Mungo: The grim reality of the polling only confirms that it is time, time and half, perhaps even double time for Bill Shorten to decide just what he is to do about Dyson Heydon’s Royal Commission into the unions and in particular his own involvement.
‘These.’ said our exuberant new leader, ‘are the most exciting times in human history.’ Well, perhaps; but as the Chinese could have told him, exciting times can be a curse as well as an opportunity.
So the self-styled National Economic Summit has come and gone, and despite the best efforts of its media sponsors to keep its memory intact, in a week it will have faded as the next front page comes along. So before the headlines turn into fish and chip wrappers, let us see what, if anything, was achieved.
Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion. In 62 BC Julius Caesar divorced his second wife. There was no trial, no hearing, not even a formal charge. In the case of the Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon, the evidence is rather more substantial: there is a paper trail.
At Byron's annual Writers Festival Julia Gillard could hardly have received more rapturous applause. But for every heroine there has to be villain and the organisers cast Greg Sheridan.
The Byron Bay Writers Festival has been a huge part of political commentator Mungo MacCallum’s life since its inception 17 years ago.
Mungo: It is a ritual as regular of the arrival of the first cold snap of winter, and usually about as welcome. At every ALP National Conference the commentators announce portentously that there will be a make or break issue.
The so-called economic summit convened by the combined forces of NewsCorp and Fairfax is to take place next month, with much ballyhoo and very little prospect of actually getting anything done.
For at least the last 35 years, it has been an iron rule of prime ministers: never set up a royal commission unless you are certain that you will get the findings you want.
Ocean Shores artist Victor Cusack, who has entered a portrait of renowned political journalist Mungo MacCallum in this year's Archibald Prize, says he painted it primarily in honour of the veteran writer’s brilliant career.
There can be no doubt that Tanya Plibersek’s campaign to end Labor’s longstanding conscience vote on same-sex marriage is a bold one and her logic is impeccable,' writes Mungo MacCaullum.
Paul Keating’s famous dictum that you should never stand between a state premier and a bucket of money, and his other advice that you should always back self interest because at least you knew it was always trying, has seldom been more dramatically confirmed.
Tony Abbott’s brain snap describing the indigenous outstation movement was not only crass, unthinking and deeply offensive; it was just plain wrong, and wrong on a whole series of different levels, writes Mungo MacCallum.
Tony Abbott’s captain’s kick at his chief whip, Phillip Ruddock has received decidedly mixed reviews, writes Mungo MacCallum.
Tony Abbott is now officially back at work, looking less refreshed than sullen and somewhat sallow, talking about roads; naturally, the press gallery wanted to talk to him about almost everything else.
Gough Whitlam is remembered more for the agony of the dismissal than for the many great achievements his government wrought in a mere three years, writes Mungo MacCallum.
Both Abbott’s critics and his supporters have been demanding that he produce a narrative for his muddled government, argues Mungo MacCallum.
Last week the world-renowned American environmentalist, Bill McKibben, declared that our prime minister now apparently saw his principal role in international affairs as the global ambassador of coal, writes Mungo MacCallum.
Mungo: Our increasingly irascible treasurer, Joe Hockey, has raised an old Liberal Party demon in his latest efforts to persuade the voters to control their nausea over his budget offering. His critics, he told a gathering of the elite at the conservative Sydney Institute, were indulging in class warfare.
The one certain thing about Tony Abbott’s first budget is that it has produced a lot of unhappiness, and not only among his political opponents, writes Mungo MacCallum.
Benjamin Franklin thought death and taxes were inevitable. Now some Australian pundits are saying the same about an increase in the GST, writes Mungo MacCallum.
The path towards ‘the new federalism’ is strewn with the corpses of prime ministers far more dedicated to the cause than Tony Abbott, writes Mungo MacCallum.
Prof John W Travis, Byron Bay. He may know his politics, but he hasn’t looked closely at the science of fluoridated water. There is virtually no science behind it, and what there is doesn’t support the myth that fluoride is good for us.
Matthew Lambourne, Mullumbimby. I’m shocked! Surely Mungo can’t be right in saying that we can’t count on any significant cut in electricity and gas prices when the carbon tax is repealed?
Roma Newton, Kingscliff. Abbott, in my view, doesn’t have an original thought in his turned-backward head. He is a mindless puppet of his confessed mentor, John Howard, from five prime ministers ago!