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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Carmen Lawrence: Renewing Democracy – Can Women Make a Difference?

The former Western Australian Premier and Federal Health Minister, Dr. Carmen Lawrence, has called for wide-ranging political reforms in a speech to the Sydney Institute.

LawrenceLawrence, the Labor member for Fremantle, calls for a number of parliamentary reforms, including the establishment of an all-party Business committee to determine the business of the parliament. She proposes giving parliamentary committees the power to initiate legislation, especially if their recommendations have been ignored by the government.

The speech also refers to the increasing influence of money in Australian politics. She says: “We run the risk of becoming a “corporate democracy” in which the number of shares you have purchased in the party of your choice determines your effective voting power. While there has been extensive debate about big money in politics in the U.S., there appears to be a conspiracy of silence on the issues among Australian politicians. Public funding of elections was supposed to reduce the parties’ reliance on private corporate and union donations: all that has happened is a blowout in both public (doubled since 1993) and private funding as parties engage in an increasingly expensive bidding war at elections.” [Read more…]


Paul Keating On The Australian Media

This is the text of a speech by former Prime Minister Paul Keating to The Sydney Institute.

Paul KeatingThe last time I was in this room I was talking about nuns.

From the Sisters of St Joseph to Brian Toohey and Kerry Packer. It makes you appreciate anew the rich diversity of humankind.

Gerard and Anne originally invited me to talk to the Institute about foreign policy and my book Engagement. I had given a couple of speeches recently about that subject and didn’t want to repeat myself. However, I’d written briefly about the media in the book and I had some other issues I wanted to discuss. Given that Gerard has been one of the handful of commentators in Australia to take the media and its accountability seriously, this seemed like a good forum to set out these views. [Read more…]