Quarterly Essay 36 Australian Story
Kevin Rudd and the Lucky Country
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In Australian Story, Mungo MacCallum investigates the political success of Kevin Rudd. What does he know about Australia that his opponents don’t? This is a characteristically barbed and perceptive look at the challenges facing the government and the country. MacCallum argues that the things we used to rely on are not there anymore. On the Right, the blind faith in markets has recently collapsed. The Left lost its guiding light with the demise of the socialist dream.
In entertaining fashion, MacCallum dissects the myths that made Australia: the idea of the Lucky Country, with endless pastures, a workingman’s paradise, a new Britannia, and more. In newly uncertain times, MacCallum argues, Rudd has sought to tap into these myths, in the process reclaiming them from John Howard.
Australian Story is both a canny assessment of the Rudd government’s election-winning approach and a broader meditation on the nation’s core traditions at a time of major change and challenge.
“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?” —Mungo MacCallum, Australian Story
- Black Inc., December 2009
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