Judith Brett reviews 'From Fraser to Hawke: Australian Public Policies in the 1980s' by Brian Head and Allan Patience and 'The Hawke–Keating Hijack: the ALP in Transition' by Dean Jaensch
The debate about the costs and limitations of power is as old as the ALP, but it has been given new urgency by the changes in the Party since Labor won government in 1983. So far this year, three books have been published which deal wholly or in part with the Hawke government’s relationship with the traditions of the Australian Labor Party: Carol Johnson’s The Labor Legacy, Graham Maddox’s The Hawke Government and Labor Tradition and now Dean Jaensch’s The Hawke–Keating Hijack: The ALP in transition.... (read more)
A young George Seddon smiles boyishly from the cover of his Selected Writings, a mid-twentieth-century nerd with short back and sides and horn-rimmed glasses. This collection of Seddon’s writings on landscape, place, and the environment is the third in the series on Australian thinkers published by La Trobe University Press in conjunction with Black Inc. The other two, Hugh Stretton and Donald Horne, were also on mid-century men.... (read more)
Judith Brett reviews 'The Politics of the Common Good: Dispossession in Australia' by Jane R. Goodall
The commons, the common good, the commonwealth: all words for humans’ shared right to the fruits of the earth to sustain their lives, and all words with deep political histories. In The Politics of the Common Good, Jane R. Goodall excavates some of these deep histories, beginning with the Diggers and Levellers of mid-seventeenth-century England who, in pr ...
Camping at Thurra River in the Croajingalong National Park, swimming in its tannin estuary, cooking fresh fish, gossiping while walking its long white beaches, watching the sea eagles soar.... (read more)
Frank Bongiorno reviews 'From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia got compulsory voting' by Judith Brett
In July 1924, a Tasmanian senator from the conservative Nationalist Party, Herbert Payne, introduced a bill to bring about compulsory voting in Australian national elections. His proposal aroused little discussion. Debate in both the Senate and the House of Representatives – where another forgotten politician ...... (read more)
There has been an argument going on in the Liberal Party about the nature of the Menzies heritage – was Robert Menzies, the founder of the modern party, a liberal or a conservative? Notably absent from this discussion has been the national figure who was the first leader of a united anti-Labor party and who also happens to have been a father of Federation, Alfred ...