Amanda Lohrey in The Monthly
I just picked up July's The Monthly and read the first article. It is fantastic. You should read it.
Our political culture has never been more cynical; it is fraying at the edges, mired in ignorance and negativity.There are too many good things in this article to comprehensively quote, and since I just found it online you should just go and read it, but I'll pick out a few bits.
As Faulkner observed, "the politics of distrust are easy" and, he might have added, based on a number of facile assumptions.
The first of these is that politics is a uniquely dirty pursuit largely confined to political parties run by ruthless scoundrels. People who routinely cheat on their tax returns think nothing of asserting that politicians are only in it for what they can get. This is the Australian way. ... And I wonder about those people who routinely disparage politics and politicians. Have they never sat on a company board, or the committee of a sporting club, or a school's parents and friends executive? What lotus land are they living in, and when can I move there?
Yet the current Liberal leadership, supported (it has to be said) by significant sections of the media, continues to foster a climate of hysteria around minority governmet as if, in Faulkner's words, "failure to engage in negotiation and deliberation is either virtuous or possible." "Such purity," he adds, creates "an atmosphere in which any actual progress or achievement becomes seen as evidence of cyical manipulation and grubby deals."
One of the reasons we need a civics proram in schools is because we learn so little about the complexity of government from the Canberra press gallery. From the hierophantic condescension of Laurie Oakes to the stolid obviousness of Michelle Grattan, what we ostly get is a reptitive loop of myopic opinionating with scarcely any factual analysis of policy, never mind depth of historical context.A thousand times yes.