Inquirer, 23 December 2023
Paul Kelly, ‘West under strain as Traumas Escalate’.
‘The year 2023 saw ominous forces remaking the world order, a global struggle by central banks to beat back inflation, and cultural eruptions in the West undermining the liberal principle of equality, …’
‘There is a great unwinding: free markets, globalisation, and economic interdependence – the jewels of the late 20th century – are in retreat. The international order is fragmenting. Nationalism, tribalism and authoritarism are on the march, offering a bizarre contrast to the nation that humanity is likely to rise or fall together in the coming century’.
‘Facing structural challenges in the rise of China, weak productivity, stagnant living standards and the need for economic renewal, Australia’s mindset is too introspective, suggesting a lack in national self-confidence and chronic disagreement about policies for the future’.
‘The Prime minister’s 2023 odyssey was extraordinary and alarming – a giddy slide from ascendency to a world of world tribulation. At years end his government looks unconvincing. It is plagued by high interest rates, cost-of-living pressures, a per capita income recession, housing affordability, high power prices and a range of security dilemmas’.
‘Can Albanese Labor deliver the first long-run government deliver since John Howard? That remains an open question at the end of 2023. Since 2007 Australia has seen seven changes of prime minister in 16 years and in that time no PM has been re-elected.
‘At the same time, Dutton has proved to be a far more formidable Opposition Leader than Labor expected.
Perhaps the ultimate message for 2023 is only a full-scale whole-of-nation response can meet the challenges Australia faces. The country needs to become more agile, smarter and competitive. ‘But Australia needs a better performance from its elites, people who have the power and influence but aren’t and doing the job’.