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Articles by Mungo MacCallum

Bligh trumps St Mary McKillop as model of virtue, rectitude

Seldom has an Australian politician received the kind of accolades accorded to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh after the disastrous floods that engulfed her state.

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For Gillard and Abbott, it’s storm clouds at 20 paces

For the first couple of weeks of 2011 the big story has been the weather — it well and truly pushed politics off the front pages.

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Mungo: Chris Mitchell and The Oz … it just ain’t cricket

The Australian again has become a haven for sceptics, deniers and downright nutters.

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Mungo: WikiLeaks principle critical, but contents … oh well

Julian Assange may not merit a Nobel prize, but he sure as hell doesn’t deserve to be persecuted either. If we are serious about defending democracy, he is not our enemy but our new best friend.

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Nuclear debate will end, not with a bang but a phut

It must be the silly season. The old arguments are all back on the agenda, and none of them is more thoroughly worn than the one about Australia going nuclear.

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Gillard’s welcome show of strength on Telstra

It was a fitting climax to Labor’s tumultuous parliamentary year. Julia Gillard finally brought off a big win with the passage of the Telstra legislation, but hostile commentators were still able to spin it as a defeat.

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Government can’t have a bob each way on boat people

The Liberal Party’s cadaver in waiting, Phillip Ruddock, described last week’s High Court decision on the rights of asylum seekers as “diabolical.” The misuse of the word was so grotesque as to suggest that the former Immigration Minister and Attorney-General’s use of it might have itself been satanic inspiration.

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For Gillard, banks a perfect opportunity to get on with it

Julia Gillard is there to govern and must be seen to be doing so. To be — how should one put it? — moving forward. Banks may be providing her a perfect opportunity to do so.

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Two virility symbols and a saint … lucky country indeed

Judging from the shambling swagger he affects these days (part-Western gunslinger, part-silverback gorilla) Tony Abbott is brimming with confidence.

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Labor has little to lose by going hard on Murray-Darling

The Murray-Darling Basin is not just Australia’s major food bowl, but an important economic resource in its own right.

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Gillard’s safe but her ability to legislate isn’t

Julia Gillard can afford to be reasonably satisfied with the first week of the rest of her government. But the crossbenchers are ready and eager to exploit their temporary power bases, particularly on climate change and the war in Afghanistan.

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Mungo: pig drama, an anagram of paradigm, seems appropriate

Tony Abbot has now made it clear that his lust for power is absolute; he will stop at nothing.

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Mungo: all bets are off for PM, Abbott still locked in the past

Everything is up for grabs once more, and as far as Julia Gillard is concerned, she is starting pretty much with a blank sheet.

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Mungo: embrace of consensus, peace, love and brown rice sheer hypocrisy

There have been many losers in the 2010 election, but none more to be pitied than those who relied on News Limited for their political information.

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‘Australia’ rejects the system, and Labor is to blame

There is a superstition among many political commentators that the nation has some sort of collective mind; that when the voters go to the polls there is a psychic bond which determines the overall result. It’s rubbish, as Saturday showed.

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Mungo: double disillusion leaves spirit of the nation in jeopardy

We vote without enthusiasm or conviction, and often in the belief that whatever we do will make no real difference; that the ritual is no longer worthwhile.

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Mungo: a farcical plot line with heroes and villains interchangeable

This election campaign is not really dull at all. Depressing, maddening, infantile, an insult to the voters’ intelligence and a travesty of the democratic process, but not dull.

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Mungo: it’s time for a reality check

It’s time, in fact it’s well past time, it may even be too late, for a reality check. Seen from the point of view of the hip pocket, things could hardly be rosier. And yet the voters are preparing to vote the government that has presided over this happy state and is at least partly responsible for it out of office after one truncated term.

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The Wimp v the Wuss

Never has the Prime Ministership of Australia been contested by such a pair of abject, craven, weak-kneed, whey-faced, chicken-hearted, lily-livered, jelly-bellied milksops. And what a lead up to the so-called Great Debate: The Wimp versus The Wuss, says Mungo MacCallum.

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Mungo: it appears we’re voting on personality rather than policy

First, Julia Gillard has to be elected, and to do that she has to give us reasons to vote for her. What exactly (or even approximately) is the election actually about? Most voters are confused.

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Mungo: Timor solution a stuffed-up version of whatever it takes

Timor Leste is a horribly cynical choice, and still would be even if the negotiations had been sensibly handled and the government and populace had shown themselves willing.

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Mungo: The fix is in, thanks to Gillard’s populist adhockery

Gillard is offering not leadership but populism, not vision but adhockery, not policy but fixes: whatever it takes. She has had her boost in the polls, and that, for the moment, is all that really matters.

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Mungo: who’s really to blame for Rudd’s demise?

Kevin Rudd was knifed repeatedly and by many, says Mungo MacCallum. Who could have guessed that there were so many killers lurking in the wings of Parliament House?

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Rudd and Abbbot a case of double disillusion

It will take a mighty effort indeed in his second term if Kevin Rudd is ever to recapture that first rapture of the heady Kevin07 days. And Tony Abbott will need to mature considerably if he is to be given a second chance.

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It’s time, Kevin, to pull your finger out

If Rudd was also some kind of a loose cannon, what was the point of keeping him? Rudd might be a bit of a letdown, but the alternative is still unconvincing.

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