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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Fractured Society Harms our Progress, 89.

Our shared mortality is being torn apart.


Paul Kelly.

‘Two former Prime Ministers have warned about the state of our political life. The warnings could not be more different – Scot Morison says any abandonment of Jodaeo-Christian faith will diminish our nation and Paul Keating laments “the company is so timid” and has lost its high ambition.’

‘Yet these warnings are irrevocably linked. They testify to truths that virtually nobody in public life will utter. They reveal something bizarre about our information soaked – the reluctance of elites to talk about what is really happening to Australia. Is the consequence of the technical age the dumbing of our self-understanding.’

‘Australia is now a fragmented nation – divided over fundamental belief, engaged in a democracy-changing experiment with the smartphone and losing trust in institutional authority.’

‘That great moral leader of our times, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said’  “a free society is a moral achievement, and is made by us and our habits of thought, speech and deed. Morality cannot be out-sourced because it depends on each of us. When there is no shared morality, there is no society’.

‘Australia has lost its way on numerous fronts – economic growth is weak; per capita incomes languish yet economic reform is barely registered; social progressiveness is an article of faith; the culture war is entrenched; Indigenous reconciliation is marooned; and governments are strong on short-term politics yet weak on deliverable vision.’

‘When a country is fractured the obstacles to mobilising majority-endorsed change are immense.’

‘To paraphrase Sacks, when shared mobility disappears then political progress is a forlorn hope. This is Australia’s fate. When a nation is fractured, trust is lost and politics sinks into a quagmire.’

”In our cultural, economic, political and social life, this has been a trajectory of increasing individualism, diversity, dynamism and liberalisation. And it has come at the cost of dwindling solidarity, authority, and social order.”

Final comments.

‘Whatever the outcome on Saturday, the broader question remains. A lot can happen in a year but there is no doubt that the national political for Labor now looks remarkably to the old-style state government models. Peter Beattie, Steve Bracks and Bob Carrr also won elections with slim majorities but went on to build large margins for long term government.'

‘There is no sign that in the past decade Labor has been on a path to replicate this. What the past two years have shown is that the fundamentals for Labor in terms of its primary vote haven’t changed. That doesn’t mean Labor will lose the next election but it makes the prospects of forming majority governments increasingly difficult.'

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