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Archives for 2011

Julia Gillard’s 2012 New Year Message

Prospects for the Republican Party Iowa Caucus

The Republican Party Iowa caucus takes place on Wednesday 4th January, Australian time. The caucus is the first official step in the process of nominating a candidate to run against President Barack Obama next November.

Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the Iowa possibilities in this segment on the PBS NewsHour.

Watch Shields and Brooks on Ron Paul’s ‘Authenticity,’ Romney’s Message, Iowa’s Role on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Tony Abbott’s 2012 New Year Message

Eight Observations About How I Use Twitter


I joined Twitter in April 2008 – thanks @RicRaftis. Like most people, I didn’t know what to do with it and for several months I barely went near it. When I did, I tweeted about technology and the internet.

TwitterThen I started tweeting about Australian and American politics. Later in the year, I began tweeting Question Time, political speeches, press conferences and other media appearances by politicians.

At the time, as far as I knew, no-one else was doing this. Most media people were yet to discover Twitter. Politicians were all but unseen. I often felt I was talking to myself.

Around this time, I began to make contact with people besides PR, marketing and internet types. Bloggers with an interest in politics were flocking to Twitter, as were many others.

The big moment came in March 2009 when I tweeted the Queensland election results. I simply sat at my desk at home with the Queensland Electoral Commission website open and the ABC’s Queensland television feed streaming online. Hundreds of new followers came my way that night and I ended up on commercial radio commenting on the results. It opened my eyes to Twitter’s potential.

I decided I needed a consistent approach so I stopped tweeting about technology and internet issues and made politics my focus. I noticed that Twitter was driving traffic to my main website,

By mid-2009, my current approach to Twitter was firmly established. Each night when I sat down to read the next morning’s newspapers online, a ritual I’d followed for years, I would tweet links and occasional comments to articles I thought were worth reading for one reason or another. I was curating content. [Read more…]

Confusion, Timidity And Capitulation On Asylum Seekers

Late on Friday, twenty minutes after Republicans in the United States Senate agreed to a compromise proposal on a payroll tax extension, Air Force One lifted off to take US President Barack Obama to Hawaii for Christmas.

Asylum seekersIt was a near-miss. The president’s family had gone on ahead and Obama remained alone in the White House with the family’s dog for most of the week, sweating on a political deal with his strident opponents in the Congress.

Here, Julia Gillard went on holidays a week ago, leaving her deputy, Wayne Swan, and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to slug it out with an equally strident Opposition on the perennial issue of asylum seekers.

Unlike Obama, Swan and Bowen left town on Friday with no hint of an agreement. The discussions were “cordial”, both sides agreed. Further talks are anticipated, but the Opposition made it clear the initiative must come from the Government.

On Christmas Eve, a boat carrying 116 passengers was intercepted off Christmas Island. It was the 69th boat to enter Australian territorial waters this year. The previous 68 carried 4,457 passengers. [Read more…]

The Queen’s Christmas Message

Queen Elizabeth II has delivered her annual Christmas Message to the Commonwealth. [Read more…]

Julia Gillard’s 2011 Christmas Message

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s 2011 Christmas message to Labor members and supporters.

President Obama’s Christmas Message

Tony Abbott’s 2011 Christmas Message

Deadlock Over Asylum Seekers Remains Following Talks

No agreement was reached on the asylum seeker deadlock, following talks today between Labor and Liberal representatives.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd met with the Opposition’s shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison and shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Both sides claimed the discussions were cordial and constructive. Further talks will take place in the coming weeks. [Read more…]