Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's easy just to say the homeless will always be with us.

Three years ago Kevin Rudd attempted to do something about it. This is what happened . . .

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Aarrgh! Sorry, late again. This piece on the Treasurer appeared in Saturday's Canberra Times.

I fear if Julia Gillard had the numbers he'd already have been shifted. As it is she doesn't - so he stays . . .

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Why do all the UN"s Climate Change negotiations take place in beautiful resorts? Perhaps it would be more appropriate for them to meet in Iceland in winter . . . more might get done.

This is a (brief) summary of what Australia has done to combat changing weather over the past three years. Many promises; a great deal of talk - a bit lighter on the action.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


It's not so much that this government lacks direction, because both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard know exactly where they want Australia to head.

The problem is that both these people appear to be going in different directions but neigther are sharing their objectives with ordinary Australians . . .

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


This column was hard to write. I wanted to try and incorporate two contrasting ideas: (1) that the Wikileaks haven't really told us anything we don't already know, but also (2) that now they're public knowledge countries will act appropriately.

This reveals two further consequences. Rudd's relationship with China is now finished and he will have to be moved from the Foreign Minister's job before this can be restored.

The third issue is why did he say what he did? What prompted his remarks? I've tried to answer these questions below:

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Bad news for sports fans this week - Australia won't be hosting the World Cup in 2022.

What's significant about this isn't that we missed out but rather that it demonstrates, even to those who don't follow anything apart from sport, that our role in the world isn't quite as significant as the boosters like to suggest . . .

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The Greens went backward at the Victorian election on Saturday.

The party now has to choose: will it remain primarily concerned about environmental issues, or will it become a party of the far left?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Any idea of introducing equal pay for all is far-fetched. But the concept of men and women receiving the same amount of money for preforming the same task is entrenched in Labor policy.

Nevertheless the ALP has not paused before abandoning this principle when confronted with the prospects of a budget blow-out.

Of course, that's not the real issue. What this column is about is the idea of pay relativities . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


There's something about a uniform  . . .

But that's just a way into a far more signigicant issue for the ADF.

I've already recieved a few comments to my other email address, nicstuart@hotmail.com , however they are not intended for broadcast so I won't post them here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The biggest question dogging Julia Gillard's government is fundamental: just what does she stand for.

It's difficult to know. Things like super-fast broadband should be just means to an end. Surely our aim should be eudaimonia, or the leading what my Ancient Greek teachers called the 'good' life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What will the NBN cost?

The National Broadband Network is a great idea; but a few questions need to be answered urgently before we risk squandering $43 billion on the project.

Unfortunately, Labor is not providing any economic justification for a project that Kevin Rudd origionally attempted to justify on exactly those economic grounds . .  .

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who's making Foreign Policy?

The Gillard government is less than six months old, but already two constants can be discerned. The first is that the Prime Minister is apparently out of her depth when it comes to dealing with international issues. The second is that Kevin Rudd remains in effective control of foreign policy.

This was my take on the AUSMIN talks in Australia . . .

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mental Illness

For a few weeks during the election campaign, the issue of mental health suddenly rose to the forefront of the nation's consciousness. Then, once the government was formed, it seemed as if that interest faded.

But the issue is about to be resurrected, as Australian of the year Patrick McGorry insisted when he spoke in Canberra over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A New Paragidm

Julia Gillard appeared on Monday (three days ago) at the National Press Club. She talked about the need for a new paragidm to animate politics. The difficulty is attempting to work out if she has the legitimacy (amongst her colleagues) to implement these.

This column represents my take on attitudes towards her within the Labor Party . . .

Monday, August 9, 2010

Personal Agendas

The moral baukruptcy of Australian politics has become only too apparent during this campaign. News of the people who are campaigning has overwhelmed any policy focus that the election might have had.

These two sketches published in the Canberra Times reflect my growing disillusion . . .

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Foreign Policy

Tuesday's launch was fantastic . . . but it left me too exhausted to post for the rest of the week.

For Saturday's Canberra Times I had to attempt to write an analysis of the foreign policy differences between the two parties. I almost gave up! This is the result . . .

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rudd's Way

Tonight's the launch of Rudd's Way, 6.30 at Paperchain bookshop in Manuks, everyone welcome, cheap white/red wine available! Free!

I'm thrilled to have Paul Bongiorno launching the book.

I'd written this article for todays Canberra Times, looking at the transition from Rudd to Gillard, and the role of personalities and policies in politics . . .

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gillard's East Timor Plan

On the day she becama Prime Minister, Julia Gillard identified finding a solution to the increasing numbers of asylum seekers as being vital for Australia's future.

Unfortunately, the solution she's decided to push, sending people to East Timor, has been tried before. This column appeared in Saturday's Canberra Times.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rudd's Way

Writing a political book - particularly one about contempoary politics - can end up being a particularly challenging experience. The most difficult aspect of all is that the author doesn't have the luxury of knowing how the book will end and, although I didn't realise it at the time, this was to become a major problem with the book "Rudd's Way".
I wrote a piece explaining some of the difficulties I had as I attempted to come to grips with Rudd's story, for the ABC's Drum. It can be found at:

From the Hustings . . .

Although there's no proof he's the source of the damaging series of leaks, Kevin Rudd continues to provide a continuing distraction to Julia Gillard. This post considers why.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On the Hustings . . .

I've been writing a daily campaign journal for the Canberra Times, called (perhaps unoriginally) 'From the Hustings . . . '

I'll try to put the pieces up each day in future.

Where are the Policies?

I've been too busy writing for the old media to post stories for a while: I'm attempting to catch up quickly now.

This op-ed appeared yesterday in the Canberra Times. It bemoans the absence of real political debate in the 2010 election campaign . . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Faulkner Departs

A week ago John Faulkner suddenly decided he needed to announce that he would not be a candidate for a berth in the ministry if Labor is returned at the next election. Although making this statement was honourable, it was also extremely unusual. Exactly why did he feel the need to clear the air about this issue?

I reckon he's committed to achieving the objectives that he entered politics for, and he's decided he can't do this in the ministry, although it's important to note that Faulkner - an honourable person who doesn't apparently lie - denies this is why he's announced his intention to leave.

On the Saturday before he announced his intention I wrote, perhaps harshly . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

Executing Kevin

I received a nice e-mail from Western Australia that was complimentary of this long piece, so I'm posting it up here.

It looks at some of the similarities between the rise and fall of Kevin Rudd . . .

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dealing with the Region

It sometimes seems that the nost significant differences between people - even those who've committed their lives to politics - often seem to revolve around the way individuals percieve the world. Lindsay Tanner has always appeared to have a very good handle on the way the world works. His departure from parliament will be a significant loss . . .

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Afghanistan Issues

Every now and then something finally clicks into place.

It's taken me a long time - nearly a decade - to make up my mind on the utility of Australia's (military) commitment to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, but finally I'm there. There was no single event that changed my mind, not even the continuing stream of dead bodies and wounded soldiers that we are now seeing returning home. However I now believe it is impossible to argue the case for our current deployment - the strategy is simply not working.

These two columns from the Canberra Times might help explain why . . .