Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Rudd+centralization of power « Previous | |Next »
October 2, 2007

In the Sydney Morning Herald Tim Colebatch asks 'And assuming Labor wins, how much will it be a Labor government, drawing on the strengths of the many, and how much a Rudd government, reliant on the skills of The Leader?'


Colebatch's answer?

Rudd's reform....would only increase his own power. And putting more power in the hands of rulers is not modernisation....But the power he seeks is power Howard already has. Does anyone seriously think the PM has used it "to select the best, most talented team available"? He has rewarded mediocrities who caught his fancy, while keeping out talented nonconformists such as former Victorian Liberal Party director Petro Georgiou. That's how all leaders operate when given total power. Rudd would do the same...Ask yourselves: do you think the risk is that Rudd as PM will have too little power, or that he will have too much? The answer is obvious.

I concur. Rudd is a centralizer and he will build on Howard's centralization of power in Prime Minister and Cabinet. All the signs indicate that.

That means executive dominance in the House of Representatives is controlled by Rudd. That only leaves the Senate standing against executive dominance as a form of countervailing power.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:15 AM | | Comments (29)


David Burchell in the Australian says that the ALP has learnt from its past mistakes and that Labor’s learning process is not yet complete.

As every general knows, it’s important but insufficient to learn the lessons of the last war.The danger is that you simply end up fighting the last war, albeit fighting it better than you did the first time.

He says that Labor has cleared away its unloved policies and sidelined its more unattractive elements. It looks and sounds courteous, disciplined and positive, as the electorate has clearly observed. Yet it still has to put meat on some of those fine-sounding but frustratingly general policy proposals. Nor has it yet linked them up convincingly into some kind of vision of an Australia that is both aspirational and committed to the ethos of the fair go.

There is a danger that in becoming so precisely focused on avoiding political error, Labor may come to confuse political prudence with mere inaction.

We know some of that meat already.

If a Rudd government is unlikely to place children in detention, then it is likely to maintain a tough-minded border protection policy along with mandatory detention. Labor is likely to continue the Coalition's policies in such areas as national security, the citizenship test and indigenous policy.Similarily with the Gunn's pulp mill and Tasmanian forests.

Nan has stolen my thunder. I heard elsewhere that Rudd goes into conclave with treasury types shortly to work out ways of imposing more spending cuts, should he gain power.
No matter who they are, they seem to fall into thrall to this quasi-religious neoliberal dogma sooner or later.

I get the impression Rudd is a centraliser too, but then, how the hell else do you manage an organisation as unruly as the Labor Party and an equally diverse country? Herding cats.

On the bright side, we do have a Senate.

Bob Hawke offered a different style to the centralizing one of the PM as Leader whom all must obey.

I'd always interpreted David Burchell as presenting himself as one who is engaged in the renewal and modernisation of the left(ie., social democratic) project through an internal (immanent) critique of the ALP. He does this critique from the left.

So I was suprised to find this paragraph in his text:

In 2004 Labor avoided many of its mistakes from 2001. But it then created some new ones of its own volition and effectively cancelled out the benefits of experience. Mark Latham's ill-conceived adventures in schooling policy and the Tasmanian forests resonated much better among Labor faithful than they did among the electorate more broadly.

And so in 2007 Labor has had, as it were, two successive sets of mistakes from which to learn. It has had to learn how not to take the bait from its opponents but also how not to become the captive of its erstwhile friends.
Tha phrase 'Latham's ill-conceived adventures in ...the Tasmanian forests resonated much better among Labor faithful than they did among the electorate more broadly'is from the Right. It makes the conservationists erstwhile friends who have captured the ALP. Strange, very strange.

It implies that economic growth based on exploiting the resources of Tasmania's old growth forests is the way to go for Tasmania.

I found it slightly odd that Rudd didnt name Garrett to the environment portfolio when he was forced to name Gillard and Swan last week.
I smell a rat on the horizon there. Perhaps Garretts use before the election is greater than his possible conflict of interest will be afterwards. Perhaps it would be better for him to be pushed sideways then?


I don't think Burchell is as interested in specific issues as he is in the Labor Party as the natural political home of the disadvantaged and the culturally blue collar. Social justice as opposed to saving whales.

Labor are supposed to look after the interests of those done over by globalisation and the economic and labour reforms of the 80s and 90s, but the whole left, including Labor, fell captive to the urban elite bit of the left. I don't believe that's entirely true but it's the impression that was left by Keating's high brow tastes and urbane image. The symbolism of that has been played to death by the Liberals under cover of the comparatively suburban and culturally povo Howard. Even Piers Ackerman can claim to be in touch with the common man.

Over the years Labor have slowly shed that image and, as has been pointed out many times in the past few months, refused to be drawn into brawls over issues associated with it. Burchell works with people who are not above want, have been feeling left out and want somebody to blame. Howard and Hanson gave them someone to blame with the dog whistle which was, of course, a distraction. It's not so much about Tasmanian forests as it is about Labor's failure to clearly demonstrate that it doesn't have to come down to a choice between either workers or trees.

"Its not so much about Tasmanian forests as ... Labor's failure to ... demonstrate it doesn't have to come down to a choice between workers or trees".
You are very close to a topic that rankles more with this writer than just about any other topic- the capture of the ALP by "developers like John Gay of Gunns or Macbank and construction engineering companies and unions concerning the wretched PPP's, that have further fouled infrastructure efficiency and cost society greivously in such sectors.
Tasmania 2004 will always grate with me. Latham offered a fair and imaginative "out" of the tangle for all concerned, but that corrupt claque of politicians, developers and brown shirt forestry unionists; ex Gallagerist BLF types running Tasmania shamelesly sold out not only Tasmania but all ordinary Australians in a deal cemented in its last component a few days before the election, with a bribe from Howard to the Tasmanian CFMEU forestry division; a unit apparently viewed with distrust even by others within the wider union, later (un)covered by the "Australian's" Brad Norrington. Scabby and shabby.
However, having watched the sheep from the mortgage belt in action on "Insight" tonight, my regard for many average Aussies as to "nous", plummets to new depths.

If the ALP wins power the senior Ministers are Rudd, Tanner, Swan and Gillard. That's the inner circle as it were. Roxon, Smith and Garrett etc are in the second tier.

The inner group did the interview with the AFR and made the commitment to increasing productivity, budget surpluses and a razor gang to undertake a major review of spending and to make big savings before their first budget.

If your interpretation of Burchell's position is a reasonable, then his position is a deeply flawed one.

1. It's not social justice as opposed to saving whales. It's about social justice within a warmed up world that requires the policy compass to be set to sutainability.

2. It is not those done over by globalisation and the economic and labour reforms of the 80s and 90s, versus the cosmopolitan inner city urban professive elites. That's Howard's scenario based on 1996, or Paul Lennon's scenario in Tasmania. In 2008 globalization is working to favour the working class re the mining boom as well as the inner city professionals. Isn't Australia's future is in the global economy as a knowledge economy

It is cities such as Adelaide that are regional and not integrated into the global economy that are doing badly in terms of prosperity. If they acquire the skills to enable theem to work in the global economy then, unlike those in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, they have to leave Adelaide to do so.

I agree with you. It was not Latham's failure at all. He actually offered a way out of the rotten mess of economic growth based on clearfelling and burning native forests since the 1970s. The Lennon state Labor Government and the forestry union sided with Howard to bring Latham down. Now there's an out of control social conservative right wing faction in the ALP.

We see the same mess being repeated with the proposed Gunns pulp mill. There isn't actually enough plantation timber to feed this mill in the future and that the result will be that once the mill's up and running it will then have to eat into native forests again.Lennon it is chief protagonist and acts as a spruiker for the timber giant Gunns.

Lennon drives the bulldozer and sustains his power by fostering the north versus south, greenies versus rednecks, islanders versus mainlanders, private school versus public, sublime natural beauty in contrast with man-made devastation divisions.

What we have according to Terry Martin, an Independent MLC, Parliament of Tasmania is a situation where 13 guidelines were not met by the Gunns project, but most importantly that out of those 13, six of them could not be overcome by permit conditions. Those six areas relate primarily to air and water emission levels.

This assessment was made by Dr Roberto Miotti, who was the project manager for the development of the guidelines. So the project doesn't meet the guidelines that were set down and should not have been approved.

This judgement is in contrast with the official assessment on behalf of the state government, which showed that of the 100 guidelines, the project failed in eight of them, but that they could be overcome by permit conditions,

Martin forced to leave the parliamentary Labor Party,for crossing the floor and voted against the legislation to approve the Gunns mill.

The consequences of the failure to follow due process----the Lennon govt dumping the Resource Planning and Development Commission because the Gunn's mill was not going to meet the guidelines----is that what was majority support for the mill in Tasmania is now a minority support.

Gunns executive chairman appears poised to axe the Tamar Valley mill if federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull this week makes its approval conditional on tougher marine effluent controls. John Gay has said that if tougher restrictions for the mill were insisted on by the Howard Government, it was evidence Mr Turnbull was opposed to the project.


I agree with you and so would Burchell I think. The challenge for Labor is to build a new narrative that doesn't boil down to the either/or, economy/trees Howard one, but also to win an election. In order to do that they need to appeal to the disenfranchised. As you pointed out elsewhere, they're suburban people with mortgages and high fuel bills who live outside of the knowledge economy centres.

I don't know where Rudd stands on the knowledge economy, given that he keeps saying he doesn't want to run a country that doesn't make things, but Lindsay Tanner is a strong proponent of helping the information poor enter the knowledge economy. That's how I read their broadband and education policies.

People are already on board with the environmental message - the climate change one if not the tree one.

The immediate challenge is to get elected and they're not going to do that by appealing to the knowledgeable. Rudd already did that with his Monthly essays. Now that we're down to the pointy end the main message is the fair go. You don't have to be information rich to participate.

if you read Paul Kelly in the Australian, then your centralization of power under Rudd thesis is too crude. Kelly says that Rudd's work in the public service, commonwealth and state shapes his philosophy on public administration and the need for strong cabinet co-ordination of executive government.

This background has left an imprint in three ways: it instilled a sense of Westminster political traditionalism, high expectations in the public service as a source of advice and a commitment to a strong co-ordination of the executive.

Rudd's concern about the perverse impact of the current Government is its alignment of the policy role of the public service with the political interests of government.Under Howard the public bureaucracy system moved too far towards responsiveness, with senior officials "too concerned to please" and the system too geared to shielding ministers.

The public service and executive should be seperate and kept in creative tension says Rudd.


That would explain his enthusiasm for committees. That still leaves the capacity for centralising if the person in the centre decides which issues will be explored and which ideas implemented.

As you pointed out, Hawke consulted far and wide on everything to the point where he was criticised for taking too long to make up his mind. Rudd also says a good idea is a good idea regarless of where it came from. Am I right in thinking Hawke got the idea for the tax summit from a radio interviewer?

Nan and Lyn are a little starry- eyed as to Rudd Labor and the future.
Rudd is a technocrat and social conservative and the recent rightist manouverings at faction level concerning preselection, the composition of cabinet and the muzzling of the left are about ensuring that Gillard and Tanner do not allow rational policy to interfere with "Howard lite". You'll get Lennon or Iemma with Rudd, rather than Dunstan, Cairns or Whitlam; reinforcement of the current innanities rather than their confrontation.
Which is not to say Howard shouldn't be cast out. Not so much because of his manifest evil, but because he has become so incompetent as to be detected by an electorate even as stupid as the Australian one.
The old theory goes that when the system finds the Tories have become too unpopular; the "contradictions" between proclaimed policy and actual goals becomes apparent in the implementation, they then put in a botoxed version of Toryism called "new" Labor that is passed off as "Reformist" as mutton is passed off as lamb by a corrupt butcher. This is more seemly to the electorate, embarrassed as it is in the detection of its own gullibility, but also ensures the further operance for the "system", rather than the people.
The people know this, but justice withheld is justice denied; both for the Tories and the incoming lot.
Justice demands that if one lot of unscrupulous incompetents is allowed at the lettuce-patch, then the other lot suffering in opposition should be, too. There is a certain teleological beauty in this perfected Aristotelian system, involving the preservation of justice above all, as expressed in the permitting of the functining of the Peter Principal- everyone rising or falling to their own level of incompetence.
( eg, hence Howard as PM; me as a DAB pensioner!).

Yes telling some people that Rudd Labor is no good is like tell the door knockers that Jesus was inserted into history. It is pointless.

I am making a list of all the Rudd Lovers and when it all goes bad I intend to be thoroughly ruthless with my Ner Ner's

Rudd comes out of modern Brisbane ALP--not the rural redneck one that still thinks daylight saving is the work of the devil. So he is all in favour of the knowledge economy, biotechnology, internet, skills for the global economy etc etc.

But he can't sell that image of modern Australian to the Tasmanian ALP that is still looking backwards blinded to the destruction that has been wrought by gungho resource development.

point taken. Even though the op-ed reads like a drip feed I accept what Kelly says:

Rudd has a mantra: a restoration of ethics and professionalism in the public service after what he alleges is the damage done by the Howard years.

There has been a lot of damage. Kelly continues:
A precise insight into Rudd's philosophy is his attitude towards the cabinet policy unit. Transferred from the PM's department to his own office after Howard came to power, it has been the strategic engine room of Howard's Government. But Rudd intends a return to orthodoxy, shifting the unit back to the department.

He will run that department with a tight fist. Kelly continues:
The reason? Rudd as a former professional public servant staring at the prospect of being PM believes in a functional delineation between the ministerial office and the public service, despite their extensive interaction. He has a keen sense of this difference. Having worked for years at the cutting edge of this interaction, his views are firm.

But he is going to run a tight ministerial ship. Look at the way Garrett has been rendered ineffective on Tasmania.

I see that David Burchell is a senior lecturer in humanities at the University of Western Sydney and the author of Western Horizon: Sydney's Heartland and the Future of Australian Politics.

Do you know the work? There's not much around on the internet by way of reviews for some reason.

I had a brief look at a talk he gave here at Is this similar? My reading indicates that he uses the riots at Macquarie Fields in 2005 as a way of exploring a history of failed social planning, especially in relation to public housing - from the Garden Cities movement of the early 20th century until today.

Is Burchell referring to this kind of voice at the The New City


Yes, he is coming from a similar direction to the New City people.

One of his essays for Griffith Review sums up best what Burchell is about politically I think. here if I've got this code thing right. PDF

It can be pretty confronting for a self identified latte lefty to sit still and listen to what Burchell and others like him have to say. Their tendency to use the language of the culture wars doesn't help, but it's worth the effort I think. Margaret Simons has an essay about that in the same issue which I think won an award and deservedly so in my opinion.


Your previous comment about the knowledge/redneck thing strikes me as one of the big challenges Rudd faces within his own party more than with the electorate. If it's true that people have moved ahead faster on issues like climate and sustainability than the Howard Government, then that's also true of some state governments, Tasmania in particular.

I suspect that that's a hole in Burchell's argument - his people in Mt Druitt might not identify with the intellectual left, but there's a general drift towards more progressive values on a range of issues.

below is a summary by Nathanael O'Reilly in the API Review of Books of the Margaret Simons' essay in the 'People Like Us' issue of the Giffith Review (2005).O'Reilly says that in her feature essay, 'Ties That Bind', Margaret Simons embarks on a journey of exploration to Narre Warren (home of the Fountain Gate shopping centre, of Kath and Kim fame) in order to determine whether or not the residents of Melbourne's outer suburbs are really different from the residents of inner-city suburbs, such as Carlton:

Although cautious about the potential misuse of statistics, Simons notes that in the local-government area in which Fountain Gate is located, only 6.7 per cent of adults possess a university degree, with the majority of adults lacking any post-school qualifications. (p 20) Conversely, in Melbourne's inner suburbs, 34 per cent of adults hold a university degree or higher qualification, while a further 23 per cent are studying. (p 20) Simons concludes that Fountain Gate is more typical of Australia as a whole than Carlton, pointing out that 'higher education in Australia is still a minority pursuit'. (p 20) and that 'the presence or absence of tertiary education is the defining divide' within Australian society, with education functioning as a proxy for class. (p 21) Ultimately, those with a higher education are the minority, and Australia's national narrative is, for Simons, 'no longer clear' and 'not mainly about us [the educated]'.(p.36)

The 'People Like Us' issue addresses a decade of wedge politics that has left many confused about the common ground, as they retreat into like-minded communities. The causes and consequences of this divided society can be affirming, but fear and envy can also flourish.

This thread has taken an interesting turn. The blurb to the People Like Us issue of the Griffith Review plays around with the 'divided nation' theme of 'us' and 'theme'.

This division is very noticeable in Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide: its a division between the uneducated low income, Christian working class living there cos of cheap land and the inner city professionals from Adelaide who have their weekenders and holiday houses there cos of the lifesttyle The former provide services (cleaning gardening etc) for the latter. In this case the inner‐city dwellers are akin to tourists whilst the real folk in the suburbs as residents.

The blurb to People Like Us asks:

Are these divisions inevitable, necessary, or desirable? Can empathy be learnt? Is a civil civic conversation possible, or are retreating into defensive ghettos? What is the role of the arts in challenging this retreat? Is this a moral issue or an economic one, can the two be separated? Is a new Australian ethos emerging - if so what is it? To what extent is the political environment responsible for these divisions - or a product of them?

That's very open ended. Julianne Schultz in the Introduction talks thus:
People like us” was once a term laden with class. There were people like us and the rest, who were not like us at all. It is still a phrase redolent with class, but now it is directed pejoratively at those defined as being members of the “new class” ‐ that “group of educated, informed, articulate and socially‐liberal people whose political opponents skilfully blamed for the “ideological corruption of society”.

Over the past decade the journalistic cliché “wedge politics” became shorthand for a shift in focus from economics towards values, with “divisive social issues used to gain political support by fostering resentment and undermining your opponent’s support base”.... The “new class” was the target.

The class divisions are there in Victor Harbor, but the political language we are familar with from the Murdoch Press is the rhetoric of reaction and conservatism.

This paints a cartoon picture of a divided, angry, unhappy society so that it can use the language of denial, division and abuse to ensure the Coalition retains power. It's been learnt from the US Republicans. The language needs to be challenged.

Burchell really does have a thing about the inner city professional, latte drinking chattering classes. It pervades his writing, even the recent stuff. He can deconstruct the myths woven around 'Howard's battlers':

Likewise, the hoary legend of “Howard’s battlers” has been seriously overplayed. Outer-suburban voters are more likely to be mortgaged up to the hilt, and to be highly attentive to movements in the national economy. They also have a tendency to be somewhat traditionalist on moral and social issues.

Both these factors have pushed them in the government’s direction over the last decade. Now Labor looks credible on economic policy, and has a leader who speaks a moral language outer-suburban folks can relate to, they’re drifting back. There’s really not much more to it than that.
Rightly said. Given that he is a highly educated professional academic working in Western Sydney he lives the myth of the chattering classes. Thus:
if you listen to the chattering classes, since 1996 we’ve become a less kind and generous nation, more suspicious of outsiders, and more prone to think of our own personal interests.
He then adds that the odds are that by this time next year:
the fantasy of a Howard hegemony over our public life will seem but a hazy memory. And the denizens of inner-city cafes will have turned their attention instead to the myriad failings and betrayals of that most disappointing of all PMs – Kevin Rudd. Just John Howard with a hair-transplant, they’ll grumble into their glasses of milky coffee. Remember Paul Keating, they’ll ask? Now, there was a prime minister!
Strange isn't it. He's talking about his own colleagues, pretending that he is not one of 'them.' Does Burchell identify with the outer-suburban battler working class because he is of the Socialist Left?


Less because he's of the socialist left, more because the outer-suburban battler working class is where he does his research and where most of his students come from.

Burchell is an interesting creature. I did my honours dissertation on the cosmopolitan/parochial divide over immigration and used Burchell to illustrate the sort of language being used to, as Nan points out, reframe class in terms of culture then culture in terms of race and ethnicity rather than, as Simons points out, education. It was hard not to point out that Burchell is himself a chatterer but you never know who's marking.

There's an interesting conversation going on about this over at LP under an entry called 3 columnists. Basically Mark is asking Why are we having this debate right now? My vocab isn't sufficient to join in, but I've thought ever since Workchoices that Howard mistakenly reintroduced the concept of class, even though we don't call it that anymore. It's one thing to punish the undeserving poor, it's another altogether to pick on the salt of the earth poor, which Workchoices has done.

Burchell is talking about the class divide in terms of a cultural divide, which is wrong. We have both and they're not perfectly in sync. It's interesting to ponder how much the cultural turn in social theory has to do with it, but that's another story. We simply don't talk about class anymore, which gives the impression the problem has been dealt with, but it hasn't.

That cultural icon, the fair go, which was supposed to mitigate against class, has been getting eroded for a decade or more, but Workchoices set it in concrete and gave it a name. Bad move.

On one hand Burchell makes a labelling mistake when he talks about the denizens of inner city cafes. It's a mistake to get too far up their noses. On the other hand, if Burchell and others like him manage to get The Left, as opposed to the ALP, focused on the white disenfranchised the left will be that much stronger.

In answer to the question why now? I would answer because it's time we understood how Howard has divided us, which intellectuals are certainly capable of doing, and starting thinking about how to repair the damage.

If that's Burchell's ultimate aim then I think it's a good one. If not, he's just a poisonous toad with a megaphone by virtue of his qualifications. Never met the man myself, but I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.


Agree absolutely that the language needs to be challenged, but the old language of class just won't wash anymore. Can you imagine the cleaners, gardeners and street sweepers of Victor Harbour being happy about getting called lower, or working, class?

Michael Pusey pointed out years ago that all of us, from the homeless to the obscenely wealthy think of ourselves as middle class. Middle class is an outlook or a state of mind.

The forgotten people is a good one, but it's already been done. We seem to be calling them working families lately, which is wrong if we're going to define families, but seems to be working so far.

In between we have the Kath and Kims who are middle class economically, but impoverished culturally (depending on how you define culture).

I think it's fairly reasonable to argue that there have been deeper divisions between white Australia over the past few years than between white Australia and any other colour it's fashionable to pick on at any given time. Which is why the educated left should not enter into debate over such issues. Or anything else that sets them apart from what we call mainstream concerns.

Interesting Lyn should bring up LP when discussing Burchell as representative of a "new" left based on a now "floating" or indistict identity/ situational politics demarcation.
It explains so much as to what happened to a number of us when we challenged one of the LP writers, Darlene concerning an unexpectedly jaundiced and MaCarthyite revue against John Pilger's new film.
Although LP claims to be 'left' the hostility; not so so much from other posters ( you know, including usual idiot right-wing trolls! ) but the moderators themselves in launching a virtual purge against those of us who respected Pilger, was astonishing.
We were "green left" virtual trogs according to one of their moderators.We were castigated for not condemning chavez, despite the fact he's only been "in" a few years, and what choice did the Venezuelen People have but to clear the previous reactionary pro US government from the barrios, anyway.
A bit along the lines of Hamilton trying to fob off the 2004 election disaster onto the ecologists rather than Lennon, "developers" and O'Connor!
But if the phenomena is also represented in examples like Burchell ( who actually reads like Paddy MacGuinness! ) and others who also embrace things like Gunns Mill and other representative aspects of neoliberalism, what evidence is then emerging of a loosely organised evolving move fundamentally distorting the message and identity of the "left" for both Third Way and/ or Tory purposes ( both are the same as far as this writer is concerned )?
BTW, meant to say great post, Lyn!

Bugger it, I'm standing firm on class. It's too good a term to throw out.I'm not giving it up.

It's an objective relation to modes of production and relations of power and culture---not what's in our postmodern heads. To hell with idealism. I agree that we have both class and culture and they're not perfectly in sync but why should they be? The 'Tory working class' is not difficult to grasp--look at Tasmania, or the New South Wales Right wing thugs in Sussex Street, or the BiIl Ludwig crowd in Queensland.

They have no time for democracy. They--authoritarians one and all--- hate the very idea of democracy.

Classes really exist--you can see it in Victor Harbor embodied in the architecture. What has changed is that ye olde working class (industrial) has become aspirational--they want the fruits of the boom --even if they then waste it at the pokies at the local pub. That is what is called culture in Victor Harbor. Nan's working class looking after the holiday homes of the Adelaide professionals have become small business people--petit bourgeosie in the old language. They are not just working families and they want more for their kids than working as casual labour at Woolworths on AWA's.

Latham had his finger on this aspirational stuff and he was mocked for it by all and sundry. What they aspire to is success and a good education for their kids . So they uproot from Victor Harbor, return to Adelaide, and live in a suburb with a good public school. I think this aspirational stuff is what Burchell misses with his damaged resilent lads inhabitating Glenquarie Estate in Macquarie Fields in western Sydney.


Thank you. Yes, it's easy to get the impression that any thinking outside the square is unforgivable extremism in certain circles, including our entire national conversation at the moment.


Agreed. We need the term class in its intended form if for no other purpose than clear communication. It's a mistake to think we can dispense with it now that the Berlin Wall is gone.

Funny you mentioned Latham there. I've just finished reading what Wark had to say about him. Whatever we think of his behaviour or personality he had some great ideas and insights. Aspirationals was one, and postcodes was another. We come up with a whole bunch of assumptions about people associated with where they live. Similar to assuming that latte has something to do with intellect, socialists all drink chardonnay and the people in Macquarie Fields don't chatter.