By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Trivial Pursuit: Leadership and the End of the Reform Era
By George Megalogenis (Quarterly Essay/Black Inc., $19.95, softcover, 120 pages)
Published in response to the depressing Federal election in 2010, George Megalogenis reflects on what has happened to politics in Australia.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott broke the “democratic contract with a campaign so awful that it begged a collective rebuke”.
They flipped coins to see who was more annoying: “the robotic prime minister or the relentlessly negative Opposition leader”.
Last year’s campaign was the sound of a nation needlessly fracturing.
In an inspired analysis, Megalogenis examines the rotation of polls, focus groups and presidential politics, its impact on the prospect of serious, difficult reform and the style of our leaders.
There is argument about bold reform instigated during the Hawke, Keating and Howard years. Recently, however, the times have seen power without purpose.
Megalogenis mounts a strong case for a different model of leadership, since politics-as-usual had become a self-defeating game.
Trivial Pursuit looks at the rise of the Greens and Independents and whether we have ventured into a new phase with minority government.
The political landscape has changed and this is a thought-provoking guide to the challenges that lie ahead. This essay proposes several reasons, in a coherent, comprehensive manner and offers some answers.
The title suggests that government can’t pass meaningful reform needed by the country, such as the mining tax or the Emissions Trading Scheme. That’s put down to poor leadership, the changing environment in the media and the growing influence of special interest groups and polling.
The problem originates with a culture of intolerance that results in discussion about public policy that is “thin, but not deep”.
Having established his expertise on Australian politics and economics, statements by Megalogenis resonate truth.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.