Articles on Australian politics

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As the 44th parliament opens, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said an Indigenous PM will be possible one day soon. AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

Abbott looks forward to Indigenous PM

Tony Abbott says he hopes Australia will have an Indigenous prime minister “one day, not too far off”. Addressing the Welcome…
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says Hockey wants a big heft in debt ceiling so he won’t have to come back to Parliament again. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Labor plays hardball on debt ceiling – as well as on mining tax and carbon price

The opposition is going into the new parliament with something of the “relentlessly negative” frame of mind that it used to attack in Tony Abbott. It will try to deny the government its way on the three…
Julia Gillard has returned to the public spotlight just months after she was deposed as prime minister, and will likely remain front-and-centre in public life. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Life after the prime ministership: a trek through history

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has returned to the spotlight after maintaining a dignified silence since her removal as Labor leader in June. Since the defeat of the federal Labor government, she…
A vote for Clive Palmer is a vote for giant, animatronic dinosaurs. AAP/Dave Hunt

Australia: land of eccentric election candidates

Here’s a sentence you probably won’t hear again for a while: when I lived in the UK, I couldn’t get over how constructive and intelligent British politics was. Having come from Australia, where Question…
Do the math. Higher education is important to Australian voters. University image from www.shutterstock.com

Is higher education a vote changer?

There are no votes in higher education, right? One former cabinet minister would refer to universities as “the dogs” - because if you kick ‘em, they just roll over. Conventional wisdom has long told us…
Julia Gillard has taken Tony Abbott and the Liberals to task for gender bias, but what about her own stance on gay marriage? AAP/Lukas Coch

As a gay man, I will not be lectured on discrimination by Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard has had a rough few days. More accurately weeks, well, months. Let’s face it, years. And at the centre of so many of her travails has been debate about her gender. She’s been called a witch…
Gillard’s personal resilience is remarkable, whatever one thinks of her political nous. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Crazy days, and more to come before it’s over

Parliament is up for a week, before its final fortnight session of the term. Labor MPs are dreading those last two weeks. If they are anything like the past few days, they’ll be disastrous. “Febrile” and…
While reporters’ political biases are always hotly debated, other biases remain - including too few voices from diverse backgrounds. AAP/Alan Porritt

Whose views skew the news? Media chiefs ready to vote out Labor, while reporters lean left

Most Australian journalists describe themselves as left-wing, yet amongst those who wield the real power in the country’s newsrooms, the Coalition holds a winning lead. But while the media’s political…
Nicola Roxon announces she is leaving parliament. The race to fill the vacancy in her seat of Gellibrand illustrates many of the challenges faced by Labor. AAP/Alan Porrit

Home is where the vote is: should politicians live in the seats they represent?

Can someone provide effective representation for a community if they live outside the boundaries of the district they hope to represent? Or more bluntly, should a member of parliament not only live in…
The remaining A$3.5 billion needed to fully fund the NDIS will still need to be found from other sources. Image from shutterstock.com

Coalition support for levy just a step along the road to an NDIS

The announcement that opposition leader Tony Abbott will support a 0.5% increase to the Medicare Levy to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) takes the politics out of about half the additional…
Certainty of funding is important and that’s why an income tax levy or premium is the way to go. Image from shutterstock.com

Increasing income tax the right choice for a sustainable NDIS

While an income tax increase may be hard to sell to some people in the community in the lead-up to a federal election, it’s the right choice for a sustainable National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS…
Soon after revealing his plans to build a replica Titanic, Clive Palmer has set his sights on becoming Australian Prime Minister. EPA/Jason Szenes

Titanic ambitions: Palmer’s federal push shouldn’t be lightly dismissed

Queensland has a habit of raising the eyebrows of our southern cousins when it comes to politics “our way”. Visits to friends and family down south always have required explanations about Joh Bjelke-Petersen…
British PM Margaret Thatcher meets with her Australian counterpart Malcolm Fraser in 1979 - what was her lasting effect on politics here? AAP/National Archives

Both left and right: Thatcher’s undeniable influence on Australian politics

Margaret Thatcher’s years as British prime minister from 1979 to 1990 coincided with an era of political upheaval in Australia. The exhaustion of Malcolm Fraser’s “Menziesian” liberalism was followed by…
Julian Assange needs to consider his Australian senate run as more than just a ticket out of the Ecuadorian embassy. EPA/Kerim Okten

Senate run must be more than a get-out-of-jail card for Assange

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks Party is gathering momentum ahead of this year’s federal election. Prominent barrister and political figure Greg Barns has been announced as the party’s national campaign director…

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