Tasmanian Labor's Historic 1998 Win: A Rejection of Green Alliances
In this era of Labor-Green accords its easy to forget that there was a time when a Liberal government governed with the support of the Greens Party.
The 1996 Tasmanian election, as is often the case under the multi-member constituency Hare-Clark system, resulted in a hung Parliament.
In 1996 there were 35 seats in the Tasmanian lower house with seven state MPs elected from each of the five federal electorates. With support for the Greens growing as a result of [...]
Australia Takes Seat on Security Council During 50th Anniversary of Cuban Missile Crisis
On this day 50 years ago the Cuban missile crisis was in full cry. American spy planes were reconnoitering Cuban missile sites and a fleet of Soviet ships carrying nuclear warheads was steaming towards Cuba. In Washington President Kennedy was discussing various military options with his Joint Chiefs of Staff. In New York the United Nations Security Council would soon be in emergency session.
In the days that followed, the United States ambassador to the UN, Adlai Stevenson, [...]
The Second Obama Versus Romney Debate: How the Worm Turned
I have to admit it – I love watching the “worm” during leaders' debates and today was no exception. The CNN coverage of the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney showed the reaction of an Ohio based focus group to every word the two men spoke. Their responses were displayed on the TV screen in a linear graph that we in Australia call “the worm”.
For campaign professionals it is both fascinating and critically important to get an instant [...]
Suffer the Little Children: Massive Cuts to NSW Child Protection Budget
The great anthropologist, Margaret Mead, once said that a society can be judged by the way it treats its elderly. Perhaps the better test is how a wealthy society treats its most vulnerable and disadvantaged. If that is the test then the O’Farrell Liberal government in NSW is failing badly.
In the last week it has been revealed that the Minister for Community Services is not ruling out cuts to child sexual assault programs and other child protection services. The Minister, [...]
Alan Jones: Firebrand secular evangelist stirs up faithful with venom
This op-ed originally appeared in today's Australian.
After I stopped working for the then NSW premier Bob Carr in 1997 to set up Hawker Britton, I recruited press secretaries to help with our communications work. Sometimes these media advisers proved hard to lure away from their ministerial jobs. I could, [...]
A Reassuring Romney Tries to Channel Reagan in First Debate
There were times during today’s presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, when I felt that Romney’s manner of speech was almost channelling the reassuring Ronald Reagan. Reagan was famous for making Americans feel at ease even when it was pretty clear there were a lot of things they shouldn’t feel easy about.
I haven’t followed Romney closely enough to know whether his manner today was a significant departure from his normal style, but for those [...]
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The Alan Jones dinner: they were all in on the joke
What a rollicking old time those Young Liberals must have been having at that Alan Jones dinner. It’s not hard to imagine the scene, an announcement at the outset that they had a special auction item that evening. Drum roll please...a jacket sewn out of a chaff bag and signed by Jones himself.
Why a chaff bag? Because their special guest of honour, Alan Jones, once said on air that Julia Gillard should be tied in a chaff bag and thrown into the Tasman Sea.
It's the Jobs, Stupid
Over recent weeks we have witnessed an obsessive focus on cutting public service jobs and services by conservative State governments - particularly in Queensland and NSW.
To long term observers of state and federal politics this is to be expected. It's what Tory governments do - sometimes with a reluctant tone but more often with a "this is the medicine voters have to swallow" manner of an old school doctor.
The cuts in Queensland and NSW though, have been so [...]