Here was a Labor government which had breasted the world financial crisis better than almost any other developed state. Here was an administration facing up to the realities of Australia's environmental situation, the constraints represented by the country's limited water supplies and agricultural land, and its vulnerability to fire, flood, drought and other hazards made worse by global warming. Here was a leadership with plans to impose more realistic taxes on the extractive industries that control the nation's most important assets. Here was a government, in other words, ready to discard the myth of "Big Australia", of a nation that could be pumped up to super-size by immigration and the breakneck exploitation of its mineral resources, and settle for a more modest vision of the future. And this reining-in carried with it the possibility of attending more effectively to the social inequality that had been increasing in Australia in recent years.
In all this it had the broad backing of most of the electorate. So how did this translate into a performance at the polls so dismal that the Australian Labor party is either headed for opposition, or, if it stays in power, will have only a tiny majority provided by a handful of independent MPs and one Green? The answer is a cautionary tale involving the power of Australia's mining and energy industries, the loss of nerve in the face of that power by two Labor leaders in succession, and the determination of the leader of the opposition Liberal National party.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Didn't cover much of it here due to extended break from blogging, but this piece from The Guardian, published in August, sums up the Australian Coup to the 2010 Federal Election period perfectly :