Author: John Warhurst

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Lame duck' governments and democracy

    • John Warhurst
    • 05 May 2013
    15 Comments

    The Coalition's characterisation of the Gillard Government as a lame duck is a tactic to slow down decision-making over the next four months. A government has every right not just to keep the wheels turning but to continue to try to implement its program even if it is just trying to improve its chances of re-election.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Downer and Costello's murky world of political lobbying

    • John Warhurst
    • 01 April 2013
    8 Comments

    In days past the 'consultancy' activity of former senior politicians was cloaked in respectability and not perceived as being at the hands-on end of lobbying. That pretence has now ended and Alexander Downer and Peter Costello are good examples. It is an unhealthy development with plenty of room for conflicts of interest.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Outsized party power distorts democracy

    • John Warhurst
    • 04 March 2013
    9 Comments

    What stands out most from the pre-selection defeat of ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries is that less than 200 pre-selectors voted. The power of this small pre-selectorate points to a broader problem in Australian politics. While the major parties are in decline as membership based organisations, they retain disproportionate power.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gillard's election year crash course

    • John Warhurst
    • 28 January 2013
    13 Comments

    Gillard's pick of Nova Peris as Labor candidate for the Senate in the Northern Territory could be a signal that she will try to get on the front foot this year. Since her famous misogyny speech last October, she may have decided not to die wondering but to crash through or crash. This poses an interesting dilemma for Abbott and his team.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Minority Government stands the test of time

    • John Warhurst
    • 06 December 2012
    13 Comments

    Whatever happens now there will be no election until March 2013 at the earliest. This means the Gillard Labor Government will go almost full term despite relentless pressure from the Opposition, a hung parliament and a raft of controversies. But survival is not the same as victory. It has come at a cost.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Tony Abbott gender gap

    • John Warhurst
    • 28 October 2012
    21 Comments

    The emphasis on the relationship between Tony Abbott and women is fuelled by opinion polls that consistently show that he is less popular with women voters. However, undue concentration on the role of gender in shaping voter choice serves to downplay other very interesting variations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Same sex marriage and the republic

    • John Warhurst
    • 03 October 2012
    20 Comments

    If same sex marriage continues to gain momentum around the Western world then the Australian debate will not go away. But should international interest fade then it probably will in Australia too. Whatever the future of the republic debate in Australia it is not of the same international character and therefore harder to sustain.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ethical dilemmas on safari in Africa

    • John Warhurst
    • 13 September 2012
    3 Comments

    I've just returned from a 14-day holiday in Kenya and Uganda. Everywhere you go, you are invited to help the local people in various ways, including financially and through volunteering. In the end we all react differently and in many cases spontaneously to what we see in these situations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Perils of the Greens' moral vanity

    • John Warhurst
    • 06 August 2012
    13 Comments

    The Greens have been accused of self-righteousness leading to an unwillingness to compromise. Yet the most inflexible party in the current parliament has been the Coalition, led by Tony 'Mr No' Abbott. Getting the balance right between flexibility and maintaining what you stand for is an important lesson for all political parties in parliament.

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  • EDUCATION

    50 years since Australia's 'most poisonous debate'

    • John Warhurst
    • 08 July 2012
    10 Comments

    Labor speechwriter Graham Freudenberg observed that ‘the oldest, deepest, most poisonous debate in Australia has been about government aid to church schools’. The most dramatic episode in the history of church state relations in Australia was the Goulburn schools strike, which took place 50 years ago this month.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Blasting Tony Windsor out of New England

    • John Warhurst
    • 03 July 2012
    6 Comments

    The Nationals have made their first big play for the next federal election. The recruitment of NSW state independent Richard Torbay to challenge New England incumbent Tony Windsor is either a masterstroke or a revealing insight into their problems and weaknesses as a regional and rural political party.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mystery of the pro-Rudd Coalition voters

    • John Warhurst
    • 05 June 2012
    18 Comments

    A Herald/Neilsen poll this week showed that Rudd leads Gillard by 62 per cent to 32 per cent. But that figure is distorted by the overwhelming pro-Rudd preference of Coalition voters, who prefer Rudd to Gillard by 71 per cent to 19 per cent. The motivation behind this preference is not immediately clear.

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