The New Regionalism – another update

Thursday, 30 April 2015    

I feel desperately sorry for the parents of these people. I do. All of us as parents will feel that way, but the warnings have been there for decades.

John Howard reacting to the handing down of the death sentence to Andrew Chan April 2005

I have nothing critical to say about collaboration between the Federal Police and the Indonesian police, and I back up the Federal Police.

Kim Beazley April 2005

Australia’s foreign policy should have a Jakarta rather than a Geneva focus.

Tony Abbott gets his wish October 2013

In just over the last twenty years, there have been four Australians executed in South East Asia. Michael McAulife hanged in Malaysia in 1993, Van Tuong Nguyen in Singapore in 2005, and Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on Wednesday. And, of course, there is Pham Trung Dung, sentenced to death in Vietnam last year.

Yet while there was little outcry for the other executions, and of Pham Trung Dung (still on death row?), not a peep, it’s been the two of the Bali 9 that has caused the biggest political and diplomatic reaction from the Australian government.

There are a couple of reasons why this should be surprising. Read more …

4 comments

Fraser

Monday, 23 March 2015    

Greeting the false dawn of Australian conservatism.

Greeting the false dawn of Australian conservatism.

It’s been said that history shouldn’t be read backwards, but that’s the only way it can be done, and the furious re-writing of Fraser’s government, not least by the man himself, naturally says more about the preoccupations and defensiveness of the political scene today than what happened then. Read more …

12 comments

Lifestyle

Monday, 16 March 2015    

Happier days.   Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP

Happier days. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP

What we can’t do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have.

Tony Abbott being insensitive 10 March 2015

Maybe the word ‘closure’, which I did use, wasn’t the right word, but the reality is there are 282 remote communities in WA, a number of them have less than 10 people, they are not viable communities. People can still go and visit their traditional lands, there is no barrier to people going out there and living if they wish to.

Colin Barnett being sensitive 5 March 2015

The services will cease. I would say therefore the communities will close.

Colin Barnett being less sensitive five minutes later

When people say a remark is insensitive, they usually mean it’s true, but shouldn’t have been said. In the case of Abbott’s lifestyle comments it alludes to a real shift in policy on remote communities, and Abbott has not only spelt it out, but put a blunt finger on the weakness of those opposing it.

The idea of shutting down remote communities because they are economically unviable is, of course, rubbish. Read more …

10 comments

Implosion

Tuesday, 10 February 2015    

I believe the team of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard is the best leadership team for the Liberal Party and therefore part of the best leadership team of the Coalition for the country.

Kevin Andrews nails it

Consider this. In 1971, when Gorton was challenged for the leadership, Fraser had resigned as Defence Minister and openly attacked Gorton on the floor of the House as “not fit” for the PM’s office. The result was a leadership vote, a tie and Gorton resigning. In 1981, Fraser was the target this time with Peacock resigning as IR Minister over Fraser’s industrial relations policy and (something we’re not supposed to talk about these days) his refusal to withdraw recognition from Pol Pot. Peacock again used the floor of the House to openly attack Fraser in a speech accusing him of eroding the Cabinet system. The result was almost a year of open hostilities, finally ending when Fraser called a leadership vote and saw Peacock off.

Then we had what was supposed to be the third challenge to a sitting Liberal PM yesterday. This time there was no ministerial resignations, no open attack on the Prime Minister from the floor of the House, in fact no challenge at all. Nothing. Not a peep. Read more …

19 comments

That woozy, sinking feeling

Monday, 2 February 2015    

Queensland does it again. When it’s not sending political figures to Canberra to shake up the major parties, it sends electoral disasters to do much the same.

Perhaps it’s best to start with the historical context – just to show there isn’t any. Read more …

9 comments

Decay

Friday, 30 January 2015    

David Rowe, AFR

David Rowe, AFR

Conviction politicians hard to find anywhere. Australia’s Tony Abbott a rare exception. Opponent Rudd all over the place convincing nobody.

R Murdoch scribbling on a wall, 19 August 2013

Abbott again. Tough to write, but if he won’t replace top aide Peta Credlin she must do her patriotic duty and resign.
More

Tagged R Murdoch 18 months later

You can imagine the thinking. “That Honours system I introduced is in danger of being ridiculed. What it needs is gravitas. I know!” And short of Elizabeth tapping herself on the shoulder, who better to do it than the Duke of Edinburgh, Baron of Greenwich, Earl of Merioneth etc. etc. etc. Read more …

9 comments

Home front – an update

Wednesday, 24 December 2014    

We don’t blame the Pope for the IRA, and we don’t blame the Catholics living next door for the folly of some people, the folly and madness of some people who may claim a Christian motivation. And I think we need to be similarly carefully and cautious in these other areas.

T Abbott 17 December 2014

She might not even be Muslim or she could have just been warm!

Rachel Jacobs, instigator of #illridewithyou

If there was a sense that the political message went a bit adrift after the Martin Place siege, it was because the respective narratives both the left and the right were comfortably trotting along with over the last few months fell apart in the face of reality last week. Read more …

45 comments

Positioning

Thursday, 11 December 2014    

David Rowe, AFR

David Rowe, AFR

It’s all looking so eerily familiar. Read more …

12 comments

Whitlam

Wednesday, 22 October 2014    

gough_article_1a4bann-1a4bans

In 1972, the AWU, one of Australia’s largest union, then and now, officially abandoned its commitment to the White Australia Policy. If some find it surprising that the glorious AWU left its distinctly inglorious past, er, rather late, it perhaps shows how much we now view the past through the prism of the political settlement that followed, a political settlement that Whitlam had a leading role in making, but at the time of his death, is now unravelling. Read more …

18 comments

Home front

Thursday, 28 August 2014    

So I imagine that from time to time they would want a different captain but nevertheless, that’s what he said, that we’re all part of Team Australia and you’re our captain.

Captain Australia, 20 August 2014

A curious obliviousness has descended over the political scene and its commentary to the escalation of tensions over Iraq. Partly it comes from the desperation of a government thinking that it will solve its significant political problems. Partly it comes from the opposition’s fear it will as well, on top of the normal shutdown it has over anything to do with national security, especially under its current leader.

But it’s also to do with the complications behind the current escalation that neither side wants to see. Read more …

11 comments

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