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Libs’ low hopes displayed in Dutton pre-selection tangle

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

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

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

The Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, has caused plenty of 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 […]

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Putting the safety of children first

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

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

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

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

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

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 […]