Abbott & Hockey’s ‘age of (political) incoherence’

by · May 9, 2014


It was great fun speaking alongside ACOSS policy officer Emily Hamilton and radical economist Steve Keen at the Northside Forum in the heart of Joe Hockey’s electorate last Saturday. Close to 100 people packed into the function room at the Union Hotel to hear us speak and participate in a Q&A. Thanks to the organisers for inviting us — the audience was receptive, enthusiastic and argumentative.

Steve’s talk was on “Should Governments Run Surpluses?”, which he describes thus: “After recommending George Monbiot’s excellent article on grouse I used the Open Source program Minsky to model what can happen when a government runs a permanent surplus. The result is not what advocates of government surpluses expect.” Watch Steve’s talk (with graphics) on YouTube here.

Emily ran through the mooted attacks on welfare, pensions and social services flagged in the Commission of Audit report and those that seem likely to emerge in the Budget itself.

Finally, I took on the origins of public debt in the global crisis of capitalism, which has constrained state revenue, and the weakness of the political class in being able to run any hardline austerity agenda. My slideshow is here or as single images on the Northside Forum website here.

The organisers filmed the event and I will put up a link to that if it becomes available.



Discussion4 Comments

  1. Desmond Murphy says:

    Tad’s overview of where capitalism has landed itself – and us – was excellent.

    Its clarity, its illumination and its relevance held the audience spellbound.

    If only senior Greens thought it worthwhile to educate their membership (. . . and you non-Greens out there, believe me, they don’t). If only the NSW Greens Education Officer actually educated the NSW Greens . . . Tad’s material would be extensively and intensively studied at every Greens group meeting.

    • Bruce says:

      There’ll be a public conference on 20-21 September in central Sydney Des. Early stages yet, but obviously political economy education will be central to its purpose

  2. […] when the actual budget is implemented the latter looks mild and acceptable. However as writers from Left Flank have been arguing on social media the government’s application of these tactics has been […]

  3. Don Sutherland says:

    There is some useful stuff in here, especially on the debt and related issues, and also the challenge to neolaboralism, not just neoliberalism.
    But yet again, we have another Australian leftie academic unable to talk about profits and profitability. It is as though these concepts are irrelevant in any discussion about what is happening in a capitalist society.
    Of course, these concepts are critical to a full understanding of what is happening, especially in the escalating struggle of ideas and practical class based activity in bargaining about productivity.