Let’s be optimistic and say that it’s never too late to start restoring trust in politics and its practitioners. It is not as though we can return to some golden age of democracy, when voters considered politics an honourable and noble profession, because such an era never existed, at least not on this side of ancient Athens. But the healthy scepticism we used to display towards politics has developed a more malignant form, uncomfortably reminiscent of 1930s and 1940s Europe.
Articles from Inside Story
After a long career as a gastroenterologist, mostly in Port Macquarie, David Gillespie stood for parliament as a candidate for the National Party. At the election in September 2013, he replaced Rob Oakeshott as the member for Lyne. At the election in July 2016, he won again.
A scene from the first episode of the new television version of The Handmaid’s Tale features the ritual shaming of a gang-rape victim. As the young woman recalls her experience, a steadily rising chant of denunciation comes from the circle of listeners – “Her fault,” “She led them on,” “Teach her a lesson” – while a shadowy figure approaches from behind the victim and fetches her a mighty swipe across the side of the head.
All under the heaven is great chaos. So observed Mao Zedong, with evident satisfaction, as the West was wracked by social upheavals in 1968.
Carl Scully was a Labor member of the NSW parliament from 1990 to 2007. After becoming a minister following Bob Carr’s victory in the 1995 election, he held a series of senior portfolios and was a contender for the premiership when Carr resigned in 2005. Not a person burdened by self-doubt and introspection, he makes clear that this memoir gives his side of the story and doesn’t spare his adversaries.
After reading Richard Bookstaber’s account of the failure of mainstream ecomics to predict financial crises, it struck me that an observer might have predicted the contents of this review by observing the movements of my head. With Bookstaber’s pithy opening summary of the mathematisation of ecomics in the nineteenth century, I was dding in agreement. As I read his critique of current ecomic practice, I dded more vigorously.
Members of the US congress can’t agree on much these days, but they still seem to believe that getting involved in the affairs of the Middle East is a “cakewalk.” In a display of bipartisan unity on 15 June, the Senate voted 98–2 for new sanctions against Iran.
Last week’s celebrations to mark the end of the Australian and New Zealand–led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, or RAMSI, were an occasion for much back-slapping and self-congratulation. Australian goverr-general Peter Cosgrove attended the festivities in Honiara, the Solomon Islands capital, as did Pacific Islands ministers, military and police officers with Solomon Islands experience and a pantheon of former special coordinators of RAMSI.
In the broad picture, the 2016 census has confirmed things we already knew about ourselves. But burrow down into the detail, and you’ll find much that will surprise you.
With Tony Abbott’s ferocious payback tour showing signs of winding down, his behaviour is increasingly compared to former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s conduct during his 2010–13 wilderness years. Similarities there are, but they are vastly outweighed by the differences.