Quarterly Essay 40: Trivial Pursuit

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In Trivial Pursuit George Megalogenis considers Australia’s political dead zone. The Hawke, Keating and early Howard years were ones of bold reform; recently we have seen an era of power without purpose. But why? Is it down to powerful lobbies, or the media, or a failure of leadership, or all of the above? And whatever the case, how will hard decisions be taken for the future?

Megalogenis dissects the cycle of polls, focus groups and presidential politics and what it has done to the prospect of serious, difficult reform. He argues that politics-as-usual has become a self-defeating game and mounts a persuasive case for a different style of leadership. From now on, he argues, it is the key divisions between young and old, and north and south, that will shape the nation’s future. But can a hung parliament and a pragmatic Labor leader rise to the challenge?


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