Letter from… Sydney
Bruce Hawker | 5 November 2014
As backbench pressure mounts on David Cameron to either strike some sort of deal with Nigel Farage or co-opt his policies, it is time to ask: what is the prime minister’s campaign director, Lynton Crosby, planning?
The answer might be found by looking at [...]
Political club misses chance for true reform on donations
By Bruce Hawker
October 21, 2014 12:15AM
Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald
By increasing public funding of elections, the NSW government has missed a historic opportunity to eliminate the rancid practices surrounding campaign funding of our political parties.
Rather than introducing real [...]
Senator Cory Bernardi and the Call of the Wild
Senator Bernardi also stood by his controversial comments last year that the "next step" after recognising same-sex marriage was to support "creepy people" who chose to have sex with animals.
"Bestiality, of course it was an extreme example, but once again it's linked to the radical agenda of the Greens Party," he said.
As Coalition Sniffs Victory Internal Support for a Paid Parental Leave Diminishes
Back in 1996 the incoming Howard/Costello Government abandoned a significant part of its package of election promises claiming there was a multibillion dollar hole in the nation's finances.
I have a nasty feeling that something similar is being planned for the post-election period should the Coalition win. Who better to undertake such an audit than Peter Costello - an economic dry who gave us the concept of "core and non-core" promises and performed a similar review for the [...]
On Election Day It's Not Just the Politicians' Careers that Crash,Their Cars Do Too
Election days are always tense occasions - there is so much riding on the outcome. But it’s not just the election result that can be disastrous - politicians are more likely to have car accidents on polling day. To my knowledge a disproportionate number of car accidents - some of them very serious - have occurred on polling day.
On NSW election day 1988 for instance, Wal Murray, the Leader of the NSW Nationals was being driven through his electorate of Moree in the [...]
2013 WA Elections: History Repeats Itself for First Term Barnett Government
Last Saturday's election in Western Australia saw Labor beaten soundly. It follows the defeat of Labor governments in Queensland, Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory since 2010. The difference was that in those jurisdictions Labor governments were defeated after lengthy terms in government. In Saturday's WA election, however, the Liberal government of Colin Barnett was a first term administration. It won the 2008 election by a slim margin, with a 2.6% swing and winning 24 seats to [...]
To Win, Labor Must Make Good Use of Its Best Weapon: Tony Abbott
This op-ed originally appeared in today's Daily Telegraph.
Australia's longest ever election campaign has kicked off and frankly, day two could not have been worse for Julia Gillard. The arrest of Central Coast MP, Craig Thomson, has only gone to reinforce Labor's bad image in NSW where the ICAC inquiry into Eddie Obeid and his family dominates daily news bulletins. The added problem for federal Labor is that the election will be won and lost in NSW - particularly [...]
Gillard Announces Election Date for 14 September. Much Ado About Nothing?
Julia Gillard's early announcement of the election date - 14 September - is unprecedented in Australia. Because of this fact it has excited huge media interest. It certainly took me by surprise because the biggest tactical advantage incumbents have in elections is in not disclosing the date until the last minute. Now the Opposition can plan every aspect of its campaign right down to the political advertising placements in 7 months time. Usually oppositions are forced to plan for various [...]
America and Australia: So Similar Yet So Different
Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to look at America and Americans up close. An election which focused the attention of a nation for months was run and won. But within days all eyes were turned to two issues about which we had heard surprisingly little in the campaign - the "fiscal cliff" and the Middle East. The President allowed himself an evening of celebration and it was back to work. It seems that honeymoons are for the marriage - not the renewal of the vows.
The Presidential Campaign Part 4: Polls, PACs and the People
In late 2010 I visited Washington to assess the likely impact on American political campaigning of a US Supreme Court decision known as "Citizens United". This decision paved the way for unrestricted fundraising by "independent" activists who set up Political Action Committees (PACs), Super PACs and other vehicles designed to get around US tax laws. Back then, every Democrat and union campaigner I spoke to was filled with dread. There was no way they could compete with the Republicans, [...]