Lessons for ALP in demise of European left populism

Today in The Australian
As Labor struggles to find its bearings, it would do well to consider what is happening in Europe. ­

Syriza, which was trounced by the conservatives in last Sunday’s elections, was not merely a Greek phenomenon when it swept to office four years ago; rather, it was hailed as the flag-bearer for a much broader radicalisation of the global left.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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42 Responses to Lessons for ALP in demise of European left populism

  1. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    A lesson for any kind of populism actually. Could not deliver on populist promises, just as ALP found punters here did not buy their redistribution rhetoric. Boris will get his with the hard Brexit and I expect Trump will see how the protectionist campaign has turned out in the coming corporate earnings reports.

  2. Up The Workers!

    Leftardism?

    It’s all Greek to me.

    As the late, great Maggie Thatcher once said: “The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

  3. Iva Right

    People will go along with the feel good lefty garbage until it inevitably starts to cost them money or inconvenience them in some way. And it always does in the end! Even the dual ploys of importing large numbers of left wing voters and getting a high proportion of voters relying on the public welfare teat failed in Australia this time around. The trick is now to reverse the trend and Morrison’s latest foray into proposing to change the Constitution smacks of this same left wing garbage. Especially when the important big ticket items (think in terms of the so called ‘guiet Australian’ here) of electricity prices, the fixation with high immigration and the climate change fiasco are still being ignored by the government. It’s OK to be seen praying in your church for the better things in life Scotty, but out here in the real world we want runs on the board and not distractions and a government that reacts to each and every minority at our expense.

  4. Lilliana

    Liberal has nothing to offer. People didn’t buy what they were selling during the last election but rather rejected what Labor were offering. It came down to the lessor of two evils. Neither party seems to have a clue.

    The current fixation with minority issues is destroying not only Australia but all Western nations. Putin gets it – look after the core population and don’t pander to the fringes.

  5. Roger

    As Labor struggles to find its bearings, it would do well to consider what is happening in Europe. ­

    Nah…to preoccupied with shaping up to fight virtually non-existent Tories in the Liberal Party.

    Meanwhile, a Liberal Party struggling to find its bearings might do well to consider what Putin has to say, as summed up by Lilliana above. For starters, don’t expend political capital and foment further social division by pandering to the indigenous lobby.

  6. JC

    Henry

    Excellent piece. Really good.

  7. nb

    Lilliana at 9:27 am says:
    ‘The current fixation with minority issues is destroying not only Australia but all Western nations.’
    It is truly remarkable to watch. How politicians can peddle the prevailing nonsense is beyond me. It is also remarkable that people can believe it. Government ought to be relatively simple – get out of the way, fix the occasional glitch. But no, now everything is a problem, and to fix it the entirety of human existence needs to be managed into something unrecognisable and, for most, dangerous.
    As for creating a super-class in our constitution, forget it. For sure, any special recognition will be wedged into something scary. Anyhow the logic is just dumb. There are two Aboriginal genotypes, from two succeeding waves of immigration. Surely the first is the only relevant one. If we are going to divide our constitution by genotype, there are many waves of immigration of which we must take account:
    Special recognition for the first wave of Aboriginal immigration.
    Special recognition for the second wave of Aboriginal immigration.
    Special recognition for the Anglo wave of immigration.
    Special recognition for the Mediterranean wave of immigration.
    Special recognition for the Asian wave of immigration.
    Special recognition for the middle eastern and African wave of immigration.
    And a super-special clause for our NZ friends.
    Special recognition for those otherwise not specially recognised.
    Tell me this, what do Aboriginals want from this amendment that they do not already have? Just about any answer should be cautionary.

  8. Slim Cognito

    The current fixation with minority issues is destroying not only Australia but all Western nations.

    Lilliana has hit the nail on the head.

    The 2016 ABS census collected data on 23.4 million Australians and found:
    2.8% said they were Indigenous.
    2.6% were followers of ROP ( in contrast to 52% who are Ch!ist!an).
    SS couples were 0.9% of all couples.
    Only 1260 were “gend3r diverse” (too low to be bothered expressing as a %).
    2016 census did not collect data on s3xual preference.

    Contrast these numbers with the issues that have demanded the most oxygen in the media over the past few years. Fringe issues, all of them.

  9. Dr Fred Lenin

    If you are a citizen of Australia then you can vote , your vote has one value every vote has equal value,no matter what race you originate from.
    Liberate Aboriginals from paternalitic repressive socialist opression ,make them equal members of the community with the same rights and obligations as all other citizens ,and I emphasize the “obligations “ part . Abolish this fauxberiginal welcome nonsense it is divisive and offensive to australian born Australians .
    Deprive them of tax payers money and like all socialists they will wither on the vine .
    The world today is overloaded with crap ,never mind climate lies ,clean up the crap .

  10. Roger

    But no, now everything is a problem, and to fix it the entirety of human existence needs to be managed into something unrecognisable and, for most, dangerous.

    It’s the triumph of the managerial class.

    What’s more, they never pay any real price for the damage they inflict on others or society generally.

    Politicians kicked out of office simply go on to lucrative sinecures.

  11. Lilliana

    now everything is a problem, and to fix it the entirety of human existence needs to be managed into something unrecognisable and, for most, dangerous.

    That’s the left’s plan. It’s the vehicle for their social engineering.

  12. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Why on earth would any ‘advisory group’ of ‘aborigines’ be any different to the chaos and grifting that ASTIC displayed? Giving such a claimant grouping ‘moral’ or any other sort of rights under a Constitutional change would be madness.

    ScoMo should knock this one on the head quickly. Let Labor run with it an take the inevitable voter flack. Do not hold a Referendum because the compliant unthinking media would cruel the pitch very seriously, and so would all of the heavily indoctrinated millennials piling out of schools into the voting booths. Let life teach them some lessons first and let the mass media be hit, as CNN is, with increasing disinterest and irrelevance. Back burner this sort of nonsense for the next five years and see then how it plays.

  13. hzhousewife

    Any aboriginal advisory group could become self-funding using GoFundMe.
    Couldn’t they? (cheeky grin).

  14. stackja

    Giving a certain demographic free rein with finances. What could possibly go wrong?

  15. Natural Instinct

    If ScoMo was a serious Liberal he would abolish 1,000 quangos.
    And, as mentioned above, without the goverment money most issues would just fade away as the activists have to get proper jobs.

  16. hzhousewife

    The media and the current education indoctrination has pretty much ensured that NO referendum will change our constitution any time soon imho.
    People are fed up to the back teeth of being lobbied to think a certain way.

  17. Roger

    If ScoMo was a serious Liberal he would abolish 1,000 quangos.

    Starting with the ABC, SBS & NITV.

    What on earth is the rationale these days for public broadcasters?

  18. Craig Mc

    Hopefully it’s a trend, but if it is, Spain bucked it.

  19. egg_

    Populism or Global Leftism cowing to the UN?
    Particularly the manufactured faux concerns that have little to do with the mainstream.

  20. John Constantine

    If the window looks like shutting, their turnbullites and their filth will go all out to ram as much eternal change through as they can.

    We discover signing one treaty on the rights of waterfowl gave their transnational looting cartels the concession to superprofit from doing Clearances of the tory proles from the Murray Darling.

    What else are the bastards signing?.

    Expect that their left are only using Aboriginal Australians as cover for introducing legislation that will enable them to prosecute Dissenters in foreign courts, under foreign laws in foreign languages.

    Dissent against Australias elites demanding internal passports for Australians to travel within Australia, and you will have to pay your own way to their godless commo european union, to pay for a legal team to defend charges bought against you in a language you can’t speak, under a signed convention in a language you can’t read and in front of a judge that despises you for reasons you can’t understand.

    Comrades.

  21. Petros

    Bear in mind that the Libs do not have control of the senate. Imagine dealing with Jacqui Lambie and the detritus of the Nick Xenophon party.

  22. egg_

    Dissent against Australias elites demanding internal passports for Australians to travel within Australia, and you will have to pay your own way to their godless commo european union, to pay for a legal team to defend charges bought against you in a language you can’t speak, under a signed convention in a language you can’t read and in front of a judge that despises you for reasons you can’t understand.

    As if a Belgian Autocrat could comprehend the MDB.

  23. egg_

    Imagine dealing with Jacqui Lambie and the detritus of the Nick Xenophon party.

    Does Lambie support land rights for gay whales, climate justice and other faux causes?

  24. Beachcomber

    Lilliana at 9:27 am

    The current fixation with minority issues is destroying not only Australia but all Western nations. Putin gets it – look after the core population and don’t pander to the fringes.

    Sadly, Australia doesn’t have Putin or Trump. We have Morrison and Albanese. One can only despair.

  25. Rafe Champion

    Mr Mediocrity indeed. Energetic and organized enough to be elected as the lesser of two weevils.
    But now…

  26. Dr Fred Lenin

    Its amazing cheek when a prat lik morro thinks he was elcted to do what he wants ,Hey morro , you are an employee not a dictator . You only got the job because the other prat was so foul the voters rejected him and his gang . The Constitution is there for you to follow ,not change to suit yourself and your global fascist mates . All international leftist treaties signed by politicians are illlegal untill submitted to referenda and accepted by the voters . Niw that IS Democracy .

  27. cuckoo

    There won’t be enough popcorn in Australia for when they try to develop some kind of Aboriginal consultation model to take to a referendum. If you thought the 1998 Constitutional Convention for a Republic model was a clown car death rally combined with a goat rodeo on the deck of the Titanic, set on fire (which it was), try to imagine the same thing being done by aborigines who loathe each other.

  28. Lilliana

    Bear in mind that the Libs do not have control of the senate. Imagine dealing with Jacqui Lambie and the detritus of the Nick Xenophon party.

    May not be a bad thing – in my opinion it will focus attention on what is happening in the senate. All sides will most likely have to be more transparent in what they support and why.

  29. Muddy

    Change does not just ‘happen.’ It is forced or demanded.
    Just as magic does not just happen, or sh!t does not just happen (the latter is produced).
    Labor will not suddenly ‘realise’ anything unless it is produced as the result of a credible threat.
    The same with the Liberals: you do not do anything unless you believe it is working for you on some level. If it is working for you – not everyone else, but YOU – then you continue doing it. Why change something that appears to be working for YOU?

    Change is FORCED. DEMANDED. It is produced as the result of a THREAT: Change X, or Y will happen.

    Whispers in echo chambers will change nothing, other than result in a level of that mind-altering substance AWARENESS within a relatively stable sub-group. Have we reached Peak Awareness yet?

  30. Dr Fred Lenin

    The left has done a great a great job of destroying elitism and career politics .we always knew those things were evil and destructive ,they have proven beyond doubt that they are evil and should be scrapped . Look at th list of anti elitists ,Trump ,Putin ,Farage le Pen ,Widers ,Salvini,Orban <countries are swinging towards populist democracy . Hasnt happened here yet but we are always behind the times ,our elit fascists want that .

  31. Iva Right

    Beware the unintended (or real but well hidden) consequences to this proposed constitutional change. We were told nothing much would change after homosexual marriage was enacted but we now find that people can lose their business or career and be socially ostracised unless they now celebrate what was only a few years an illegal practice. Giving a greater voice in parliament to any minority will only give them advantage over the rest of us and open the way for every other minority to legitimately demand a voice as well.

  32. Fred

    What we need is an Anglo-Saxon voice to Parliament.

    Why should the Wongs, Albaneses, Alys and Frydenburgs be making laws that affect me.

  33. “Lilliana
    #3103213, posted on July 12, 2019 at 1:02 pm
    Bear in mind that the Libs do not have control of the senate. Imagine dealing with Jacqui Lambie and the detritus of the Nick Xenophon party.

    May not be a bad thing – in my opinion it will focus attention on what is happening in the senate. All sides will most likely have to be more transparent in what they support and why.”

    100% correct Lilliana…and it has worked getting the tax cuts through. I think that Cormann is a good negotiator.

  34. So we chose to die a slow excruciating death (we elected the idiot Liberals) instead of the quick bullet to the back of the head from Labor/Green filth.
    Either way, this country will recover from the ashes (and it can do so easier than most other countries because of the mineral riches in the ground), yet we chose to torture ourselves.

  35. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Is this site becoming a haven for and some sort of race baiting? Weird stuff. Fred: are you OK pal?

  36. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Skippy

    The constitution already has a racist clause in it.

    Any reference to race would be better off removed.

  37. Tel

    Cory Bernardi’s strategy of unpopulism is coming along nicely.

  38. Iampeter

    The problem for “the left” is that conservative parties the world over are now more left wing then they are and winning accordingly.
    This sucks for leftist politicians because it’s much harder to get a grift going if you can’t get into certain offices.
    But it’s great for the left in general since their ideas have so totally won and the whole world slowly but surely moves towards the state of Venezuela, with conservatives behind the wheel.

    The left no longer needs to win elections to still get all of their policies implemented.

  39. Iampeter

    Is this site becoming a haven for and some sort of race baiting? Weird stuff. Fred: are you OK pal?

    It’s been this way for years from what I’ve seen.

    This is Australia’s leading right wing blog, if by “right wing” you mean what the left means: nationalists, socialists and theocrats.

    “Putin gets it!”

    You couldn’t make this stuff up…

  40. W Hogg

    If ScoMo was a serious Liberal he would abolish 1,000 quangos.

    Starting with the ABC, SBS & NITV.

    What on earth is the rationale these days for public broadcasters?

    Well, SOMEONE has to tell the world how awful we are.

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