Environmental political history repeating?

Enviro policy

In many aspects current politics is a case of history repeating. Labor’s current political woes are reminiscent of the last days of the Keating Labor government, environmental politics had been an important component of Labor’s electoral success in the 1990 election and to a degree at the 1987 and 1993 elections (graph is from Australian Election […]

Andrew Peacock and Tony Abbott

Health party pref

Is Tony Abbott as much of a political liability as Labor hopes? Could he duplicate Andrew Peacock’s relative success as Liberal leader in 1984? Abbott  served as Health minister from late 2003 to the defeat of the Howard government. At the 2004 election one factor contributing to the easy re-election of the Howard government was […]

American distrust of government?

Geoffrey Garrett neglects the importance of history and institutions when he compares the fortunes of Obama and Rudd: In a country of drought and flooding rains, sunburnt Australians care deeply about climate change, and they want their representatives to do something about it. But in the land of the free and the home of the […]

Are the Democrats too liberal?

The Obama administration’s struggles over health care have raised again the question of whether the Democrats are out of touch with public opinion. This is a challenge for American liberals. In recent years they have tended to argue for the existence of a natural left majority on economic issues which they admit can be undercut […]

Rudd’s ‘nation-building’ and Aboriginal affairs

Writing lecture on nationalism for Modern Political Ideologies I was considering the relation between social democratic parties and the project of liberal nationalism. It is arguable that confronting a perceived Islamic fundamentalist challenge to liberal norms social democrats have moved towards a more unitary concept of national identity. An example would be Gordon Brown’s interest […]

Ghosts of John Elliott and Katherine West

Malcolm Turnbull’s basic problem is that like John Howard Mark I he is out of step with his own party. Howard won the Liberal leadership in 1985 due to missteps by Andrew Peacock rather than any strong base of support. Turnbull, once Peter Costello was gone, was the only credible candidate once Brendan Nelson fell […]

Social democratic decomposition

Gosta Esping-Andersen developed the concept of ‘social democratic decomposition’. Inspired by the differential success of the anti-tax populist right in Scandinavia in the 1970s he argued that the policies of a social democratic party in government could impact not only on its day to day popularity but more fundamentally on the party’s social base. Adam […]