Political Party Memberships in NSW Parliamentary Parties: 2014-18

As part of the electoral disclosure regime in NSW, registered political parties are required to disclose funds raised from membership fees and subscriptions.

The following sets out the membership numbers for the years 2014-18 reported to the NSW Electoral Commission by each party represented in the NSW Parliament since 2015. Continue reading “Political Party Memberships in NSW Parliamentary Parties: 2014-18”

Could 16 and 17 year olds have a say in the marriage law postal survey?

Update – 11 August – 6.05pm The Minister for Finance and Acting Special Minister of State, Mathias Cormann, has given statements to journalists pursuing this issue. It echoes (but more concisely) the advice of the AEC that 16 and 17 year olds are not on the roll, and so will not be able to take part in the survey.

Update – 11 August – 5.45pm The Australian Electoral Commission has tweeted to say that speculation that 16 and 17 year olds would be allowed to take part in the survey is incorrect. They refer to the practice of  only “provisionally” enrolling 16 and 17 years. I’d argue that the provisions of the Act set out below has the effect of enrolling 16 and 17 year olds, but prevents them from voting until they turn 18.

The argument can be easily resolved by an amended or new Treasurer’s Direction to the ABS.

But as it stands at the moment, I don’t think it’s as clear cut as the AEC makes it to be in their statement.


Could over 47, 000 16 and 17 year olds who have made an application to be on the Electoral Roll, to have practical effect when they turn 18, be entitled to a say in the ABS marriage law survey?

While 16 and 17 year olds are barred from voting, they may currently make a claim to be on the electoral roll, and would be considered to be on the roll, other than for the purpose of an election. Continue reading “Could 16 and 17 year olds have a say in the marriage law postal survey?”

Pascall’s Saviour?

Australia’s premier award for criticism, the Geraldine Pascall Prize, is now administered as one of two arts focused awards by the Walkley Foundation, responsible for the major awards in Australian journalism.

It brings to an end a stand alone prize that conferred recognition (and no small amount of cash) on some of Australia’s best and most highly regarded critics and reviewers. It also invites renewed discussion about the value given to arts and cultural criticism in Australia’s media. Continue reading “Pascall’s Saviour?”

“A Large, Extremely Hungry and Undoubtedly Treacherous Hound”: Malcolm Turnbull on State Income Taxes … in 1976

It’s often embarrassing to be right, but I blush not over my correct analysis… it is nothing more than a cunning attempt to offload millions of dollars worth of government expenditure back on to the states without giving them any means – other than posing an income tax – of raising the revenue needed.

[The Premier] claims he was sold a pup. Not so. He has been given a large, extremely hungry and undoubtedly treacherous hound.

No, not a comment about Malcolm Turnbull’s plans to give the states the opportunity to raise revenue to pay for services.

That’s a comment BY Malcolm Turnbull – in 1976 – the last time a Prime Minister tried to devolve revenue raising by means of state based income taxes. Continue reading ““A Large, Extremely Hungry and Undoubtedly Treacherous Hound”: Malcolm Turnbull on State Income Taxes … in 1976″

Book Reviewing and Gender: My Stella Effort

One Saturday in January, enraged by yet another hack review from an all too prolific reviewer, I set about thinking about the freshness and vitality of our the book reviews in our Saturday broadsheets.

What gets reviewed; who gets reviewed; who reviews? Why does there seem so little variety in the books chosen? Why do the SMH and The Age share the same feature reviews? Why reprint reviews from the Guardian or the Telegraph? (Yes, I know “cost” is going to be an answer. But surely there’s a question of value and richness.)

So I had a look at the review pages of The Age, the SMH and the Weekend Australian for the months of December 2011 and January and February 2012.

Continue reading “Book Reviewing and Gender: My Stella Effort”

Father Riley, the Clubs Cash ….. and Payback?

In the controversy surrounding his endorsement of the registered clubs camapign against gaming machine changes, has Father Chris Riley down played the clubs generosity in donating to his charity, Youth off the Streets?

AAP reports that

“Fr Riley dismissed as “outrageous” claims he had sold out, saying his charity received $122,000 from registered clubs, or 0.5 per cent of its budget.” Continue reading “Father Riley, the Clubs Cash ….. and Payback?”

Eunuchs and Bosoms: Ambassadorial Appointments in The Golden Age of Richard Nixon

In 1975, Richard Nixon was required to give evidence to a Grand Jury, set up to follow the loose ends from the various investigations set in motion with the Watergate scandals.

These included the thorny question of how did the 18 and a half minute gap come to be created on a critical white House tape, along with allegations that ambassadorships had been “sold” in return for campaign contributions.

On the latter score, Nixon essentially took the line that contributions were neither a qualification nor a disqualification for diplomatic office, but that contributors could at least expect to be considered. Continue reading “Eunuchs and Bosoms: Ambassadorial Appointments in The Golden Age of Richard Nixon”

Losers Lounge: An Apology of Sorts

In recent weeks, it has come to our attention that a less than respectful appellation for the august Legislative Council has been referred to or applied in the Parliament and Press.

For instance, the SMH’s political correspondent Sean Nicholl had cause to note that:

The Legislative Council – rather cruelly nicknamed the “loser’s lounge” by some ..  Continue reading “Losers Lounge: An Apology of Sorts”

In Lieu of a First Post

“You live through time, that little piece of time that is yours, but that piece of time is not only your own life, it is the summing up of all the other lives that are simultaneous with yours … It is, in other words, history, and what you are is an expression of that history, and you do not live your life, but somehow your life lives you, and you are, therefore, only what history does to you.”

—Robert Penn Warren, from World Enough and Time (Random House, 1950)

(Acknowledgements to Danzy Senna for her review “A Prep School Confronts the ’60s” in the New York Times Book Review, 24 June 2011 and to “A Poet Reflects” for the full quote.)

(And yes, I will be quoting the odd quote.)