Why Has Gillard Picked September 14?

Four weeks ago, I published a post speculating on when the election might be held.

You can read the post here. In it, I speculated on the possibility that Gillard could announce the election date sometime around Australia Day.

In essence, I felt that the election date options were fairly limited. I never thought there was any possibility of an early election in the first half of the year. November was a bridge too far. Assuming an election in August, September or October, it seemed to me there were only a couple of real possibilities. [Read more…]


Who Says Abbott Should Flick The Switch To Positive?

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have one thing in common: Their lives contain the never-ending irritation of people telling them how they should do their jobs.

AbbottEven their summer break won’t be free of the buzz of gratuitous advice. As much as they must wish to swat it away, politics demands they feign nonchalance.

In their private moments, I kind of hope they rail against the indignity of it. After all, they’re the ones who entered the arena and made it into parliament. As they claw and scramble their way to the top, they must surely know that the rest of us would struggle, as the Americans say, to be elected dog catcher. “Walk in my shoes awhile, you have no idea,” they must sometimes think.

Gillard has had more than her share of advice this year but in recent weeks the political and journalistic establishment has turned its attention to Abbott. The message is a simple one: it’s time to go positive. [Read more…]


John Hewson Criticises John Howard Over Iraq War Involvement

The former leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, has criticised Prime Minister John Howard over Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war.

Hewson said: “This is not our war. This is not a war we should be in.”

Hewson also spoke to SBS News.

  • Listen to John Hewson (4m)

The Opposition Leader As A Factor Influencing Voting Behaviour

Australia’s parliamentary elections are increasingly focused around perceptions and packaging of the leaders of the various parties.

The election of Senator Natasha Stott Despoja as the leader of the Australian Democrats in 2001 was an indication of the importance political parties place on leadership as a determinant of the voting patterns of electors.

Prime Minister John Howard’s attacks on Kim Beazley’s supposed lack of “ticker” in the 1998 election was another indication that Opposition leadership can be a factor in elections. [Read more…]


Quotes From The 2001 Federal Election

This page provides a collection of extended quotations gathered during the 2001 Federal Election campaign.

The quotes cover the campaign period and the election’s aftermath.


How A Single-Issue Party Held Onto Power

We shall never know for certain that the Tampa would have been, by itself, sufficient to ensure the Howard Government a third term or whether it was the combination of the Tampa “crisis” and September 11 that the Howard Government required. What we do know, however, is that when the now retired Defence Minister, Peter Reith, suggested that al-Qaeda terrorists might be found among the Afghan and Iraqi asylum seekers on the leaky vessels travelling to Australia, a politically decisive connection between border control and the terrorist threat to Australia was conjured in the public’s mind. [Read more…]


Alexander Downer And Peter Costello Win Liberal Party Leadership

Alexander Downer won the leadership of the Liberal Party after challenging John Hewson at a partyroom meeting on May 23, 1994.

Downer defeated Hewson by 43 votes to 36. Peter Costello was elected unopposed as deputy leader, replacing Michael Wooldridge.

Hewson had been leader of the Liberal Party since April 1990. He succeeded Andrew Peacock, following the party’s defeat in that year’s federal election. Hewson led the Liberal Party to defeat in the 1993 election. He survived in office for another year before he succumbed to leadership speculation and called a leadership ballot. [Read more…]


Keating And Hewson Do Battle In Censure Debate Over Sports Rorts Affair

The Liberal Opposition Leader, John Hewson, moved a motion of censure against Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, in the House of Representatives, on February 24, 1994.

Keating had been prime minister for just over two years. He had defeated Hewson at the general election in March 1993. His 1993 Budget had broken an election promise on tax cuts and was widely criticised.

The censure motion focussed on the “Sports Rorts” affair. The Minister for Environment, Sport and Territories, Ros Kelly, had admitted the she used a whiteboard in her office to determine grants to sporting bodies. She was alleged to have favoured Labor and marginal electorates when deciding on grants. Kelly resigned as a minister four days after the censure debate.

Three months after this debate, Hewson lost the leadership of the Liberal Party. He was defeated in a challenge by the so-called “dream team” of Alexander Downer and Peter Costello.

The speakers in the debate were John Hewson, Paul Keating, Tim Fischer and Kim Beazley. The complete Hansard transcript is shown below. The video has been edited by the Parliamentary Sound and Vision Office for broadcast.

  • Listen to Hewson (15m)
  • Listen to Keating (7m)
  • Listen to Fischer (14m)
  • Listen to Beazley (15m)
  • Watch the Censure Debate (50m)

Hansard transcript of the Censure debate in the House of Representatives on February 24, 1994.

Dr HEWSON (Leader of the Opposition) (3.00 p.m.) —I seek leave to move:

That this House censures the Prime Minister for his refusal to ensure proper standards of ministerial responsibility, for his failure to sack the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, and for his undermining of the established processes of ministerial accountability to this parliament. [Read more…]