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How good are election punters?

September 27, 2005

Yesterday’s Financial Review has a report about research to be presented at the Economic Society of Australia’s conference advancing the claims of the betting market to predict election results. As the opening sentence of the Fin’s report has it, “Polls are useless in predicting the outcomes of Australian elections but it would appear the bookies […]

Could Queensland get a Liberal government?

September 27, 2005

Queensland’s often-warring non-Labor parties yesterday announced a new coalition agreement under which they will fight the next state election, due in 2007. Buoyed by their victory last month in two by-elections, the Queensland Liberals seem to have extracted the maximum possible advantage out of the negotiations. The question is, will it be enough for Queensland […]

The pros and cons of proportional voting

September 27, 2005

Your resident psephologist Charles Richardson comments: “This month’s world-wide run of elections has displayed a number of ways in which other democracies differ from Australia. Most of them have some form of proportional representation, ensuring that a minority of votes doesn’t translate into a majority of seats.” This comment is unfortunately timed. In the Norwegian […]

Hicks: out of sight, out of mind?

September 26, 2005

David Hicks is not a sympathetic character. He’s not an attractive subject for a story. The Government, indeed, doesn’t seem to believe that he is even entitled to due process. But how was it that a British paper, The Observer, got the story that the Australian Guantanamo prisoner may have been dealt a get out […]

Is it time for Malcolm in the middle?

September 26, 2005

Sorry, Mr Turnbull. You’re not going to be Prime Minister. Destiny has another task for you. Back in January, readers will recall, we suggested that Peter Costello should become leader of the opposition. They need someone decent – and Cozzie deserves a better shot at the top job than he’s getting at the moment. And […]

Protest songs

September 26, 2005

On the eve of the destruction of the odd human and civil right as the Labor premiers try to outbid each other in the lead up to tomorrow’s terror summit, here is an adaptation of Pete Seeger’s Where Have All the Flowers Gone for any picketers. Where have all the freedoms gone? Long time passing. […]

Plus ca change in the NSW Upper House

September 26, 2005

“The NSW Government will get its first openly gay female MP this week,” The Daily Telegraph shouts excitedly today. Penny Sharpe, a 34-year-old mother-of-two, will fill a vacant seat in the Upper House on Friday. The Marrickville councillor has never kept her sexuality a secret and is in a long-term relationship. She said: “Yes I […]

Why Bill Shorten went to Coolaroo

September 26, 2005

Last week we wondered out aloud what a saviour of the federal ALP, AWU boss Bill Shorten, was doing knocking around with low-rent local government faction hacks in the Melbourne burbs. Well… “Don’t underestimate the significance of Bill Shorten appearing at a Coolaroo fundraiser on Wednesday,” a subscriber writes. “The timing is interesting to say […]

Is Cossie building his kosher cred?

September 26, 2005

Glenn Milne and his Graydon Carter hairstyle write on Israel today – the demonisation of Israel by members of the Labor left. Nothing new? Uh-uh. Milne hangs his story on comments by NSW Labor MP Julia Irwin: “Gaza is now a Palestinian ghetto; a prison for its one million people. All flows of people and […]

Beazley gets it badly wrong on terrorism laws

September 26, 2005

Former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin writes: Kim Beazley’s proposal to “toughen” the government’s security legislation by “locking down” whole neighbourhoods at times of suspected terrorist threat is at best foolish and at worst dangerously racist. Presumably he is talking about “locking down” predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods in suburbs like Kogarah or Coburg. We’ve been here before. […]