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Archives for March 2011

Julia Gillard’s Whitlam Oration

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has delivered the inaugural Whitlam Oration at the Whitlam Institute, at the University of Western Sydney. [Read more…]

Abbott Proposes Welfare Crackdown

The Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has attacked the Gillard government’s handling of the economy, and announced a policy to extend the Work for the Dole program.

Abbott proposes that Work for the Dole become mandatory for people under 50 who have been receiving unemployment benefits for more than six months. The policy also proposes quarantining to the necessities of life half the welfare income of all long-term unemployed people, and creating a new benefit for people whose disabilities can readily be treated.

The welfare crackdown will also involve suspending the payment of young people’s unemployment benefits in places where there are unfilled, unskilled jobs. [Read more…]

Coalition Defeats Labor In NSW Election; O’Farrell New Premier

The NSW Labor government has been defeated in a massive swing at today’s election, after 16 years in office.


The widely-expected defeat has seen a two-party-preferred swing against the ALP of around 16%. The Liberal-Nationals have around 64% of the two-party vote. [Read more…]

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Julia?

Chants of “ditch the witch” and “ditch the bitch” could be heard repeatedly at the protest rally against the carbon tax in Canberra yesterday. It was a fitting illustration of the escalating vitriol against Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Julia GillardAgainst that backdrop, Labor supporters hesitate to criticise the Prime Minister. Indeed, to express concern about where she’s taking the party is to invite accusations of misogyny, disloyalty and anti-Laborism. But as I watched Question Time yesterday, an experience one now endures rather than savours, I couldn’t help thinking that the invective from her opponents did not diminish my belief that she is indeed a disastrous Labor leader.

With a gallery of protesters applauding every line from Tony Abbott, Gillard adopted a fighting posture, much as she has done in Question Time since late last year. As she does most days now, she repeated her “bring it on” challenge to the Opposition. Multiple questions on climate change and the carbon tax were turned into an attack on Tony Abbott’s credibility and policy shortcomings. This heartens the faithful, as it should.

“She’s so good in the House,” Labor people tell each other, pinpointing one of the qualities Gillard’s reputation was built on. But there’s a certain undergraduate quality to Gillard’s performances. Abbott has it too, that combative, take-no-prisoners approach, the repetitive jibes, the sharp put-downs. It’s difficult to define but there’s something missing in these performances. [Read more…]

Getting The Water: It’s Not Over Yet

Across Australia today many people are still homeless from the flood waters of the past three months.

FloodSome are living in tents. Many have no income. Numerous businesses have been destroyed, taking with them the livelihoods of employers and employees.

In the worst cases, people have died and homes have been completely destroyed. Unknown numbers of people now live in homes with structural damage, damp and mould. Countless items of furniture and household appliances have been destroyed. The pictures and documents destroyed by the water reinforce the pain and the loss of control. Vehicles lost to the floods ensure that basic transport is a daily problem.

The most common question these people ask of one another is about insurance. Most are still waiting for some word from their insurers. Most know they will assuredly come out behind. [Read more…]

Julia Gillard’s Address to the Joint Meeting of the US Congress

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has delivered a 35 minute speech to a joint meeting of the United States Congress. [Read more…]

Julia Gillard and Barack Obama at Wakefield High