It’s early Monday morning and we’re on the road to the capital Noumea from New Caledonia’s Northern Province. The bus is full of young people heading back to school or work, after a weekend visiting their families in their home villages.
Articles from Inside Story
In the current environment, Labor’s win in Queensland is unusual. It is the first time a Labor state or federal government has been re-elected unequivocally anywhere in Australia since Anna Bligh’s historic breakthrough in March 2009. Are the times shifting Labor’s way? Or is this, as Malcolm Turnbull tells us, a result peculiar to Queensland?
At first sight, the 11.6 per cent swing to the Greens at last month’s by-election in the Victorian seat of Northcote looked like a disaster for Labor. But it could have been worse — and last time Northcote voted, it was worse.
Given that Tony Abbott was scarcely a hard act to follow, Malcolm Turnbull should have enjoyed a protracted honeymoon in the top job. Of all Australia’s twenty-nine prime ministers, the stumbling, bumbling, inarticulate Abbott — long to be remembered for his “suppository” and shirtfront gaffes — is arguably the most inept of all, William McMahon notwithstanding.
On Thursday 27 July this year — the day Australia’s citizenship crisis reached its first government target, Senator Matt Canavan — Greens leader Richard Di Natale revealed that he had written to the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House asking them to audit the eligibility of every federal MP.
I foresaw the death of prime minister Harold Holt. It was three years before he drowned and it was the result of a chance encounter on the cliff above the beach where his life was to end. I keep returning to my recollections of that day, scrutinising them for significance. It was the summer of 1964–65; Mr Holt was fifty-six years old and I was seven.
Politics is “a dangerous trade,” Gareth Evans once told Canadian academic-turned-politician Michael Ignatieff. It is “best avoided by normally sane and sensitive souls.” For anyone contemplating a political career, Evans recommends a thought experiment. Ask your sixty-five-year-old self if you will “really hate yourself for not having risked your arm… If you know you will berate yourself for never trying, you have no choice but to take the risk.”
Since the New York Times reported allegations of sexual assault against the film mogul Harvey Weinstein, women everywhere — initially in the cultural industries and media, then in education and politics — have been emboldened to recount their own exposure to predatory behaviour from power-holding men.
That irascible “fiery particle,” wartime prime minister Billy Hughes, famously stood up to US president Woodrow Wilson during the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. He asserted Australia’s claim to German New Guinea, demanded a share of war reparations, and refused to give ground in relation to the notorious White Australia Policy.