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Analysis and Comment (36)

Mike Baird is the man chosen by the Liberal Party to replace Barry O'Farrell as premier. Who is he, and what challenges does he now face? Mike Baird is the man chosen by the Liberal Party to replace Barry O'Farrell as premier. Who is he, and what challenges does he now face? AAP/Tracey Nearmy

From O'Farrell to Baird: a new start for NSW politics?

Mike Baird has been elected unopposed as the new NSW Liberal Party leader, and will soon become the state’s 44th premier after the shock resignation of Barry O'Farrell yesterday. But what are the prospects…
Coalition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella appears likely to be unseated in her rural Victorian seat of Indi by a popular local independent candidate, Cathy McGowan. Coalition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella appears likely to be unseated in her rural Victorian seat of Indi by a popular local independent candidate, Cathy McGowan. AAP/Julian Smith

Lost and found: the case of the ‘missing votes’ in Indi

Following a close count on election night, the result in the rural Victorian electorate of Indi is still unknown. As the counting of votes continued, it was still unclear whether Liberal incumbent Sophie…
How well-placed is Tony Abbott’s new government to tackle the economic issues facing Australia, both domestically and internationally? How well-placed is Tony Abbott’s new government to tackle the economic issues facing Australia, both domestically and internationally? AAP/Rob Griffith

Tony Abbott: the situational Keynesian

Tony Abbott became prime minister on Saturday by promising to lead an adult government of competence and stability after years of Labor infighting and backflips. Policy details and bankable pledges were…
We all know what’s happened, but what happens next? We all know what’s happened, but what happens next? Mitch Duncan/AAP

Election 2013 results and the future: experts respond

Australia has elected a Coalition government. So what will this mean for key policy areas? Our experts take a closer look at what’s in store for business, the economy, the environment, the National Broadband…
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. 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…
Everyone has views on the new prime minister, but who is the man behind the headlines? Everyone has views on the new prime minister, but who is the man behind the headlines? Dean Lewins/AAP

The Tony Abbott I know

As a public personality, our new prime minister is an involuntary paradox. On the one hand, Tony Abbott is one of the most discussed people in Australia. On the other, much of the discussion is so ill-informed…
After nearly being consigned to the dustbin of political history, Tony Abbott is now Prime Minister of Australia. After nearly being consigned to the dustbin of political history, Tony Abbott is now Prime Minister of Australia. AAP/Dean Lewins

Prime minister Abbott: the master of opposition gets his chance

Not so long ago, Tony Abbott looked washed up. In 2007, while other ministers wanted to replace John Howard as the captain of the Coalition’s sinking ship, Abbott stood resolutely by his political hero…
The Australian Coalition arrangement is set apart from coalitions elsewhere by its ongoing nature, even in opposition, and the fact that the parties go into elections with a common election platform. The Australian Coalition arrangement is set apart from coalitions elsewhere by its ongoing nature, even in opposition, and the fact that the parties go into elections with a common election platform. AAP

Minority government likely to continue after Saturday

Much has been made of the ‘unusual’ nature of the minority Labor government over the past three years and there has been a sense that Australia is better off without it; that we need a return to the stability…
Independent public schools are a highly charged issue in education circles – but do they get results? Independent public schools are a highly charged issue in education circles – but do they get results?

FactCheck: will more independent public schools mean better education outcomes?

“A programme to implement independent public schools will lead to higher productivity, better quality education outcomes for students.” - The Coalition’s Policy for Schools, August 2013. The Coalition…
The Coalition’s Direct Action plan is missing some funding. The Coalition’s Direct Action plan is missing some funding. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Coalition’s carbon budget shortfall will be $4 billion, unless …

By now you’ll know the Coalition has dramatically under-budgeted its Direct Action plan on climate change by A$4 billion. On the Coalition’s current budget the plan will fail to meet Australia’s emissions…
Despite a promised repeal of the carbon tax, the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan may miss the opportunity to drive energy innovation. Despite a promised repeal of the carbon tax, the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan may miss the opportunity to drive energy innovation. AAP Image

Climate action under an Abbott government

It looks likely that the next Federal Government will be a Tony Abbott-led Coalition Government. Mr Abbott promises, if elected, to repeal the carbon tax. Labor may block that repeal, but if they do Tony…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott is under pressure to drop his signature paid parental leave scheme ahead of this year’s federal election. Opposition leader Tony Abbott is under pressure to drop his signature paid parental leave scheme ahead of this year’s federal election. AAP/Dave Hunt

Are feminists opposing Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme on personality grounds only?

There is an odd consensus emerging between conservative Liberals opposed to their own leader’s paid parental leave scheme and defenders of the Gillard government’s version of the same policy. Into the…
Who has the voter’s eocnomic interests at heart plays the biggest role in determining voter allegiance. Who has the voter’s eocnomic interests at heart plays the biggest role in determining voter allegiance. AAP/Theron Kirkman

Finding a compass on why voters vote the way they do

Graham Richardson, the legendary Labor numbers man, pronounced last week that “if I was religious, I would pray that my long-held view that Labor will be slaughtered under Gillard’s leadership would be…
Former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu’s resignation could trigger a constitutional crisis for the state government. Former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu’s resignation could trigger a constitutional crisis for the state government. Julian Smith/AAP

Baillieu: Victorian uncertainty may lead to constitutional confusion

The dramatic resignation of Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu may have surprised many but cannot be considered altogether unexpected. A year that began poorly for the now ex-Premier yesterday completely overwhelmed…
Western Australians are heading to the polls this Saturday, but it looks likely Premier Colin Barnett will be in for a second term. Western Australians are heading to the polls this Saturday, but it looks likely Premier Colin Barnett will be in for a second term. Alan Porritt/AAP

Western Australian election: all over bar the voting?

As Western Australian’s prepare to head to the polls this Saturday, where do the parties stand ahead of the state election? Opinion polls published since January have the Liberal and National alliance…
Labor leader Mark McGowan has been widely seen as the winner of last night’s debate ahead of the WA state election. Labor leader Mark McGowan has been widely seen as the winner of last night’s debate ahead of the WA state election. ABC News

WA elections: McGowan wins debate, but damage to Barnett is minimal

Watching a political debate without the assistance of the worm can be difficult. Thankfully we have Twitter to provide us with indicators of the audience’s views. Even more useful is when party members…
Melbourne MP Greens Adam Bandt is up for re-election at this year’s federal election. Melbourne MP Greens Adam Bandt is up for re-election at this year’s federal election. Lukas Coch/AAP

The Melbourne microcosm: how one seat may define the Green v Labor fight

The battle for the seat of Melbourne at this year’s federal election will be nothing short of a bruising affair. Melbourne is of enormous symbolic importance to both Labor and the Green Party. For Labor…
Julia Gillard has called a September election, will we be able to tell the difference between governing and campaigning? Julia Gillard has called a September election, will we be able to tell the difference between governing and campaigning? AAP/Alan Porrit

Governing in a campaign year: what next for policy in 2013?

Last week, prime minister Julia Gillard told the Australian public they’d be able to tell the difference between campaigning and governing during this election year. Over the following days, which saw…
Both political parties are lining up their elections strategies now, even though an election could still be a year away. Both political parties are lining up their elections strategies now, even though an election could still be a year away. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Feels like an election year? Here’s why

The former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson famously said a week is a long time in politics. If this is the case, then you have to wonder how long it will feel if the current Parliament runs it full…
Promises are easy to make, but will Abbott be able to deliver? Promises are easy to make, but will Abbott be able to deliver? AAP

Abbott has pledged to repeal the carbon tax – but could it be done?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has given Australians a “blood oath” promise that if the Coalition wins power at the next election, he will repeal the carbon tax within his first month in office. But is…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott is looking to the politics of the United Kingdom for policy inspiration. Opposition leader Tony Abbott is looking to the politics of the United Kingdom for policy inspiration. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

The influence of ‘Big Society’: Abbott borrows from UK conservatives

Earlier this month, opposition leader Tony Abbott presented the second instalment of the Liberal and National parties’ “Plan for Stronger Communities”, having already outlined elements of the plan at the…
The coalition needs to tread more lightly when it comes to Indonesia. The coalition needs to tread more lightly when it comes to Indonesia. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Attention Tony Abbott: Indonesia wants collaboration, not confrontation

In his budget reply speech last week, opposition leader Tony Abbott said Indonesia was to be a “vital partner in Australia’s future”. He’s right, and for now, at the government-to-government level, Australia-Indonesia…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has resurrected former coalition government policy to “turn back” boats seeking asylum in Australia. Opposition leader Tony Abbott has resurrected former coalition government policy to “turn back” boats seeking asylum in Australia. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

Abbott’s asylum seeker policy floats in murky legal waters

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has said that under a coalition government every boat coming to Australia carrying asylum seekers will be sent back to Indonesia. The Indonesian police, the United Nations…
Peter Slipper made an impact in his first day as Speaker. Peter Slipper made an impact in his first day as Speaker.

Speaker Slipper slips in as Gillard claims a tactical victory

The dramatic surprise resignation of Harry Jenkins as Speaker, on what was meant to be the final sitting day of the year for the House of Representatives (coincidentally also the fourth anniversary of…
A warm welcome for the President from Julia Gillard and the Governor General, but Australia should take care not to give too much away to the Americans. AAP/Stuart McEvoy. A warm welcome for the President from Julia Gillard and the Governor General, but Australia should take care not to give too much away to the Americans. AAP/Stuart McEvoy.

Special relationship? Why Gillard needs to talk tough with Obama about US military base

It’s third time lucky for President Obama. He’s cancelled his trip to Australia twice before, but now he has finally made it to Canberra. Julia Gillard has struck up a friendship with the US President…
Julia Gillard has enjoyed mixing with Barack Obama on the foreign policy stage. Julia Gillard has enjoyed mixing with Barack Obama on the foreign policy stage. AAP/AusPic Howard Moffat

Should the Prime Minister and foreign policy mix?

When President Obama begins his long-awaited visit to Australia today, he’ll have a keen tour guide in Julia Gillard. They’ve developed an apparently firm friendship in recent months. But should the Prime…
Don’t dismiss Bob Katter’s Australia Party. It’s going places. Don’t dismiss Bob Katter’s Australia Party. It’s going places. AAP/Tracy Nearmy

Don’t write off the Mad Katter’s Tea Party

It would be foolish for anyone to underestimate Bob Katter’s Australia Party. Its brand of socially conservative views blended with economic and trade protectionism are not “far right” but rather proven…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has signalled a shift towards Japan in our foreign and trade policy - but is this the right direction?. Opposition leader Tony Abbott has signalled a shift towards Japan in our foreign and trade policy - but is this the right direction?. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Politics, not economics may be at the heart of Abbott’s Japan focus

Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s comments in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian newspapers point to a shift in Coalition trade policy that would give Japan higher priority over China. So why would…
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is ‘uneasy’ about Liberal leader Tony Abbott because he is unpredictable. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is ‘uneasy’ about Liberal leader Tony Abbott because he is unpredictable. AAP

Malcolm Fraser: ‘we have lost our way’

Welcome to our “In Conversation” between former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and Melbourne University political scientist Professor Robyn Eckersley. First elected to Federal parliament in 1955, Fraser…
Party activists may be passionate, but they’re dwindling in number. Party activists may be passionate, but they’re dwindling in number. AAP/Dean Lewins

Losing the faith: Can political parties recapture the public imagination?

Around the western world, political parties have lost their appeal. Membership of major parties has declined dramatically, while our willingness to vote for one party throughout our adult lives has collapsed…
Action-man Abbott bonding with the working man AAP. Action-man Abbott bonding with the working man AAP.

Reith’s wrong: exhuming WorkChoices would be a grave mistake

Peter Reith’s recent column in The Age arguing that the Liberals need to revisit and radically change their industrial relations policy explains precisely why Tony Abbott did not support him for Liberal…
Peter Reith votes in the Liberal Federal presidency election. Peter Reith votes in the Liberal Federal presidency election. AAP

Back to the future with Peter Reith

I have some very fond memories of the mid 1980s. The fluoro shirts, the feathered haircuts, dancing to Wham! at the local blue light disco. But this week I’m having a disturbing ‘80s industrial relations…
Tony Abbott changed allegiance to Alan Stockdale just before the vote. Tony Abbott changed allegiance to Alan Stockdale just before the vote. AAP/Alan Porritt

Don’t go changing: Stockdale still president as Liberals go for status quo

Former Howard Government minister Peter Reith took a gamble when running a reform agenda for the Liberal federal president not long from an election. He lost the punt but only just. The race raised larger…