The ‘Theatre of State’ that we call Australian parliamentary debate has been shaped by a multitude of factors. One of these is the architecture of the buildings in which they’re held. Yet how is this arrangement of space affecting the nature of Question Time and subsequent political decisions? How do other parliaments around the world differ from ours, in both physical design and political culture? And how is it that early Christian choir music continues to have an effect on Australia’s political discourse?
The 30-Year Aberration: An Aversion to Minority Government?
Australian governments have experienced a minority in at least one of the houses of parliament for all but three of the last 30 years. Minority government is a modern political reality, yet is treated with distain by the major parties. And with an increasingly fragmented Senate and declining support for the old parties the paradigm of ‘political mandate’ is falling apart. But is Australia really worse off under collaborative government as the major parties would have you believe? Or is minority government likely to yield greater scrutiny and better legislative outcomes?
Shane Howard: Spirit of Place
‘Out here nothing changes, not in a hurry anyway’ – the iconic opening lines of Goanna’s 1982 hit, Solid Rock. Written by Australian legend and activist Shane Howard, the song resonated across Australia, awakening a generation to many issues of indigenous dispossession. In his own words, Shane talks about his own awakening and his life-long dedication to indigenous and environmental activism. As one of Australia’s most respected musicians, Shane’s work continues to attest to the power of music to enact real change.
State of the Nation: New South Wales
Sydney is arguably the home of Australian innovation. With the highest density of universities, research facilities and entrepreneurial start-ups, NSW is a hub for Australian science. NSW Chief Scientist, Prof Mary O’Kane, takes a looks at her state, picking apart the threads that make up the research and commercialisation landscape of New South Wales. What role will the first state play in the future of Australian science, and what is the NSW government doing to support local innovation?