Category Archives: Democratic Renewal

RAMESH THAKUR. India’s democracy is strained by illiberalism

India continues to be robustly, even chaotically, democratic. But its freedom is under growing threat. 

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JOHN MENADUE. Failed Leadership in Church and State!

From my experience and observation good leadership is about creating disequilibrium and a process to galvanise the group to change. Without disequilibrium there will be no worthwhile change.  

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RICHARD ECKERSLEY. The Trump imbroglio: confusion and contradiction everywhere

Global consumer capitalism, is reducing quality of life: stripping our lives of intrinsic worth and meaning; weakening communities; undermining health and wellbeing; creating grotesque inequities; destroying the natural environment; and undermining our faith in humanity’s future.  

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JOHN MENADUE. Conservatives set the rules but they keep breaking them.

Many people around the world are concluding that the system is rigged in favour of powerful insiders who bend the rules. The populists – Trump, Farage, Le Pen and Hanson are adept at tapping into that disempowerment and the sense … Continue reading

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JOSEPH CAMILLERI. The Politics of Paralysis: Australian style

It is hard not to conclude that our major parties have been the primary stumbling block. They seem singularly ill equipped to envisage, let alone manage, the institutional changes called for by a globalising and increasingly interdependent world. If innovation … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. The End is Nigh! Anticipating a Post-Capitalist World

Capitalism is in crisis. What Marx referred to as its internal contradictions have begun undermining its very foundations. It is time to ask what a post-capitalist world will be like.  

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John Menadue. Democratic Renewal; Vested interests and the subversion of the public interest?

This is a repost from May 13, 2015. There are many key public issues that we must address such as climate change, growing inequality, tax avoidance, budget repair, an ageing population, lifting our productivity and our treatment of asylum seekers. … Continue reading

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MARIAN SAWER. What can be done about political trust? The 2016 federal election inquiry

The major political parties largely control the process of electoral reform and judge any proposal by its possible partisan effects. Considerations of partisan advantage almost always take precedence over the restoration of public trust in the political system.  

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country – Introduction

John Menadue – introduction to Ian McAuley Series. Many have been surprised and even horrified by the Brexit and Trump results. These events are likely to be followed by similar outcomes in elections in other countries this year. Serious issues … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 1 – Who’s been left behind?

In “developed” countries the benefits of 35 years of economic growth have been unevenly distributed. Many people who once had well-paid manufacturing jobs and many who live in the country have fallen behind. While this has been most starkly manifest … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 2 – The response of those left behind

It would be hasty to attribute the Brexit and Trump votes to a “swing to the right”, or to an ill-informed electorate. The most compelling explanations are in terms of protest votes. People’s anger of electorates has given an opening … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 3 – Globalization takes the rap, unfairly

Globalization has been only one of the developments that has led to widening inequality and social exclusion. Countries that have globalized have also introduced a raft of neoliberal domestic policies, against which people are reacting.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 4 – Issues re-framed

Contrary to some interpretations, the trend in “developed” countries is still towards social and economic liberalism. But there is a strong reaction against the social exclusion that has accompanied liberalization. The economic models that guide public policy are not up … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 5 – How we lost trust in government

We have lost trust in our governments and in mainstream political parties. Politicians, the media and corporate interests have been responsible for alienating governments from the people who elect them, creating fertile ground for populists.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 6 – Who exploited discontent and how

A turning point in Australian political life was the 2013 election when Abbott set about destroying what remained of trust in government and of trust in social and political institutions, including traditions of dispassionate and objective inquiry.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 7 – The left went AWOL

Contrary to right-wing conspiracy theories, there is no significant “anti-business” force in Australia. In fact the left has never been weaker: the traditional unionized left has been weakened by structural change, and the “progressive” left has dealt itself out of … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 8 – Don’t wait for a “leader”: we need leadership.

We have many hard issues to confront but our present political elites are adept at avoiding them. It’s futile and dangerous to wait for a “leader” who will solve our problems. The task of leadership is one that falls on … Continue reading

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Chomsky interview on the ravages of neoliberalism.

In this interview, reported in The Wire on 31 January 2016, Noam Chomsky talks about the ravages of neoliberalism. this is a repost from 21 February 2016. 

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RAMESH THAKUR. AHRC President Gillian Triggs: a year of living dangerously. Part 1 of 3.

Increasingly, voters are frustrated with parties captured by special interests or catering to noisy minority activists. Citizens want competent governance that promotes the general welfare.  

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SPENCER ZIFCAK. The Federal Government Attacks its Watchers

In recent years, the Federal Government has made an art form of undermining the autonomy of independent statutory offices established to hold it to account. One by one, statutory offices have been subject to forceful governmental and media assaults.

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Saving democracy.

Protests are all very well, but only if they are seen to be ineffective. … It is yet another indication that serious dissent cannot and will not be tolerated. 

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BRUCE ARNOLD. Open Government, Open to interpretation

If we are indeed open to Open Government a salient demonstration would be facilitating Australian Human Rights Commission  access to what is happening on Australia’s behalf in offshore detention centres. That would be a fine national Christmas present from Turnbull, … Continue reading

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IAN MARSH. Trump’s Victory and Australian Politics

  A new anti-globalisation surge. Trump’s ascension no doubt creates new agenda challenges for Australia. But his campaign generated so many diverse and inconsistent statements that the policy landscape remains obscure. What is crystal clear is the gulf between elite … Continue reading

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Royal family are even more secretive than MI5.

Jenny Hocking has been researching and publishing some vital information about the dismissal of the Whitlam Government by Sir John Kerr . In that research, she has been denied access to the papers.  She is taking legal action in the … Continue reading

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GRAEME ORR. Party Over? Reforming Australian Political Finance

  After decades of halting debate, the momentum for political finance reform has never been greater.   At a national level, this comes off a low base. Australia has the laxest political finance system of all our common law cousins: Canada, … Continue reading

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EVAN WILLIAMS. How to fix the Senate.

  Among the many self-inflicted wounds Malcolm Turnbull has sustained since the knifing of Tony Abbott, his biggest problem remains an unworkable and unpredictable Senate. The election result has raised once again a perennial question in Australian politics – how … Continue reading

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IAN MARSH. Australia’s gridlocked Parliament.

  There is a structural contradiction at the heart of the new parliament. Two diametrically different political systems co-exist. Incentives and expectations are at cross purposes. Until this contradiction is addressed the prospects for major legislative change must be judged … Continue reading

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MARIAN SAWER. Democracy for sale?

    Since the 1980s Australia has become known for its laissez-faire or lackadaisical attitude to the role of money in politics. At the federal level Australia introduced public funding for political parties to reduce reliance on private donations, but … Continue reading

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IAN MARSH.Part 1: The trust gap and the two-party system. Part 2: The trust gap and the Senate Committee system.

Part 1: The trust gap and the two-party political system. In the orgy of reflection on how to ‘read’ the federal election result, a consensus seems to have formed around one factor – that public trust or legitimacy has contracted … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. The role and responsibilities of government.

  With the election of the new government, I have decided to repost several articles from our policy series that are still relevant.  One of these is by Michael Keating (below) on the role and responsibilities of government.  John Menadue … Continue reading

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