By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Australian Story: Kevin Rudd and the Lucky Country
By Mungo MacCallum (Black Inc./Quarterly Essay, $16.95, softcover, 138 pages)
Understanding politics in its diverse shades is beyond the grasp of many people, but there are some experts with greater knowledge.
With a career spanning more than 40 years, Mungo MacCallum puts great effort into scrutinizing the political success of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
We are in a different time zone now, and we have a new PM, but with hindsight comes better understanding of specific situations.
Taking a characteristically insightful and acerbic look at the challenges facing the government and the country, MacCallum puts forward a convincing argument about things that we are accustomed to not being there any more. The Left has lost its guiding light with the demise of the socialist dream. On the Right, the blind faith in markets has recently collapsed.
What did Rudd know about Australia that his opponents did not?
Here is one explanation from MacCallum: “Rudd has made it clear that he is looking forward to a long time in office…If the polls are to be believed, he is still seen as the best man for the job by an overwhelming majority of Australians. But why? What is it about this repetitive, boring God-bothering nerd that appeals to the proverbially laid-back, cynical, disengaged public?”
In an engaging manner, MacCallum slices the myths that made Australia the idea of the Lucky Country.
Australian Story is both an astute evaluation of the Rudd Government’s election-winning method and a wider deliberation on the nation’s main traditions at a time when there were major challenges and change.
This issue also includes correspondence on previous essays and Robert Manne’s 2009 Quarterly Essay lecture, Is Neo-Liberalism Finished?
Quarterly Essay is regarded as a “trailblazing Australian journal of politics and culture”, but it is also a periodical to spark retrospective debate.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.