Politics in crisis and a nation in denial? According to Paul Kelly it is.

An absolutely brilliant article in the Australian today from Paul Kelly.

“THE trajectory of Australia’s relative decline now seems set with the nation in denial of its economic challenges and suffering a malaise in its political decision-making — signalling that a country that cannot recognise its problems is far from finding their solution.”


It gets better.

“Any nation that has lost the art of collective self-improvement has stepped on to the escalator of decline. Australia is on that escalator. Its politics are so noisy, egotistical, destructive and consumed by self-interest that it has missed where the escalator is heading.”

Who is to blame?

“The troubles of the Rudd-Gillard era, usually attributed to their fierce leadership rivalry, can only be grasped in the context of the malaise within the political system. The omens suggest this might only deepen under the Abbott prime ministership.

The institutional question arising from Tony Abbott’s policies is whether a reforming prime minister can succeed any more in this country given the decisive shift in the system and culture against reform. The last three prime ministers were destroyed over management of their reform agendas: John Howard on Work Choices, Rudd and Gillard on a mix of climate change, mining tax and fiscal policy.

Recent history is defined by the triumph of the negative and fatal blunders on the part of agents for changes, witness the ACTU campaign against Work Choices, the mining industry campaign against the mining tax, the Abbott-led destruction of carbon pricing and, most recently, the undermining of the Abbott-Hockey budget on the crusade of fairness.”

Basically both sides are to blame. 

Also, the media

“During the reform age, roughly 1983 to 2003, the media was pivotal in backing national interest policies but that age is passing. It is replaced by new media values that mirror the fashionable narcissism and find national interest debates as quaint and irrelevant.”

Disappointingly he provides no solution. 

“Australia’s prosperity is living on borrowed time, courtesy of past reforms and the China boom. There is a silly, contested debate about whether Australia faces an economic crisis. There is no doubt, however, that Australia is undergoing a crisis of its political system.”

Nonetheless, it is one might rant against the current political landscape and with Clive Palmer proving to be as erratic as was envisaged, expect many to shake their heads in furious agreement with Mr. Kelly.