December, 2009

Liberal Leader contest: A Labor supporters’ form guide

, Dec 01, 2009

This is a day that few ALP supporters could have dreamed would ever come to pass. The Liberals tearing themselves to pieces over policy. Who knew they had it in them? Of course, there were some great stoushes over leadership and pre-selections back in the 1980s, but nothing on this scale. Back then, the ‘wets’, […]

The Liberals face self-destruction

, Nov 28, 2009

In the first decade after Federation, the conservative forces (Deakin’s protectionists and Reid’s free traders) opted for fusion in the face of the growing electoral and parliamentary strength of the Labor party. The formation of the Country Party in 1922 introduced a clear rural interest, and took votes from the ALP and bolstered the conservative […]

Crawford report a dull dud spiced by a big no to John Coates

, Nov 18, 2009

Today’s media coverage is rightly hostile about the Crawford report, commissioned and welcomed by the Rudd Government, which recommends that Australia abandon its Olympic traditions and ambitions and accept a more realistic target. So much for excellence. The report recommends that additional government funding go to community sport (eg our many footy codes) rather than […]

Can Rudd save his ETS, or will it destroy him?

, Nov 09, 2009

Rudd is a control freak. His government is run along command and control lines (read Cameron Stewart’s interesting piece in last Saturday’s Australian magazine). His media strategy is a campaign strategy. Win the day, stay in front.  Make your opponent the issue. Control the message. Make no mistakes. This is the goldfish in a bowl […]

We need the genes of illegal immigrants

, Oct 16, 2009

Immigration can improve the national gene pool: Geneticists have shown that there is literally such a thing as American DNA, not surprising when nearly all of us are descended from immigrants. We therefore carry an immigrant-specific genotype, a genetic marker expressing itself—in some environments, at least—as energetic risk-taking and competitive self-promotion. Even when famine, warfare, […]

Obama caught adrift in the media, lobbyist circus

, Oct 10, 2009

Awarding Obama the Nobel peace prize seems emblematic of the triumph of celebrity over substance. I’m an Obama fan, but the reality is that his achievements lie ahead of him not behind him, and you can’t help thinking that the Nobel judges were more than a little ‘previous’ in awarding the prize to a guy […]

Even the GFC can’t reverse the Left’s decline

, Sep 29, 2009

In a recent issue of the new york review of books (Sept 24), Tony Judt described social democracy as the “ideology that dare not speak its name”, such has been the decline of the political ideology that once dominated Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and ‘new deal’ America. (Obviously, Judt doesn’t read Kevin Rudd’s essays.) […]

Was “Balibo” sanitised?

, Sep 22, 2009

A few weeks ago, John Pilger made some interesting claims that the script of Balibo had been toned down to expunge Australian Government (and media?) complicity. Pilger’s quotes from director Robert Connolly don’t exactly refute the claims but the Australian media doesn’t seem interested in it either, perhaps preferring the official version once again that […]

Social democracy deracinated

, Sep 21, 2009

A new light on the hill | The Australian In Saturday’s Australian Tim Soutphommasane had a long piece on where Rudd and Labor stand in ideological terms. Part way through reading it I started to notice that there was a lot missing from his account of the ALP’s current relationship with its traditional ideology. What […]

Is Gerard Henderson a leftie?

, Sep 09, 2009

A new study seems to suggest so. The authors, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, got some solid media coverage with their finding that the ABC is slanted rightwards. In fact, the study claims that ABC TV is more favourable to the coalition then talk radio stations 2UE and 2GB. Do you believe it? Others have […]

Public service reform gets the Rudd treatment

, Sep 04, 2009

From The Australian: (Rudd) has asked Terry Moran, secretary of his Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to put together an advisory panel which will develop a discussion paper seeking ideas for reform by the end of this month. Unfortunately the syntax here is confusing but I guess that it means that the advisory panel […]

‘Making communism work’; aka award modernisation

, Sep 03, 2009

Multi-employer awards are an Australian phenomenon and so is the herculean task of modernising them. As time goes by, and given the legalistic approach we take to these things, our award system starts to take on some of the characteristics of an archeological dig with layers of regulation piled on top of each other. Faced […]

Whitlam’s Grandkids – media coverage

, Aug 30, 2009

In recent days I have secured some good media coverage for my research comparing the first speeches of the 2007 and 1983 ALP MP intakes; which I luridly titled “Whitlam’s Grandchildren: What the Class of 2007 tells us about the ALP”. Annabel Crabb wrote it up in the SMH Thursday (In Gough we Trust) which prompted […]

Whitlam’s Grandchildren: What the Class of 2007 can tell us about the ALP

, Aug 11, 2009

Changes of government typically result in a flood of new members into the House of Representatives, especially, of course, on the winner’s side. After winning the election in 2007, 32 ALP members sat, and spoke, in the House of Representatives, for the first time, 39 per cent of Labor’s representation in the lower house. The […]

Green jobs and a red scheme

, Jul 31, 2009

In an earlier “greatest economic crisis since the great depression”, 1975, I found myself happily and productively unemployed (I have never read so many novels so quickly ever again, sigh) in Hobart after a season of apple-picking in Huonville, a few pleasant weeks hitch-hiking around this delightful isle and a truly inspirational week walking through […]

Don’t mind the pesticides: the great organic food study scam

, Jul 31, 2009

The biggest benefit claimed for organic food is that you know what you’re eating i.e. you’re not eating pesticides. Yet, the UK Government spends a bucket of money on a study of studies that ignores the key claim: “There may be a difference in pesticide residues but they didn’t test for that in this paper, […]

Tradies in political heaven

, Jul 30, 2009

From my son: Rudd talked about a kid called Matt Jenkins who busted his arse to become a carpenter, “Matt the carpenter”, like “Joe the Plumber” at least it wasnt “Joesph the carpenter”

Laziness is not the way to the Lodge

, Jul 30, 2009

Malcolm Turnbull has failed on two fronts this week, political donations and the ETS legislation. The idea that the Opposition will oppose the Government’s reforms on political donations because they don’t go far enough is pure poppycock. More serious is the admission that the Opposition will oppose the Government’s ETS legislation but will not put […]

Rudd’s blog: popular but pointless

, Jul 18, 2009

So Kevin Rudd has a blog. So what? He puts up a post about climate change and it draws hundreds and hundreds of comments. And then…Well, nothing really. Australia doesn’t actually need more online opportunities to sound off. With ABC Unleashed, News Ltd’s Punch, Crikey, of course, New Matilda, Online Opinion (no journalism please) etc, and […]

Forget utegate, grocery choice …Conroy delivered the week’s worst decision

, Jun 27, 2009

As widely reported, but over-shadowed by other scandals and fiascos, was Stephen Conroy’s decision to censor the internet more extensively than previously thought. This decision is likely to alienate a large swag of voters who are otherwise favourable to Labor. Inquisitr: “The Australian Minister for Censorship has today confirmed what I’ve been reporting for nearly […]