Category Archives: Democratic Renewal

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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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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JOHN MENADUE. Democratic renewal.

Vested interests and the subversion of the public interest. 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 … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Democratic Renewal.

  Our loss of trust in institutions. We speak often about the need for new ideas and policies to fill the void in the public debate. We will be examining these issues in this series Fairness, Opportunity and Security. But … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Democratic Renewal.

  In the series, Fairness, Opportunity and Security that Michael Keating and I edited there were several articles that are still particularly relevant. Several of them deal with the disappointment many of us feel about our institutions and the lack … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. A major madness

  It is only the most naive among us who equate democracy with majoritarianism. The ‘Brexit’ plebiscite certainly returned a majority in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, but the distress caused by the decision shows that the plan … Continue reading

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MARK TRIFFITT & TRAVERS McCLEOD. Stability will only be found through ideas and democratic renewal

  On Saturday, Australia’s political system crossed a line. From the normal messiness of democracy into fragmented incoherence. From voter unrest to potential revolt. The implications are clear for anyone who wants to see. Instability is no longer a one-off … Continue reading

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KLAAS & AAFKE WOLDRING. Has Australia now become ungovernable?

  While the final outcome of the 2016 election will have to wait for a few days, a Hung Parliament or a Government with a narrow majority seems likely. The outcome for the Senate will take longer but will be … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. A hung parliament could be a good thing.

  We have been warned time and time again about hung parliaments and the chaos that follows. The media which is so often more concerned about politics and personalities than good governance, joins in the chorus about the risks of … Continue reading

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JOHN KEANE. Money, Capitalism and the Slow Death of Social Democracy.

In this article, John Keane speaks of the slow death of social democracy but suggests that there may be possibilities that social democracy could embrace Green movements, intellectuals and parties that have common interests. See extracts from article below and … Continue reading

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IAN MARSH. Our political system is in gridlock.

Longer term policy making in Australia. Longer term policy making in Australia is in a parlous state. The scale and significance of this problem is totally unrecognised. For example, since 1996 almost no contested measure that required legislative approval has … Continue reading

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Bruce Wearne. Political questions that can’t be answered by our publicly funded public relations firms.

Last week, four days before the election was called, I received a “pre-election” letter from my “Parliamentary representative”. It began with the following disclaimer: Dear Fellow Corangamite Resident: Soon there will be another election and I write to apologise for the … Continue reading

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Alison Broinowski. Who decides when we go to war?

 Setbacks for democratic reform of war powers. Having taken one step forward, Australia’s major allies have now taken two steps back from reform of their war powers. In the UK, the Defence Minister has set aside years of bipartisan promises … Continue reading

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Klaas Woldring-electoral reform,who are the reformers?

  Electoral reform in Australia is extremely important. The self-interest of the parties should not dominate it. I believe an entirely Independent Inquiry should be held about Australia’s electoral systems altogether, similar to the Royal Commission in NZ in the … Continue reading

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