The major difficulty with regard to forming a transitional government in Syria seems to be President Bashar al-Assad’s stubborn refusal to leave office. However, that does not mean that his prime minister, Wael Nader al-Halqi, should not resign to make way for a brilliant individual to form and lead a government of national unity. Such a government would have to include representatives of the ruling Baath Party, the *Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Kurds.

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The Australian government’s recent call for the removal of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is welcome. Unfortunately, the Assad regime has no concept of “win-win” scenarios as Damascus recently rejected a British proposal that Assad head a transitional government for six months before stepping down.

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The current uncertainty concerning the continuity of Tony Abbott’s prime ministership has raised the distinct and welcome possibility of Malcolm Turnbull succeeding him to that high office. Should there be a Turnbull prime ministerial succession then hopefully the leadership uncertainty which has bedevilled Australia since the Howard government’s demise in 2007 will end.

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The Australian newspaper’ editor-at-large, Paul Kelly has a deserved reputation as one of the nation’s pre-eminent journalists and authors. This has been confirmed by his latest work, Triumph and Demise The Broken Promise Of A Labor Generation (Melbourne University Press, 2014). This book carries on from other Australian political masterpieces of Kelly’s such as The Dismissal: Australia’s Most Sensational Power Struggle (1976), The End of Certainty, The Story of the 1980s (1992) and The March of Patriots, The Struggle for Modern Australia (2009).

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See the Historical and Current Affairs Perspectives section for a review of Madonna King’s biography of Treasurer Joe Hockey.

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