ALP Leadership Contest, Factional Divisions and the Spectre of International Crises

BY BEN HABIB. The current Gillard-Rudd confrontation highlights the problems that Australia’s 20th century political parties face in dealing with 21st century policy problems. The Gillard-Rudd rivalry is a story of ambition, bitterness and betrayal. Yet there is a broader dimension to the ALP leadership crisis that is more complicated.

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Event Review: When QandA Came to Albury-Wodonga

BY BEN HABIB, with MARTIN DICKENS, LISA TUCK, LEA MACLAUGHLIN, KRYSTLE BROWN, JESSICA LOVE & ALICIA PETERS. Like everyone else in attendance, I was caught up in the excitement of being part of the spectacle of a live television broadcast. Over 700 people attended the show, the largest ever audience for Q&A. While prepping the audience before the show, Tony Jones described Q&A as an “open democracy experiment” that was “rare in the world”. Or was it?

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Interview with Heather Bruer from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Our guest on the podcast today, Heather Bruer from the Australian Youth Climate Coaltion (AYCC), is a 21 year old Economics student at the University of Adelaide and is currently co-director of the AYCC in South Australia. In December 2010 Heather was part of the Australian Youth Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Council of Parties 16 (COP16) climate talks in Cancún, Mexico. In the podcast, Heather talks about her experiences at COP16 in Cancún, the reasons she became a climate activist and the moral imperative for young people to engage with the politics of climate change, as well as her thoughts on the current carbon pricing debate in Australia.

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The Carbon Pricing Debate — A Battle for Australia’s Soul

BY BEN HABIB. In the past fortnight, Australian political discourse has been dominated by the debate over the pricing of carbon. The Prime Minister’s announcement of a draft carbon pricing policy with the Greens and the independent members has sparked off a vicious volley of hyperbole from those who would object to carbon pricing. The electorate has vacillated somewhere between cautious and hostile on the policy announcement. The ALP has not helped its cause with four years in government characterised by inaction, hot air and spin. We sit now poised at the beginning of a debate over a great systemic reform that will shape our nation for years to come. In many ways, this debate is a battle for Australia’s soul.

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2010 Victorian Election — Benambra Candidates Forum

BY BEN HABIB. This event represented an exiting first for Wodonga, with the Border Mail, ABC Goulburn Murray and La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga joining forces to host a candidates forum for the Victorian state seat of Benambra, in the lead-up to Saturday’s state election. The discussion covered a lot of ground, on the back of some excellent questions from the audience and the panel.

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Final thoughts on the Election Campaign—We’ll Get the Government We Deserve

BY BEN HABIB. Like many people, I have been intrigued by this federal election campaign and like many others, I will be pleased when the spectacle is over. As we move into the last two days before the poll on August 21st, I would like to offer my thoughts on the election campaign and what it says about Australian society…

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Federal Election 2010: Candidates Forum for the Electorate of Farrer

Podcast interviews with each of the candidates for the seat of Farrer in the 2010 federal election: Sussan Ley (Lib), Christian Emmery (ALP). The candidates were asked a set of similar questions on local issues, the state of political debate in Australia, climate change, the economy, and border security. This framework provides a basis to directly compare the positions and policy proposals of each candidate and the party they represent.

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Federal Election 2010: Candidates Forum for the Electorate of Indi

Podcast interviews with each of the candidates for the seat of Indi in the 2010 federal election: Sophie Mirabella (Lib), Zuvele Laschen (ALP), Jenny O’Connor (Greens), Mark Carey (Dem), Alan Lappin (Ind). The candidates were asked a set of similar questions on local issues, the state of political debate in Australia, climate change, the economy, and border security. This framework provides a basis to directly compare the positions and policy proposals of each candidate and the party they represent.

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The Demise of Kevin Rudd & the Politics of Hot Air

BY BEN HABIB.

How did the Labor colossus come to grief so quickly? The 2007 election victory gave the Rudd government a huge store of political capital with which to prosecute a reform agenda and address the most pressing problems of the day. Today, that well of political capital has long run dry, the Rudd government having exhausted it to achieve absolutely nothing.

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