Malcolm Turnbull Launches Liberal Party Election Campaign

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has officially launched the Liberal Party’s election campaign at a rally in the Sydney electorate of Reid. His speech stressed the importance of strong and stable government.

TurnbullPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Liberal Party campaign launch. Picture credit: Image posted on Twitter by Mike Bowers – Mikearoo

During his speech, Turnbull declared that Bill Shorten was “unfit to govern”. He attacked the ALP’s scare campaign over the alleged privatisation of Medicare.

The speech was attended by former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott. Turnbull praised Howard as setting the “gold standard” in successful and effective government. He said Abbott had brought an end “to the chaos and dysfunction of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years”. [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…]


In Aftermath Of Leadership Ballot, A Message From The Prime Minister

A month after the failed attempt to spill the Liberal Party leadership, Tony Abbott has released “a message from the Prime Minister”.

The statement came on the 18-month anniversary of the coalition’s 2013 federal election victory.

Abbott repeats his standard lines about stopping the boats and repealing the carbon and mining taxes. “And we’ve listened to you,” he says, citing the withdrawal of the Medicare co-payment and a pay rise for the defence forces.

The spill motion on February 9 was defeated by 61 votes to 39. The size of the affirmative vote is widely seen as highlighting the danger Abbott’s leadership is in. After the vote, Abbott said: “Good government starts today.”

This is the statement: [Read more…]


Bill Shorten Elected ALP Leader

Bill Shorten has been elected leader of the A.L.P.

The result has just been announced, following a Caucus meeting in Canberra.

Shorten won 55 votes to 31 in the Caucus ballot (63.95%) and 40.08% of the membership vote, an overall win of 52.02%.

Shorten polled 12,196 membership votes to Albanese’s 18,230. The ALP says the turnout of 39,426 party members was 74% of those eligible. [Read more…]


“We Could Be Great” – Business Council Plan For Australia’s Prosperity

Tony ShepherdThe President of the Business Council of Australia, Tony Shepherd, has delivered a speech calling for more imaginative leadership and offering “a plan to lock in Australia’s prosperity”.

Shepherd said Australians “are beginning to lack confidence in the future and in our economy”. Many Australians are “doing it tough”. He suggested “the feeling of optimism and clarity that characterised Australia through my childhood” was on on the wane.

“But Australians are waiting for the call, the vision for the future and the plan that’s going to help us get there.”

Shepherd offered a wide-ranging plan covering infrastructure, taxation, population and immigration, and engagement with Asia.

The BCA represents around 100 of Australia’s largest companies. Shepherd gave the speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Sydney. [Read more…]


We Want Gough!

Edward Gough Whitlam is 95 years old today.

Whitlam on the steps of Parliament HouseWhilst it is thirty-five years since Australia’s 21st Prime Minister was dismissed by the Governor-General, his political career contains lessons and his unbounded spirit is missed.

The present Labor government is already nine months older than the Whitlam government was on November 11, 1975. Yet, if it fell today, its record would pale by comparison. The reservoir of good-will would be low and few would hanker for Rudd or Gillard.

Whitlam, however, is loved by his party and many in the community. Affection and loyalty walk arm in arm with him through the pages of history. He is a living lesson in political leadership.

Forty years ago, Whitlam was the Opposition Labor Leader who spoke to a generation of people who had known nothing other than the coalition in power in Canberra. Menzies was long gone and the government of William McMahon was a joke. Only the most rabidly partisan would deny it. The Liberals had disposed of their former leader, John Gorton, and opted for an overweeningly ambitious replacement who wasn’t up to the job. [Read more…]


Drifting Into The New Year On Thin Gruel

The Australian political year is regarded as commencing around Australia Day. The Prime Minister’s National Press Club address today kicks off 2011.

Thin GruelBut it’s a myth that politics in Australia stops over the summer holidays.

In fact, experience suggests leaders are often made, broken or changed in January. In the past, elections have been called, ministries reshuffled and major policies announced. In this way, the parameters of the new political year are set.

Sometimes it is only in retrospect that we can see how significant were the somnolent weeks of January. Who would have thought last January that Kevin Rudd had just made a fateful decision? Had he announced a climate change election on this day last year, we can but speculate what the political landscape would be like today.

For the people who work in and around politics, or follow it slavishly, there has been only one topic of conversation this January: the future of Julia Gillard. Even for those with only a passing interest in politics, there has been but one question: “How do you think she’s going?” The question’s myriad variations all seek to know the same thing: will she last? [Read more…]