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Value your vote: values and Election 07

Voting with instinct


By Tony Smith

Voting and emotionSome political professionals would like to see the state behave just like the market, operating as a heartless machine for maximising outcomes. However, truly rational electors realise that if the system is to be imbued with compassion and humanity, the heart must play a role no less important than the head.

Union officials victimised by fear campaign


By Brendan Byrne

Union BossesThe Coalition's election campaign portrays union officials as industrial thugs. But far too often, they are the only support mechanism standing between stressed Australian workers and human tragedy.


Kevin Rudd's political cowardice


By Scott Stephens

Kevin Rudd's cowardiceThe great hypocrisy of Kevin Rudd’s style of politics is that he launched his challenge for the Labor leadership twelve months ago with an appeal to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. One cannot help but be sickened by his recent rebuke of the politically and morally courageous Robert McClelland, for expressing unbridled opposition to capital punishment in Indonesia.

Politics is a team sport


By John Warhurst

Politics a team sportShadow Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett has suffered substantial damage to his reputation over the Tasmanian pulp mill. What Garrett thinks personally doesn't actually matter, other than ultimately to his conscience.


Voting for the common good


By Ursula Stephens

Ursula Stephens Voters want their government to ensure that Australia’s economic prosperity benefits those who most need it. A strong economy is not enough — rather, it is the social economy, made up of nonprofit, community and other organisations working primarily for the common good, that plays a major role in making our country fairer and our local communities stronger.

It's time for Australia to reclaim sovereignty


By Tony Kevin

It's time for Australia to reclaim sovereigntyAustralia has ceased to believe in a rules-based international order. Our increasing cynicism about the UN, and participation in coalitions with powerful world players, effectively denies our sovereignty. Rudd Government foreign policy would need to involve more than fine-tuning.


Oz politics through the eyes of Tolkien


By Vivienne Kelly

Oz politics through the eyes of TolkienTim Costello was recently asked whether he thought his brother would ever be Prime Minister. He gave a wry and elegant answer that played with the notion of the difficulty of relinquishing power in the saga of the Lord of the Rings.


Australia's fickle leadership transition process


By John Warhurst

Australia's fickle leadership transition processThe Coalition leadership controversy shows how easy it is to change leaders in a Westminster parliamentary system. A number of senior Canadian journalists were in Canberra. They were staggered at the power vested in the hands of so few.


The impact of leaky asylum boats on the Federal Election


By Frank Brennan

The impact of leaky asylum boats on the Federal ElectionThe Howard Government must be given credit for increasing the size of our migration program, including the refugee and humanitarian component. But the deliberations of civil society should provide a fair go for all refugees, including those who arrive by boat without a visa.


Election year strategies for bleeding hearts


By Tony Kevin

Scott Stephens It is looking more and more that Labor will win, and that the present unforeseen Coalition government majority in the Senate may be lost too. There are interesting moral questions arising from this analysis for us "bleeding hearts", among whom I am happy to count myself.


How to measure governments' economic performance


By Les Coleman

How to measure governments' economic performanceBoth Government and Opposition seem committed to economic reform. But the fact that the Howard Government's fiscal policy is currently being steered by a drunken sailor is cause for alarm, as is Kevin Rudd's lack of experience and seeming inability to come up with his own economic policies.


Politicians need capacity to imagine heaven


By Andrew Hamilton

Politicians need capacity to imagine heavenIt is surprising how little the political parties have to offer in the lead up to the Federal Election. They do not present themselves as nation builders with visions of a prosperous and happy society, but as technicians with a bare promise that we will be better off financially.


Make foolish haste while the Treasurer smiles through gritted teeth


By Michael Mullins

Make foolish haste while the Treasurer smiles through gritted teethOpinion polls suggest the ALP's "me too" strategy is enhancing their electibility. But in the end, Australians may just stick with the devil they know. "It's time" may have worked for Gough Whitlam, but only time will tell whether "Kevin 07" will do the same for Kevin Rudd.


When governments stop listening to advice


By Jack Waterford

When governments stop listening to adviceInterviewed a year ago for the biography John Winston Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello complained about the Government's binge spending. Since then, the PM has committed many billions more, and given every indication the pace of spending will increase enormously between now and the election.


The disappearing distinction between Labor and Coalition welfare policy


By Philip Mendes

Is there a point of difference in Labor's welfare policy?The ALP has historically been committed to government intervention in the free market to promote a fairer distribution of income. However, since Hawke and Keating, the ALP moved towards a free market agenda focusing on the alleviation of poverty rather than structural change.


Political opinion polls matter


By John Warhurst

Political opinion polls matterMuch of the flesh of an election year grows on a skeleton made up of public opinion polls. But they are only as good as the interpretation that accompanies them. Sometimes commentators see only what they want to see.





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