The partisan funnel

The inside story of our current malaise
by
July 2021, no. 433

Leadership by Don Russell

Monash University Publishing, $19.95 pb, 92 pp

Buy this book
Book Cover 2 Small

A Decade of Drift

by Martin Parkinson

Monash University Publishing, $19.95 pb, 92 pp

Buy this book

The partisan funnel

The inside story of our current malaise
by
July 2021, no. 433

In 1958, the Australian political scientist A.F. Davies (1924–87) published Australian Democracy: An introduction to the political system, one of the first postwar attempts to combine institutional description with comment on the patterns of political culture. It introduced a provocative assertion: Australians have ‘a characteristic talent for bureaucracy’. Disdaining the myth of Australians as shaped by the initiative and improvisation of our bush heritage (Russel Ward’s The Australian Legend was published in the same year), Davies argued:

this [talent] runs counter not only to the archaic and cherished image of ourselves as ungovernable, if not actually lawless, people, but also to our civics of liberalism which accords to bureaucracy only a small and rather shady place. Being a good bureaucrat is, we feel, a bit like being a good forger. But in practice our gift – to be seen in statu nascendi at any state school sports – is exercised on a massive scale in government, economy and social institutions.

James Walter reviews 'Leadership' by Don Russell and 'A Decade of Drift' by Martin Parkinson

Leadership

by Don Russell

Monash University Publishing, $19.95 pb, 92 pp

Buy this book
Book Cover 2 Small

A Decade of Drift

by Martin Parkinson

Monash University Publishing, $19.95 pb, 92 pp

Buy this book

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Comment (1)

  • James Walter’s erudite analysis of the state of Australian politics nails it. We now are plagued by “a political class whose perception of public need is driven by media campaigns and volatile polling, leaving it unable to discern the national interest. “ The short-termism of Tony Abbott and other subsequent PMs has done so much damage to us as a nation. Great analysis, but what is the way out of the malaise?
    Paul Arnott
    Ringwood East
    Victoria.
    Posted by Paul Arnott
    14 July 2021

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