What Australia currently lacks is a political party or movement that could bring about a renewal of our nation that is based upon the people whose everyday realities are grounded here. At this stage, such a development needs writers, thinkers, activists and publications to tell the story.
In 1968 anthropologist Bill Stanner spoke of the Great Australian Silence in relation to the historical mistreatment of Indigenous peoples, a national myopia. The just announced 2016 Budget could be similarly termed ‘the Great Australian Fiscal Silence’, a fiscal myopia incommensurate with the level of need.
The snake-oil solutions proffered by Turnbull & Co. in their attempts to renew growth deserve two kinds of comment. First, that our present problems arise out of transformations associated with the shift to globalisation that took off in the 1980s. Second, growth is not really the main point.
In Turnbull's view, terrorists just appear and organise: all we can do is defend ourselves against them. We need good policy over time on social integration and, apart from this, strong security institutions. This is a war debate, or a debate by a society not wanting to think too much about relations with other cultures or institutional development. It is a debate constructed to win an election rather than seriously take hold of what is…
As Malcolm Turnbull faces the reality of an unpredictable public and an imminent election, he is not finding life all that easy.. Being popular without actual policy had only a short term prospect, and most actual policies that are briefly floated turn out to be fraught one way or another. The most exciting of times are hardly straight-forward.