I have a love-hate relationship with politics, because ego’s are (sometimes) more important that the public interest, but still, everywhere I go, I love to talk about politics. Here is my first to-know-list, the basics, you need to know to understand Australian politics. As well as websites and blogs about Australian politics. This is for all my political friends.
A lot of PM’s
Australian politics is a mess. There are a lot of changes of politicians and the Prime Ministers (PM’s) the last few years, so some are fed up with their politicians. I can see why. The same reason I hate politics: internal political struggles and ego’s dominant. Let’s look at the recent history of Australian politics.
Mess within the Labor party
Australians are used to a stable government in the beginning of the century. They had John Howard who was their PM for 13 years. This changed when Kevin Rudd became the PM in 2007. He was PM from to June 2010 when his own party, Labor, put him aside. Then Julia Gillard became the PM, but in 2013 there was another power struggle within the Labor party and Julia resigned as PM. In June 2013 Tony Rudd became PM of Australia again.
Mess within the Liberal party
I guess the Australians where sick of the power struggle within the party so the opponents won, the Liberals in 2013. Their leader, Tony Abbott, became the PM. He led Australia from September 2013 till September 2015. Malcolm Turnbull was his successor. He resigned in August 2018, because he lost the trust of the majority of the Liberal party. Scott Morrisson was his successor.
Merkel had to look at a her papers to see who the PM of Australia is, because she don’t know them since they are replaced every time.
New Elections in 2019
In 2019 there will be new elections again. I understand why some are sick of their politicians. There are over and over again power struggles within the parties that influences Australian politics. It seems like personal ego’s and the interests of the parties are more important than the interest of the people.
But how does politics in Australia works?
In Australian politics there are two chambers, like in United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This are the House of Representatives and the Senate. Similar to the Dutch political system where you have the Second Chamber (lower house) and the First Chamber (upper house). And in United Kingdom where you have the House of Commons (lower house) and the House of Lords (upper house).
Similar to the US political system
The system of representation by the states is similar to the United States system. The states have power to make their own laws, as in the US where they don’t decide everything in Washington. The 76 members of Senate in Australia, the upper house, represent the states (12 each that represent one of the six states) and territories. The 150 members of the House, the lower house, represent the population of Australia. The government and parliament sit in Canberra – the capital of Australia.
Every three years there are national elections if the elections are not called early. Elections in the states are every four year. Voting is compulsory.
What is the Commonwealth?
So, but what is the commonwealth? This is the Crown (yes, this is with a capital, because it’s THE queen of Elizabeth II), the Senate and the House of Representatives which I just described.
Two major parties
In largely Australia operates as a two-party system, similar to the United States or the United Kingdom as well. I know that this is not exactly true, I am a political scientist, but for the sake of the argument and to make it not complicated, you can say there are two major political groups that dominate Australia politics. The first group is the Coalition (the Liberal and National Parties) and the second is the Labor Party.
- Coalition of Liberals and Nationals
The Libera Party of Australia represent middle class and rural people. They have a long term coalition (corporation) with the Liberals. The coalition is centre-right.
- Australian Labor Party
The second party is the Australian Labor Party (ALP). They are centre-left.
The top 5 political news sites and blogs of Australia
Do you want to follow Australian politics? This are the best must-follow political websites and blogs of Australia. This does not include the newspapers or broadcasting websites.
- The Poll Bludger (pollbludger.net). A blog about politics in Australia with good reverences to political polls and political reviews on blogs and newspapers. I definitely recommend to follow this website if you want to be involved in the latest political news.
- Crikey (crikey.com.au). Political news website. It’s very easy to scroll over the pages and check out the last political news. There is a member-section where you have to pay, so you might not be able to read it all.
- Tim Blair, journalist of the Daily Telegraph, has his own blog about Australian politics.
- Antony Green (blogs.abs.net.au/antonygreen/) and the ABC website. Antony is a ABC journalist that is responsible for the election website of ABC, the government-owned news website. This is the most trusted source of news.
- The Shovel (theshovel.com.au) is a satire website. Covering national Australian issues as well as international politics, entertainment and sport. They did a good job. It’s looks very professional with the right content.
I hoped this is helping to understand Australian politics. Let me know if you have tips or recent topics or issues I should look at.