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is the old political order in decay? « Previous | |Next »
January 20, 2010

The Piping Shriek argues in The Failure Of Factionalism at New Matilda that the old political order in Australia is in decay. He offers two examples to make his case: the decay of the NSW Right and its business/union partnership model that defined Modern Labor Mark I into bankruptcy and Tony Abbott's ascension, which exposed the bankruptcy represented by the old guard of the federal Liberals.


He says that in late 2009 both dumped a leader that they called “experiments”, but were actually products of their respective loss of control. But in doing so, the dumped leaders blew the gaffe on their parties that signalled that while status quo may look as though it has been restored, to all intents and purposes, the game was up and that the last vestiges of the 20th century political order were coming to an end.

His argument is that given the decline of the old political factional in the ALP order and the rise of climate change politics at a global level it is a bad strategy to try to maintain its old ways. Consequently, the Rudd Government needs:

to replace an exhausted domestic program with an international agenda. We saw in 2009 that a central problem for the Government, the uncertainty and lack of direction in the international order, became more apparent. It was not just in the inconclusive results of international summits like Copenhagen, or the earlier economic one in London. On the regional stage, incidents like China's arrest of Stern Hu, Indonesia's wrangling over the Oceanic Viking, or the Indian Government's escalation of the stabbing of an Indian student in Melbourne, only served to highlight that Australia has become an increasingly soft target as the authority of the old political order declines.

Climate change remains the defining factor that is re-shaping the political landscape because ultimately it impacts directly on the main question facing both sides of the political class – legitimacy.The Liberal old guard has tried to make a stand around climate change their contortions on the issue are all too apparent.

I accept this 'decay of the old political order' argument. I would reinforce it by saying that the old political order represents the defence of the fossil fuel industries on the grounds that Australia is among the most dependent on fossil fuels for its wealth creation and urges a wait-and-see policy to climate change. That defence includes large chunks of the Labor Party as well as the conservative dominated Liberal Party.

So where to now for those in the political class who are determined to move way from the old political order? Is there a new political order in formation? If one is emerging, then what does it look like? Is it the presidential-style of government?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:09 PM | | Comments (1)


What are the implications then for the substance and the style of our politics?

An increase in public cynicism and disconnection from the political apparatus (the hollowing out of the political parties), along with interpreting everything through the suspicion that all is spin?