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Analysis and Comment (25)

Are Queensland’s cassowaries being let down by Canberra’s officialdom?. Are Queensland’s cassowaries being let down by Canberra’s officialdom?. Dave Kimble/Wikimedia Commons

Cassowaries and chaplains: how to avoid Canberra’s conservation overreach

What do school chaplains and cassowaries have in common? Both highlight the degree to which federal governments struggle to devolve quality public decision-making to the right level. Our schools and our…
Furniture retailer Harvey Norman has been targeted by activists, in a campaign described by the federal government as dishonest. Furniture retailer Harvey Norman has been targeted by activists, in a campaign described by the federal government as dishonest. AAP Image/The Last Stand/Matthew Newton

Boycotts are a crucial weapon to fight environment-harming firms

In October 2000, I was driving through downtown Boise, Idaho, and nearly careered off the road. Just in front of me was a giant inflatable Godzilla-like dinosaur, well over 30m tall. It was towering over…
Tony Abbott has promised a new way forward for federal-state relations if the Coalition wins government. But will he find the federal lever of power too tempting not to pull? Tony Abbott has promised a new way forward for federal-state relations if the Coalition wins government. But will he find the federal lever of power too tempting not to pull? AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal-state reform: is Abbott offering the real deal?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott announced on the weekend that a government he leads would adopt a new approach to relations between the Commonwealth and the states. He has promised to meet with the state…
Treasurer Wayne Swan has unveiled an $19.4 billion deficit, but promises to be back in surplus by 2016-17. Treasurer Wayne Swan has unveiled an $19.4 billion deficit, but promises to be back in surplus by 2016-17. AAP

A long slide towards debt leads to Wayne’s budget swansong

How did the Australian economy, which boasts the best performance of the major advanced economies, end up with an estimated budget deficit of A$19 billion this year and an estimated debt of $178 billion…
Soon after revealing his plans to build a replica Titanic, Clive Palmer has set his sights on becoming Australian Prime Minister. Soon after revealing his plans to build a replica Titanic, Clive Palmer has set his sights on becoming Australian Prime Minister. EPA/Jason Szenes

Titanic ambitions: Palmer’s federal push shouldn’t be lightly dismissed

Queensland has a habit of raising the eyebrows of our southern cousins when it comes to politics “our way”. Visits to friends and family down south always have required explanations about Joh Bjelke-Petersen…
Changes to 457 visas by the Gillard government has divided political and public opinion in Australia. Changes to 457 visas by the Gillard government has divided political and public opinion in Australia. AAP/Lukas Coch

How the 457 scheme is changing Australian immigration

The current public debate over temporary employment 457 visa holders has thrown a spotlight on a major shift in Australia’s migration program. Historical context Prior to the introduction of the Temporary…
Single mothers on welfare need support for further education, not a cut to government payments. Single mothers on welfare need support for further education, not a cut to government payments. Single mother image from www.shutterstock.com

Single mothers need education, not welfare cuts

Unpopular Government cuts, introduced last year that have pushed more than 100,000 sole parents onto lower support payments, has left many families reeling with single mothers experiencing particular disadvantage…
We need to look beyond bikies for a solution to tackle organised crime in Australia. We need to look beyond bikies for a solution to tackle organised crime in Australia. AAP/NSW Police

Targeting bikies won’t fix organised crime

Last week, the High Court upheld Queensland’s controversial criminal association laws, which had been challenged by the Gold Coast Chapter of the Finks Motor Cycle Club and Pompano Pty Ltd. The challenge…
After surviving two challenges to her leadership, Julia Gillard faces a desperately tough fight in the upcoming election. After surviving two challenges to her leadership, Julia Gillard faces a desperately tough fight in the upcoming election. AAP/Alan Porritt

The remains of the day: where to for Gillard?

After one of the more bizarre days in Australian politics, Julia Gillard remains as the prime minister of Australia. The question of leadership of the Labor Party has been a constant problem for the party…
Craig Emerson may be well regarded as Trade Minister, but he can’t sing. Craig Emerson may be well regarded as Trade Minister, but he can’t sing. AAP/Lukas Coch

Singing, dancing politicians: don’t do it, unless you can

It is a clear and incontrovertible case for the Deparment of Community Services and the public must immediately demand intervention. We cannot allow the suffering of the children to continue. I am of course…
Julia Gillard faces the media after Craig Thomson’s suspension from the government benches. Julia Gillard faces the media after Craig Thomson’s suspension from the government benches. AAP/Lukas Coch

Going, going … have Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson finished the Gillard government?

Since forming government in 2010, the Gillard government has faced an uphill battle to assert its authority on the policy agenda. Initially, this was partly due to the fact that it relied on the Greens…
Does Labor have a future after Julia Gillard? Does Labor have a future after Julia Gillard? AAP/Alan Porrit

Ghosts in the party room: the past, present and future of the ALP

Every day seems to be the worst day for the Gillard government. With an opposition that has refined negativity into a stilleto, it seems that nearly everything the government attempts backfires, leaving…
Julia Gillard and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at last week’s nuclear summit in Seoul. Julia Gillard and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at last week’s nuclear summit in Seoul. AAP/EPA

Julia Gillard is getting it wrong on Asia

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recent performance in South Korea highlights once again the dangers of not taking Asia seriously. At a speech at a university, Gillard apparently stuck directly to script…
Former ALP Minister Barry Jones says the party needs significant reform. Former ALP Minister Barry Jones says the party needs significant reform. AAP

The decay of the political process

Queensland has developed a tradition of political swings that are far greater than the national average. Labor held only one Queensland House of Representatives seat in 1975 and in 1996 only two. The major…
Defence Minister Stephen Smith launches the report into complaints about a culture of bullying and harassment in the ADF. Defence Minister Stephen Smith launches the report into complaints about a culture of bullying and harassment in the ADF. AAP/Department of Defence/Lauren Black

Malcolm Fraser: Stephen Smith is right on ADFA

Defence Minister Stephen Smith last week released a statement regarding a series of reports of abuse and bullying, some of it sexual, in the Australian Defence Forces (ADF). Of particular media and public…
Bob Carr is Australia’s new foreign minister after a cabinet reshuffle by Julia Gillard. Bob Carr is Australia’s new foreign minister after a cabinet reshuffle by Julia Gillard. ABC News24

Cabinet reshuffle: Gareth Evans on Bob Carr

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today delivered a political surprise by announcing former NSW premier Bob Carr as Foreign Minister in her reshuffled cabinet. Carr takes over from Kevin Rudd, who returns to…
Kevin Rudd is widely known on the international stage from his time as prime minister then foreign minister. Kevin Rudd is widely known on the international stage from his time as prime minister then foreign minister. AAP/David Foote

A foreign affair: where does Kevin Rudd’s resignation leave Australia on the world stage?

Kevin Rudd’s dramatic resignation as Foreign Minister yesterday has left Australia without a permanent cabinet level representative on the world stage. Trade Minister Craig Emerson will take over Rudd’s…
First among equals - Julia Gillard votes on a policy issue at the ALP national conference this weekend. First among equals - Julia Gillard votes on a policy issue at the ALP national conference this weekend. AAP/Dean Lewins

ALP National Conference: Party reform the empty seat at the table

Potential reform of the Labor Party’s internal structure has been substantially limited, as the Right faction asserted its overall dominance of the weekend’s national conference. Prime Minister Julia Gillard…
The Tsar Bomba nuclear test is the largest ever nuclear explosion recorded, measuring 50 megatons and generating a 64km high mushroom cloud. The Tsar Bomba nuclear test is the largest ever nuclear explosion recorded, measuring 50 megatons and generating a 64km high mushroom cloud. flickr/andy_z

Australia’s opportunity to develop an ethical uranium trade

As the Australian Labor Party contemplates opening sales of uranium to India, it would be wise for our policy-makers to think more broadly about the long-term possibilities for Australia as a provider…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has had a good political year but is the political wind shifting against him? Opposition leader Tony Abbott has had a good political year but is the political wind shifting against him? AAP/Lukas Koch

Blue skies ahead? How Julia Gillard has enjoyed the change of political seasons

At the start of the year Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised that 2011 would be a year of “decision and delivery”. Despite such a grand vision, the majority of the year was a shocker for the government…
China’s government has made a massive investment in research, and student funding. Australia can learn a lot. China’s government has made a massive investment in research, and student funding. Australia can learn a lot. AFP/Information Services Department

Keeping up with the Joneses: Why Australia is falling behind the neighbours on higher education

In recent weeks two commentary strands have intertwined and are extremely important to Australia’s future, and with special resonance for the higher education sector. Beginning with the announcement of…
Julia Gillard and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen after the High Court ruled the Malaysian Solution invalid. Julia Gillard and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen after the High Court ruled the Malaysian Solution invalid. AAP

Onshore processing: what it means for asylum seekers

The Federal Government’s position on handling asylum seekers is in disarray. The High Court has ruled its Malaysia Solution invalid and the Coalition has indicated it will not support moves to amend the…
Former Prime Minister John Howard with his then chief of staff Arthur Sinodinos. Former Prime Minister John Howard with his then chief of staff Arthur Sinodinos. AAP

From chief of staff to Senator: the rise and rise of Arthur Sinodinos

Arthur Sinodinos has long been mooted as a potential successor to retiring former Howard minister, Senator Helen Coonan. Now that Sinodinos - long serving chief of staff to former Primer Minister John…
Campaigners in Sydney protesting against the Malaysian Solution. Campaigners in Sydney protesting against the Malaysian Solution. AAP

High Court ruling: the end for the Malaysian Solution?

The High Court’s extension of an injunction preventing the deportation of asylum seekers under the so-called Malaysian Solution threatens to present the Gillard Government with a major political problem…

Research and News (3)