Labor’s Twin Crises – Malcolm and Jeremy

[Just published on Independent Australia]

150830sm_CorbynNo doubt the apparatchiks of the Australian Labor Party are currently very exercised with how to counter the Turnbull Coalition Government. It is now possible to conceive that Malcolm Turnbull could comfortably win the next Federal election. Or perhaps the Coalition will tear itself apart and Labor will coast in. In these early days no-one knows.

But the ALP would do well to focus also on a more profound challenge, one that may turn out to be existential. The personification of this challenge is Jeremy Corbyn, who recently won a landslide victory in a ballot of members and supporters for the leadership of the UK Labour Party.

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Why Corbyn is Right and Blair is Wrong

Tony Blair, like a lot of mainstream people, is mystified why anyone would support Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the UK Labour Party, but then he’s mystified why anyone would think invading Iraq illegally based on a lie was stupid and wrong, so his views are not worth discussing.

The useful thing to discuss is whether it can be sensible to oppose austerity, and possibly some of the other ills of the modern world like rising inequality and social discord, and a feral and destructive financial system. Young Labourite Rosie Fletcher is right, this is not 1980, and a few things have become clearer since then, to those who will look.

For example, economic performance in the neoliberal era has never equalled the economic performance of the postwar mixed social-democratic economies.

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The Flailing, Failing Radical Right

[Published at New Matilda, 31 Aug]

The current disarray of the Abbott Government may mark the end of a decades-long experiment in radical social engineering. The experiment has yielded deepening social divisions, an antiquated, colonial-style economy and little capacity to deal with the dramatic challenges of the near future.

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Who will rid us of this turbulent priest?


[Published today on Independent Australia.]

Is there no-one with eyes that see how the best of Australia is being destroyed? Is there no-one with the will to name it, and the courage to call on our better angels?

The rule of law, the freedom to know and debate, privacy, freedom from arbitrary detention and punishment, education for everyone, hospitals for everyone, help for the disadvantaged, family time, community time, social cohesion, the economy, infrastructure and industries to sustain our children, our priceless natural heritage, sovereignty over our own affairs, all are being attacked, undermined or neglected while we writhe in a lather of fear and distraction, jumping at shadows while hiding our faces from the real challenges staring down on us.

In one of the most blessed lands on the planet, what happened to the laconic Aussie and the fair go? Until a few decades ago we were working smarter and less, becoming healthier, more creative, more independent, more tolerant, more worldly, and expecting to continue on that path. We have abundant resources and educated, talented people who speak most major languages of the world. Why are we now struggling?

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Fourth Estate, Third Political Force

[Published at Independent Australia 7 July 15 5:30pm.]

The Australian commercial media are the unacknowledged third force in Australian politics. Arguably they are more powerful than any of the political parties.

MurdochConsider the pre-occupations that dominate our politics at the moment. Islamic terrorists are supposed to be a clear and present danger. Boat people are supposed to be a lurking threat, ever-likely to sweep in and over-run the country, taking our jobs, imposing an alien culture and bringing more terrorists. Roughly half the population does not believe global warming is an immediate or serious threat. (And global warming is almost universally referred to by the deliberately propagated euphemism “climate change”.)

On each of these issues, the dominant public perception is so far from evidence-based reality as to constitute a myth.

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To Parliament With Love (draft)

A down-to-earth guide to a decent and enduring Australia

I have drafted a new book. I would be happy to get feedback. If you would like a copy, email me at geoffd – at – . It is available in pdf or epub formats.

You can download an extract (pdf 200 kb)

More information follows, and additional material can be seen at the new book page.

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To Make a Living We Must Wreck Our Home?

Coal mine amidst farmland

Coal mine amidst farmland

[Published on Independent Australia 14 May]

I spend a lot of my days trawling the follies of our time. To avoid sinking into the mire of despair I need to keep a firm hold of love and hope and grandchildren. But every now and then something lands too heavily in my heart, and I can only grieve.

Tarwyn Park is the Hunter Valley property where Peter Andrews worked out how to get the water back into the ground, by reconstructing a degraded creek so it flows slowly and the water can soak across the valley. His work is revolutionising the way we live in the Australian landscape, restoring its original productivity and resilience in the face of our challenging climate. We learnt last Monday, May 4th, in the ABC’s Australian Story that Tarwyn Park has been, very reluctantly, sold so it can be dug up for the coal that underlies the valley. It would be hard to find a more apt metaphor for the blind stupidity of Australia’s ruling class.

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