Election (and after) predictions

Just go on the record. Some may call this a history-making campign, but I expect that this will be a campaign that will inspire low levels of interest and enthusiasm compared to 2007, Julia Gillard notwithstanding (see my recent article here and my earlier one here) Tony Abbott has done exceptionally well so far, he […]

British lessons for Labor

Some interesting observations from The Independent’s Steve Richards on British Labour’s excessive caution and centralisation of leadership.  that seem very relevant to the ALP. First referring to hopeful suggestions from the new British government about prison reform as part of a general evaluation of New Labour’s  ‘reformism’:

Julia Gillard feels your pain?

Does political leadership make a difference? The rise of Julia Gillard and the downfall of Kevin Rudd remind me of the ongoing American debate. Here a variety of critics from left and right have argued that Barack Obama’s declining approval rating (and the closely related prospects of the Democrats in the upcoming Congressional elections) is […]

Labor goes back to 1997?

In many respects modern Labor has returned to the type of inward musing that it engaged in after 1996. Then there was an assortment of vaguely defined rhetoric about the party’s perceived excessive social liberalism, these critics however were very vague as to exactly what alternative policies they proposed, instead they preferred to focus on […]

Is Julia Gillard the new Maurice Iemma?

Whilst away read Chris Bellamy’s excellent Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War, it tells a story that makes teaching about Kokoda seem a trivial waste of time and as an epic of human suffering puts politics in perspective. But back to Australian politics, Julia Gillard: always puzzled by the cult around her […]

Kevin Rudd and the media

It is curious to observe why Kevin Rudd is receiving such hostility from conservative journalists combined with the promotion of Julia Gillard as an alternative leader. After all Julia Gillard is perhaps an archetypal example of the modern Labor Party (what I call the third Labor party after the first populist and utopian party of […]

Labor MPs too like their voters?

One popular theme in current Australian political discourse is to assert the distance of Labor MPs from their constituents, many cite the dominance of the student politics-trade union-electorate officer-advisor-MP track. In fact Labor MPs are more like their affluent voters in aspects that really matter such as their reading.

Social democratic decomposition

Gosta Esping-Andersen developed the concept of ‘social democratic decomposition’. Inspired by the differential success of the anti-tax populist right in Scandinavia in the 1970s he argued that the policies of a social democratic party in government could impact not only on its day to day popularity but more fundamentally on the party’s social base. Adam […]