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Articles on Federal politics

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Arthur Sinodinos stepped aside as a minister in the Abbott government in the lead-up to his appearance today at the ICAC inquiry. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Parties, money and their masters: who do office holders serve?

It’s hard not to be disturbed by the allegations emerging from the inquiry into Australian Water Holdings (AWH) by New South Wales’ Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). The proceedings have…
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop faces an uphill battle to gain the respect of political observers and opposition MPs. AAP/Alan Porritt

Bronwyn Bishop and the history of speaker independence

Seven Speakers of the British House of Commons were executed by beheading between 1394 and 1535. While Bronwyn Bishop, the current Speaker of Australia’s House of Representatives, is unlikely to face this…
Issues around ‘who gets what’ in Australia may soon become much more central to political debate than under previous governments. AAP/Alan Porritt

Denial to celebration: political responses to class in Australia

The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Geoffrey Robinson traces the history of Australian political debate on class…
Top of the pops: Peter Costello led the chorus of “Labor’s debt and deficit” long before and throughout the Coalition’s dozen years in office. AAP/Alan Porritt

When will Labor get its own ‘infinite bottles of pop’ song?

Have you heard this song? Infinite bottles of pop on the wall, Infinite bottles of pop, Take one down, Share it around, Infinite bottles of pop on the wall. It’s the 21st-century version of “ten green…
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…
Former prime minister Paul Keating argued governments need to use their political capital to drive reform. But this is becoming increasingly difficult in a poll-driven political climate. AAP/Paul Miller

Keating, reform and the difficult notion of ‘political capital’

Throughout Keating, a series of interviews that finished airing on the ABC earlier this month, the former prime minister makes reference to the notion of political capital in relation to the Labor government…
Are fixed term elections the answer to the AEC’s problems, as identified in the report into the handling of the ballot papers in Western Australia? AAP/Lukas Coch

WA Senate ballot farce: fix the date, fix the problems

The release of Mick Keelty’s report on the missing Western Australian Senate ballot papers from the 2013 federal election gives us an unusually in-depth look at how the Australian Electoral Commission…
Tony Abbott’s government has lacked the assured certainty the Coalition showed in winning office. AAP/Stefan Postles

What’s going on with the Abbott government?

For every opposition, the prospect of taking office – attaining politics’ ultimate prize, often after years of hard grind – can be relied upon to drown out the little noises of self-doubt and self-criticism…
The full story of the Keating years – and their aftermath – is both far more complex and contentious than the man himself would have us believe in his ABC interviews. AAP/David Crosling

Keating: interviews for the true believers

The ABC’s four-part series of interviews with Paul Keating, which has just finished airing, displayed the former prime minister and treasurer in all his complexity, both at his best and at his worst. This…
Kevin Rudd leaves parliament with his future as uncertain as his legacy. AAP/Daniel Munoz

The Rudd legacy: we need to talk about Kevin … or do we?

Should we care about Kevin Rudd’s legacy? Will anyone care? Australian political historians gaze with envy at the United States, where past presidents are revered and books about the “founding fathers…
Voters in Griffith will soon be forced back to the polls – only this time, there’ll be no Kevin Rudd. Who will win the south Brisbane seat? Liz Minchin

Rudd’s poor timing will likely cost ALP in Griffith

Kevin Rudd’s final speech in parliament last night was delivered in his customary egocentric fashion. There will be many think pieces on Rudd’s career and his legacy, but perhaps the more interesting immediate…
Tony Abbott was a formidable opposition leader but how effective will the Abbott-led Coalition be in government? AAP Image/Joe Castro

Ready, aim, fire! Australia’s new parliament begins

Just over two months ago Tony Abbott led the Coalition to victory and became Australia’s 28th prime minister. When the new parliament begins today, his side will sit on the government benches for the first…
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…
The business community may try to get as much out of Tony Abbott as possible, but do they recognise the clear differences between a CEO and a prime minister? AAP/Bianca De Marchi

Beware PM, CEOs don’t get politics

The recent demands of business leaders for prime minister Tony Abbott to immediately reform the industrial relations system, rather than wait three years, should serve as yet another reminder of why corporate…
All about me: but how does the level of personality in Australian politics stack up globally? AAP/Lukas Coch

Here’s a thought: the election could be more about personality

Up until Sunday’s debate, we heard grumbles that this election is too personality-focused. The beef was that the last few months in political news had been consumed by conflict and drama. “MPs” are “Media…
The last few years in Australian politics have seen the rise of a new definition of ‘lying’. AAP/Lukas Coch

Redefining the lie: politics and porkies

Lie (v.) (1) To make a politically unpopular statement; (2) [retrospectively applied] To make a statement which appears inconsistent with a more recent statement, indicating that its maker has changed…
Prime minister Kevin Rudd has already expressed his disgust at ICAC’s findings, but will its stench affect the upcoming federal campaign? AAP/Dean Lewins

‘Sugar Ray’ Rudd won’t be stopped by ICAC

“ICAC, SHMY-CAC. My name is Kevin, I’m from Queensland and I’m here to help.” I know it’s not quite what the prime minister would say: I have taken a little licence with his words from 2007. But I think…
Caricatures of today’s politicians can be found anywhere from rallies to mainstream newspapers. AAP/Miles Godfrey

A true reflection? How caricatures can help or hinder politicians

In the current vicious political climate, caricatures in our daily press have become more savage. Perhaps no politician has experienced this more in recent times than former prime minister Julia Gillard…
Kevin Rudd has been working hard to neutralise key policy issues - such as asylum seekers - before announcing the date for the federal election. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Tick, tick, tick … is Kevin Rudd setting the election timer?

It has been almost one month since Kevin Rudd returned to The Lodge. Rudd was charged with the responsibility of making Labor competitive in the upcoming election. But what do his actions since taking…

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