Geoffrey Robinson

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University
Christopher Pyne argues that the government is on the side of history in reforming higher education, but it is a bad history that he evokes. AAP/Lukas Coch

The big reforms that prevail fuse the best of left and right

After the defeat of the Abbott government’s higher education bills in the Senate, Education Minister Christopher Pyne invoked the legacy of past “reforms” that had been violently contested at the time…
In office, the late Gough Whitlam sought to fulfil, rather than to end, the promise of capitalism. AAP/Alan Porritt

Political limits of today intensify rosy memory of Whitlamism

The popular response to Gough Whitlam’s death tells us more about the politics of the present than the past. Whitlam has been cast as a messiah; as Labor’s saviour; and as the slayer of what Paul Keating…
The Abbott government has appointed several people with business backgrounds, such as Tony Shepherd (left), to key inquiries in its first year in office. AAP/Nikki Short

Coalition’s appointments are part of a bigger pattern in policy advice

Since coming to office, the Abbott government has initiated a wide range of reviews into policy areas such as the national school curriculum and the Renewable Energy Target. Some commentators have argued…
The Abbott government’s use of royal commissions for political retribution has revived an older tradition around the politics of scandal. AAP/Dan Peled

Pink batts and union inquiries revive a tradition of political retribution

It would be a fair observation that the Abbott government hopes that the result of the two royal commissions it has established since taking office will be damaging to the Labor Party. The royal commissions…
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop faces an uphill battle to gain the respect of political observers and opposition MPs. AAP/Alan Porritt

Bronwyn Bishop and the history of speaker independence

Seven Speakers of the British House of Commons were executed by beheading between 1394 and 1535. While Bronwyn Bishop, the current Speaker of Australia’s House of Representatives, is unlikely to face this…
Issues around ‘who gets what’ in Australia may soon become much more central to political debate than under previous governments. AAP/Alan Porritt

Denial to celebration: political responses to class in Australia

The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Geoffrey Robinson traces the history of Australian political debate on class…
The days when Qantas flew the flag as an iconic government business and public service still inspire public nostalgia. AAP/Paul Miller

Public’s view of the politics of privatisation comes full circle

Sometimes in politics Newton’s Third Law – for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction – is applicable. Australia has a long history of public ownership, but it also has a long history of…
Kevin Rudd leaves parliament with his future as uncertain as his legacy. AAP/Daniel Munoz

The Rudd legacy: we need to talk about Kevin … or do we?

Should we care about Kevin Rudd’s legacy? Will anyone care? Australian political historians gaze with envy at the United States, where past presidents are revered and books about the “founding fathers…
In a new book, former Labor leader Mark Latham and other prominent party figures attempt to diagnose the party’s malaise. AAP/Alan Porritt

Book review: Not Dead Yet – What Future for Labor?

It is a sign of Labor’s crisis that Mark Latham, the party’s former parliamentary leader, has been re-admitted to polite centre-Left company. For his book Not Dead Yet: What Future for Labor?, Latham has…
Julia Gillard has returned to the public spotlight just months after she was deposed as prime minister, and will likely remain front-and-centre in public life. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Life after the prime ministership: a trek through history

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has returned to the spotlight after maintaining a dignified silence since her removal as Labor leader in June. Since the defeat of the federal Labor government, she…
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…
Labor MP Darren Cheeseman faces an uphill battle to retain Corangamite. The Victorian electorate is Australia’s most marginal seat. AAP/David Crosling

Ultra-marginal Corangamite is a mirror of the nation

In 2013, the Victorian electorate of Corangamite is a mirror of the nation’s electoral allegiance and social composition. At the 2010 federal election, Labor’s Darren Cheeseman narrowly won on the back…
Where are Australia’s politicians leading us? Paleontour/Flickr

A more sustainable Australia: are we ignoring the future?

A more sustainable Australia. As we hit the half-way mark of the 2013 election campaign, we asked academics to look at some of the long-term issues affecting Australia - the issues that will shape our…
Tony Abbott’s campaign ‘gaffes’ are on the agenda in the second of our election podcasts. AAP/Alan Porritt

Election 2013 Podcast: Jill Singer, Geoffrey Robinson

Welcome to the second of The Conversation’s Election 2013 podcasts. Each week The Conversation will be sitting down with Australia’s top political minds to discuss all things election as we gear up for…
Treasurer Chris Bowen needs voters to put a 1 next to his party on the ballot in the upcoming election. Will his new book help win the political argument? AAP/Dean Lewins

Chris Bowen’s plan to win hearts and minds and save Labor

Treasurer Chris Bowen’s new blueprint for Labor party reform Hearts and Minds gives us the easy listening version of Paul Keating, just as Tony Abbott offers us the same for John Howard. The book provides…
The Democratic Labor Party may have had its heyday decades ago, but Senator John Madigan may soon hold the balance of power and have enormous influence over Australian life. AAP/Julian Smith

“I don’t want to see the ALP decimated” - In Conversation with Senator John Madigan

When the Democratic Labor Party’s John Madigan won the sixth Victorian Senate seat at the 2010 election, it appeared a tear in the time space continuum had somehow briefly transported politics back to…
DLP senator John Madigan believes we need to have a ‘public interest test’ when determining levels of foreign investment in Australia. AAP/Alan Porritt

Senator John Madigan In Conversation - full transcript

Geoffrey Robinson: John, you’re the first DLP [Democratic Labor Party] senator elected for a long time from Victoria. In your first speech you talked about being elected to parliament as surreal. Three…
Kevin Rudd has returned as leader of the ALP three years and three days after he was deposed by Julia Gillard. AAP/Alan Porritt

Kevin Rudd defeats Julia Gillard: expert reaction

Kevin Rudd has completed one the great political comebacks in Australian history by reclaiming the prime ministership from Julia Gillard in a party room vote in Canberra tonight, 57 votes to 45. Earlier…
Kevin Rudd returns to be Prime Minister, but where did the Gillard government go wrong? Lukas Coch / AAP

Rudd returns, but where did it go so wrong for Gillard?

Kevin Rudd has made a Lazarus-like return to the prime ministership after winning a party room ballot this evening by a vote of 57-45. Rudd, who led the party to success at the 2007 election, replaces…
Will history judge Julia Gillard favourably on her legislative record as prime minister? AAP/Alan Porritt

Will history remember Gillard’s three years favourably?

Julia Gillard has been a reasonably effective politician, but the political paradigm within which she has worked is approaching the end of its life. She has been aware of this but has struggled to develop…
Selling the message: there’s a disconnect between what voters want, and what Labor wants out of education. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Why Labor has failed to sell Gonski

On Sunday the federal Labor government announced reforms to school funding, that aimed to finally put in place the recommendations of the Gonski review. The proposed reforms – worth A$14.5 billion – are…
British PM Margaret Thatcher meets with her Australian counterpart Malcolm Fraser in 1979 - what was her lasting effect on politics here? AAP/National Archives

Both left and right: Thatcher’s undeniable influence on Australian politics

Margaret Thatcher’s years as British prime minister from 1979 to 1990 coincided with an era of political upheaval in Australia. The exhaustion of Malcolm Fraser’s “Menziesian” liberalism was followed by…
Are leadership battles in Australian politics a sign of party difference or unity? Or is it something altogether different? AAP/Lukas Coch

Weightless politics and the Australian tendency to leadercide

In a scene in the famous 90s sitcom Seinfeld, George describes to Jerry an idea for a show about nothing. After the events of the last days and weeks in federal and state politics, we can ask whether Australian…

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