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Shadow minister for families and payments Jenny Macklin at the launch of Labor’s pensions campaign. AAP/Lukas Coch

Pre-budget battle weapons – a slogan and a slide show

Playing the slogan game might degrade the political debate, but it worked alright for Tony Abbott – so now Bill Shorten’s launched into it ahead of the May budget. Labor has unveiled its “Mr Abbott. Don’t…
Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten are united in condemning violence against women and children, but both overlook the young people who are victims too. AAP/Lukas Coch

Sidelined and scorned: young people are set up to be soft targets

Responses to family violence by Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten and the terms of reference for Victoria's royal commission fail to mention young people. Such a lack of recognition has dire consequences.
The Labor Party that Bill Shorten leads is much more professionalised in its MP make-up than its earlier incarnations. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Class warfare: would Shorten pass the test that Ed Miliband failed?

For British Labour leader Ed Miliband, defeat was yet again snatched from the jaws of victory. With the UK general election less than six months away, the recent Rochester and Strood by-election was a…
Jenny Macklin emphasises that the pursuit of inclusive growth also requires a set of economic policies that recognise the importance of human capital. AAP/Lukas Coch

Labor needs new narrative, Macklin says

Opposition frontbencher Jenny Macklin says Labor should frame its policies around delivering “inclusive growth” and needs…
The problem confronting Labor and federal leader Bill Shorten is not so much the ties with unions as the centralisation of power in the party and a handful of affiliated unions. AAP/Lukas Coch

Labor will be making a mistake if it simply divorces the unions

Proposed reforms in the Australian Labor Party aim to give members a greater voice in party governance and policy development. This is driven by the need to reverse the party’s shrinking support base after…
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has found himself in a better than expected electoral position a year into his leadership. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: In Conversation with Bill Shorten

Bill Shorten will have been a year in his job next month. After its trouncing at the election, Labor is in a much better position than many would have expected, leading on a two party basis in the polls…
Bill Shorten needs to define a positive story for Labor that goes beyond the constant whining about the government’s broken promises. AAP/Alan Porritt

As the party faithful drift away, can Bill Shorten reinvent Labor?

Bill Shorten, who seemed so impressive as a union leader and minister, is shaping up as the least inspiring opposition leader since Alexander Downer. In foreign affairs, Shorten’s fear of repeating Mark…
Opposition leader Bill Shorten described the rape allegation as abhorrent. AAP/Paul Miller

Shorten outs himself as Labor figure in rape investigation

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has identified himself as the senior Labor figure investigated by Victoria Police after an allegation he had raped a young woman in the 1980s. In a claim made last October…
It seems things are not yet bad enough in the Labor Party to make significant reform, such as John Faulkner’s proposed changes to preselection, likely. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Faulkner’s reforms will fail as NSW Labor refuses to change

Labor senator John Faulkner does not anticipate that his moves to reform the party’s preselection processes will succeed at this weekend’s NSW State Conference. Faulkner is hoping to have the rules changed…
Joe Hockey’s budget speech forgot the age-old rules of rhetoric, which he needed to observe if he wanted to control ‘the narrative’. Lukas Coch/AAP

In government, a mantra is not enough to control the narrative

The annual federal budget speech is the one required speech of the Australian political calendar. And it goes all the way back to Federation. It’s Australia’s equivalent of the State of the Union address…
Opposition leader Bill Shorten attacked the government’s budget as ‘ideological’, but his own vision in the battle of ideas is far less clear. AAP/Alan Porritt

Shorten’s budget in reply: will it reshape voters' memories?

Opposition leader Bill Shorten was emphatic in his budget in reply that the Abbott government’s first budget was an “attack” on the Australian way of life. In his speech on the floor of parliament last…
Opposition leader Bill Shorten delivered his first budget in reply speech on the floor of parliament tonight. AAP/Alan Porritt

Bill Shorten’s budget reply: experts react

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has vowed to oppose funding cuts to hospitals, schools and higher education in his budget in reply speech, threatening more than A$10 billion in budget savings proposed by…

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