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Analysis and Comment (63)

After federal and state tensions between Labor and Greens, it’s unlikely that we’ll again see a formal alliance between the two parties any time soon. AAP/Alan Porritt

Labor and the Greens: on again, off again, never again?

When sitting down to dinner late last month, Tasmanian voters were given the clearest insight yet into the shape of their island’s Labor-Greens relations. In a remarkably blunt piece of campaigning ahead…
You might have never heard of them but the Dawkins reforms changed pretty much everything about higher education in Australia. AAP Image/National Archives of Australia

Book review: The Dawkins Revolution, 25 Years On

Why is Australian higher education the way it is today? To answer this we must go back to Labor minister John Dawkins, who initiated a radical suite of reforms a quarter of a century ago. His impact on…
Both the Labor and Liberals see infrastructure as a crucial economic driver; but Chinese investment in this area has been politicised. AAP

Infrastructure prime minister must face Chinese elephant in room

Tony Abbott wants to be known as the infrastructure prime minister. He could be remembered for building roads and scrapping high-speed rail. But the role of Chinese finance and technical expertise in infrastructure…
Research on work and family policies support an approach that responds to the intensive demands of early childhood, as well as birth. Image from www.shutterstock.com

A family affair - good policy is more than paid parental leave

When the Labor government introduced a national paid parental leave (PPL) scheme on 1 January, 2011, it was late to the international party. The International Labour Organisation had been recommending…
There are two visions for the National Broadband Network, but what are the long-term costs? Lukas Coch/AAP

Can Australia afford the Coalition’s NBN?

Consumers know well that buying a cheaper product often costs more in the long term when the cheaper product has to be replaced. This is true of the Coalition’s vision for the National Broadband Network…
Does Labor’s most recent attack ad pass the truth test? Labor Party

FactCheck: Labor’s ‘If Abbott wins, you lose’ attack ad

Election FactCheck is checking key claims in political advertisements. Here we look at the “If Tony Abbott Wins, You Lose” ad from Labor. Families will lose the Schoolkids Bonus The Coalition has made…
Foxtel and the NBN … why all the noise of late? Gaye Gerard/AAP

News Corp Australia vs the NBN – is it really all about Foxtel?

No-one would describe News Corp Australia’s view on the National Broadband Network (NBN) as rosy. But if it’s true the company has engaged in repeated attacks on the government because it “hates” its network…
ICAC has found Eddie Obeid (pictured at an earlier hearing), his son Moses and former NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald engaged in corrupt conduct. AAP Image/Paul Miller

ICAC calls for criminal charges against NSW ALP kingmakers: the experts respond

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) today found NSW Labor powerbrokers Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid, and his son Moses Obeid, engaged in corrupt conduct and has recommended criminal…
The two proposals for Australia’s NBN offer two potential realities. Lukas Coch/AAP

Labor and Coalition broadband policies – what’s the difference?

Broadband – in the shape of the National Broadband Network (NBN) – remains a key point of difference between Labor and the Coalition’s policies going into the federal election. Our politicians are not…
How long does it take to get a mine approved in Australia? APH

FactCheck: does it take three years to get approval for a mine?

“Just to get the regulatory approvals [to start a mine] takes more than three years. Six years ago it took less than 12 months… Australian investors are fleeing this country to invest in more stable countries…
The Gonski reforms will mean different levels of funding for different schools according to a variety of factors. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Gonski: different funding arrangements for different schools

In an attempt to pressure state leaders on schools funding reform, prime minister Julia Gillard revealed new data showing the difference her package would make at the national and state level. The June…
Tony Abbott’s budget reply was a considered economic strategy amid fiscally challenging times for Australia.

Strong rhetoric underpins Abbott’s budget strategy

In last night’s budget reply, Tony Abbott crowed he will “put the house back in order” and that the “budget will be in better hands under a Coalition government than under Labor”. It was a very measured…
Wayne Swan’s budget has been disappointing for Labor’s education legacy. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Does the budget make us a clever country?

The last Labor budget has seen the top half of the Education Revolution fizzle. The ideals that powered the 2009 Gillard policies are in fragments. Demand-driven higher education will survive until the…
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…
The Gillard government’s Gonski reforms have a long way to go before reaching a school near you. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Budget blowouts and states wrangles: where to now on Gonski?

Last week NSW signed up to the Gillard government’s proposed changes to school funding – a deal that would see a new funding model based on the Gonski review and an injection of A$5 billion into NSW schools…
Will the NBN be more “future-proof” under Labor or the Coalition? Lukas Coch/AAP image

The NBN needs vectoring – or is Turnbull just hectoring?

In yesterday’s Business Spectator, shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull defended the Coalition’s broadband plan, released on Tuesday, as a better alternative to Labor’s National Broadband Network…
Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan face a significant challenge if they plan to change superannuation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Labor’s super dilemma

Julia Gillard hardly had time for some deep breathing after the cyclone of last week, before her government was hit by fresh buffeting winds. A new round of speculation that the budget would hit superannuation…
Kevin Rudd resisted supporters' pleas to run. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: Demoralised Labor faces bleak future

An extraordinary orgy of self-destruction has left Labor looking a shambles, with Julia Gillard now facing a reshuffle and an almost impossible task to get her government into fighting form for the September…
No blood was spilt today in parliament, but we still had a leadership spill. Spill image from www.shutterstock.com

Explainer: how does a leadership spill work?

After a harrowing day in parliament, the Labor party saw a leadership spill and Prime Minister Gillard was returned as leader. The only thing was… no one contested the top spot and Julia Gillard’s name…
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s media reforms have been called an attack on freedom of speech, but is the criticism deserved? AAP/Lukas Coch

Media reform: hysterical attacks on weak Conroy suggestions tell the real story

The ongoing criticism in the major news media of Communication Minister Stephen Conroy’s very soft and watery proposed media reforms is predictable but still breathtaking. Conroy’s proposals go nowhere…
Former Victoria Premier Steve Bracks was one of Australia’s most successful and longest serving premiers. Alan Porritt/AAP

In Conversation: Steve Bracks full transcript

Stephanie Brookes: We’re here for The Conversation, I’m from the University of Melbourne Media and Communications program and I’m here in Conversation with former Victoria premier Steve Bracks. Thanks…
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. 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…
Greens leader Christine Milne is focused on saving seats in the senate. AAP/Alan Porritt

Milne dumps Gillard in preparation for an Abbott government

The Labor caucus is still thinking about leadership, but Christine Milne and the Greens have given up spectacularly on Labor and Julia Gillard. In her shock tearing up of the Greens' alliance with the…
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…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says calling the election now will enable a focus on policies rather then “petty politics”. AAP/Alan Porritt

PM surprises with September election announcement

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced the date of the 2013 election, with Australia to go to the ballot box on September 14. Ms Gillard today told the National Press Club the move would give certainty…
Jenny Macklin has found herself in hot water over comments about the dole. AAP/Alan Porritt

ALP must make a Newstart on its broken welfare policy

There seems little doubt that Families Minister Jenny Macklin’s office attempted to “fix up” her extraordinary faux pas last Tuesday – her claim that yes, she could live on the daily income of $35 received…
New legislation introduced in parliament today marks the beginning of reform of schools funding. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Gonski school funding moves forward but leaves much behind

Today the Australia Education Bill – the legislation following on from the Gonski review into school funding – was introduced into parliament. In September this year, the government responded to the review…
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…
Terry Mills has been sworn in as new chief minister of the Northern Territory. AAP Image

Was the NT election outcome a shockwave or a regional ripple?

The recent Northern Territory election attracted an unusual amount of media attention amongst the “politically informed public”, especially in the south-eastern states of Australia. Media reporting saw…
Greens candidate Cathy Oke and deputy leader Adam Bandt will be hoping for a win this Saturday. AAP Image/Juolian Smith

Bronwyn piked on Melbourne, now the Greens are set to swoop

Thanks to the hubris of Bronwyn Pike, the Victorian Labor party is forced to contest a byelection this weekend it did not want or need. After years of opportunities provided by the Labor party to the former…
Is next week’s Melbourne state byelection a test for federal Labor? AAP Image/Joe Castro

Melbourne byelection: has a Labor stronghold gone Green?

The looming byelection in the state seat of Melbourne is set to have a national impact. With Greens candidate Cathy Oke strongly tipped to beat Labor’s Jennifer Kanis on 21 July - the first time the ALP…
The two major parties have taken different approaches to compensating households for the carbon tax. Jonas B

The carbon tax, compensation and households: a two-party comparison

The two main political parties agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to 5% below the 2000 level, or about a 20% reduction below business as usual. However, they propose very different policy…
We’ve had a glimpse into the world of Craig Thomson, but he’s trying to justify a view that no one outside the political game can understand. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

All in the game: shining a light into the weird world of Craig Thomson

The ALP and the union movement have never liked scabs. But yesterday we witnessed a labour scab of a different sort as The Wound Formally Known As Craig Thomson continued to be bleed rather than heal…
Former prime ministers Gordon Brown and Kevin Rudd before the 2009 G20 summit.

Kissing cousins: what the ALP can learn from UK Labour

What are political parties for? Do they exist only to win elections or are they for the benefit of members with process as important as outcome? These are the fundamental questions that former British…
It’s time for the government to review our national security laws. Flickr/another_activist

The politics of fear: why haven’t counter-terrorism laws changed?

More than ten years ago, the Australian public and policymakers overreacted to 9/11 and created a set of laws that went beyond what was needed to protect us against terrorism. With the recent release of…
The union scandal surrounding Labor MP Craig Thompson shows just why the Labor party should re-consider its relationship with the unions. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

The Health Services Union scandal and Labor’s unhappy political marriage

The Health Services Union’s scandal continues with calls for its national president to resign and moves to remove Kathy Jackson, the whistleblower who first revealed claims of credit card misuse, from…
Perhaps finance minister Bill Shorten and the Labor party should shout a bit louder about superannuation. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Compulsory super: it’s good, it works and we want more of it

Labor’s devastating Queensland election result has prompted much soul searching within the party and questions about its fundamental approach. Do voters even know what the Labor party stands for? Or is…
The Bligh led Labor party’s devastating defeat in Queensland could present difficulties for federal labor seats. AAP/ Dan Peled

The lie of the land for Labor after the Queensland poll

The Queensland election can tell us a lot about Labor’s electoral future. There is no doubt that if the Queensland state election landslide against Labor were extrapolated to federal boundaries, the federal…
Labor leader Anna Bligh is likely to lose the Queensland election, but what are the federal implications? AAP Image/Jack Tran

Queensland election: which seats matter for Labor?

The likely defeat of the Bligh Labor government in this weekend’s Queensland elections may not have the negative implications for the Gillard government that many commentators might expect. The presence…
Gillard had a strong performance after yesterday’s leadership ballot, but there’s still a long way to go. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Cautious optimism for Gillard on one of Canberra’s strangest days

One of Julia Gillard’s better days in Australian politics was nonetheless brought to an unusual end yesterday with the resignation of Mark Arbib. The former right faction leader, who most recently served…
Kevin Rudd has said Julia Gillard is not the best person to lead Labor to the next election. ABC News24

Decoding Kevin Rudd’s leadership intentions

Less than 12 hours after making his dramatic resignation in Washington, Rudd was back at the lectern. This time, however, his speech sounded more like a campaign pitch. Watch part of Kevin Rudd’s conference…
Queenslanders will get a chance to vote for either Premier Anna Bligh or leader of the LNP, Campbell Newman on March 24. AAP image/John Pryke

Queensland election 2012: a likely win for Newman and the LNP

After much speculation, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has today announced the date of the up-coming state elections. The poll, now to be held on March 24, comes after a difficult year for the Bligh government…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has reshuffled her cabinet to try and refresh her image, but it won’t work. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Gillard’s reshuffle will not fool the voters

It might seem that the days before Christmas would be an odd time to announce a cabinet reshuffle, but for the Prime Minister it was the latest in a series of manoeuvres designed to help the government…
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…
Prime minister Julia Gillard faces challenges from all sides at this weekend’s ALP conference. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

ALP National Conference: Talking about the issues that really matter

After surviving a brutal political winter that many thought would be her last, Prime Minister Julia Gillard can be forgiven to looking forward to the summer holidays. But she shouldn’t let her guard down…
Mike Rann waves goodbye on his last day in office at Parliament House in Adelaide. AAP/James Baker

Mike Rann’s legacy in South Australia

Mike Rann has handed the South Australian Premiership to Jay Weatherill, after nine years in the State’s top job. Labor Party power brokers tapped the man who had led their party for 17 years on the shoulder…
Are organisations like GetUp the future of Australian policy development? AAP

The rise of think tanks in Australian politics

Over the previous two decades, a plethora of advocacy organisations have emerged seeking to engage and inform the public on political issues. Some of these entities, such as Get-Up, are self-funded bodies…
ALP stalwart Senator John Faulkner’s recommendations do not go far enough. AAP

Tear down that wall, Senator Faulkner

Let’s get serious, Senator Faulkner, the problem is the process of candidate selection. John Faulkner’s excellent speech last night describes a process of ALP decline that has been underway for most of…
Julia Gillard needs a ‘circuit breaker’ to turn the polls around. AAP/Andrew Taylor

A party in search of a story: why so few are listening to Labor

The Gillard Government just can’t sell its message. That was the view of independent MP Andrew Wilkie speaking on ABC Radio National this week. Recent opinion polls confirm the government has communication…

Research and News (4)