Independent Tony Windsor on notice as Barnaby Joyce eyes shift to lower house
Barnaby Joyce has moved to cement his status as the Nationals leader-in-waiting by confirming he is preparing to make the switch to the lower house at the next election in a political gamble that could pit him against key independent Tony Windsor. Senator Joyce last night confirmed to The Australian that senior Coalition figures were actively lobbying him to run for the lower house. He would prefer to challenge for the sprawling electorate of Maranoa in southern Queensland, currently held by 20-year Nationals veteran Bruce Scott.

Beware as green turns to red
As the man who fought off the influence of the extreme Right on the Nationals, I am in a good position to advise Labor on the extreme Left. The Labor party must fight off the extreme Left that is influencing it (the Greens). The recent anti-Semitic comments expressed by parliamentary members of the Greens and by the extremist company they keep is becoming visible to the Australian voter.

Tasmania’s surrogacy bill is a real dog’s breakfast
A few years ago, my wife suggested that we get a pet dog for the kids. The arguments were assembled: it is good for children to learn how to treat animals properly, it will get them outdoors and off the computer, they will get exercise by taking it around the block etc. By the time we got the cute little thing air freighted to Sydney from the breeding kennel interstate, we had signed for it three times. Once when placing the order for the dog, once when booking it to be sent to Sydney and one more time when I picked it up at the airport. No signature, no puppy. Not once, but three times. And the point of this story? Well at the moment the Tasmanian Parliament is debating a bill dealing with surrogacy. The bill in its current form permits two men, two women, a single man and even a heterosexual couple to enter into a surrogacy arrangement with a female person, to be known as the “birth mother”, who will seek to become pregnant and give birth to a child.

Is euthanasia really an act of love to help the suffering?

The debate about euthanasia has been prominent in recent times, particularly in light of efforts to decriminalise it in South Australia. One of the repeated justifications for euthanasia claimed by the pro-euthanasia side is that it relieves the burden of the suffering as an act of compassion and love. Yet, this “compassion” or “love” is largely left undefined in modern discourse, including by those who advocate for euthanasia. When it is discussed by these advocates, love and compassion are often equated with feelings.

A question of politics hiding under assertions of principle
Just as France has banned some Islamic women's coverings, another country on the other side of Europe is moving in the opposite direction. Turkey is relaxing the ban on the headscarf worn by many observant Muslim women. And just as the French prohibition took effect last week, the difference between the two countries flared into a direct political clash.

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Catholic clubs have moral duty on pokies
Venues affiliated with the church should back precommitment technology, writes Michael Mullins. It is ironic that the president of Clubs Australia, Peter Newell, began his recent National Press Club speech against poker machine precommitment technology with a quote about truth from Abraham Lincoln, who is best known for his role in ending slavery in the US. Senator Nick Xenophon portrays gambling as a modern-day form of slavery. ''The poker machine lobby reminds me a bit [of ] the slave owners of the 19th century in the United States, who say their whole way of life would be ruined if there were any changes bought about. That's how the industry is behaving.''