Monday, 9 September 2013    

We did it before, we can do it again.

T Abbott

A curious flatness accompanied the change of government on Saturday. It was partly rationalised as a result of those polls in the final days suggesting a wipe-out that never materialised. But in the end the result was pretty well as predicted by the national polls (if not the seat-by-seat ones) and the Coalition has ended with a comfortable mandate. Read more …


An incomplete revolution – an update

Friday, 6 September 2013    

So New.

So New.

I have respectfully decided not to be present at next Sunday’s campaign launch because I simply do not want to distract in any way from Kevin Rudd’s powerful message to the Australian people.

J Gillard

We would have won.


As noted at the beginning of the campaign, Labor was not bringing that much to it. Of course, Labor had its “Positive Plans for the Future” like the NBN and new funding for schools and hospitals – but infrastructure projects and some different way of funding services hardly make an agenda. Read more …


AdWatch: Labor’s negative ads

Sunday, 25 August 2013    

As with the debate-nobody-saw on Wednesday night, the contest should be more open than the polls suggest. Yet as with the debate, while the Coalition remains surprisingly exposed given what the government has been through over the last three years, Rudd’s campaign seems reticent to take advantage. At least it became clearer that the public doesn’t mind negative at all, it’s what to be negative about that’s the issue. But the debate showed how much Rudd, rather than maintain the aura of incumbency he so well established when he returned, has needed to take up the negativity himself. Shouldn’t the ads be doing that? Read more …



Monday, 19 August 2013    

One of the myths about the major political parties is that these days they are primarily focussed on winning elections. This may seem terribly hard-edged and cynical but, like most hard-edged cynicism, is delusional. Read more …


Caught in Howard’s “neoliberal” trap

Wednesday, 7 August 2013    

It is an historic fact that interest rates have always gone up under Labor governments over the last 30 years, because Labor governments spend more than they collect and drive budgets into deficit

JWH 29 August 2004

Within a day of writing how the economic debate has changed to the Liberals’ disadvantage, we had the perfect example of it – their response to the interest rate cut. Read more …


Running on empty

Monday, 5 August 2013    

Political leaders have to manage economic circumstances that we’re confronted by. We don’t manage the global economy.

Penny Wong on Insiders 4 August

So many decks, so much clearing.

The start of the election campaign has at least confirmed it will be what it always was going to be on, the economy. Even the Daily Telegraph couldn’t keep up the pretence that asylum seekers would be an issue with its “representative” sample of Western Sydney voters, whose concerns over cost of living, health and education seemed no different from what the nation as a whole has been telling pollsters. Maybe Western Sydney tells us about nothing more special than the current state of Labor/Liberal insecurities.

But having decided it will be on the economy, we now have to find out what that means. It is not exactly clear. Read more …



Tuesday, 30 July 2013    

The most effective politics is that which most closely reflects reality. There are three chief distortions of the current political scene that Rudd would need to expose to support his case for re-election. Read more …


The New Regionalism

Thursday, 25 July 2013    

The High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to Australia, today warned Australian politicians to observe international protocols and courtesies when discussing relations with other friendly sovereign nations and not impugn the dignity of our leaders who are attempting to assist Australia in this very complex regional and international issue of Asylum Seekers.

The PNG High Commission 24 July 2013

OK. This is getting ridiculous. It was bad enough Indonesia intervening in Australia’s domestic affairs but Papua New Guinea?!? Didn’t we own these people not so long ago? If the intervention of the Indonesians was such a shock to the political system that it was ignored by both sides until the return of the Great Destabiliser, then PNG’s intervention risks making slapping down the Australian Right a deeply disturbing regional free-for-all. Read more …



Saturday, 20 July 2013    



That's better.

That’s better.

We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.

JWH 28 October 2001

In our perspective such a policy would constitute a unilateral type of measure that we do not support.

Marty Natalegawa 15 July 2013

Mr Rudd is always trying to internationalise problems.

Tony Abbott 15 July 2013

Before we start, let’s just clear away the cant of politicians wringing their hands claiming this is all about stopping deaths at sea. There is a very simple way to stop deaths at sea that curiously neither Labor, nor the Coalition, nor the Greens ever propose: simply send ships and planes to bring them safely over to Australia. Right. So at least we know that’s not what we’re talking about here.

In reality the asylum seeker debate is an increasingly shame-faced debate about sovereignty. Read more …



Tuesday, 9 July 2013    

Too often political leaders are going to become timid and intimidated by the usual avalanche of opinion polls when difficult decisions are taken. The whole quality of government and governance starts to decline as political leaders have to look constantly over their shoulders.

K Rudd announcing leadership reforms yesterday

The events of the last week have shown two important, yet unappreciated, aspects of Australian politics today. The first is the degree to which Abbott and Gillard have propped each other up over the last three years. The second is that far from wanting a seamless transition, Rudd has every interest in accentuating the break from the past, and Labor. Read more …


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