The Myth Of The Ten-Week Election Campaign In 1984

A popular view of the 1984 Federal Election is that Bob Hawke and the ALP suffered a swing against them because of the “long ten-week campaign”.

In just the past few weeks, as speculation about Malcolm Turnbull’s intentions has grown, the claim has been made repeatedly.

SMH

Monash University academic Nick Economou said Hawke “called an election that ran for ten weeks”.

The estimable William Bowe, in Crikey, referred to “the 10-week marathon” in 1984.

Writing in Fairfax Media, Michael Gordon discussed “Bob Hawke’s experience in 1984, when he went into a 10-week campaign with soaring approval ratings and suffered a 2 per cent swing and lost a swag of seats.” [Read more…]


On This Day In 1966: Menzies Retires, Holt Government Takes Office

Having announced his retirement on January 20, Sir Robert Menzies officially departed the prime ministership on this day in 1966. Harold Holt’s first ministry was sworn in at the same time.

It was a historic moment 50 years ago that brought to an end the political career of Australia’s longest-serving prime minister. Menzies had been Prime Minister for two years between April 1939 and August 1941. He formed the Liberal Party in 1944 and served for six years as Opposition Leader before defeating the Chifley Labor government in December 1949.

Menzies went on to win six more elections in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961 and 1963. When he retired, he had been prime minister for 16 years and 5 weeks.

Holt

Harold Holt took office at the age of 57 with a ministerial career that had started 26 years earlier. He had first served under Menzies in 1940 and had been Treasurer since 1958. [Read more…]


Barry Jones: Whitlam’s Vision Of Social Democracy – Parliament And Party

This is a paper presented by Barry Jones at a symposium conducted by the Whitlam Institute.

The symposium was titled: Gough Whitlam and the Social Democratic Imagination: the challenge for contemporary public policy.

Barry Jones was a Victorian state member of parliament (MLA Melbourne 1972-77) and then the federal member for Lalor (1977-98). He was Minister for Science and Technology in the Hawke government between 1983 and 1990.

Jones’ paper is notable for its pessimism about the capacity of the ALP to tackle contemporary public policy issues. He says that Gough Whitlam, Don Dunstan, Lionel Murphy and Jim Cairns were “the figures that changed the face of the ALP” in the 1960s and 1970s. He instances powerful figures of the Bob Hawke era, such as Bill Hayden, Mick Young and Kim Beazley, as well as Clyde Cameron. In this decade, however, Jones doubts that we could “identify nine current Labor politicians with equivalent intellectual power and persistence. [Read more…]


Abbott On The Liberal Party’s 70th Anniversary

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has used his weekly video message to remember the 70th anniversary of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party was founded in 1944, following conferences in Canberra and Albury that were convened by Robert Menzies. Menzies was a former leader of the United Australia Party (UAP). He had been effectively deposed from the party’s leadership in 1941. The UAP collapsed in the aftermath of its landslide defeat in the 1943 election.

Menzies brought together a range of community groups and political organisations that were opposed to the ALP and the government of John Curtin. The party was defeated in the 1946 federal election but was victorious in 1949. Menzies went on to serve a record term of 16 years as prime minister, retiring undefeated in January 1966.

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s video message.

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Liberal Party. [Read more…]


Mungo MacCallum Not Dead

Some journalists took to Twitter today to tell us Mungo MacCallum was dead, but he wasn’t and isn’t.

Still, any excuse to remember one of my favourite Mungo pieces. It appeared in Nation Review on December 27, 1974.

It was a month after Malcolm Fraser had failed to dislodge Bill Snedden from the Liberal leadership. It’s easy to see leadership changes as inevitable in retrospect, but foretelling the future is fraught at the best of times. [Read more…]


45 Years Ago Today: Man Lands On Moon

It is 45 years ago today since Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

The Lunar Module landed on the moon’s surface at 20:18 UTC. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface six hours later at 02:56 UTC on July 21.

Richard Nixon was six months into his first term as President of the United States. It was three days after Mary Jo Kopechne died on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, in a car driven by Senator Edward Kennedy. [Read more…]


June 6, 2014: President Barack Obama Speaks At Normandy On The 70th Anniversary Of D-Day

President Barack Obama and other world leaders have gathered at Normandy in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Like the 75th anniversary of Gallipoli in 1990, this is likely to be the last time that survivors of the largest sea-borne invasion in history will gather to remember the historic turning point that led to the defeat of Hitler and the end of the war in Europe.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is attending the commemoration.

United States President Barack Obama addressed the morning ceremony: “By daybreak, blood soaked the water, and bombs broke the sky. Thousands of paratroopers had dropped into the wrong landing sites; thousands of rounds bit into flesh and sand. Entire companies’ worth of men fell in minutes. … By the end of that longest day, this beach had been fought, lost, refought and won — a piece of Europe once again liberated and free. …”

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Front page of The Age, June 7, 1944.

Age

Transcript of President Barack Obama’s speech at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

President Hollande; to the people of France; friends; the family; our veterans:

If prayer were made of sound, the skies over England that night would have deafened the world.

Captains paced their decks. Pilots tapped their gauges. Commanders pored over maps, fully aware that for all the months of meticulous planning, everything could go wrong — the winds, the tides, the element of surprise — and above all, the audacious bet that what waited on the other side of the Channel would compel men not to shrink away, but to charge ahead. [Read more…]