Tony Abbott as National Party leader

Discussing the National Party tomorrow morning on ABC Ballarat, some thoughts (which build on my predictions before the last election): For decades political observers have chronicled the decline of the National Party, and predicted the party’s final demise, in particular some have argued that the dismantling of agricultural market regulation would be fatal to the […]

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 […]

Immigration, race and popular environmentalism

The curious fact about the recent population controversy is the absence of any historical context. Since the early 1970s immigration has been a theme of conservative campaigns in Australia, before then it was Labor that wrapped itself in the banner of White Australia.  The conservative critique of immigration came direct from Britain where the Conservatives […]

Health, Labor and women voters

Stephanie Peatling has a fairly lazy article arguing that Tony Abbott has no particular problem with women voters based on a simple bivariate analysis, rather than the multivariate approach that is required to answer this question. In recent decades Labor has for many women ceased to be the party of masculine class aggressiveness and instead […]

Green bubbles

How are we to understand Labor’s loss of ground on environmental policy manifest in declining public support for its Emmissions Trading Scheme.  Public opinion about environmental questions is complex. There is a broad sentiment in favour of wilderness preservation, contrary to some myths it doesn’t vary much by social background or educational level. This diffuse […]

Voting against the Greens & race and the Liberals

Higgins07-09

After the weekend by-elections in which the Liberals easily retained the safe seats of Higgins and Bradfield a spate of commentary alleging a revival of Liberal fortunes. It is difficult to interpret contests in which Labor did not run a candidate, but the argument is that the Liberal margin over the Greens at the by-election […]

Environmental and microeconomic reform

Tony Abbott has claimed to seek a middle ground on climate change opposing the government’s ETS whilst promising to somehow reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst maintaining employment in carbon-intensive industries. The later commitment is incompatible with the previous one. But more broadly Abbott displays a remarkable faith in the power of governments to direct economic […]

Andrew Peacock and Tony Abbott

Health party pref

Is Tony Abbott as much of a political liability as Labor hopes? Could he duplicate Andrew Peacock’s relative success as Liberal leader in 1984? Abbott  served as Health minister from late 2003 to the defeat of the Howard government. At the 2004 election one factor contributing to the easy re-election of the Howard government was […]

Family law and the Australian right

D. Kemp, Foundations for Australian Political Analysis: Politics and Authority, Oxford University Press, 1988 B. Maley, Marriage, Divorce and Family Justice, Centre for Independent Studies, Policy Monograph No. 23, 1992 B. Maley, Family and Marriage in Australia, Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney, Policy Monograph No. 43, 2000. P. Saunders, Australia’s welfare habit and how to […]

Liberals and ‘liberalism’ from 1984 to 2009

With the Liberals in opposition debate has raged as to the party’s future direction. The debate is often phrased as one of ‘liberals’ vs. ‘conservatives’. Tony Abbott’s recent book, which I still have to read, has been hailed as an intervention on the conservative side and Senator George Brandis has set himself up as the […]