20 AUGUST 2022

Living through momentous times in Australian politics

The Saturday seminar, Prospects for the Albanese Prime Ministership in a changing political landscape, as Sheila Quairney pointed out would follow a different format. It was to be a flowing conversation between James Walter and Zareh Ghazarian, chaired by Graeme Davison, all academics from Monash University.

What a conversation! Clear, insightful and evidence based. James and Zareh drawing on their considerable research. Graeme shaping and provoking the conversation.

Topics ranged from how the lessons from the Federal Election of 2019 shaped Albanese ‘s pitch as a safe pair of hands, across his agenda for change to the civility of parliament. Once in power his government was confronted by a range of challenges including the pandemic, cost of living and China/USA tensions. The Prime Minister’s first promise signalled a new social justice approach, to honour the Uluru Statement, via a referendum. The speakers surmised that this was aspirational and brave.

Labor was assisted in its recent electoral success by an Opposition with a threadbare agenda. The Liberal party is now hollowed out, not helped by the events of the last week.

A lesson the speakers took from the 2022 election was that for MPs to  succeed they need the support of their community (think Teals and independents). Party membership is faltering; city suburban/ country fault lines are fraying. The bases for the political parties are now changing. The need for a strong and well-resourced public service is evident. Voters seem to want a pragmatic and civil approach to politics. There was a certain yearning by the panelists for the promise of a leader in a black leather jacket, that didn’t eventuate.

Overall, a triumphant webinar by an impressive triumvirate.

You can view a VIDEO of Seminar here.

Report by Pam Caven, Saturday Seminars

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