Australia:True Bank Reform?

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has argued for change. The Prime Minister has promised change. The ‘big four’ banks, it has been reported, have indicated (apart from their rates pricing) that they are likely to reduce or remove mortgage exit fees before any regulation is imposed by the government.

(See links below for discussion of this issue):

ABC online:

The Drum (ABC):

The Age newspaper:

The Australian newspaper:

Is it about fairness, or is it a populist ‘bank-bashing’ exercise? A strong banking sector is arguably essential to a healthy and functioning economy. In fact, it is often lauded as a reason why the Australian economy avoided a technical recession during the global financial crisis (GFC). However, carefully designed and implemented regulation is also an essential ingredient.

A balance needs to be struck between smart regulation to promote competition while allowing the major banks to remain strong.

The government is under pressure from all sides on this issue and, while the sentiment for competition and change is strong within the community, with the power weilded by the banking lobby it is hard to see how they will be substantially tamed to the point of even denting the $5b profit reporting.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Australia

Secretary of State Hillary ClintonThere are no big surprises so far as Hillary Clinton continues her visit to Australia. Secretary Clinton fielded questions in a “town hall-style” forum at Melbourne University from audience members selected by the US state department.

See link below from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) website:

G.B.C xo

Obama Health Care Reforms Passed

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Greetings Political Junkies,

As you have no doubt seen, heard or read the Obama Administration successfully passed a long awaited and often fiercly disputed reform package.  Even down here in sunny Australia – where health is being debated today at the National Press Club – the US reform bill has been heavily featured on the news cycle (alongside FAR more pressing matters such as Tiger Woods’ return to golf, and Michael Clark’s un-engagement to Lara Bingle). 

Here are some links to related stories on the health care reform:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC):

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC):

A worrying clip from ‘You Tube’:

Analysis of the Australian leaders’ debate and links to a live stream12.30 AEST can be accessed here:

Good health to you all,

Grievous Bodily Charm

Thanks to for the image. Unable to trace original author.

Welcome Back!

A Year of Elections

After a year or so out of the ‘blogosphere’ the Politics Club Blog is back!

Thank you for all of your correspondence while we have not been posting new stories.  It is certainly an understatement to say that a lot has happened since our last post!

In Australia this year there is a plethora of electoral madness.  Yesterday voters in both Tasmania and South Australia went to the polls with results at this stage too close to call.  For excellent coverage of these polls check out the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) ‘Elections’ website:

Further to this, there is a Federal election in Australia due at some stage this year as well as a Victorian State election this November.  The UK has a General Election due also, while elections have just occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Be sure to keep your eye on the Politics Club blog for updates on what makes political news around the world and, as always, please feel free to correspond by positing comments or emailing us!

May the polls be in your favour,

Grievous Bodily Charm

(Ballot Box image courtesy of: )

In Brief: Labor Party in ACT to Hold Annual Conference

The Labor Party in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is holding its Annual Conference today just months before elections for the Legislative Assembly, reports the Austrlian Broadcasting Corporation. 

Criticism of various government policies, initiatives and forced changes suggests that the election will be a very close affair.  Amongst such contentious issues include key policy areas of health and education such as the cuts to teaching positions and changes to conditions that are arguably crippling the Territory’s teaching force and inflicting significant damage to morale within the profession. 

The ruling Labor Party had largely responded well to their mandate to govern; however, a growing reluctance to adequately and openly consult with the public on some matters has shown cracks.

In Brief: ABC Reports Minister’s Praise for Return of Indigenous Remains

The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, USA, has been praised by Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin after it agreed to return the remains of 33 Indigenous Australians that were removed in the 1940’s. 

“These are remains from 33 Indigenous Australians that were taken to the United States and the traditional owners who are going to collect them believe the remains may include their grandmother, so it is a very significant collection,” she said.  (Source: ABC Online )

Mr Mithen

Guest Student Editorial – Aleks Loesch

Just weeks after Senator Barack Obama’s nomination as the Democratic
candidate for the 2008 US Presidential election, cracks have started to
appear in his “whiter than white” appearance. After the embarrassment of
being supported by an “ex-terrorist” (Bill Ayer, ex-Weatherman), the new
revelations follow from news about the suspicious property deal between
Senator Obama, and Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the Syrian-born businessman who was a major fundraiser for Obama. 

In 2005, when Rezko was already known to be under criminal investigation for
money laundering, fraud, extortion and similar activities, the Obamas bought
a property in Chicago, and their friend Mrs Rezko bought a garden next door
at the same time. The only access to the garden was through the Obama’s
property. It turns out that just weeks before the purchases, Tony Rezko was
loaned money by Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi born British billionaire, arms dealer
to Saddam Hussein in the past. The result of Rezko breaking his bail
agreement by failing to declare a second £3.5 million US dollars loan from
Auchi, was that Rezko received a prison sentence. British billionaire Mr
Auchi, a business partner of Rezko’s who had loaned him millions of dollars,
has been accused of paying ‘kickbacks’ to obtain oil deals. In 2003 he was
convicted of corruption in France, but is respected as a successful
businessman by the British government. 

Barack Obama has donated to charity the amount of funds given to his
campaign by Rezko. He is not accused of doing anything wrong, and claimed
that he did not know about Rezko’s corruption and connections. However,
Obama has known Rezko for eighteen years, since being offered a job by him
while Obama was still in law school. Obama did not take the job, but in 1995
Rezko supported him in his campaign to become an Illinois state senator. In
2003 Rezko was on Obama’s finance committee when he ran for US Senate. 
Chicago and Illinois politics and government are notorious for corruption,
with three major investigations since the 1980s resulting in convictions of
sixteen judges and 56 lawyers, many Chicago Aldermen (1990s), and other
State officials (2000s). It may be hard to persuade voters later on in the
Presidential campaign that an experienced Illinois politician would not at
least hear strong rumours about who is and who is not corrupt. 

Perhaps Obama was not aware of Rezko’s activities, but there is no question
that he keeps strange company for someone running for the Democratic
nomination for the Presidential elections on a ‘clean and pure’ ticket.

United States Department of Justice: Northern District of Illinois.
Operation Safe Road. Operation Greylord. Operation Silver Shovel


Aleks Loesch – Lower 6th Form