In the wake of the Wentworth byelection and the debate about its meaning a lot of commentary has focused on the desire for a return to the “sensible centre”.
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While the margin by which independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps won the Wentworth byelection may not be as great as the election night count suggested, the result in this historically-safe Liberal seat is a major blow for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the federal Coalition government.
A review into religious freedom, headed by former Coalition attorney-general Phillip Ruddock, turned into a political bombshell for the Coalition government, following the leaking of its recommendations on October 6.
The review was a sop to the right wing of the Liberal Party after the overwhelming result of last year’s marriage equality postal survey. The government had kept the final report under wraps since May.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “I stopped these [boats]” desk trophy is symbolic of his government’s callous disregard for human rights. But you can be sure that Morrison won’t be stopping the Nauruan government from kicking Mؘédicins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) off Nauru.
Within days of Nauru’s decision that MSF’s mental health services would “no longer be required”, news came through that an Iranian detainee on Nauru had self-harmed by swallowing washing powder.
The Australian Labor Party’s parliamentary caucus' decision to vote up the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) has created a backlash. The secretary of Hunter Workers (formerly the Newcastle Trades Hall Council) Daniel Wallace has resigned from the party, saying he 'finally realised that the shortcuts taken by the ALP usually lead to detours which lead to dead ends'.
The federal Coalition government has dropped further in the polls following the knifing of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Nevertheless, both new Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the hard right Peter Dutton/Tony Abbott faction in the Liberal Party seem determined to take politics even more to the right.
Events over the last few weeks have revealed just how politicised Australia’s immigration policy has become.
The federal Coalition government remains unstable even though Scott Morrison has replaced Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister in the August 24 leadership spill.
Last September, while campaigning for the position of Lord Mayor of Newcastle and a ward councillor, I bumped into an NSW Labor Party officer at a coffee shop.
“Comrade”, he said, “You’ve got some great policies”. “Feel free to borrow any of them,” I relied cheekily. “Our housing policy, for example, is based on Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton's work in Moreland, Victoria.”
The next day the local papers reported that ALP candidates were talking up “affordable housing”.
It says a lot about the state of politics today that the worst thing following the Murdoch-owned Sky News interview with neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell on immigration earlier this month, was not that a media outlet was giving a fascist a platform. The worst thing was that Cottrell’s comments were indistinguishable from those of other mainstream media outlets and elected politicians.