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Federal election 2013

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What are the key issues the parties will campaign on in the almost-certain WA Senate re-vote? AAP/Paul Miller

What issues will a WA Senate re-vote be fought on?

It appears certain that Western Australians will vote in fresh Senate elections later this year. Following the initial vote last September and the recount – when 1375 votes were unable to be located…
2013 saw a decisive change of government in Australia. What else happened? AAP/Lisa Maree Williams

2013, the year that was: Politics + Society

Three prime ministers, four Labor Party leaders, two popes. 2013 was nothing if not a hectic year for the Politics + Society desk at The Conversation. And while it’s repeated so often as to go beyond being…
There is no better example of the debasement of Australian political discourse and process than that which has surrounded action on climate change. AAP/Alan Porritt

A values deficit, toxic politics, and the climate change debacle

We live in an age of unprecedented prosperity, in which the major influences have been secularism, materialism, utilitarianism, urbanisation, remoteness from nature, institutional failure (especially in…
Greens senator Scott Ludlam has been successful in the full recount of the WA Senate vote. But the fight over who goes to Canberra looks like continuing for some time yet. AAP/Alan Porritt

A new Senate election looms large for WA voters

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) will officially declare the result of the full recount of the Western Australian Senate vote today. Scott Ludlam from the Australian Greens and Wayne Dropulich…
Tasmania is likely headed back to the bad old days of loggers versus greenies. AAP Image/Scott Gelston

Federal Greens vote will be bad news for Tasmania’s environment

Now that all Senate seats apart from Western Australia have been finalised, it’s clear the Greens have had a mixed result. But the worst of the bad news for the party is likely yet to come, when Tasmania…
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…
What does the future hold for young adults under a Coalition government? AAP/Julian Smith

Young people, employment and the Coalition’s regional challenge

The Coalition government has begun its term in office with some controversial policy proposals related to Australia’s international engagement. These include cuts to international aid, hardline responses…
What will defence policy under Tony Abbott and new defence minister David Johnston look like? AAP/Dean Lewins

Policy outlook: radical departure on defence or more of the same?

The Abbott government talks a good game on defence. While in opposition, new defence minister David Johnston slammed Labor for failing to fund the grand promises of the 2009 Defence White Paper. Now in…
Tony Abbott is seeking to define the terms in which his government will be understood by the public. AAP/Lukas Coch

Election 2013 and defining political success

Just when you thought it was safe to forget an otherwise forgettable election, there is one person who won’t let you. Tony Abbott wants to remind you in order to continue defining both the election and…
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…
Many commentators criticised Tony Abbott’s ‘female-lite’ frontbench last week. How might it affect his carefully managed and marketed ‘brand’ from the campaign trail? AAP/Lukas Coch

Marketing political brands: passionate punters need consistent messaging

In the last week, a number of political commentators have argued that newly-minted prime minister Tony Abbott’s frontbench is decidedly low on women. There is only one woman in Cabinet and an additional…
Where will Rupert Murdoch’s influential broadsheet The Australian focus its agenda now that there has been a change of government? AAP/Dean Lewins

Now Abbott’s in, what will The Australian do?

How does a newspaper of strong ideological preferences - such as News Corp broadsheet The Australian - respond when there is a government in office that more closely shares its ideology than did the previous…
In one of his first acts in office, prime minister Tony Abbott axed three department heads, while treasury secretary Martin Parkinson (pictured) will depart next year. AAP/Saeed Khan

Abbott and the public service: where now on department heads?

Prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision to sack three departmental secretaries within hours of his swearing-in earlier this week has not attracted the same shock John Howard’s decision to sack six secretaries…
The ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia caused a major rift in relations. Can new governments in both nations repair the damage? AAP/Animals Australia

Beef, boats and elections: what’s in store for the Australia-Indonesia relationship

Somehow, the debate on Indonesia-Australia relations has got stuck on Bali, beef and boats. While there is no point pretending that either beef or boats are about to disappear as issues any time soon…
A country that is more interested in sport than in politics is a ‘happy’ one, remarked prime minister Tony Abbott after his election success. AAP/Paul Miller

The nation decides - and sport is the winner

After the gladiatorial combat of the federal election campaign, prime minister-elect Tony Abbott appeared on Sunrise to call an Olympic-style truce. Happy is the country which is more interested in sport…
Tony Abbott has said he wants to focus his foreign policy objectives in ‘Jakarta, not Geneva’. But how successful will he be? EPA/Adi Weda

All politics is domestic: the Indonesian response to the federal election

Australia’s recent federal election was – as usual – won and lost primarily on domestic policy issues. Unlike his predecessor, new prime minister Tony Abbott made no claims to great expertise in foreign…
Liberal politician Sophie Mirabella, who is likely to lose her Victorian seat of Indi, has been subjected to the misogyny that continues to pervade Australian politics. AAP/Alan Porritt

Mirabella and gender: vicious attacks show nothing’s changed

Hard-faced. I’m looking at that phrase and wondering exactly what it means. Of course, I know what it means when it’s applied to men. They are heroic, they’ve seen things that those of us who are more…
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…

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