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03 March 2015 |
The Victorian state election that ushered out the Napthine Coalition government last November was a wake-up call for the Federal government. The amazing Queensland state defeat for Campbell Newman in late January brought on on the Spill against Tony Abbott. But the NSW election at the end of this month is an ambiguous marker.
23 February 2015 |
On Monday, Tony Abbott made his finest speech as prime minister. Yet it was also scare-mongering, heavy handed and intimidatory. It reminded members of the Muslim Community that the Australian Government has the power to control and punish them. It may be a vote winner for a while, but for long term effect it’s worth contrasting it with the British Government’s successful calming messaging during the 1969-97 terror campaign.
05 February 2015 |
The rewards of parenthood are immeasurable. But the price that women pay when they become mothers is unjust. This includes lost opportunities, gender wage gaps, and sparse superannuation savings. They really need an efficient and fair maternity leave scheme to support them as they transition from worker to working mother. Tony Abbott's 'signature' policy is now gone, and the 'replacement' families package has a big gap to fill.
02 February 2015 |
Queensland’s new premier is a plain-spoken, modest woman with a ‘foreign’ name. She was triumphant after the self-confident three year reign of Campbell Newman. Tony Abbott also did his bit for the Queensland result, as a man of power who characteristically overreaches and is yet to learn the lesson that the right to rule has to be earned, every day, from the people.
29 January 2015 |
Tony Abbott's preoccupation with knights and dames, together with his unilateral award of a knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh, is evidence of his attraction to the past more than the future. Likewise his December Cabinet reshuffle was not a serious effort at renewal. He shuffled the existing deck of cards but didn't introduce many new ones at the senior level.
27 January 2015 |
In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama drew rare bipartisan applause with his anti-Russian rhetoric when he said the US was ‘upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small’. The Cold War ended 25 years ago, yet the desire to weaken Russia has never gone away. This is nonsense. Russia poses no threat to the west. It is just another country trying to make its own way in an unfriendly world.
11 December 2014 |
On Christmas Eve I will deliver, for the twelfth year in a row, an iced, naively decorated fruitcake to my oldest and dearest Australian friend, Enid. I will pull up into the driveway of her brick home. She will open the front door before I have even knocked, and before she’s even kissed me hello will tell me how beautiful the cake is and how she couldn’t possibly cut into it.
11 December 2014 |
As we prepare to mark the tenth anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami, Australia's proud achievement in being the largest per capita provider of overseas aid at the time is being overshadowed by reports of further devastating government cuts to our aid program. Successive cuts - including 20 per cent in the May Budget - mean that we are starting to be seen as a country turning inwards.
09 December 2014 |
One of the fascinating aspects of Australia's political pantomime is the manner in which the Federal Treasurer is forced to metamorphose into a used car salesman who is spruiking the Australian economy. One reason for the relative impotence of the Treasurer is that the Federal government only has control over fiscal policy. Monetary policy, the interest rate, is set by the Reserve Bank, not the government.
01 December 2014 |
The wider Defence community is now ascendant in the Australian community, yet the ADF has still suffered an effective cut in pay. Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie is projecting herself as the defender of defence personnel and promising to vote against all government policy until the pay offer is upgraded. But there are strong reasons to suggest defence welfare may not have much of a political impact at the next election.
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