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Legislative and electoral progress for gay and lesbian equality in the USA

The Supreme Court of Connecticut has ruled that it is unconstitutional in that state to deny same sex couples the right to marry, making it the third state in the USA, after Massachusetts and California, to provide equal recognition for same sex relationships.  All of those states are now more advanced than anywhere in Australia when […]

Georgiou calls for renewed commitment to multiculturalism

 When Malcolm Turnbull was pondering the make-up of his new front bench, I suggested he could do far worse than give Petro Georgiou a position, particularly in areas dealing with immigration or multiculturalism.  I wasn’t surprised that this didn’t happen, but this article by Mr Georgiou in The Age last week shows why he would have […]

Tanner matches words with action (through more words)

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner was “in the early stages of organising a trial government blog. The purpose of the experiment will be to explore the possibilities for government participation in blogging.” To his credit, Mr Tanner is following through with the same notion of using online forums to encourage […]

Vote Early: voting underway in US election.

The US Presidential election campaign has been going on for what seems like an eternity.  In many ways the US election result could more impact on the future of Australians than the Australian election result, so I suppose its good they give voters lots of time to think about it.  Polling day is now less […]

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The world of politics, policy and public life

Qld Labor MP joins the Greens

It is an interesting development to see Ronan Lee, the Member for Indooroopilly in the Qld Parliament, announce today that he has left the Labor Party and joined the Green Party.  This gives the Greens their first MP at state or federal level in Queensland.  Ronan was scheduled to speak at the same event I spoke […]

Will Indigenous communities see any of the 'Building Australia' Fund?

The federal government has indicated they are looking at spending up to twenty billion dollars, currently sitting in a bucket labelled “The Building Australia Fund”, to assist in combating the looming economic downturn.  The notion of pump priming the economy for this purpose is reasonable enough in theory.  However, there are plenty of reasons to justify […]

Another kayak trip trying to save another river

In May 2007, Steve Posselt engaged in a marathon kayak trip to help draw attention to the plight of the Murray-Darling basin, travelling over 3000 kilometres from Brisbane along the length of the Darling River and then to the mouth of the Murray. It took him four months and I have little doubt he would be […]

Peter Costello denies his own superannuation legacy

Peter Costello’s latest contribution to public debate makes me wonder once again why it is he is (or was) seen as leadership material by so many of his colleagues. His assertion in The Australian today that the former government never encouraged people to invest extra money into superannuation is quite extraordinary, even by his recent […]

What's in it for me? The self-interested reasons for spending more on Indigenous health

There is an old saying, attributed to former NSW Labor Premier and firebrand Jack Lang, that a politician should always back the horse called self-interest, as it will be the only one really trying. This quote is often used to portray politics as an activity that is ultimately driven by cynicism, but it can also […]

Detention Debt: Not Drowning, Waiving

The story in Crikey about Kasian Wililo, an Australian resident being chased for a debt of over $161 000 for the cost of keeping him in immigration detention for years, has drawn a lot of public comment. Apart from being a major injustice, this case also highlights a key test for both for the government […]