Stem Cell Research: A Case Study Of How Cabinet Works

This newspaper report provides a good case study of how Cabinet government works.

Note the interplay between Ministers, parliamentary committees, the Prime Minister, the public service and state governments.

The article points to the importance of ideological leanings amongst ministers. It also shows the role parliament can play in the formation of legislation. [Read more…]


Ex-Ministers: Jobs After Government

Following news of jobs obtained by two ex-Howard government ministers, debate has taken place recently about possible conflicts of interest and favourable treatment by government ministers about to leave Parliament.

ReithThe debate centres around the possibility or appearance of impropriety by ministers who obtain employment with business organisations or lobby groups with which they had dealings when they were members of the government.

In government, ministers are subject to a Code of Conduct which requires that they “do not by their conduct undermine public confidence in them or the government”. Amongst other things, ministers are required to resign directorships in public companies and to divest themselves of financial interests in businesses associated with their portfolio responsibilities. [Read more…]


Michael Wooldridge Announces Resignation From Parliament

The Howard government’s Health Minister, Dr. Michael Wooldridge, 44, has announced that he will leave Parliament at this year’s election.

WooldsridgeHis retirement brings to 5 the number of ministers who have departed over the past year.

Citing the loneliness of political life and time away from home, and claiming he wished to spend more time with his family, Wooldridge said he wished to become a father to his young children.

In recent times, Wooldridge has been under attack over his handling of issues arising out of allegations that a Cabinet decision to allow medical rebates for MRI scanning was leaked to doctors prior to the public announcement in the Budget. [Read more…]


A.M.A. At War With Wooldridge

Michael WooldridgeA report in The Australian newspaper today highlights a rift that has developed between the Federal Minister for Health, Dr. Michael Wooldridge, and the Australian Medical Association.

The AMA is the peak organisation representing Australian doctors. It has 26,000 members and is led by Dr. Kerryn Phelps.

According to the report, a meeting was held a fortnight ago involving Dr Wooldridge, two of his advisers, Dr Phelps, her partner and personal assistant Jackie Stricker, and AMA vice-president, Trevor Mudge. [Read more…]


Howard Under Pressure As Polls Show Slipping Support

Prime Minister John Howard has conceded that his government has experienced the worst weeks of its 5 years in office.

Sunday TelegraphSunday MailIn the wake of the massive coalition defeats in the Western Australian and Queensland elections over the past two weeks, the media is today full of a spate of new opinion polls which show that Howard and his deputy, John Anderson, are both in danger of losing their seats.

A poll published in the Sunday Telegraph shows support for Anderson in his NSW rural seat of Gwydir at 29%, down from the 46.1% the National Party leader polled in 1998.

The poll has the ALP on 33% (up 7%) and One Nation on 27% (up 6%). The poll suggests that the ALP would win the seat on preferences. Anderson won the seat on preferences in 1998, securing 63.58% of the two-party-preferred vote. The ALP last held Gwydir between 1937-49.

Anderson faces a strong threat from One Nation, but may also be opposed by the independent State MP, Tony Windsor. Anderson has committed himself to placing One Nation last on his how-to-vote cards, a move that is certain to invite retaliation from the Hanson forces.

There is no doubt that Anderson is in grave danger, as are other National Party members, including Arts Minister, Peter McGauran, in the Victorian electorate of Gippsland, and Larry Anthony, the Minister for Family Services, in the NSW electorate of Richmond. [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…]