Oh Jenny Macklin, it’s only the second day of the year and you’re in a deep mess, made messier by the clumsy efforts of your staff to clean up after you.
And now an argument over whether single mothers of children aged 8 and over should work has turned into an argument about the generosity, or not, of the dole. They are actually two different debates.
But now you’ve opened the door to Greens MP Adam Bandt to challenge you to join him in a week-long stunt that will not reveal anything of substance.
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So after months of tensions and simmering resentment, the ALP at the weekend indicated it needed some time apart to consider the future of its relationship with the Greens.
In a battle between its head and its heart, Labor’s head started calling the shots, finally admitting what outsiders have been able to see for ages, that entanglement with the Greens is not good for Labor. It’s an emotionally abusive relationship where the Greens have exerted more influence than should have been allowed.
But as divorces go, this one could turn out to be very messy. No dignified exit for this departing party. Labor is determined to air more dirty laundry than one of Charlie Sheen’s exes.
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With Bob Brown’s resignation as leader of the Greens, Australia has lost its most important left-wing politician.
There was a time when Labor and the coalition were regarded as the Left and Right of Australian politics. Not any more.
In terms of what they stand for, the major parties are almost indistinguishable. The competition between them is about competence, not much else.
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Australia, which includes the national government and parliament, faces a number of crucial issues.
A short list: the carbon tax; the two-speed economy; problems for the manufacturing sector; real difficulties in the steel industry; coal seam gas extraction versus prime farming land.
Further, there are serious worries about productivity levels; concern about the need for a review and revamp of the industrial laws, which everyone except the unions and the government are suggesting are too rigid.
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The new paradigm has begun to play mind games with our federal MPs. Yesterday nobody was quite sure what was expected of them. At times it was a little embarrassing to watch, like some awkward kid consistently dancing out of time at the Rock Eisteddfod
Manager of Opposition Business and chief prosecutor in the case of Gillard v the BER Christopher Pyne copped the worst of it. Pyne didn’t ask for a division on a vote that would have forced a judicial inquiry into the Government’s BER spending. A vote the Coalition lost. Awkward.
No matter, Pyne plans to introduce his bill into the Senate after a session with the choreographer on Thursday afternoon.
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Signs in the window of an adventure tours store on Scotchmer Street in North Fitzroy urge passersby to do two things: climb Mount Everest, and put a member of the Greens in the House of Representatives.
In most electorates these tasks would be of roughly equal difficulty. But not here in the federal seat of Melbourne, where Greens candidate Adam Bandt is the firm bookies’ favourite to win on August 21. With a well-organised campaign and an established electorate profile, Bandt’s challenge looks less like climbing a mountain and more like a sprint down Swanston Street.
“Make history Melbourne” is the campaign slogan, with the general buzz being about making Bandt the first Green elected to the House of Representatives – which would be truly historic, except that it rests on the following qualifying technicality. He would only be the first Green to win in a general election.
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