Andrew Bartlett

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Libs’ low hopes displayed in Dutton pre-selection tangle

October 5, 2009 4

The failure of current Liberal frontbencher Peter Dutton to win Liberal National Party (LNP) pre-selection for the seat of McPherson has reportedly led to calls from Malcolm Turnbull for the party in Queensland to do “whatever it takes” or “everything it can” to ensure Mr Dutton is not lost to federal parliament. Queensland has caused […]

Death of Democrat co-founder Jack Evans

October 3, 2009 3

News has come through that Jack Evans, a pivotal person in the founding and development of the Australian Democrats, has died at the age of 80. It is always dangerous to single individuals out, but Jack Evans and Sid Spindler, alongside Don Chipp, were amongst the most crucial people in getting the Democrats established and functional.  Sadly all three […]

Refugee priorities

October 2, 2009 5

The slow increase in the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australian waters is creating a slowly increasing number of  antagonistic public comments and complaints.  Immigration Minister Chris Evans understandably points to the deteriorating position in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan as a factor, as well as noting a “second supply chain” from […]

The Clerks speak out

September 30, 2009 1

The Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, has caused plenty of http://www.theage.com.au/national/senates-sentinel-20090529-bqbf.html heartburn to governments of both persuasions during his tenure.  He has made a habit of publicly and plainly pointing out the dangers of unfettered executive power being provided to any government, no matter what their colour.  Perhaps the record length of his time […]

Putting the safety of children first

September 25, 2009 2

There is no surer way to get an argument than to start a debate about Dennis Ferguson and people who sexually abuse children.  The two recent items that Crikey has published on the topic quickly moved to the top of the most discussed list. Before I mention a bit more about that, I wanted to […]

Telstra move shows value of strong divestiture provisions

September 24, 2009 1

The federal government’s decision to push for the structural separation of Telstra has generally be welcomed by those who feel it will enhance competition / reduce monopolisation in the telecommunications sector, whilst receiving a less than positive response from some large Telstra investors who fear it will harm the value of their assets. Debates around […]

December double dissolution threat a joke

September 14, 2009 4

Judging from what I’ve read, it seems I am more open than most in thinking there is a credible possibility that the Prime Minister might call an early double dissolution election – assuming the political environment at the time suits it (and assuming he gets a trigger).  A chance to strengthen their Lower House majority […]

Major, welcome changes to Parliamentarian’s printing allowances

September 9, 2009 3

When John Faulkner was shifted from the Special Minister of State portfolio to become Defence Minister, some fears were voiced that his drive for improving accountability and transparency in the activities of government and politicians would be dissipated. However, Queensland Senator Joe Ludwig, who took on the Special Minister of State role, appears to be […]

Debates on refugees – then and now

September 8, 2009 3

In December last year, a report from the federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Migration unanimously recommended that “as a priority, the Australian Government introduce legislation to repeal the liability of immigration detention costs.”   That is, the law which raises a debt against people in immigration detention to cover the cost of their detention.  Legislation […]

Queensland Parliament has no choice but to act on abortion laws

August 25, 2009 7

The Queensland government has tried their best for a quite a few years to ignore the calls to change the state’s laws on abortion. However, whatever your views are on abortion, the issue in Queensland can no longer be avoided by the Queensland Parliament. The situation for individual women seeking an abortion and for doctors […]

Treatment of asylum seekers in Thailand

Treatment of asylum seekers in Thailand

August 21, 2009 2

I’ve written recently about the Australian government recent efforts to enlist further support from countries to our north in stifling the activities of people smugglers. Reports continue to appear of dreadful conditions and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in those same countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand. Another recent example, reported in the Bangkok-based […]

Inquiry on disability, health and our migration laws (after nine months gestation)

August 19, 2009 1

A public and political outcry in November last year, regarding a Doctor being  denied Australian permanent residency because his son had Down Syndrome, led to the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, announcing a Parliamentary inquiry into the health requirements in the Migration Act. Nearly six months later, on May 15 this year, the terms of reference […]

Something to listen to when things make you want to scream

August 18, 2009

This story in the New York Times outlines a curious new compilation album called “Favorite Recorded Scream”. the record is exactly what it says it is: an audio catalog of scream snippets — each a few seconds long — chosen by employees at various record stores in Manhattan. It’s the sort of idea that seems […]

Environment centre stage this week

August 9, 2009 5

In some ways, the many people who feel environmental issues should get far greater political and media attention should enjoy this coming week in federal Parliament.  Climate change, including the debate on legislative measures specifically aimed at ensuring a reduction in greenhouse emissions, is likely to be front and centre this week. (Of course, climate […]

USA’s detain & deport crimes worse than Australia’s

August 1, 2009 10

There is more evidence that, however unjust and dysfunctional the administration of Australia’s immigration laws was in our recent past, it is being outstripped by what has been happening in the USA. There are more and more examples coming to light in the USA that have echoes of the Cornelia Rau and Vivienne Alvarez debacles […]

The International Student mess

July 31, 2009 6

The shambles engulfing Australia’s international students continues to bubble along. Even worse, publicity about it continues to bubble along overseas, especially in Indian media. There are now reports that the education sector is trying to crack down on so-called ‘rogue education agents’.  It’s hard to see how that achieves anything more than window dressing.  The […]

The Frontline of Climate change: Pacific Island peoples

July 29, 2009 4

On Tuesday night, July 28, around 300 people filled the Brisbane Room in Brisbane’s City Hall to hear speakers from the front line of climate change – residents of the Torres Strait and Pacific Island nations Tuvalu, Micronesia and Kiribati.  It’s very rare for me to attend a forum with seven speakers all addressing the […]

Tony Abbott & lifting the Aged Pension to 70

July 28, 2009 16

That Tony Abbott certainly is a curious chap. I usually have some respect for people who are generally willing to say what they think, even when I disagree with them.  Yesterday, he was reported calling for the age pension age to be lifted to 70, rather than the government’s current plan to lift it just to […]

USA to sign human rights treaty on people with disabilities

July 27, 2009 1

No doubt President Obama will disappoint plenty of people in plenty of areas before his time as President finishes, but one area where he seems keen to make improvements is in the way the USA approaches human rights issues internationally. Last Friday he “announced his intention to sign the U.N. Convention on the Rights of […]

Care about out democracy? Read this & spread the word

July 24, 2009 1

If you are only going to read one thing about how Australia’s federal Parliament works – and more importantly how it doesn’t work – read this fabulous piece by the long-standing Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans. Among many things, he highlights the fact that the supposed ‘Westminster system’ we are repeatedly told Australia has, […]