his mind based on how he thinks the proposed policy will affect ordinary Australians like himself. AAP/Lukas Coch

The proposed Senate voting change will hurt Australian democracy

Australia’s political system would be better off with more ordinary people and fewer career party politicians in the Senate. It would thus be more representative of ordinary Australians, not less.
Managing the ‘broad church’ of the Liberal Party is one of Malcolm Turnbull’s greatest challenges. AAP/Mick Tsikas

A liberal leading the Liberals: can Turnbull manage the ultra-conservatives?

Ultra-conservatism has a rich and complex history within Australian parties, and Malcolm Turnbull has the difficult task of balancing the more extreme elements of his party with his own liberal views.
Barnaby Joyce will replace Warren Truss as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Truss out, Joyce in – what next for the Nationals?

Under new leader Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals – the most-successful minor party in Australia’s political history – will pretty much continue to be treated as the Akubra wing of the Liberals.
Labor has accused Stuart Robert of breaching ministerial guidelines by misusing public office. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Will heads roll? Ministerial standards and Stuart Robert

The principle underlying the ministerial standards is that ministers should uphold the public's trust as they wield a great deal of power deriving from their public office.
Philip Ruddock attracted the ire of human rights activists for his actions as a minister in the Howard government. AAP/Dean Lewins

Ruddock as human rights envoy? Don’t scoff too soon

As Australia’s special envoy for human rights, Philip Ruddock will have the chance to change the world instead of listening to other people make suggestions about how it might be done.
John Curtin and Ben Chifley were successful in expanding the power of the Commonwealth – and thus that of the prime minister. AAP/Alan Porritt

Lacking a script, individuals drove the evolution of prime ministerial power

Alfred Deakin and his contemporaries invented the Australian prime ministership. But it was not settled as a platform for national leadership until John Curtin and Ben Chifley's time.
Tony Abbott remained at consistently low levels of approval throughout his time as prime minister. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Why was Tony Abbott so unpopular?

Tony Abbott failed to read the signs of the times. His rhetoric was Churchillian, emphasising struggle, crisis and emergency.

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