Tag Archives: Bob Hawke

Hawke and Keating Set Australia, and Labor, Up for Failure

[Published at Pearls and Irritations 31 May.]

Labor failed, again.

It took on the most riven, brutal and monumentally incompetent rabble since Federation and still could not manage to beat them. This is a profound failure that requires a profound explanation. There is one, though it goes against decades of received wisdom.

The problem is the economic ‘reforms’ imposed by the Hawke-Keating governments are a failure. Our anaemic economy and divided society are their continuing legacy.

These claims are of course heresy. They sully the revered memory of Larrikin Bob. They contradict the economic and political mantras of the past thirty five years. Yet the evidence is clear and has been readily available for some time.

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Labor’s Four-Decade Descent into Calumny

Pauline Hanson

Pauline Hanson (Photo credit: Velovotee)

There are strong echoes from 1983 in the present political situation, and not just of Bob Hawke’s displacement of Bill Hayden as Labor leader on the brink of the 1983 election.  There are deeper and darker currents flowing from that coup to Australia’s present state of delusional hysteria, especially regarding refugees.

Australian society was very different in 1983.  Australia was a relatively fair, tolerant and egalitarian place, even though not without blind spots.  We were said, disparagingly by some, to be very easy going.  We were much richer in material things, and in the time to enjoy life, than we had been at the end of World War II, and for most the memory of steady improvement was recent and clear.

When Bob Hawke and Paul Keating took over Labor, and then the government, in 1983, they also took over the free-market fundamentalist agenda of the right wing of the Liberal Party.

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