It is notoriously difficult for referendums to succeed in Australia – but there are lessons from those that have gone before about how to improve their chances.
Mark Graham; Joel Carrett/AAP
In the US, presidents can serve a maximum of two terms or eight years. Should a limit be placed on political leaders here?
In years gone by, former prime ministers were often trusted confidants to their successors. Not so these days, when the trend has been for former leaders to make a swift exist from the parliament.
Bianca de Marchi/AAP
Despite all the arguments flying around the Voice offers one simple thing: a long overdue way for Indigenous consensuses to develop and find their rightful place in national politics.
National Archives of Australia
These histories remind us how long First Nations people have waited for political recognition in this country – and that, compared to other former colonial sites, Australia is the exception, not the rule.
Menzies created the Liberals from the rubble of its once successful but ultimately dysfunctional forebear, the UAP. It wasn’t the first time the centre-right reinvented itself. It could happen again.
Paul Keating’s recent savage criticism of the Albanese government over the AUKUS deal is a reminder that former leaders have not always publicly disparaged their own parties.
Bob Hawke and Anthony Albanese at the launch of the biography Albanese: Telling It Straight, Parliament House, Canberra, September 2016.
Chris Wallace’s book Political Lives entertains, but also does something far more valuable: it lights up the present by illuminating the past.
Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff (right) is now the only non-Labor leader at federal or state level.
History shows us there is no guarantee of sweetness and light simply because the same party holds office in a state and in Canberra.
National Gallery of Australia/AAP
If the 2023 referendum fails, it will at least in part be due to the shortcomings and spoiled hopes of 1967.
It is true failed referendums do not usually destroy governments, but they do have the potential to undermine leaders and governments.
The partnership between the Liberal and National parties has a long and at times chequered history – but it has also had tremendous success in winning and holding government.
Museum of Australian Democracy
While some prime ministers loom large in the public imagination, others are largely forgotten. Why were they so unremarkable- and is that fair?
A rally to free John Zarb, December 1968.
Search Foundation and the State Library of New South Wales
The climate emergency is in many ways the Vietnam of today’s young people. The 50th anniversary of the release of resisters to that conflict should give today’s decision-makers pause for thought.
The Yes/No case has long been flawed and the government is right to dispense with it. But it will need to replace it with something else to counter misinformation – and do so with great care.
The Whitlam government’s removal of the sales tax may seem small, but it increased access to the pill for many women and in doing so, changed their lives.
It is hard to say how big an influence the Nationals’ stance may have – but history shows us the Yes case in referendums is easily defeated.
A ‘drastic shift to the left’: Greens candidate Max Chandler-Mather celebrates his win in the Brisbane seat of Griffith in the May federal election.
In Dreamers and Schemers, the activities of male political elites take precedence over other social movements.
Australia has a long history of imaginative, even transformative, electoral politics – and a new book argues the 2022 federal election shows that spirit is still alive and well.
Ex-prime ministers have been a varied bunch - some committing themselves to public service; others firing shots from the sidelines. Scott Morrison appears to be taking an altogether different path.