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Bill Shorten is reportedly reconsidering the Labor Party’s position on the question of a carbon tax, the latest chapter in Labor’s long history with climate change policy. AAP/Alan Porritt

From Hawke to Shorten: the ALP’s vexed history with the carbon tax

As the new leader of the Labor opposition, Bill Shorten has a number of issues to deal with that have been left over from the previous three years of Labor government. Working out Labor’s climate change…
For the Labor Party to fully put the past behind it, the bloodletting and obsession over Kevin Rudd needs to stop. AAP/Lukas Coch

Moving forward and moving on: Rudd, Roxon and the future of the ALP

As Paul Keating told Julia Gillard not so long ago, every prime minister is carried out of the job in a box. His fatalistic advice was meant to be comforting, indicating that the party room or the public…
Amidst the celebrations of ‘democracy’, the ALP leadership election - which gave rise to Bill Shorten as Labor leader - exposed a number of flaws in the new process. AAP/Lukas Coch

All that glitters was not necessarily gold in Labor’s leadership poll

New Labor leader Bill Shorten has vowed to continue on the path of party reform, but the latest ALP leadership battle failed to expose all the dangers of the new system. Not only is there the possibility…
Bill Shorten is the new ALP leader, after an election contest where the votes of the rank and file party members were included for the first time. AAP/Lukas Coch

Shorten wins, but the ALP plays it safe with democracy

So the election between two middle-aged, middle class, white men with broadly shared policy agendas is over. In this case, it is not the federal election between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, but the month-long…
AWU boss Paul Howes is pushing for social privatisation of government infrastructure to improve our cities. Should the ALP take heed of his advice? AAP/Dave Hunt

Howes, Whitlam and the ALP’s new social contract

In the aftermath of the devastating defeat at the election, it may well be best for the Labor Party to adopt the saying of Chairman Mao and “let a hundred flowers blossom” in the search for new ideas…
ALP powerbroker Paul Howes has called on the party to enforce a binding vote to support same-sex marriage. But where does it fit in with the narrative of gay rights in Australia? AAP/Dave Hunt

Questions of conscience? The ALP, gay rights and same-sex marriage

Suddenly, it seems the Right faction of the Australian Labor Party has embraced gay causes - or as we now say, LGBTI ones. On the campaign trail for the party leadership, Bill Shorten floated the idea…
The new Senate will be dominated by an expanding crossbench of minor and microparty members. AAP/Alan Porritt

The 2013 Senate contest: Australia lurches to the right

With the official count of the Senate now completed, the implications of the contest and what it says about the mindset of the Australian body politic may now proceed. The key consequences of the half-Senate…
The twin defeats of the Whitlam government in the 1970s was the last time the ALP truly looked forward in regrouping and reforming to win back government. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Heeding the lessons of history: how can Labor recover?

How can Labor regroup after the trauma of its defeat at the federal election? The best example the past offers is how the party rebuilt after the tumultuous prime ministership of Gough Whitlam in the mid-1970s…
New Zealand’s new Labour leader David Cunliffe has been elected in a process involving direct voting by the party membership. NZN/Laura McQuillan

Albo and Shorten should look to New Zealand for primary guidance

While Australia’s Labor Party is digesting a significant electoral defeat, the New Zealand Labour Party, in opposition since 2008, has gone through another leadership change and is positioning itself to…
Labor shouldn’t see the Greens as the enemy if they want to regain the power and standing they lost at the ballot box. AAP/Julian Smith

With friends like these: Labor hatred of the Greens is self-defeating

Over the weekend, the Labor Party seemed to embark on a media tantrum around their failure to recapture the seat of Melbourne from the Greens’ Adam Bandt. The local Victorian state member for Brunswick…
Now that it is all said and done, what did we learn about Australian politics in the 2013 federal election campaign? AAP/Alan Porritt

Virtue and vexation: the policy vacuum in the 2013 election

I have been around for a long time and involved in some terrible campaigns, but the policy vacuum in 2013 was the worst I can recall. There was no serious debate on issues, whether simple or complex, and…
With strikingly similar parallels to Tony Abbott’s victory, Erna Solberg’s centre-right party took power in Norway in an election this week. What now for centre-left politics? EPA/Solum

The politics of ingratitude? Norway and Australia at the polls

Imagine a country with a strong, well-performing economy, ruled by a centre-left party that has achieved a number of key reforms. Yet, despite having a good story to tell about strong growth, low unemployment…
Is Victorian MP Bill Shorten the man to take Labor forward after the election? AAP/Joe Castro

Labor’s leadership: who to next?

With the 2013 election over, Labor has the opportunity to regroup and plan for how it will win future contests. Ever since Julia Gillard took over the Labor leadership in 2010, the party has appeared to…
The numbers of yesterday’s federal election don’t make for good reading for Kevin Rudd and the ALP, with Tony Abbott and the Coalition sweeping to power. AAP/Dan Peled

By the numbers: winners and losers of the election

The results are in. At yesterday’s federal election, the combined Liberal-National Coalition vote was 45.3% to Labor’s 33.8% in the lower house. This was a primary vote swing to the Coalition of 1.6% and…
Six years of Labor government is now over. How will they be remembered? AAP/Dan Peled

Labor’s legacy: six years of … what exactly?

Political historians are likely to treat the Rudd and Gillard governments far more kindly than many contemporary commentators have - and certainly more kindly than the Murdoch press has. The passing of…
Carbon pricing remains a hot political football that no political party is quite sure how best to handle. AAP/Alan Porritt

Is a referendum on the carbon tax political suicide for Labor?

In recent days, opposition leader Tony Abbott has more forcefully argued that, if successful in winning the Saturday poll, his new government would have the mandate to scrap the government’s carbon pricing…
Beware the fake how-to-vote cards on election day - they’re just one of many tricks parties may use to gain an advantage at the polls. AAP/Dean Lewins

Dirty tricks on the campaign trail

In the final countdown to polling day, Australian political history suggests that political parties will start to fight dirty in critical seats, using just-legal tricks in an attempt to get the winning…
After winning it in 2010, Labor MP Rob Mitchell is looking to hang on to his Victorian seat of McEwen despite an expected swing against the ALP. AAP/Alan Porritt

Redistributions will make McEwen a safer Labor prospect

The Victorian federal electorate of McEwen was a hard seat for Labor to win during the Howard years thanks to the popularity of the then-incumbent Liberal MP, Fran Bailey. But this year, due to major changes…
Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic looks likely to claim the Tasmanian seat of Bass from sitting Labor MP Geoff Lyons. AAP/Alan Porritt

Put Bass down as a Coalition win

If the early polls were accurate, Bass was already lost for Labor’s Geoff Lyons, the sitting member, but recent gaffes by Lyons will probably make that certain. Lyons has been left with egg on his face…

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