Ian MaAuley hopes “we will make progress to becoming a real “developed” country, and not just a third world country temporarily enjoying a first world living standard.”
- Donald Horne wrote 50 years ago, “Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.”
Well, we’ve run out of luck, and make that third rate people.
Inter alia he says that China’s physical expansion will never happen again, more than $100 billion has been wiped off the market capitalisation of our resource companies. Employment in the sector is contracting.
Ben Eltham says it’s climate change, stupid!
- In any longer perspective, COP21 was far and away the most important event in Australian political life this year. It signals the decline and eventual fall of big resource industries as the most profitable and visible parts of Australia’s economy. In this, it could be said to mark the beginning of the end of Australia’s two century-old model of extractive capitalism.
However, Eltham says “the one essential “event” in Australian politics of 2015: the extraordinary implosion of Tony Abbott.”
There are deep currents flowing in Australian society and Abbott thought “that by force of will he could somehow drag Australia backwards into a whiter, less liberal, more conservative time and place.”
- Against these deeper social trends, no leader, no matter how charismatic, could have prevailed in a conservative adventure. And Abbott was never charismatic. He was energetic and strong-willed, but also dogmatic, abrasive and by the end of his leadership, increasingly paranoid.
At the close of the year Abbott strikes a diminished figure, shopping his warmed-over messages of clashing civilisation to the Murdoch newspapers and to right-wing talking shops around the world. In doing so, he’s managed to break one more promise: that he wouldn’t snipe and destabilise once deposed.
- A budget in structural deficit; a decarbonising world; a more and more unequal society; the strange ‘secular stagnation’ of advanced economies; a leaky tax base that can’t manage to tax pollution or corporate profit: these are just some of the major problems any prime minister must confront. It’s not immediately apparent that Turnbull has answer to any of them. Faced with this conundrum, Turnbull’s best tactic seems to be about projecting sunny optimism, and looking busy.
Bernard Keane at Crikey says:
- If there’s an abiding theme of 2015, it’s the succession of insights into just how distant the forms of democractic government are from the exercise of real power in Australia: the big donors to the Liberal Party who get to shape climate policy, the Indian billionaire who gets special access to a PM, the DFAT bureaucrats handing ever more power to multinationals, the Treasury bureaucrats eager to cut what little tax any multinationals still pay, the unaccountable security bureaucrats happy to exploit desperate politicians to give themselves ever greater power and ever greater resources to use that power.
Australia is deep in secret state territory, despite the change in prime minister. The forms of democracy proceed, but they look more and more like theatre every day while the real exercise of power takes place out of sight and scrutiny.
He says that Abbott has left no legacy. What we got was tranche after tranche of ‘security’.
Max Chalmers has compiled the definitive 2015 political sh*t-list: 13 conservative MPs “who resolved to make 2015 an even more humiliating year for their party.”
Abbott had a reverse Midas touch, turning everything he did to dirt.
- But what was really impressive about the mid-term government was its ability to continue to serve up genuine depravity from a range of sources including a rabble of MPs who have redoubled their efforts, and their volume, since Abbott was removed from the leadership.
This crusading cabal fought off marriage equality for yet another year and remains the major roadblock between Australia and anything approaching serious climate action. They swindled entitlements, laughed-off human rights abuses, and traded the trusted dog whistle for a Reclaim Australia branded megaphone.
It’s worth a look and includes some ministers.
John Watson, Editor of The Conversation has done a comprehensive review of politics and society, linking to that body’s copious output.
Looking at the world as a whole, for me the important events were the Paris climate conference and the disintegration of Syria, the epicentre of the Middle East, bordering five countries. But I’d like us not to forget the earthquake in Nepal, which dramatically flattened a large swathe of territory.