Author: John Warhurst

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  • RELIGION

    Church democracy and the 2020 Plenary Council

    • John Warhurst
    • 10 September 2017
    33 Comments

    There is a lot of big talk by Australian Catholic church leaders about the forthcoming 2020 Plenary Council, but remarkable vagueness about its likely shape. Now that the first of the consultation sessions about the council has occurred in Sydney, resolving the nature of the event becomes a matter of some urgency. Otherwise the council runs the risk of eventually becoming a huge disappointment.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The high political stakes of same sex marriage

    • John Warhurst
    • 15 August 2017
    40 Comments

    The same sex marriage postal plebiscite will be as intense as most referendum and election campaigns. Indeed, the special characteristics of this subject, advanced by the government as the reason for going beyond parliamentary means to resolve the issue, mean that the campaign may be more intense than most referendums have been.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Senator Ludlam's crime and punishment

    • John Warhurst
    • 17 July 2017
    11 Comments

    Ludlam's departure means that the Senate has now had three senators, including Bob Day, the Family First leader, from South Australia, and Rod Culleton of the One Nation Party, who was also from Western Australia, declared ineligible to sit in the Parliament in the 12 months since the last election. One is an accident but three is an epidemic. This is a disturbing turn of events.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Political donations reform ignores insider politics big picture

    • John Warhurst
    • 19 June 2017
    5 Comments

    The revelations that several billionaires of Chinese origin have sought to influence Australian politics through large political donations have rekindled bipartisan concern to ban such donations. That it took investigative journalism by ABC and Fairfax media to generate such a rush to reform is a reflection on the Australian political class. While it is likely that reform legislation will be introduced and passed before the end of the year that will be only a very partial response to a bigger problem.

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  • RELIGION

    Catholic citizens needed within the Church

    • John Warhurst
    • 22 May 2017
    54 Comments

    Catholics have a proud record of exercising their democratic rights within Australian democracy as voters, members of political parties and lobby groups, and as elected representatives. But within their own church they have been taught to leave their democratic rights at the door. Now is the time to challenge that norm in parishes, dioceses and the wider church. In responding to the royal commission the church needs an infusion of democratic values, including transparency and accountability.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bad sports and politics

    • John Warhurst
    • 25 April 2017
    4 Comments

    Recent adverse coverage of sporting organisations has revealed once again what looks like widespread organisational dysfunction. Sport is such a major part of Australian life that we should all be interested in what goes on within the multi-million dollar organisations that run it, whether it be the big football codes, cricket, tennis or the Olympic sports. The stakes are huge and the issues, including self-interest, interstate rivalries and personality conflicts are eerily familiar in public life more generally.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Job-sharing could make for a more inclusive parliament

    • John Warhurst
    • 29 March 2017
    3 Comments

    The announcement by Kate Ellis, the 39 year old federal Labor MP for Adelaide, of her retirement at the next election to be with her young son came as a surprise. Several Fairfax journalists were dismayed. Stephanie Peatling issued a challenge: 'It's not people who should have to change to make their lives fit politics as we know it. It's politics as we know it that should change.' The immediate issue is gender balance, but the wider context is all types of diversity in parliament.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Weighing in on Abbott's Labor Lite slight

    • John Warhurst
    • 02 March 2017
    18 Comments

    Two irreconcilable views of the ideological position of the Turnbull government are now in circulation. One, held by those who once had high hopes that Malcolm Turnbull would lead a small l liberal government, is that the Coalition clearly is conservative. The other, advanced by South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi when he deserted the ship to form the Australian Conservatives, is that the Turnbull government is not conservative enough, maybe not even conservative at all. Both views can't be right.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Entitlements saga asks what is legitimate political work

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 January 2017
    7 Comments

    The question of proper parliamentary and government work expenses remains unresolved. Whether rural MPs should use charter flights rather than commercial airlines is the latest aspect. Every element of political work expenses is now under sceptical public scrutiny. The recent case of former Minister for Health Sussan Ley is just one of many questionable instances. The central question is what is a legitimate work expense for politicians. The matter of who should then pay is secondary.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Watching the 'mixed bag' Senate cross bench at work

    • John Warhurst
    • 04 December 2016
    4 Comments

    To say the Senate cross bench is a mixed bag is an understatement. All that is really lacking is an extreme left senator unrestrained by Labor/Green discipline. Amid all the controversy I've grown comfortable with their place in the Senate and appreciative of their collective presence in an otherwise party dominated chamber. They each have their flaws, but they make a generally positive contribution to public discussion and to ultimate legislative outcomes. We are better off for their presence.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Greens could learn a thing or two from larrikin Nationals

    • John Warhurst
    • 30 October 2016
    13 Comments

    The Nationals are the under-rated story within the Turnbull government. From the moment the party negotiated its binding agreement with Malcolm Turnbull, it has stood strong and determined. After about 30 years the Greens are still finding their way and learning their trade. They remain the outsiders looking in, whereas the Nationals are the ultimate insiders. Perhaps the Greens try too hard to be responsible, and would benefit from a dose of some of the larrikinism which the Nationals offer.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mediscare blame obscures government's weaknesses

    • John Warhurst
    • 02 October 2016
    5 Comments

    The main message of the 2016 election review delivered recently at the National Press Club by Tony Nutt, the federal director of the Liberal Party, was that Turnbull only failed to have a convincing victory because of the 'Mediscare' by the Labor Party. It is a message that deflects attention from the current and past weaknesses of the government and the prime minister. It is like a football coach who after a loss or a narrow win blames his team's performance on the dirty tactics of the opposition.

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