Why the 1967 referendum would be defeated in 2013

Recent analyses of public opinion In the United States have confirmed the significance of racial resentment for evaluations of Barack Obama. The report of the committee on the constitutional recognition of indigenous people has revived discussion of the lessons of the 1967 referendum. Unfortunately this discussion has ignored the significance of racial resentment in Australian […]

A French left without workers?

The rise of the French National Front evokes alarm on the left. Actually I think Marie Le Pen is unelectable whoever she runs against. The Presidential system in France was introduced to marginalize the Communist Party which could never secure a majority in a Presidential contest. Now the system works against the National Front. Whoever […]

Arrivals and Departures then and now

Often books written long ago and now forgotten shed much light on the present. An example recently read is James Jupp’s 1966 Arrivals and Departures on post- World War II immigration to Australia. He shows how Australian policymakers engaged in endless self-congratulation about what a success the program had been and how welcoming they were […]

NSW Labor 1911-2011, Labor & radical liberalism: two papers

I attended Australian Society for the Study of Labour History and the Australian Political Studies Association recently. Both papers inspired by contemporary issues. My ASSLH paper examined career of Richard Crouch the Deakinite Liberal who after losing Corio to Labor in 1910 joined the ALP as a result of his experiences at Gallipoli. Crouch was […]

From Communists in 1951 to refugees in 2011: Labor & the High Court

The federal Labor government of Julia Gillard struggles with the issue of asylum-seekers, the government’s rigid position is widely unpopular among Labor activists and party sympathizers and many were pleased with the High Court’s decision on the Malaysian solution. Caucus leaks to an extent akin to that of the Scullin government. We can see how […]

Following in the footsteps of the CPRS?

Labor is showing the signs of becoming obsessed about the Greens the same way they became obsessed by John Howard. Labor ministers have a point when they criticise the Greens for voting against the Rudd government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme but they sound rather like Greens complaining correctly that voters wildly overestimate the significance of […]

Indigenous claims and the Constitution

Discussion of the proposed amendment of the Constitution to acknowledge aboriginal occupancy prior to 1788 occasionally evokes the memory of the high support for the 1967 referendum to enable aboriginal people to be counted in the census and to include them in the race power. Legislation for the Constitutional amendment was not opposed in Parliament […]

Labor woes: a vaguely Gramscian view from 2003

The failure of Labor’s vote to recover post-election is generating some angst on the left. A pessimistic interpretation might be that Labor’s 2006-2009 ascendancy was an aberrant product of Coalition errors and that the Coalition are now the natural party of federal government. Back in 2003 I made the following observation in a paper on […]