Tag Archives: australian politics

Liberalism Down Under

Australians recently went to the polls and elected a Liberal government. Unfortunately, Down Under the Liberal Party is a conservative body firmly fixed on the centre right of Aussie politics who with their allies the Nationals (previously known as the Country Party) have been in power for the majority of the country’s history. If it isn’t them in office, it’s Labor.

So what is the current state of our particular brand of liberalism in this part of the Commonwealth? Australia uses AV for the lower houses of its Federal and State parliaments while Upper Houses or Senates use STV, and the …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 10 Comments

A postcard from… Australia

From reading The Australian during an antipodean holiday over the last three weeks, a few national Australian issues stand out:

The state of the Australian government

There are great paralells with the UK here in terms of the actual form of the government. Both countries had elections in 2010 where no party had an overall majority. Despite her many faults, Julia Gillard has been remarkably successful in holding together her government, some might saying “clinging on by her fingernails”, relying on a handful of independent MPs and

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 5 Comments

A postcard from… Australia

The coalition continues to hold relatively fast, despite the predicted fall out from June’s vote on the Jeremy Hunt affair. Down Under however, a more dubious coalition is not looking so chipper, and the Lib Dems would be wise to note the similarities, and differences, from the Australian experience.

Much has been said about the pros and cons of political coalitions. In Australia, the centre-right Liberal and rural-based National Party have been in coalition since 1922. Both parties hold similar conservative values and have historically …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 7 Comments

How to survive a campaign and not sell your soul

The successful (and at times rather controversial) Australian pollster Mark Textor has a great piece in the Sydney Morning Herald about how to survive election campaigns. It includes these tips:

Posted in Campaign Corner | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: the Australian election and AV

Fans of the alternative vote system would do well to look at the result of the Australian election. Australia and Fiji are the only two countries in the world to use AV. The two main parties got about 80% of the vote. A record* 2 million+ people voted for minor parties, that’s around 17% – a 50% increase of the number of people not voting for the big two.

And the result? Well the two main parties got 145 seats and the minor parties 5.

Now at this point defenders of AV will be saying “yes we know AV isn’t that good …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 50 Comments

Lessons from Australia: poster design

A quick counterpart to my previous Lessons from Canada: poster design, this time looking at Australian election posters such as this one:

Australian Liberal Party election poster

As you can see from this example from North Sydney, the usual Australian style (as is the case in European countries such as Germany) is to feature candidate or party leader photo very large, with the name of the candidate or party more like a caption to the poster than its main content.

By contrast, in the UK, the name …

Posted in Op-eds | 16 Comments

Leaflet monitoring website goes Antipodean

Good to see that The Straight Choice website has been picked up in Australia and is being used in the federal election coming up there:

The idea was spawned following the Lindsay pamphlet scandal, in which Liberal Party volunteers distributed bogus election pamphlets claiming to be from “The Islamic Australia Federation”, which was later found not to exist.

The pamphlets claimed the Labor Party candidate would support clemency for convicted terrorists and the construction of a mosque in the area. The husband of then Liberal candidate for Lindsay Karen Chijoff and the husband of outgoing Liberal MP Jackie Kelly were

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Australian Electoral Commission agrees to “Sex Party”

– a political party, that is!

From The Register:

It’s official: the Australian Sex Party (ASP) is now a bona fide political party, entitled to appear on the ballot paper, raise funds and even – if they gain more than four percent of the primary vote – eligible for public funding.

This follows a long drawn-out tussle with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), after several members of the public claimed that the Party’s name was obscene. In a five-page minute (pdf) that carefully explored the precise meaning of the concept of obscenity and how it related to the electoral process, the AEC decided that the various objections received to the registration of the ASP were outside the grounds on which a refusal might be made.

They did, however, consider objections that the ASP name invoked “orgiastic notions”, with a full analysis of the case and statute law surrounding the subject.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

How to defeat a long-serving government: lessons from Australia

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

Politics doesn’t just happen in the US

Australian politics should be a fertile learning ground for those interested in British politics. Whilst it does not have the West Wing glamorous scale of US politics, it shares the US advantage of a common language – which makes access to political information much easier than for other countries. Moreover, unlike the USA, it has the mundane – but vital – importance of having a political system that in core elements is the same as Britain (two houses of Parliament, leader of the largest party in the lower house gets to be Prime Minister, no elected person more senior than the Prime Minister).

Both Australia and the US have had a long period of right-wing political dominance (Liberals and Republicans respectively), during which time the right seemed to have largely shifted the terms of political debate, come to dominate the vocabulary of issues and seen off an opposition that was often split between those who urged moderation and the centre ground as the sensible response to defeat and those who saw that very moderation as timidity and the cause of repeated defeat.

In both cases, the right finally lost – John McCain in 2008, Australian PM John Howard in 2007. But whilst lessons from the previous Democrat defeats and then Obama’s victory in 2008 have been commonly discussed in the UK, Australian politics does not get much of a look-in, although former Labour Cabinet Minister Alan Milburn was a key advisor during the 2007 Australian election. What are we missing by failing to look more often to Australia?

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Australian Democrats on YouTube

And now, foreign news. Our sister party in Australia, the Australian Democrats, have started making greater use of the Internet this year, including a YouTube channel from Lyn Allison, the party’s leader. They’re not new to innovative web campaigning though – one of their senators, Andrew Bartlett, has been blogging for quite some time.

Posted in News | 8 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 15th Oct - 10:11am
    Is this different from a national carbon tax with rebates scheme, like, for example, the one in Canada?
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 15th Oct - 9:56am
    Throroughly agree Caron. She was a bright and modern presence during all the ceremonial guff (tucked menacingly behind the PM in all the TV shots...
  • User AvatarAndy Hyde 15th Oct - 9:18am
    As someone who worked in a nationalised and the privatised utility, CEGB-NG, I can say despite much misgivings at the time, I was glad we...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 15th Oct - 9:07am
    @ Frankie, Please go away and annoy someone else. I have answered your question many times.
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 15th Oct - 8:57am
    @ expats, He has been on 'a journey'. @ Richard Easter, I really think that the Liberal Democrat party needs to stop pretending to have...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Oct - 8:42am
    As to nationalising at least you would be gaining an assets, if you could actually get the assets to make a profit over the long...