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Arthur Caldwell almost defeated Robert Menzies in the 1961 federal election, dominated by debate over the economy and unemployment. National Archives, National Library of Australia, Wikimedia

Issues that swung elections: the ‘credit squeeze’ that nearly swept Menzies from power in 1961

In 1960, Harold Holt, the then-treasurer, urged the government to abolish import restrictions, resulting in a minor recession. This nearly swung the election in the ALP's favour.
Before Australia elects a new PM to manage the country’s foreign relations, it’s vital to have a bigger debate on foreign policy, so voters know how each candidate would lead. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Foreign policy should play a bigger role in Australian elections. This is why it probably won’t

There have historically been few key points of difference on foreign policy during elections. Despite daunting challenges on the global stage, this year's election campaign looks to be much the same.
Most Australians have had enough of the opportunistic point-scoring that characterises politics today and want leaders who put the public interest first. Mick Tsikas/Lukas Coch/AAP

New research shows Australians lack faith in our political parties to provide real leadership

According to a new survey, nearly a third of Australians believe the Coalition shows no 'leadership for the public good'. Labor fared little better.
Bowen says it will be 18 months before the assumptions underpinning the projected 2019-20 surplus can be fully assessed. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Bowen says Labor would have lower tax take than under Howard years

Delivering his post-budget address, Bowen will point to an analysis released by KPMG estimating that by the end of the forward estimates Labor's tax-to-GDP ratio would be just over 24%.
There are thousands in the Australian community who say they would sponsor a refugee’s resettlement, but only if the program was reformed. from shutterstock.com

Community members should be able to sponsor refugees for the right reasons, not to save the government money

The current community support program that allows Australians to sponsor a refugee's resettlement is flawed. It exploits the goodwill of the community while shifting costs away from the government.
Burmese fishermen raise their hands as they are asked who among them wants to go home. Human trafficking sometimes occurs in the seafood industry. AP Photo/Dita Alangkara

Fact check: How many people are enslaved in the world today?

Estimates of modern slavery vary widely, whether they try to pin down numbers in the U.S., across the globe or just in certain industries.
The area of greater uncertainty under Labor is a very different one – that is, how much of the unions’ agenda a Shorten government would be willing to embrace. Daniel Pockett/AAP

Grattan on Friday: Unions likely to be more challenging for a Shorten government than boats

In the lead up to next week's ALP national conference, which Shorten needs to run smoothly, the government has been trying to exploit what it sees as a Labor weak point – border protection.
Albanese predicts next week’s ALP national conference will be “very. constructive”, dismissing concerns about divisions over boat turnbacks. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Anthony Albanese on Labor’s road ahead

Anthony Albanese on Labor’s road ahead. CC BY67,5 MB (download)
Speaking to The Conversation, Albanese wouldn't comment on Bill Shorten's unpopularity with voters, arguing instead that it's a matter of whether the Labor team is “seen as worthy of election".
Twenty-nine-year-old Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to be elected to Congress, talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Criticism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s clothes echoes attacks against early female labor activists

Striking 20th-century garment workers wore their best dresses and hats to send a message that they had the right to be taken seriously and have their voices heard.
With the right settings, Labor’s new scheme could benefit householders as well as the grid itself. Shutterstock.com

Labor’s battery plan – good policy, or just good politics?

Federal Labor has promised to give rebates of up to $2,000 to 100,000 households to install batteries to store power from solar panels. Is this good energy policy, or just middle-class welfare?

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