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Analysis and Comment (19)

The smiling face of mundane government. The smiling face of mundane government. mrlerone

Mundanarchy: the insidious rule of inanimate objects

Popular conceptions of government tend to derive from media representations of politicians in action, political speeches, yesterday in parliament, elections, scandal, controversy and so on. And the politics…
Partisanship aside, extreme weather events linked to climate change pose an enormous threat to the Western, legal-political system of government. Partisanship aside, extreme weather events linked to climate change pose an enormous threat to the Western, legal-political system of government. EPA/Steve Pope

The great governmental challenge of climate change

The recently released fifth report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stresses the connection between climate change and severe weather events around the world, including devastating…
Buying power doesn’t always stack up as the best measurement for who we are and how far we’ve come. Buying power doesn’t always stack up as the best measurement for who we are and how far we’ve come. Shutterstock/ MaleWitch

More pie in the sky - economic progress no slice of life

In the verbal volley between Gillard and Abbott, Swan and Hockey, there is a conversation that we are not hearing. It bubbles below the consciousness of mainstream Australia, a conversation that is old…
There are no short-term fixes to the long-term issues surrounding education in Australia. There are no short-term fixes to the long-term issues surrounding education in Australia. shutterstock

A secret formula to learning? Extra money and quick fixes won’t improve education

Everyone, it seems, has a “fix” for education. The government has staked improvement on extra funding while others say a higher bar for teaching graduates is needed, and some view the prestige of the profession…
We won’t realise the impact of state cuts to vocational education for many years. We won’t realise the impact of state cuts to vocational education for many years. AAP/Joe Castro

The neglected sector: the year that changed TAFE in Australia

This year, the majority of TAFEs across the country have been threatened by state government changes to the sector. In New South Wales and Victoria, vocational education has seen institutional closures…
Are cuts the best way to achieve efficient Government? Are cuts the best way to achieve efficient Government? Joe Castro / AAP

Slash, burn and churn: public service cuts miss the mark

I was sitting in a session at the Institute of Public Administration Congress recently where Greg Hywood, the CEO of Fairfax, boldly announced that the public sector simply did not understand cuts. Not…
It takes more than a code of conduct to foster good departmental relationships. It takes more than a code of conduct to foster good departmental relationships. AAP/Alan Porritt

Dealing with ministerial advisers: a practical guide for public servants

The role of ministerial advisers and their relationship to public servants has been the subject of aserious public debate in recent weeks. Business Council of Australia chief Jennifer Westacott caused…
State governments are looking at changing the way they deliver education. State governments are looking at changing the way they deliver education. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

The policy and politics of education cuts

At a time when the Commonwealth sponsored Gonski Review of School Funding is recommending an increase of $5 billion a year plus for schools around Australia, it may seem odd that some state governments…
The final pieces of the historical puzzle around the 1975 Whitlam dismissal are not as sensational as they first seem. The final pieces of the historical puzzle around the 1975 Whitlam dismissal are not as sensational as they first seem. Image courtesy of National Archives of Australia. NAA: A6180, 13/11/75/33

Mason’s role in the 1975 dismissal ‘unprecedented’? Hardly …

Much hyperbole has been generated by the recent revelations concerning Sir Anthony Mason’s involvement in the 1975 dismissal, but for the most part it shows ignorance of the past. Earlier this week, The…
The PM should look to her successes in education and build on them by adopting the Gonski recommendations. The PM should look to her successes in education and build on them by adopting the Gonski recommendations. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Stop playing on schools funding fears and get on with Gonski

Howʼs this for a radical thought to start the week - a robust contest of ideas around how we educate Australian students to an internationally competitive standard. Too quixotic? Perhaps, but it would…
Should the government subsidise university places when graduates gain so much from a tertiary education? Should the government subsidise university places when graduates gain so much from a tertiary education? Flickr/pamhule

University subsidies: do graduate winners need another prize?

After releasing my report, Graduate Winners: Assessing the public and private benefits of higher education, the question I have most been asked is: if university fees go up, will students still come? It’s…
Spy agencies in Australia have a big job, but does the job match the budget? Spy agencies in Australia have a big job, but does the job match the budget? Flickr/ocularinvasion

Cloak and dollar: how much do security agencies in Australia really need?

In an era of evolving threats, judgment calls will continue to rely on the provision of accurate, timely intelligence. But this intelligence does not come cheap. In order to be well-prepared and well-organised…
Current Prime Minister John Key is set to have an easy victory at today’s election. Current Prime Minister John Key is set to have an easy victory at today’s election. AAP/NZN Image/SNPA, David Rowland

John Key on brink of historic victory in New Zealand elections

New Zealand goes to the polls today to elect both a government and conduct a referendum on the nation’s electoral system. It will cap off fifteen tumultuous months in the country. Christchurch has endured…
Shooty Vikadan died in Villawood Detention Centre before the Commonwealth Ombudsman could review his case. Shooty Vikadan died in Villawood Detention Centre before the Commonwealth Ombudsman could review his case. AAP/Torsten Blackwood

Dead refugee caught in ‘legal limbo’ between government agencies

The asylum seeker who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre this week should have been interviewed by the Commonwealth Ombudsman to establish whether he should have been released into the community…
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey wants the Opposition’s policies privately costed. Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey wants the Opposition’s policies privately costed. AAP

Costing the promises: what is a Parliamentary Budget Office?

Federal parliament has begun debating the merits of a new independent unit which would cost election promises and policies for all parliamentarians. But one of the more controversial aspects of the Gillard…
Hazlewood coal-fired power station would be uneconomic under a carbon tax. Hazlewood coal-fired power station would be uneconomic under a carbon tax. AAP

A recipe for making the carbon tax a success

The carbon tax is the latest attempt by an Australian government to legislate in order to avert disaster, this time to the climate. Whether the tax will become law sits on a knife edge, and the stakes…
Brown talking up the Green’s role in the new Senate AAP/Alan Porritt. Brown talking up the Green’s role in the new Senate AAP/Alan Porritt.

Face off: is the Senate the new governing house of our parliament?

One hundred and ten years after Federation, the Senate today helps to ensure that the Australian Parliament more closely reflects the will of the people. But despite assurances by Bob Brown in his speech…

Research Briefs (2)