Tetchy relations between business and the Liberal Party are far from new
by Norman Abjorensen
A non-Labor government in Canberra might ordinarily expect solid support from business — even if only because it is self-interestedly preferable to the alternative, with its presumed tilt towards the unions. But it’s not quite as simple as that. History tells us that the Liberals’ relationship with the big end of town can be far from cosy.
referendum – 20 years on
republic’ by Humphrey McQueen
November 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the
unsuccessful referendum on whether Australia should become a republic. Strange
that such an important issue should have lain dormant for so long.
To mark the occasion we present Humphrey McQueen’s article ‘A
socialist’s republic’ which originally appeared in ‘Republics of Ideas’ a
collection of essays edited by Brad Buckley and John Conomos in 2001. The
article is republished here with their kind permission.
The republic referendum was soundly defeated with the ACT
the only jurisdiction voting in favour. Yet at the time, public opinion polls
showed a majority of Australians supported a republic. So why did the
referendum fail? Many would argue that the Yes campaign, headed by Malcolm
Turnbull, foolishly split the Yes vote by insisting that Australia’s head of
state should be chosen by Parliament rather than by direct election. This was a
very divisive issue with memories of the Whitlam dismissal still fresh in the
minds of many voters.
In his article Humphrey McQueen suggests that republicans would continue to vote No as long as the elected president retained the power to dismiss an elected government – which is precisely what the Turnbull-led Yes campaign wanted.
Link to the article here.
(First published in The Canberra Times 21 April 2016)
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Chifley versus the banks
The big banks won the last great war against government interference, 70 years ago.
Originally published in The Canberra Times 6 June 2017
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Humphrey McQueen (2012)
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University of Melbourne
The Menzies Government’s attempts from 1949 to 1951 to ban the Australian Communist Party did not reach the same heights as similar efforts in the United States; however, “The crusade against communism offered a welcome and popular diversion”.1 Continue reading
This paper reviews aspects of the interpretation of Australian monopoly capitalism. Continue reading
Australian National University
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Victoria University, Melbourne
In May 1950, during the debate on the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, a young doctor with a promising career was sacked. No reasons for his dismissal were given and no right of appeal was permitted. Outside his working hours Paul James was politically active in the emerging peace movement in Melbourne and the subject, therefore, of an adverse security file. Continue reading
University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy
Jack Lang would not have been surprised at his government’s win in the NSW general elections of 25 October 1930—it was easily predictable. Continue reading
University of Melbourne
Manuel Castells’ The Power of Identity argued that, compared with the power of identity, “the labour movement fades away as a major source of social cohesion”. Insights from Raymond Williams suggest the labour movement’s retreat from a politics of class difference has ensured that, although the reality of class inequalities has become more stark, perceptions of this reality have become less clear-sighted. Continue reading