Articles on Australian politics

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The families of the interned men of the Caminiti clan in Queensland, circa 1940. Supplied

When ethnicity counts: civilian internment in Australia during WW2

When Fascist Italy declared war on Britain in mid-1940, almost 5,000 Italians living in Australia were imprisoned in internment camps. Few Italian families escaped the human cost of detention as “enemy…
Cory Bernardi making his now infamous comments on gay marriage in the Australian Senate last night. ABC News

Bernardi slips down the political slope with bestial comments on marriage

South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi’s comments about gay marriage have caused an uproar. Today he was forced to step down from his position as parliamentary secretary to Tony Abbott. But are they representative…
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s conduct as a student politician is under scrutiny after the release of the new Quarterly Essay. AAP/Lukas Coch

Much ado Abbott nothing: Marr’s Quarterly Essay misses the mark

There is a limit to what any writer can do in 20,000 words, so not too much should be expected of the essays in the Quarterly Essay series. Nevertheless, a number of them have been influential, including…
Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan, pictured at the ALP state conference in Queensland on Sunday, finally have something to smile about.

ALP should ride the poll bump and leave the Greens alone

This week’s Newspoll and Age/Nielsen poll make interesting reading in the wake of last week’s debate over the relationship between the Labor and the Greens. According to Newspoll, support for Labor has…
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman congratulates Treaurer Tim Nicholls after handing down the first LNP budget in 14 years. AAP/Dave Hunt

Politically sharp Queensland budget might cut both ways for Newman

As budgets go we’ve seen tougher, but not often. The first appropriation bill of the Queensland’s new Liberal-National government – the first non-Labor budget in 14 years – was always going to be austere…
Malcolm Turnbull calls time on Question Time. (AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Question Time: don’t change the contest we want to watch

Malcolm Turnbull’s call to change Question Time is admirable. He has proposed looking to the British system, where the Prime Minister is only required to answer questions one day a week, giving other ministers…
We’ve had the big announcement on schools funding, but now comes the political reality. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

State stoush: the Gonski reforms and the political battle ahead

The battle over the future of Australia’s school funding arrangements has started in earnest. Outlining the government’s response to the landmark Gonski Review, Prime Minister Gillard spoke of a national…
The Gillard response to the Gonski review was a disappointment and could have been much more. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

No detail, all strategy and an opportunity lost on Gonski reforms

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced the government will introduce some of the recommendations of the Gonski Review, including a new model for funding schools. Many commentators criticised the announcement…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaking at the National Press Club yesterday signalled serious changes to the states’ role in education. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

The real agenda behind Gillard’s Gonski response

After the government’s response to the Gonski report on schools funding, it’s worth looking at not only what was in the announcement but what wasn’t. Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered no indication…
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…
There was cause for new NT chief minister Terry Mills to cheer this weekend, but political debate continues to suffer in Australia. AAP

Politics without passion: NT election another act in an uninspiring policy circus

Labor has just lost another election in Australia to the opposition in an electoral race that was dominated by negative messages, where both parties attempted unsuccessfully to differentiate themselves…
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…
Country Liberal Party (CLP) leader Terry Mills (left) shakes hands with Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson ahead of an election debate in Darwin. AAP/Xaiver La Canna

NT election: the build up to the storm

This week the Northern Territory News announced that by the end of the week we can expect the notorious “build up” that heralds the end of the dry season, to begin. Today the first clouds we have seen…
Julia Gillard yesterday blasted those on the internet for recycling rumours about her, part of what she calls a sexist campaign. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Misogynists and nut jobs: Gillard stares down blogosphere

Prime minister Julia Gillard took aim yesterday at the “misogynists” and “nut jobs” on the internet posting about her conduct 17 years ago while working as an industrial lawyer. The Prime Minister said…
In asylum seeker policy, the most punitive measures are the most politically acceptable. AAP/Lukas Coch

For asylum seekers, ‘disincentives’ are the new deterrence

Remarkably, in all the 162 pages of the Houston panel’s report on asylum seekers, the word “deter” does not appear a single time. But this does not necessarily indicate a welcome move away from the deterrence-based…
The Houston panel - Paris Aristotle, Angus Houston and Michael L'Estrange - briefed the media on their findings yesterday afternoon. AAP/Alan Porritt

Houston panel ignores the evidence on asylum seekers

The Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers contains some threads of a genuine shift from the prevailing framework towards a more regulatory model for responding to asylum seekers. The panel has abandoned…
Joyous photos such as this one of Phyllis Siegel, 76, right, and Connie Kopelov, 84, marrying in New York could soon flood out of Tasmania. EPA/Michael Appleton

Tasmanian same-sex marriage push makes an honest nation of Australia

I personally experienced the full necessity for marriage equality only recently. In the sunny town of Lamego, Portugal, my dear friend Nina was married to her beloved Marcos. She was the first of my friends…

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