Trump’s Lessons for South Australia

In 1967 Martin Luther King warned that “we must rapidly begin the transition from a thing oriented society to a person oriented society.”

“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

As Donald Trump’s election sends shock-waves around the world, Martin Luther King’s words seem more prescient than ever.

Continue reading “Trump’s Lessons for South Australia”

Orlando Massacre Is A Tragic Reminder Of Violence Against LGBTI People

This week, a horrific hate crime targeting a gay nightclub in Orlando has devastated LGBTI communities and their allies right across the world.

It is a stark and sobering reminder that acts of violence are still an all too real experience for many LGTBI people, even in places known for their liberal values and ideals of equality. Despite all we’ve achieved in the journey for human rights, prejudice and homophobia persist as dangerous forces in our world.

Continue reading “Orlando Massacre Is A Tragic Reminder Of Violence Against LGBTI People”

Life after death: the art of political resurrection

“Can a soufflé rise twice?” was the question asked by former prime minister Paul Keating following his adversary, Andrew Peacock’s return to the Liberal leadership.

In the end, Peacock’s leadership fell flat but it hasn’t deterred other politicians from attempting comebacks. John Howard, Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd all tried political resurrection – while in the United States, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are considering comebacks of their own.

Continue reading “Life after death: the art of political resurrection”

Primaries Won’t Solve Our Political Problems

As the ALP battles to wrest control from the ‘faceless men’ of its party machine, Labor leaders from Steve Bracks to Mark Latham have argued for the co-option of US-style primaries.

While US elections may appear to be the ultimate festivals of democracy, all that glitters is not gold and we must be wary of embracing an alternative political system that is far from perfect.

In fact, primary-style pre-selections would radically change our democracy.

Continue reading “Primaries Won’t Solve Our Political Problems”

Rainbow Revolution: Why Mitt Romney’s Defeat is Bad News for Tony Abbott

While predicted by most pollsters, the defeat of Republican Mitt Romney in last week’s presidential election confounded some of the orthodoxies of modern politics.

In spite of a stalled economy and a poisonous political environment, on election day Romney’s lead among white Americans, evangelical Christians and the elderly was no match for Obama’s’rainbow coalition’ of Hispanic, black, single women, gay and younger voters.

Obama has become the first President since Roosevelt to win re-election with such a high unemployment rate and only the second Democrat since World War II to win a second term. So if it wasn’t the economy then what was it?

Continue reading “Rainbow Revolution: Why Mitt Romney’s Defeat is Bad News for Tony Abbott”

Great Expectations and the Audacity of Nope

Barack Obama was swept to office on a wave of optimism as America heeded his clarion call for change.

Just four years on, his agenda has been frustrated by a hostile senate and a faltering economy. The president’s bold “yes we can” has been replaced with a more cautious, “maybe we can, if …”.

In casting a much narrower net in his pitch for a second term, the president is seeking to overcome a challenge that has crippled the Australian Labor Government since its election in 2007: balancing the hope and aspiration of opposition with the cold, hard realities of office.

Continue reading “Great Expectations and the Audacity of Nope”

Demolition Man: The Cost of Sledgehammer Politics

Like all federal opposition leaders before him, Tony Abbott has a burning ambition to become prime minister. There is nothing unusual about this. His methods, however, are less rudimentary.

Through upping the tempo of national politics, Abbott has come within striking distance of realising his goal, but he has also fundamentally changed political discourse in Australia in a way that is dangerous for our democracy.

There is no question that Tony Abbott uses distinct language to sell his message. Subtle as a sledgehammer, he routinely derides Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a “liar”. Any misstep or failure of the Prime Minister, however big or small, is “the worst ever” or further evidence of “the Government’s incompetence”.

Continue reading “Demolition Man: The Cost of Sledgehammer Politics”