Has American liberalism a future?

An extract from my soon to be published Alfred Deakin Research Institute Working Paper on American liberalism: American liberalism has been shaped by both the crises and triumphs of capitalism. In the 1970s Democratic President Jimmy Carter like Grover Cleveland in the 1890s was unable to effectively respond to an economic crisis and thus encouraged […]

Conservatism and authority in industrial relations

Work leaves me little time to blog. However Qantas dispute and the revival of conservative anti-unionism are of note. It represents the latest manifestation of a liberal-conservative tradition in Australia which I discuss below in an extract from a paper of mine under review. This tradition is hostile to unions on conservative grounds that they […]

Abbott and Chifley, Salisbury & Spencer

Two comments about the Great Depression by one future Prime Minister and one aspirant to be Prime Minister. In 1944 Ben Chifley declared: In my electorate, I witnessed the freedom that was enjoyed by 2000 men outside a factory in an attempt to secure the one job that was offering…the freedom to starve and live […]

European fascism & Australian liberal-conservatism

The Oslo murders recall an older Europe: an act of fascist terror committed against supporters of a left-wing political party, indeed because of the killers concern with government policy he was more likely to attack supporters of a moderate left party because he saw it as having an impact on politics.

Why are tradespeople (relatively) left-wing?

In the outpouring of commentary about the NSW election the old stereotype of conservative tradesman reappeared. I looked at the 2010 Australian Election Survey. Unfortunately it asked few questions with a direct relevance to class politics. Past scholarship did address this question Class Analysis and Contemporary Australia sought to test Marxist and Weberian models of […]

Julia Gillard and the 1960s

Julia Gillard’s recent declarations of cultural conservatism are curious and hardly worth taking seriously, apparently gay marriage is an enemy of ‘thrift’. It is part of a pattern of some on the centre-left imagining a mythic socially conservative past for the left before the 1960s appeared. It is quite fictitious if we consider the Curtin-Chifley […]

Indigenous claims and the Constitution

Discussion of the proposed amendment of the Constitution to acknowledge aboriginal occupancy prior to 1788 occasionally evokes the memory of the high support for the 1967 referendum to enable aboriginal people to be counted in the census and to include them in the race power. Legislation for the Constitutional amendment was not opposed in Parliament […]

Have Australians become more conservative?

Interesting debate at John Quiggin on whether the election revealed a rightward shift by Australian voters. Left-inclined posters keen to deny this, but the evidence seems irrefutable. Consider two key issues: immigration and greenhouse policy. Conservatives have long been anxious about the decline of Anglo-Australia particularly since the 1970s when non-Anglo immigrants became assertive and […]

Tony Abbott and the end of Catholic conservatism?

Much attention has been given to Tony Abbott’s proclaimed Catholic conservatism but in fact this election campaign provides further evidence of the demise of Catholic conservatism in Australia.

The truth behind ‘Howard’s battlers’

Since the British ‘church and king’ mobs of the French revolutionary era, Disraeli’s 1880 election victory and Henry Maine’s discovery of the referendum conservatives have sought to present themselves as true representatives of the people vs. liberal elites. Conservative rhetoric has often been successful in annoying the left, but despite the hyperbole conservatives have sometimes […]