Niccolo Machiavelli recognised the absolute importance of dealing with necessity – what we know today as ‘reform’.
Santi di Tito
In our modern age, reform means essentially mastering necessity – taking what steps are necessary to ensure that one’s country survives and prospers.
It seems to be an extremely difficult task for a party leader, even as prime minister, to stamp their authority on the party.
Since 2007 Australia has not really had prime ministers of sufficient calibre. Instead, we have had an incessant struggle for power by those who believed they had the goods.
Many features of Australians’ and their government’s current response to the Syrian refugee crisis are familiar.
We need to see Australia's response to the Syrian refugee crisis in perspective – in relation to what's been done elsewhere and to what Australia has done on similar occasions in the past.
Australia’s traditional reliance on multilateralism and alliances won’t be enough to negotiate the geopolitical rivalries of the Asian century.
For the past two centuries, Australia got many of the big calls on global engagement right. In our third century, there are worrying signs that we have not fully grasped what the rise of Asia means.
The Australian Border Force’s creation was no simple re-shuffling of departmental units.
The Australian Border Force represents a significant departure from earlier ways of managing the border.
Tony Abbott has flagged a plebiscite, or ‘people’s vote’, on same-sex marriage.
Every generation in the last 150 years has seen in Australia a contest over marriage which reflects shifting positions on its defining features, and its associated rights and obligations.
B.A. Santamaria (left) is the subject of a new biography by political commentator Gerard Henderson.
Gerard Henderson has produced a rounded and at times fascinating portrait of B. A. Santamaria. His broad conclusion is that Santamaria was a compelling, skilled and persuasive man who was enormously devoted to his causes.
NSW Labor leader Luke Foley moved a motion for Labor to review its ‘socialist objective’, which dates back to 1921.
Given that retaining the socialist objective hasn’t prevented the ALP from developing pro-market policies, why is it still seen as such a significant issue?
The ALP national conference has become a highly choreographed, stage-managed affair in recent times.
The ALP national conference has lost its policymaking significance of the past. Instead it has become a reflection of the leader's standing within the party.
Joan Kirner, Victoria’s first – and so far only – female premier, has died at the age of 76.
The career of late former Victorian premier Joan Kirner illustrated the story of the Australian Left from the Whitlam era to the present day.
Tony Abbott risks having same-sex marriage used against him electorally – just as his Liberal Party once tried to use it against Labor.
As opposition leader Bill Shorten prepares to introduce an amendment on Monday to the Marriage Act to legalise same-sex marriage, why has Australia lagged so far behind?
On the fringes of resistance.
Istituto per la Storia della Resistenza e Storia Contemporanea
Everyone learns about the French resistance but what about the freedom fighters across the Alps?
I don’t need to look where I’m going. It’s all in the plan.
George Osborne's favourite catchphrase has a long tradition.
Labor has long had leaders, such as former prime minister Paul Keating, capable of speaking the language of Anzac.
There is a complicated story involving the Anzac legend and the left between the 1920s and the 1960s which historians have barely begun to untangle.
The Whitlam government had a reformist vision whose origins lay in the future prime minister’s own wartime experience.
While serving in the RAAF, future prime minister Gough Whitlam led his first political campaign, agitating among his own squadron in support of the 1944 referendum.
Since its 2010-13 ‘partnership’ with the Greens, any failure by Labor to mark its independence has been punished by the electorate.
A political party that isn’t sure what it stands for isn’t really a party.
All by myself.
The Latham Diaries remains a seminal piece – not only having revealed the ALP's inner workings, but having highlighted policy issues and structural problems which continue to be of concern.
Because their votes may be open to negotiation, crossbench senators often have the final say on the form, and passage, of legislation.
Instead of treating crossbenchers in parliament as a source of chaos and an aberration, we should recognise that they play a crucial role in shaping legislation as the constitution provides.
Malcolm Fraser appeared more comfortable in the media gaze out of politics than in it.
Malcolm Fraser’s relationship with the Australian media waxed and waned, from enthusiasm, pragmatism and caution to something, in the end, approaching mutual respect and perhaps even affection.
Lunch with Gough and Malcolm, as guests of Barry Jones in 2008.
Malcolm Fraser used to argue that he had not changed his political position, but he had in significant ways. This personal evolution was a wonderful quality in the former prime minister.