Politics

Anti-ALP swing to reshape landscape

Sep 24th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

Labor’s hegemony was an aberration matched only once in Australian history by a similarly brief period of conservative rule in 1969 and 1970. Projecting recent trends forward would see the defeat of the Bligh Government in Queensland next year, the Rann Government in early 2010 and the Rees Government in NSW in early 2011.



Bligh no Beattie so trouble looms

Sep 24th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

Peter Beattie as a politician was sly, manipulative and cunning, but he also had the brilliant knack of being able to lead public opinion. He had the capacity to quickly change the terms of a public debate. His legendary ability to apologise for problems of the day was might have enraged the political class, but it went down a treat with the voters.



Voters turn against Labor states, says Newspoll

Sep 24th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia, Lead Stories

Labor’s longest-serving premier, Mike Rann, is in deep trouble in South Australia, where the ALP’s primary vote has been overtaken by the state Liberals, leaving tied after preferences. Labor’s primary vote in Queensland dropped five percentage points to 38 per cent, against 41 per cent for the newly merged Liberal National Party.



Trust Me

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

We’ve seen this kind of over-reaching from the Bush administration before. It has usurped far too many powers under a banner of urgency — think wiretapping — and abused those powers. Now, Congress and the American people are being told that unless they quickly approve sweeping executive powers for the bailout, capitalism may collapse. Even if this administration weren’t so untrustworthy, rushing ahead would be a bad idea.



McCain, More Critical of Bailout Plan, Faults Oversight

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Election 2008

Aides to Senator McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, said it was too soon to say whether he would oppose the plan being hashed out by the Bush administration and Congress, noting that the final details had yet to be presented. But Mr. McCain repeated his calls to add several provisions that the administration has opposed, including a guarantee that taxpayer money would not be used to enrich the executives of failing companies.



Bush Administration Reviews Its Afghanistan Policy, Exposing Points of Contention

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: United States

The most ambitious of the assessments, run by the White House, begins in earnest this week with a series of high-level meetings, administration officials said. Officials have been directed to produce detailed recommendations within about two weeks for President Bush’s most senior advisers on a broad range of security, counterterrorism, political and development issues.



Bailout Plan Talks Advance in Congress

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: United States

While Congressional leaders in both chambers said they were confident that they could reach a quick deal, it was also clear that Bush administration officials would face rough questioning and that initial support for the bailout had begun to fray. Some Democrats said they simply did not trust the president. Conservative Republicans also expressed outrage, echoing scornful comments by Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Lou Dobbs, the right-leaning CNN anchor.



Turnbull names team with economy in its sights

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

The new Opposition front bench rewards those who supported the new leader, but does not do so at the expense of the Coalition’s strengths. Malcolm Turnbull may have the massive ego that his enemies like to complain about, but it evidently has not prevented him from becoming a shrewder judge of power plays in the party room than he was 10 months ago.



Just a slight trace of blood on the carpet

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

The most spectacular victim of Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet reshuffle was Tony Smith. The former Peter Costello supporter, who voted for Turnbull last year but switched to Brendan Nelson last week, paid a heavy price by being given the role of shadow assistant treasurer. Smith will be back at some stage but his only consolation yesterday was platitudes from Turnbull about being part of a crack financial team.



Generous to a fault

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

By figuring out who got what piece of the excess revenue that was generated by lower unemployment and the China-led resources boom since 2004, we get a better idea of the reform hurdles ahead for the Rudd Government. Assuming that no government will want to take money off people, how do you fix a system that is, in many respects, overly generous?