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’, […]

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

, Nov 09, 2009

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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 […]

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 […]

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

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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 […]

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 […]

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

, Jun 27, 2009

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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 […]

Poor Godwin Grech – a martyr to the cause of public service

, Jun 22, 2009

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Godwin Grech, a hard-working and intelligent bureaucrat, has fallen foul of the gap between myth and reality in the senior echelons of Australia’s public service. The myth, fondly recounted by the mostly faceless senior bureacrats in Canberra, speaks of independence, impartiality and fearless advice. The reality is that your career only progresses if you do […]

Media response: Wahhhh! I want a recession

, Jun 04, 2009

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After all, everyone else has got one mummy. The media is at its rancid worst this morning bemoaning the technical absence of a recession when everyone reeaalllly knows the whole place is f#cked. Ross Gittins defends his right to call it a recession no matter what the data say. Interestingly, a week ago he was […]

A triumph for Australian economic policy makers

, Jun 03, 2009

Today’s news that the Australian economy actually grew during the March quarter is remarkable. Sure we’re not out of the woods yet but the contrast between Australia’s performance and that of much of the rest of the world is notable. It appears that exports and consumer spending have been the main factors in the favourable […]

NSW government tries to stay relevant in health system future

, Jun 03, 2009

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In a well-executed media stunt (labelled an ‘exclusive’ by the Daily Telegraph, LOL) the NSW Government has come up with an idea to try and carve out a future in the (mis)management of the state’s health system. Apart from being an ‘exclusive’, the stunt also has two other elements designed to give it media appeal: […]

Is Oakes too kind to Rudd?

, Jun 01, 2009

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Yesterday, Andrew Bolt got a bit scathing and dirty on the ABC’s Insiders about veteran press gallery journalist Laurie Oakes. Bolt said that Liberals were  ‘concerned’ about Oakes’ reporting, whatever that amounts to.   The immediate cause of Bolt’s attack was Oakes’ ‘ambush’ of Turnbull during the week over the Opposition Leader’s inclusion on the […]

Silly me, I thought Rudd was serious on defence

, Jun 01, 2009

Last month, I was alarmed by the Rudd Government’s expressed intentions to arm us to the teeth at great expense in response to some supposed ‘China threat’. I wrote a stream of alarmed posts. Not only didn’t the Government’s position make much sense in strategic terms, but I just couldn’t see how we could afford […]

What’s Tanner been doing?

, May 22, 2009

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Traditionally, the Finance Minister is the tough guy. The Finance Minister is the one that imposes fiscal discipline on his more or less unwilling colleagues all of whom are usually keen to protect their patch and deliver the goodies for their portfolio’s clients. As Peter Walsh (pretty much the creator of the tradition) used to […]

Daily Telegraph squeezes the lemon on MP expenses

, May 20, 2009

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The British MP expense scandal keeps getting better and better for the media. An easy story to explain, lots of gotcha headlines, resignations, sackings, embarrassment all round and an outraged populace.  When the British get their act together their reformed system will end up looking like the system that applies to our federal MPs. But […]

The myth of an independent Treasury

, May 16, 2009

The claim that Treasury is an institution independent of government fundamentally misconstrues the relationship between the federal government and the Commonwealth public service.  While it is not surprising to see politicians fail Economics 101, it is more surprising to see them also failing Political Science 101. The government now routinely hides behind Treasury and RBA […]

Turnbull is right not to do a Hewson

, May 15, 2009

From Lenore Taylor: “the Prime Minister would rather make veiled threats about double-dissolution elections, or demand to know the Coalition’s economic plans – even though no opposition leader in history (except the hapless John Hewson) has presented comprehensive and fully costed policies until shortly before a poll.” Yet many pundits (like Mike Carlton on 2GB) […]